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fitting a sound post


Mat Roop

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Yes. On a given instrument, the optimized 442 adjustment will be different from the optimized 440 adjustment. But if the adjustment isn't close to begin with, it may not matter.

... maybe if one plays ( very lightly ) open strings. That's a difference of less than 0.5% and during playing loads on the instrument vary far more than that or to put it differently, not by the gram.

Of course, if I would be an "ajusteur" I would insist the sound post be tinkered with not only for every fraction of a Hz but also in relation to minute humidity variations, phases of the moon and planet alignment. A bit of foreign accent and about any client will be convinced the violin sounds better than before. We're talking the same people who not only can't hear a difference between a Strad and a new one and claim that none exists but who, suddently and MAGICALLY, become supersensitive to minute s/p "ajustementes". ( french a/body? )

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For some reason, longitudinal adjustments of the bottom of the post seem be a little fugitive, or take some time to settle in, and transverse adjustments don't. I still have no idea why this is.

The reson for that is rather simple but inconvenient to visualise without accurate 3d drawings. The top and bottom of the post are not under uniform pressure while the top has significant rotation under string pressure.

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... maybe if one plays ( very lightly ) open strings. That's a difference of less than 0.5% and during playing loads on the instrument vary far more than that or to put it differently, not by the gram.

Of course, if I would be an "ajusteur" I would insist the sound post be tinkered with not only for every fraction of a Hz but also in relation to minute humidity variations, phases of the moon and planet alignment. A bit of foreign accent and about any client will be convinced the violin sounds better than before. We're talking the same people who not only can't hear a difference between a Strad and a new one and claim that none exists but who, suddently and MAGICALLY, become supersensitive to minute s/p "ajustementes". ( french a/body? )

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

It seems everyone here ro assume that the sound position once is set will stay there forever until the next person to

make an adjustment. It is not glued fixed why it cannot move by itself? Of course it is not easy to observe.

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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.

I think you might've carried the testing too far and that's a good recipe for drawing no conclusion. It's like collecting mounts of irrelevant data with crappy tools in order to crack "The Secret". Really guys, did you spend A COUPLE OF YEARS on this ??? To discover that in a large hall a violin's spectrum and phase relations are completely different from a small room ?

Are these the same brethren who can't differentiate 300 years old wood from 10 years old one ?

And I am SURE that "many who have major reputations as adjusters" believe differently. I mean it's an easy buck.

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Hi Carl:

You're taking some strong positions, that are very interesting, but begin to (at least for me) raise questions about the experience of the poster.

Your profile is rather threadbare... could you tell us a little about yourself to better help readers assess the level of experience behind some of these expressed opinions?

Best regards,

Ernie

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Of course, if I would be an "ajusteur" I would insist the sound post be tinkered with not only for every fraction of a Hz but also in relation to minute humidity variations, phases of the moon and planet alignment. A bit of foreign accent and about any client will be convinced the violin sounds better than before. We're talking the same people who not only can't hear a difference between a Strad and a new one and claim that none exists but who, suddently and MAGICALLY, become supersensitive to minute s/p "ajustementes". ( french a/body? )

I think you might've carried the testing too far and that's a good recipe for drawing no conclusion. It's like collecting mounts of irrelevant data with crappy tools in order to crack "The Secret". Really guys, did you spend A COUPLE OF YEARS on this ??? To discover that in a large hall a violin's spectrum and phase relations are completely different from a small room ?

And I am SURE that "many who have major reputations as adjusters" believe differently. I mean it's an easy buck.

Carl, you could do better than to flail about wildly, with little idea of what you're talking about. The writing style and the content remind me of someone else here. :lol:

Of course we took steps to try to differentiate between actual sound, and other influences, such as Rene's accent and personality. I considered that to be a basic part of my job. It doesn't serve attendees if I bring back teachers who can't get real results.

One of the ways we did this was to record before and after an adjustment, let some time elapse, and then play back loops of these recordings in various orders, with the order unknown to the listeners. Nothing but the music. No French accent. I wouldn't have put my a$$ on the line, saying Rene got results, without having done things like this to try to separate real results from psychological factors. We actually took it far enough that one of his former employees took me aside for a little talk, quite offended by the level to which we required Rene to prove himself.

Really guys, did you spend A COUPLE OF YEARS on this ??? To discover that in a large hall a violin's spectrum and phase relations are completely different from a small room?

Did you just invent this? There was no such "discovery". It was something we knew from the outset, and that's one reason why adjustment progressions were done in both a room and a hall, to validate the process in more than one environment.

....We're talking the same people who not only can't hear a difference between a Strad and a new one....

....Are these the same brethren who can't differentiate 300 years old wood from 10 years old one ?

It sounds like you have the workshop I directed confused with some other workshop or group.

It's kind of sad that when some people haven't been involved with the people who can get results, or don't get results themselves, they conclude that the results must not be real. It's much more productive to learn.

Actually, we still have the sound files from these adjustments, and meticulous notes to go with them, so maybe it would be fun to play them for a group at one of the conventions, and let you eat some crow. :D If you can't hear the difference, or hear an improvement, I'll guarantee that most other people in the room will be able to.

I'd put some up here or on my server so others can judge for themselves, but they are huge uncompressed files.

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One of the ways we did this was to record before and after an adjustment, let some time elapse, and then play back loops of these recordings in various orders, with the order unknown to the listeners. Nothing but the music. No French accent. I wouldn't have put my a$$ on the line, saying Rene got results, without having done things like this to try to separate real results from psychological factors.

With all the conflicting opinions that fly around it would be fantastic to be able to hear a set of recordings like this...

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Hi Carl:

You're taking some strong positions, that are very interesting, but begin to (at least for me) raise questions about the experience of the poster.

Your profile is rather threadbare... could you tell us a little about yourself to better help readers assess the level of experience behind some of these expressed opinions?

Best regards,

Ernie

No. This is not a notoriety competition.

But I don't mind if you refute my point with a couple of well thought out arguments as long as they don't involve magic.

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I don't wish to take sides just to observe that if this were intended as a scientific or engineering trial you would probably want the tests to be double blind, in that neither the player nor the listener knew whether an adjustment had been made, you would want a decent sample size and maybe a rating of the magnitude of change and the significance level of the result..i.e the probability that the observed result had been caused by chance. Plus I'm sure a statistician could add a whole lot more.

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Carl, you could do better than to flail about wildly, with little idea of what you're talking about. The writing style and the content remind me of someone else here. :lol:

Of course we took steps to try to differentiate between actual sound, and other influences, such as Rene's accent and personality. I considered that to be a basic part of my job. It doesn't serve attendees if I bring back teachers who can't get real results.

One of the ways we did this was to record before and after an adjustment, let some time elapse, and then play back loops of these recordings in various orders, with the order unknown to the listeners. Nothing but the music. No French accent. I wouldn't have put my a$$ on the line, saying Rene got results, without having done things like this to try to separate real results from psychological factors. We actually took it far enough that one of his former employees took me aside for a little talk, quite offended by the level to which we required Rene to prove himself.

I have no idea what you mean by suggesting that we discovered

"that in a large hall a violin's spectrum and phase relations are completely different from a small room".

There was no such "discovery". It was something we already knew, and that's one reason why adjustment progressions were done in both a room and a hall, to validate the process in more than one environment.

It sounds like you have the workshop I directed confused with some other workshop or group.

It's kind of sad that when some people haven't been involved with the people who can get results, or don't get results themselves, they conclude that the results must not be real. It's much more productive to learn.

Actually, we still have the sound files from these adjustments, and meticulous notes to go with them, so maybe it would be fun to play them for a group at one of the conventions, and let you eat some crow. :D If you can't hear the difference, or hear an improvement, I'll guarantee that most other people in the room will be able to.

I'd put some up here or on my server so others can judge for themselves, but they are huge uncompressed files.

David, give us some of the sound files and the meticulous notes. Are we talking "ajustements" by the tenth of mm or by the cm ?

'cause for the later I'd have to accept defeat....

Basicaly, how did you guys, bright as you are, ABSOLUTELY ELIMINATED the fact that Morel's tinkering did not simply make the fit better ? Because if you didn't this entire piece of "Research" comes to nothing.

The s/p is a simple mechanical device with a couple of simple functions. Violins are built on close enough lines for the post to have an almost standard position. FIT is of paramount importance and whomever thinks differently needs his hearing checked.

Small deviations from the standard position will will have an effect on the intensity of various frequencies and their PHASE but as tastes differ one needs to accept there is no unique best spot.

Unless it simply fits better there....

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David, give us some of the sound files and the meticulous notes. Are we talking "ajustements" by the tenth of mm or by the cm ?

If you will commit to being to being at the next VSA convention, and there is enough other interest, I'll make an effort to get it onto the agenda. I think it would be much more valuable, and a better use of my time (and Pasewicz's time, he's the one with the notes) to present this to a group, listening to uncompressed files, in the same room, and through the same sound system.

Sorry, I'm not making a living unless I'm making violins.

The s/p is a simple mechanical device with a couple of simple functions. Violins are built on close enough lines for the post to have an almost standard position.

I take it that you've experimented enough with non-standard positions, on enough different instruments, to know this for sure? ;)

Back graduation patterns and stiffnesses are all over the place. Do you really believe that "an almost standard" post position on the back works best for all, including one where a back is 2.7mm thick at the standard post position, and another where it is 4.7mm thick?

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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.

David, when you can pull yourself away from your workbench for 5 minutes please give us 3 names and contact info. I'll put you on my Zingerman's Christmas list.

I know you're obsessed with quality, but nonetheless your Webpage won't let me 'contact' you privately.

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well as carl himself has told us he has "fit" over a thousand soundposts, averaging one every three days, but as his comments point out he hasnt fit near as many soundposts to the standards of top builders like david/jefferey, in fact we have to wonder if he was just sticking lengths of wood in there and not concerning himself with the hard stuff, like perfect fit.....

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David, when you can pull yourself away from your workbench for 5 minutes please give us 3 names and contact info. I'll put you on my Zingerman's Christmas list.

I know you're obsessed with quality, but nonetheless your Webpage won't let me 'contact' you privately.

LeMaster, my phone is 734 668-7803.

The email isn't on my web site because I didn't have time to deal with all the spams, "I found a Strad" emails, repair inquiries, rental inquiries, people who wanted a quote on a case or an E-sting... all the stuff I don't do. For some reason people are much more selective about using the phone. B)

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LeMaster, my phone is 734 668-7803.

The email isn't on my web site because I didn't have time to deal with all the spams, "I found a Strad" emails, repair inquiries, rental inquiries, people who wanted a quote on a case or an E-sting... all the stuff I don't do. For some reason people are much more selective about using the phone. B)

Understood, those E-stings can take all the fun out of life. :) Thanks, I'll try to call when you don't have your hands in a pot of glue.

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If you will commit to being to being at the next VSA convention, and there is enough other interest, I'll make an effort to get it onto the agenda. I think it would be much more valuable, and a better use of my time (and Pasewicz's time, he's the one with the notes) to present this to a group, listening to uncompressed files, in the same room, and through the same sound system.

Sorry, I'm not making a living unless I'm making violins.

I take it that you've experimented enough with non-standard positions, on enough different instruments, to know this for sure? ;)

Back graduation patterns and stiffnesses are all over the place. Do you really believe that "an almost standard" post position on the back works best for all, including one where a back is 2.7mm thick at the standard post position, and another where it is 4.7mm thick?

No, can't commit to that. All I am interested is what was Morel's system in other words what was he listening for in order to decide if the post fits well AND were should be moved in order to hit the sweet spot. Can you tell us that ? Must we take an oath of secrecy ? Blood curling rituals, etc ...

As to the 2nd point I have no experience with non standard positions - I tried but me arthritis prohibits. I have no interest in violins which are non standard - life's too short and exemplifing with the exceptional won't help me.

In a violin variations of stiffness and weight are compensated nicely by the curvature of the plates and the post needs to maintain a certain ratio which basically decides it's position too very close variation . At least in well made violins. As the local stiffness varies with the CUBE of thickness we should see the s/p all over a much larger area. ANd we don't.

Let me see, do we know a THICK DG and a THIN Strad with the posts in almost identical place ? ( posts fitted by decent restores...)

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In a violin variations of stiffness and weight are compensated nicely by the curvature of the plates and the post needs to maintain a certain ratio which basically decides it's position too very close variation . At least in well made violins. As the local stiffness varies with the CUBE of thickness we should see the s/p all over a much larger area. ANd we don't.

Really? Are you talking about theoretical violins, or theoretically ideal violins, or real violins?

In the case of real violins, it's often possible to find a "non-standard" post position on the back which works quite well, better than the "standard" it came in with. I think you'd see it more often, except that people tend to get stuck on some didactic set of rules, and never even investigate other possibilities.

I've mentioned this a few times before, but Doug Martin has played a big role in showing how silly some of our sacred rules are, with his wildly unconventional fiddles, which can sound pretty darned good side-by-side with conventional fiddles of merit.

If one doesn't get out and experience some things like that, it's easy to get stuck while tromping around in ones own poo.

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The s/p is a simple mechanical device with a couple of simple functions. Violins are built on close enough lines for the post to have an almost standard position.

Ummm... I recall seing a few very old Tyrolian and German mechanical drawings in which the "standard" position of the soundpost, as they saw it, was significantly different that what we think of as "standard" today. Good thing to see. Makes one think before accepting the "way things are".

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Really? Are you talking about theoretical violins, or theoretically ideal violins, or real violins?

In the case of real violins, it's often possible to find a "non-standard" post position on the back which works quite well, better than the "standard" it came in with. I think you'd see it more often, except that people tend to get stuck on some didactic set of rules, and never even investigate other possibilities.

I've mentioned this a few times before, but Doug Martin has played a big role in showing how silly some of our sacred rules are, with his wildly unconventional fiddles, which can sound pretty darned good side-by-side with conventional fiddles of merit.

I think I've covered that ( type of violin ).

You said that Renee Morel demoed his system of adjusting the s/p position. I believe ( wrongly it seems ) that such tinkering around standard position has small influence over some 4 octaves, being FAR outwighed by the need to have a PERFECT fit. More so, I believe a tipical violin ( like you make ) is inherently designed to receive the s/p in the standard position ( that's were you put it ). I might be wrong, of course.

I also believe that making micro adjustments of the s/p is a great marketing ploy. Akin to those two blokes who shaved a bridge until there copy sounded more like the original.

Now, again. what was Morel's system ? He listen to WHAT ? Heard WHAT ? And did WHAT ? You were there, organised the thing, I have to suppose that if it was of any importance you will remember. Or he forgot to explain AGAIN ?

Can you tell us ?

Let me make it easier : how did Morel know when the s/p is too much to the W ?

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