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fitting a sound post


Mat Roop

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You guys are making the soundpost fit a brain surgery operation. I don't think we need not be such careful.

Once you get your sound post up and mov it slightly to adjust if necessary. The rest does not make big difference.

Our ears are not that good anyway. Some people brag about their ears senitivity. Those peole usually play thier notes out of tune

just in my opinion.

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What could be the difference between a 66% and 100% fit? What should I listen for ?

The difference, by my calculation. would be 34% :rolleyes:

The exact nature of the change would depend on the particulars of the fit. For instance; If the post ended up tighter on the North (bridge) side of the top, then the sound would have a distinct edge to it. OTOH if the post were tighter on the South contact point with the top it would have a smoothing or dulling effect.

Or perhaps you agree more with my friend 'fellow'

Once you get your sound post up and mov it slightly to adjust if necessary. The rest does not make big difference.

Oded

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With all due respect, I've never in my life heard a luthier say the position of the post doesn't have much effect on the sound. It really goes against the experience of untold numbers of players, both amateur and professional. I may know less than nothing re what you guys do for a living, but I DO know it from the other end, and for a long time now, too.

But as long as I'm here quibbling over details, I have a question:

If a too-tight post presents as an instrument that sounds 'tight',i.e., not vibrating freely, or lacking in tone color and response, what's the opposite? If an instrument responds easily but lacks color, projection, and 'substance' does that necessarily indicate a too short post?

Or, like lawyers like to say, maybe "It depends" ???

PS Apologies for the numerous edits; I'm just trying to be clear.

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It depends ....

As a player and restorer, my own observation is that trying to generalise about tone and soundpost issues is a mug's game. A movement on one violin will have the opposite effect when carried out on another violin.

I don't think there's even any possibility of agreement about the effect of moving a post forwards & backwards or side to side, since this will have totally different consequences for fit and tension in any individual violin.

I have heard very dogmatic assertions that moving the post towards the C bout will increase bass response, also that moving the post towards the centre will increase bass response.

In my view neither is necessarily true.

Nor is it true that putting the post close to the bridge will help "focus" where moving it away will help response ..... sometimes it does, sometimes is doesn't

I believe (without any real evidence) that maximal contact and average/low tension will always create the widest range of harmonics, but I suppose this isn't always what a violin needs!

I have found a sweet spot on a couple of rather delicate violins, but several hundred others haven't revealed one in spite of relentless experimentation and a lot of playing ...

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It depends ....

As a player and restorer, my own observation is that trying to generalise about tone and soundpost issues is a mug's game. A movement on one violin will have the opposite effect when carried out on another violin.

I don't think there's even any possibility of agreement about the effect of moving a post forwards & backwards or side to side, since this will have totally different consequences for fit and tension in any individual violin.

I have heard very dogmatic assertions that moving the post towards the C bout will increase bass response, also that moving the post towards the centre will increase bass response.

In my view neither is necessarily true.

Nor is it true that putting the post close to the bridge will help "focus" where moving it away will help response ..... sometimes it does, sometimes is doesn't

I believe (without any real evidence) that maximal contact and average/low tension will always create the widest range of harmonics, but I suppose this isn't always what a violin needs!

I have found a sweet spot on a couple of rather delicate violins, but several hundred others haven't revealed one in spite of relentless experimentation and a lot of playing ...

Thank you! What I hear with my ear, and what I read have been at odds so many times... I was wondering what the heck was going on. Not to mention the one author that said the reverse of what most say.

Is "sweet spot" an acoustic epiphany, or really just a happy balance of desirable over undesirable results? So far I have been working on fit and tension, and am listening to nasal vs dull, and string response. But as Melvin said in another topic, results can be non-linear.

Addie = soundpost newbie.

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Is "sweet spot" an acoustic epiphany, or really just a happy balance of desirable over undesirable results?

Neither. It's mainly a delusion of people listening in small rooms to violins played ( badly ) by themselves.

The endless discussion about desirable over undesirable results seems to atract people who ( strange but true ) do not

actualy like the violin sound. They like violas or trumpets.

If a violin is used professionaly, in large rooms, the sound character of the room far outweighs minor fiddling with the post position.

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couldn't agree more, but talk about showing a red rag to a bull ......!

as I mentioned, I have had a couple of violins which have needed very careful soundpost positioning.

I do almost always replace old soundposts (on lesser violins at least), but only because they're generally wildly out of position/alignment and invariably far too tight. Unbelieveable how many violins have soundposts which have been hammered in place, lifting the wing of the f-hole, often deforming the back - sometimes they're so tight you have to squeeze the sides together alarmingly to get them to come out at all.

Many times the soundpost turns out to be made of floorboard or even beech, very often the end profiles bear no relation to the arching of the violin.

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Neither. It's mainly a delusion of people listening in small rooms to violins played ( badly ) by themselves.

The endless discussion about desirable over undesirable results seems to atract people who ( strange but true ) do not

actualy like the violin sound. They like violas or trumpets.

If a violin is used professionaly, in large rooms, the sound character of the room far outweighs minor fiddling with the post position.

....

Yes, I'd generally agree with that too. The post IS important for adjusting balance across the strings and response and an experienced adjuster can normally quite easily arrive at the desired optimum for the instrument at the time thus allowing the player to produce the best sound possible. I'd not call this the sweet spot though.

To me but the sweet spot is something of an illusion suffered by post adjusters who do not take care to test the instrument only when it is PERFECTLY IN TUNE....an instrument that is perfectly in tune sounds SO much better and many times this variable can be mistaken for 'the sweet spot'

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Oded, would you mind posting a recap of your "reciprocity" method for sound post positioning? Tried a search but sadly failed.

I think this is what you are referring to:

To test if a sound post is too tight tap the area above the treble side F hole and below the F hole while listening to the resulting vibrating open strings.

If the strings vibrate more at the top end of the F hole it means the post is too tight

If the strings vibrate more on the bottom it means the post is too loose.

This test is also can indicate a post that does not fit well.

This is used as a quick test to make sure the post is in an acceptable, but not necessarily ideal, state of 'tension'

Oded

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I'd not call this the sweet spot though.

biggrin.gif OK, but that's what I was getting at. Optimum position. So far, sweetness is the result of fit and tension, which can be changed by moving the post. Perhaps the "sweet spot" is really found by moving the post for optimum fit. Which would imply the "sweet spotters" are only dealing with that aspect, and not so much the optimum position?

I guess I can stop worrying about the "sweet spot" now. blink.gif

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I almost hate to jump into this discussion because it gets beaten to death, but I will anyway.

I think we should also reiterate that one should start with a post that fits. If a post is drastically too short or long for example, it is really difficult to ascertain what is going on with the sound because so many things get out of whack. My hunch is that a lot of people start dinking around with adjustments before they actually have a post that is cut well. To me, once a post fits and is cut well, adjusting it is usually a pretty predictable experience.

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biggrin.gif OK, but that's what I was getting at. Optimum position. So far, sweetness is the result of fit and tension, which can be changed by moving the post. Perhaps the "sweet spot" is really found by moving the post for optimum fit. Which would imply the "sweet spotters" are only dealing with that aspect, and not so much the optimum position?

I guess I can stop worrying about the "sweet spot" now. blink.gif

Hi Addie. What I was trying to say is that there is normally ,as Roger Hargrave said earlier in this thread, a pretty easy route to find optimum place for the post. It does include tension and position. This will give the player the best that the instrument can give.....The player produces tone, not the instrument. The instrument is good only in so far as it enables the musician to do what they want.

To clarify, I think the sweet spot is a mythical thing experienced by non musician luthiers like myself who fail to realise that there is a relationship between how well they tuned the violin during multiple adjustments and how well it sounds...the magical result they find but strive to replicate is not from the post position but from the fact that for the first time in 20 post adjustments the strings are in tune...

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Is "sweet spot" an acoustic epiphany, or really just a happy balance of desirable over undesirable results?

Addie = soundpost newbie.

Neither. It's mainly a delusion of people listening in small rooms to violins played ( badly ) by themselves.

The endless discussion about desirable over undesirable results seems to atract people who ( strange but true ) do not

actualy like the violin sound. They like violas or trumpets.

I will disagree wholeheartedly. This is based upon having tested a large number of violins, with various adjustments, in small rooms, medium sized rooms, large rooms, halls, and recording at varying distances from the microphone, with a variety of players, and feedback from numerous listeners.

I doubt that you will find many who have major reputations as adjusters, who believe differently. We spent a number of years at Oberlin attempting to nail some of these things down, including having Morel there for three of them. Yes, Rene could really produce results.

Of the various players we brought in from the Detroit Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra, there was only one case where Rene's improvements were judged shaky or nonexistent. And I believe I know adjusters who are better than Rene.

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....

Yes, I'd generally agree with that too. The post IS important for adjusting balance across the strings and response and an experienced adjuster can normally quite easily arrive at the desired optimum for the instrument at the time thus allowing the player to produce the best sound possible. I'd not call this the sweet spot though.

To me but the sweet spot is something of an illusion suffered by post adjusters who do not take care to test the instrument only when it is PERFECTLY IN TUNE....an instrument that is perfectly in tune sounds SO much better and many times this variable can be mistaken for 'the sweet spot'

Does 440 vs 442 vs 44X matter at all to this?

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To clarify, I think the sweet spot is a mythical thing experienced by non musician luthiers like myself who fail to realise that there is a relationship between how well they tuned the violin during multiple adjustments and how well it sounds...the magical result they find but strive to replicate is not from the post position but from the fact that for the first time in 20 post adjustments the strings are in tune...

It does take time for the tuning to stabilize after each adjustment. I don't know if it is just the strings stretching, or if the whole instrument is changing. There seems to be an additional playing-in time as well... maybe a day?

Does 440 vs 442 vs 44X matter at all to this?

That's a question for Anders... biggrin.gif My guess is yes.

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Does 440 vs 442 vs 44X matter at all to this?

....

Everything is a factor!...It is very important to assess adjustments in the perfect tuning you wish to play....

BUT for supporters of the magic spot....to respect and not damage the instrument, the strings must be loosened for every adjustment. In a non selling reality situation the set up will take two days at least to stabilize from this tension release to get a 'real' result. Fans of moving the post must factor in the effect of taking off string tension...You did that didn't you?

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