Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Post setter


Mat Roop
 Share

Recommended Posts

I agree with SF above.

An analogy: I have self taught musicians who ask me to do all sorts of eccentric things with bridge curves, string spacing, nut and fingerboard shapes, etc none of these changes has resulted in better quality player, better sound or better technique.

I'm not suggesting that everything in the violin making world is frozen in time but I do think that many techniques that have been refined for centuries by legions of repairers have stood the test of time and IMHO the soundpost setter is one of those tools.

I admit that on rare occasions I will take a hemostat and tweak a post, but for 99.9% of the time a sp setter is the best tool for the job. I confess that I spent many hours sweating blood learning how to use this tool. It's probably the hardest tool to learn to use excepting perhaps the knife.

Oded

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 89
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

but for 99.9% of the time a sp setter is the best tool for the job. I confess that I spent many hours sweating blood learning how to use this tool. It's probably the hardest tool to learn to use excepting perhaps the knife.

Oded

I was thinking exactly this earlier, when I was contemplating an answer to this post (or not) ...

For the first year or two, when I first started getting lots of repair work - I would sweat it when a sound post fell. Also, I was never really confident that I would be able to find the "sweet" spot either. Now, however, I usually knock the soundpost over when I work on a violin, in order to find out how tight it is. Otherwise there is no telling for sure how it is wedged in and how the tone might be compromised.

I think it was some years before I became proficient with the sound post setter, even though I used one frequently, still, it does the job better (simpler, more efficiently, etc.,) than its many possible counterparts - and I have tried quite a few.

I believe that part of the trick with properly using the setter is being able to get the post very close to where you want it very early on in the process, so that it doesn't require lots of moving around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm on board with sf too.

I started with the setter at first. Then, having trouble getting comfortable with it, I switched to the scissors type. And stayed that way for several years. I thought I was getting good and efficient with the tool. About a year and a half ago, I was doing an adjustment on one of my violas.

the post looked great at all angles on the inside with the mirror, and felt nice and snug with the scissor. I was going to do a last "tweak", and momentarily misplaced the scissor ( sitting on it)

I grabed the proper post setter to give it a last nudge and the post gave one of those twist/pivot motions. That was when I realized that I wasn't doing as well as I could with my post fitting, and, I could finally blame some of it on the tool I was using :)

Now I'm back with the setter, trying to learn the feel of it. Something I could have gotten over much sooner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fact that there's an argument here says something interesting, doesn't it?

I agree with SF above.

Oded

And I'll split the difference.

The real problem results from a certain kind of misunderstanding, of both sides.

On one hand, those who argue that a universally accepted technique cannot be improved upon, or even equalled, fail to take into account subtle idiosyncracies of manual dexterity, of which we are all uniquely outfitted. If a modified hemostat works better in the hands of some (whether real or imagined) insisting that one should still adhere to the traditional method regardless, is unreasonable, provided the end result of fit is at least as good.

On the other hand, some innovators assume their tool or method is superior merely because it is different, when sometimes it's a draw at best. Some innovators put too much emphasis on novelty alone.

For what it's worth, I use many unorthodox methods, some I have mentioned here in the past. However, I use a standard soundpost setter, and do so very comfortably, but I would have no reservations about trying the hemostat, and if it worked as well, or provided some kind of advantage, I would have no reservation about using it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, however, I usually knock the soundpost over when I work on a violin, in order to find out how tight it is. Otherwise there is no telling for sure how it is wedged in and how the tone might be compromised.

I developed a method based on string reciprocity that reveals if a sound post is too loose or too tight.

Tap the area above the treble F hole and just below the treble F hole, listen to the strings as they vibrate in response to these taps. If the strings vibrate when you tap at the point below the f hole but not above, then the post is too loose.

If the string vibrate at the top of the F hole but not below the sound post is too tight.

Simply listen to the total volume and sustain of the vibrating strings not to any individual string or changes in frequency.

Oded

ps this test also reveals if there's something wrong with the fit. Basically if I don't get a healthy response from both areas, I'm reasonably sure SOMETHING is off with the soundpost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But seriously, I'd say use whatever works for you.

If you have a chance to work with someone who has used a conventional soundpost setter for many years, who can maybe do some filing and shaping on yours so it doesn't behave like a pain in the arse, and who can instruct you in its use, you may find that it works pretty well.

I'm always open to new ideas though. :)

People found that they could move heavy objects by rolling them on logs. Innovation in cylindrical rolling objects didn't stop there, fortunately, even if this method was used successfully for thousands of years.

I'm frequently enlightened by those who aren't confined to "the box" of a traditional violin making education.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can pretty much guarantee you that if you go into any top level fine instrument shop in the world, you'll see a standard post setter being used in the standard way--no hemostats, no strange devices..

Do they not use electronic instruments to measure and evaluate the sound frequencies of top plates like our learned members here on MN? I dont think Stradivari had one of those.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate it when I work on an instrument with mosquito clamp marks all over the post. But truly, it doesn’t matter how we get the job done, as long as it’s done well. If you can work with a customized clamp or doodad, that’s great.

I personally enjoy using a traditional post setter, it just works for me. I love it when the post rocks in to place, grabs, and the blade slides right out. My set is a cheap German one with the edges blunted and wrapped with one clean strip of electrical tape (as many have done above).

I worry that with a pair of pliers (or a medical clamp) there might be a tendency for newbies to force fit the post.

The screwdriver idea sounds like a good one, and you could easily make the forked end, or something similarly useful, by hammer the steel flat and working it a bit with a motor tool or files. I may actually do that this week… ah… vacation. I miss MD’s comments… hope he is well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi stradofear

Who's to say what the right way is? What might be right for one person might not be right for another.

Maybe, just maybe, Stradivarius would have used a modified hemostat if one had been available in his time. Would that have then made it the right tool to set a post?

As shown in these replies, no two persons use the same identical procedure. Which is the right way?

Regards....Tony

In the future they will just be able to 'Beam Me Up Scottie' a soundpost in any position they want down to the nano-meter, with a transporter, but will prefer to use a regular soundpost setter since they will have learned that the Secret to Stradivari was the little dents left in the post by the setter. :)

Well :) okay B) maybe not B) , but someone needs to look more closely at those dents! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mostly use the scissors after I get it close with the setter but am not certain I am getting a perfect fit. I will admit that I probably need glasses, so looking through the endpin hole to check the sp fit is a questionable method. So... how is the setter used to ascertain the sp fit?

Second question...OK, let's assume that the SP has been perfectly cut to match the plates in the theoretical position. Once the violin is strung up and the tweaking begins, the scissors tool seem a logical choice for slight SP adjustments (of course, this is after the string tension is reduced). I have also tapped my share of SP's with the setter, but the scissors seem to give better control. I am interested to hear from the setter-only crowd about these adjustments with the setter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do they not use electronic instruments to measure and evaluate the sound frequencies of top plates like our learned members here on MN? I dont think Stradivari had one of those.

Some use such devices. Which is evidence for their willingness to try things and use new tools which are helpful, which makes the fact that they're still using a traditional setter more, rather than less weighty. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The scissor type setter I received was horribly made. The jaws didn't match each other so I clamped it to a piece of 1" wood with a vise grip and drilled the hole to 1/4". No more teeth marks. I like the shrink tubing idea.

I eventually learned the use of the S shaped setter and think there is less all around damage with it. Several head thumps later I quit looking for better ideas.

We could have contests to see who could get a fallen sound post from a violin the quickest. I'm quite deft at it now.. But, oh,

the hours of practice!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We could have contests to see who could get a fallen sound post from a violin the quickest. I'm quite deft at it now.. But, oh,

the hours of practice!

Yeah, well I have news. I'm all conventional going in, but leaving is a whole different game. In speed, I will take on all comers with my personal set of these:

http://www.rehmatgroup.com/rehmat/images/c03.gif

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...