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Soundposts (again) ... optimal width this time


martin swan
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has anyone ever tried boring a small hole through the center of the post to accomplish this? If so, what were the results?

Fred

Ed. Withers Ltd.(London) had a patent on this. I have a B.Banks Cello which had such a soundpost when I got it, rubber stamped on the outside "Withers Patent", from the 1950's. The results were such that I replaced it with a normal soundpost.

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so has anyone ever tried boring a small hole through the center of the post to accomplish this? If so, what were the results?

I've drilled into a cello soundpost about 1/2 way up from the bottom. It helped brighten and open up the sound of a new instrument. But it's definitely not a universal solution to all problems.

Oded

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Michael

I think increasing the diameter by a millimetre probably increases the stiffness more than any treatment would.

If you've tried breaking kindling with your foot you'll know just what a direct relationship there is between diameter and stiffness!!

Right, but I was really thinking about the speed of sound which is controlled by material stiffness. I am not interested in structural strength. ;)

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In my experience the width of a soundpost and therefore the area of contact has a slight but discernible damping effect on tone. Therefore a thinner post simply brings out more of what a violin sounds like and is (acoustically) better suited for a fine violin, while a thicker post is better for a lesser violin. The effect may be due to mass or stiffness or surface contact area or some combination.

Oded

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Thanks for that - I definitely plan to experiment a bit along those lines, but I'm wondering if an elliptical post (with support across the grain of the table but less overall mass and stiffness) wouldn't be quite a good idea tonally.....

When I have fitted posts like that I've simply shaved the sides down parallel to the grain - I've always been rather pleased with the result but felt it was a bit sinful!

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Thanks for that - I definitely plan to experiment a bit along those lines, but I'm wondering if an elliptical post (with support across the grain of the table but less overall mass and stiffness) wouldn't be quite a good idea tonally.....

When I have fitted posts like that I've simply shaved the sides down parallel to the grain - I've always been rather pleased with the result but felt it was a bit sinful!

It's a tough experiment to carry out. After you have a properly fitted post you have to remove it, thin it and replace it in the same exact position and with the same tension. You better have might good post setting chops.

Yes, I've also sinned and done the oval post. Have you tried it "both ways" removing wood from North/South or East/West. If you remove wood from E/W then the post looks perfectly normal thickness as view from the usual F hole position.

I've tried drilling a violin soundpost but that seemed not have much effect.

Oded

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I can't see any theoretical problem with an elliptical soundpost provided the longer diameter sits at right angles to the table grain (less chance of dunting the table that way).

With old instruments it's not an option to enlarge the nicks - with new builds I feel that narrow nicks are much more attractive. Undercutting the inner edge allows a tiny bit more width in the soundpost and looks nice, but actually I've decided to overcome my inherent laziness and adopt Melvin's method for picking up a soundpost dropped through the lower eye.

I have been struck by how often narrow f-holes (too narrow for a 6mm soundpost to fit by the standard method) are found on violins which also have excellent playing qualities - of course the reverse is also true, which leads me to believe that f-hole width is not much of a factor. Placement of an f-hole of a given width may be very important, but then we're back to looking for needles in haystacks!

So Terry Borman uses soundposts up to 6.8mm in his violins - has anyone else found an advantage in big soundposts?

Please see this Rx of a Stainer.

It shows an oval section SP. I have used this approach to get a more robust sound from a flute/thin sounding Stainer copy. A viola SP "sandpapered". These kind of experiments take five minutes...

http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/Violins/Before1800/Stainerviolin.html

Best wishes.

T.

post-36056-0-44895000-1314830511_thumb.jpg

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Hi T

Please forgive me if I am wrong ....But from what I can deduce, it's not actually an oval post. The post is not fitted at 90 degrees to the plane of the scan thus the scan of it appears oval.

I believe you're right. Recently D. Burgess suggested that there was no reason for a sound post to be completely vertical. this is probably an example (whether it was intentional or not is another matter).

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Hi T

Please forgive me if I am wrong ....But from what I can deduce, it's not actually an oval post. The post is not fitted at 90 degrees to the plane of the scan thus the scan of it appears oval.

Could be as you say. Anyway, using an oval SP can be useful in the right scenario.

Cheers,

T.

PS: am I a Senior member now? How come? :(:D

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Could be as you say. Anyway, using an oval SP can be useful in the right scenario.

Cheers,

T.

PS: am I a Senior member now? How come? :(:D

Hi I think you become a senior member after a certain number of posts.....

I must admit that the idea of non circular sound posts was new to me before this thread ( I have some of the patent hollow ones)...In the end if something works and does not compromise structural integrity it must be ok. ....and this has got my mind racing...a very clever late friend once suggested a tapered post but ( seriously)in a flight of fantasy I started contemplating a tiangular section post.

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Hi I think you become a senior member after a certain number of posts.....

I must admit that the idea of non circular sound posts was new to me before this thread ( I have some of the patent hollow ones)...In the end if something works and does not compromise structural integrity it must be ok. ....and this has got my mind racing...a very clever late friend once suggested a tapered post but ( seriously)in a flight of fantasy I started contemplating a tiangular section post.

If one understand the function(s) of the SP, the pros and cons must be evident. ;)

Good luck experimenting.

T.

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