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Soundpost too tight?


florea
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Tap the top above the F hole,next to the fingerboard,with your fingernail, then below the F hole next to the tailpiece. Listen to the vibrations of the open strings as you tap, if only the upper area cases the strings to vibrate the post is too tight(up=tight) if only the lower area causes the strings to vibrate it's too loose. Ideally both areas should cause the strings to vibrate.

Don't worry about which particular strings vibrate only that they both vibrate with the same sustain and volume.

Oded Kishony

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Hi,

On the same subject, if my soundpost fell down on itself

when I loosened all strings and made adjustments of the post of my violin, then I should not

be worried about "too tight"? Correct? Thank you in advance /yuen/

PS. Thank you, Regis. I must have squeezed the sides too,(then slapped my head) I won't do it again.

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Yuen,

If your soundpost is cut correctly and "fit" for the correct location, it should not fall unless you squeeze the sides.

Oded,

Sure is nice, simple test but, all I have on hand now ring the same so I'll have to wait for a short one or cut one back to hear the difference.

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I'm sort of in a similar situation to Yuen at the moment. My violin has been in constant use for about a year now and the luthier is going to check the soundpost soon. I never checked the belly arching in the vicinity of the f holes on the bass and treble sides respectively when it was new. I notice that that the belly is very slightly higher on the treble side, but probably only a millimetre difference. It might just be on account of the violin being a very accurate copy of a 260 year old instrument. I had suspected the existing post might now be too short, but now I am not so sure. When I replaced the tailpiece recently, the post did not fall down. Additionally it seems to have been deliberately cut so as to be on a slight angle when viewed from the hole in the bottom end block. It's cut in such a way that the bottom end is closer to the bass side than the top end. And the camber on the bottom of the post perfectly matches the arching on the back where it is positioned. Since the top end is also correctly positioned in relation to the bridge I could reasonably say that a perfectly upright post would have to be slightly shorter. I have actually seen posts deliberately put in at an angle like this in a few violins now. I'm not sure if this is done because the maker thinks it is good for sound or whether it is done so that it isn't necessary to make a whole new post - they can just slightly trim the camber on the bottom of the existing post then position it perfectly upright. That is one theory I have anyway.

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"CT Violin - what are you listening for when you tap the sounpost with the setter?"

"the sound of the soundpost toppling over."

Absolutely.

If it's too loose then I want to know that also.

If the question is "Is the soundpost too tight?" then finding out if it is too loose is part of the process.

Only when the string tension is off of the violin, can I determin if the tension is correct. The tension is always fairly tight with the strings tensioned and checking the post then is not good for the inside top.

The tapping sound that the setter produces when tapping on an overly tight soundpost is pretty distinctive - in addition to the fact that the post doesn't move at all...

I guess that my point was that when I am checking for the tightness of the soundpost, my method is a direct check on the tension of the post in the relaxed corpus.

Rather than tap, I will also push the bottom around a bit without moving the top and if the tension and fit seem correct - then, if they are, I'll just tension the strings back up to pitch.

Odeds vibration method is interesting - but this is the first I've heard of it. I'm curious how many others use it?

"Apartment Luthier - Good one! I will stay away from the post tapping technique for now."

Why?

If you want to know if the post is too tight, then don't you also want to know if it's too loose? And a post that just falls may well be too loose. Though it may just be too far West.

The worst that could happen is that you'd have to set it up again and if you can't do that, then I'd recommend not checking the tension yourself in the first place, and take the fiddle to a qualified luthier.

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>If your soundpost is cut correctly and "fit" for the correct location, it should not fall unless you squeeze the sides.

My expereince was a bit different. Since I didn't know what I was doing, I tightened up the strings a great deal and then didn't feel right (afraid of soundpost crack like other one I have), so I loosen the strings up. The soundpost also fell off.

Since the soundpost is the topic here, I have a question regarding soundpost crack:

1. Crack on the bird's eye maple back: What is the possible cause for it? Temperature? Humidity? Or just too much tension?

2. After the crack is repaired by a reputable luthier, what are the things I should pay attention to avoid any more cracks?

The top is the only thing which is not bird eye on the violin. By the way, this violin is about 80 to 100 years old, German made.

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Mostly, soundpost cracks are the result of a too tight soundpost. Plus, a post should not automatically fall when the string tension is removed, but it may well fall if the tension is removed and the violin is moved around at all.

The soundpost should never be adjusted by anyone not familiar with violin set up. I can't tell you how much damage the school instruments have suffered as a result of a students dad "helping out" by either setting up a fallen post, or replacing one with a portion of hardwood dowel from the hardware store.

In virtually no case is the position, fit, or tension correct.

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+++++++++++++++++++++++++

" take the fiddle it to a qualified luthier "

++++++++++++++

One time (years ago) I took my violin to a violin shop and asked them to put the sound post(fallen) back. The counter person who was not a luhier and who did not work on the post, wrote the ticket of repair. When I got back the violin,the soundpost was way too long. (I reasoned)

The luthier might think that the post ought to be too short (otherwise, why fallen), so he just made a longer post. I could see an bulge impression of the post ouside on the top . So I removed the post and hid it. Made a second trip to shop without the post. The counter person scolded me of not knowing anything better, bringing in a cheap violin. There was no e-bay those days.

You cannot win.

My point: It is better to have your luthier to cut a new post without a guide of the old one. /yuen/

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You're right, the only way to tell for sure what the violin needs is to experiment.

Not only thick or thin but the innate stiffness of the wood come to mind as variables that might matter with the soundpost.

I prefer very dense grain for both the soundpost and bass bar. Fifty grains/inch 25 year old Sitka is not unusual in my violins.

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That's right.

Impact (general impact) is another thing that can cause a soundpost crack, because there is no give where the post sits, and it is the only spot on the back or belly where there is already tension other than the feet of the bridge, so, impact in general, but especially a downward impact on the bridge, can cause the back to give way at the post.

The only way I know to avoid post cracks is to have the soundpost fit checked by someone who knows what they're doing, and then to not impact the violin.

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>Oded's vibration method is interesting - but this is the first I've heard of it. I'm curious how many others use it? <

I discovered this phenomena and I gave a talk at the Oberlin Acoustics workshop about it. So, not many people have used it or know about it.

Regarding sound post thickness: The soundpost acts as a filter to some extent. If you have a very good sounding violin you can make the post thinner (less filtering) which will result in more overtones and richer sound. But if your instrument is nasty sounding then go for the thickest post you can get in there. (6.5mm max.)

Oded Kishony

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On violins which have previously been fitted with too long sound post or when the have more likley had the set to close to treble f. I "retrane" the top this way I bring strings to fractional tension, maybe up to 14 and fit the sound post. Realize it would fall at this point with out tension. The compromise does have a downside as the vilolin will not imediatley sound its best but it will as it plays in. Zyex strings have a little higher tension and this may help. One must be patient and not expect imediate results.

Mike

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Hi Mike,

I don't know Mike, I'd like to hear other opinions on this. I wouldn't press out a top that was just a little distorted, I'd just fit the post normally but carefully and not too tight. But I don't think I would deliberately fit a sound post too loose.

Usually, if a post has been fitted too tightly there's a bulge right over the post, by fitting a short post the bridge area cavitates but the bulge over the post doesn't go away.

Is this the distortion you refer to, the bulge that appears over the sound post?

Oded

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