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Dead Notes


Joseph
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Michael (and others) ... what can be done to a violin which has a very dead (or muted) sounding note? In this case it is the "B" especially on the A string, but all other "Bs" are somewhat dead sounding compared to every other note on the violin. I have already messed with the most obvious such as trying different string types and brands, sound post position and fit, adjusting string after lengths and cutting several bridges and none of these seem to eliminate the problem. Is it the frequency of the body cavity that is interfering with this particular note? (This is on a very modern and well made instrument)

Joseph

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This sounds like a wolf. I bet if you go up an octave, plus, on the G string, to the second B, you've got a howler there. Wolves are something I've not been very successful dealing with. You can try moving the post closer to the bridge, and a bit out. If you run your fingers over the outside while someone's playing the note, you can feel a spot in the lower bout on the G side going wild, and sometimes gluing a weight there on the inside helps, too.

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Michael: Actually all the B notes are very dead in comparison to any other notes including an octave up and the second B on the G string. In the past I have done exactly what you have said to eliminate wolf notes on other violins, but this does not sound like a wolf note to me as there are no booming notes, just this very dead (no ring, no overtones) note.

Jeffrey: I have already messed with adjusting the string afterlength many times, both by shortening and lengthening it by one or more mm and it doesn't seem to improve much (if any). This one has me puzzeled

Joseph

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I'd be happy to take a look at it. Whether or not it is 'fixable' remains to be seen. Often, you just have to play around idiosyncrasys, especially if they are nestled inbetween the notes of an otherwise great sounding violin, and you've already tried all of the standard fixes...

Which, if you think about it is a sad but true fact because then the problem really isn't something as simple as set up, or, if it were, all the other notes wouldn't sound wonderful. Sometimes individual 'bad' notes are just part of the instrument since all violins aren't created equal.

Not long ago I made a violin that had a bad wolf on the high second finger on the a string (a common problem area, I find). It has almost been eliminated by having performed a number of adjustments (including the introduction of a metal adjustable fine tuner type tailpiece in place of the really nice Hill style rosewood one I had on it to begin with which, oddly enough, reduced the wolf about 75%) but still, I can find the note and it really irks me that it's there.

If you come by, you can visit my wonderous shop and see a few violins in mid-construction (it's a home based business). <g> If you're going to visit, make sure you call ahead as I'm at dialysis most of the day Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Craig Tucker

Tucker Violin

1605 N. Kansas

Roswell, NM 88201

(505) 623-9013

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I've got a tailpiece on my work bench right now that I'm making for David Kerr's shop. Dave has been experimenting with very heavy tailpieces to get rid of wolf notes. The key is that they not increase in weight just by making them long. Many commercial tailpieces are made too long as it is. A normal tailpiece is usually 11 to 13 grams. I can use some really dense blackwood that I save up for this purpose. By cheating on the thicknesses I can make a 108mm tailpiece up to 18 grams that looks good and has often been successful getting rid of wolfs (or is it wolves).The metal tailpieces may have this same effect-they are just so ugly. There is much work to be done on the tonal effects of tailpiece lengths, materials and mass. I have to rely on reports from luthiers on these effects, and each instument is different of course. People are going back to gut for tonal reasons. Pernambuco can really increase volume and brightness if that's what an instrument needs. I know lot's of makers who didn't believe in these effects initially that have changed their minds.

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Hello Craig,

I would love to go by your shop and visit but I don't find myself near Roswell very often (I'm in NE Albuquerque), in fact the last time I was down there was back in 1995. If I plan to go down anytime soon I will be sure to give you a call so we can chat about violin stuff.

After messing with this violin for quite some time, I'm beginning to think that this is just a bad symptom of this particular violin. I have worked on many stubborn instruments, but this one takes the cake!

Thanks for all the replies guys!

Joseph

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I posted about a problem violin several months ago. It was most noticable at C# on the A string. It was on one of my one instruments.

Kelvin Scott said he felt it was due to , as best I remember, an unfortuitous combination in arching and volume(resonance), and mentioned that this is an all too frequent curse of violin making.

I didn't get it fixed, satisfactorily, I sure hope I never have that again though. Interstingly it is the only violin I have made from western N.A. maple. That pinkish stuff. I think If I were to address it seriously, I would first lighten the fingerboard, and if that didn't work i would lessen the rib height a little, but that's purely shots in the dark.

bud

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