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weak d string


KevD
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Hi everyone

 

I have a violin that has a weak D string. Weak as in volume. What would be the most common cause?

I have read some of the posts by Lars on bridge tuning but was unsure if there was anything specific for just the D string.  It seems like you can tweek the G and D together and maybe the A and E but how about just the D string?     

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Hi everyone

 

I have a violin that has a weak D string. Weak as in volume. What would be the most common cause?

I have read some of the posts by Lars on bridge tuning but was unsure if there was anything specific for just the D string.  It seems like you can tweek the G and D together and maybe the A and E but how about just the D string?

Where does the violin live, and when did this start?

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I have a violin that has a weak D string. Weak as in volume. What would be the most common cause?

 

The most common cause is because it's a normal violin, where there is a hole in the response at both the fundamental and first overtone of the notes on the D string, 1st position.

 

The strong low resonances are A0 (at C#, below the D string) and B1- (at A, above the D string).

The first harmonics at D (on the A string) are just above the strong B1+ resonance, and the strong transition hill resonances don't come in usually until G# to C.

 

If the violin in question is a bit weak on the higher frequencies, then the normal weakness in the lows is more obvious.

 

I leave it up to the adjusters and tweakers to recommend how to try to compensate for this natural deficiency.  Of course, a heavy D string would help.

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Was it ever balanced since you've had it?  I've had a well balanced instrument have a D string become relatively weak when the post became too loose either from a new instrument breaking in or from a change in humidity.  I wouldn't say it's a common symptom of a loose post, but it would be the first thing that I would check.  

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Hi everyone

 

I have a violin that has a weak D string. Weak as in volume. What would be the most common cause?

I have read some of the posts by Lars on bridge tuning but was unsure if there was anything specific for just the D string.  It seems like you can tweek the G and D together and maybe the A and E but how about just the D string?     

 

I agree with Michael_Molnar above: soundpost.

 

The general rule of thumb to start with— if it is a single string it is a soundpost or soundpostt adjustment, If it is more than one string it is in the bridge carving/adjustment.

 

Go from there.

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Thanks for the replies everyone

 

To answer  some of the questions:

It is a new violin and was never balanced.  The D was always weaker that the G and A 

 

I did move the sound post to try to correct the problem as suggested.  It was moved toward the G string and had to be placed further away  from the bridge.  This helped significantly but the D it is still slightly weaker.  I'll try Addie's suggestion to carving the bridge heart under the A string next  

 

Don Noon, You suggested a heaver D string. Would that be going from a medium to a heavy of the same brand or is there a specific brand with a "heavy" D string

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 ... the D it is still slightly weaker.  I'll try Addie's suggestion to carving the bridge heart under the A string next  

 

Start with the easy/cheap solution.  Try the post first, then the string if necessary.  Screwing around with the bridge is for the highly-experienced pros.

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Thanks for the replies everyone

 

To answer  some of the questions:

It is a new violin and was never balanced.  The D was always weaker that the G and A 

 

I did move the sound post to try to correct the problem as suggested.  It was moved toward the G string and had to be placed further away  from the bridge.  This helped significantly but the D it is still slightly weaker.  I'll try Addie's suggestion to carving the bridge heart under the A string next  

 

Don Noon, You suggested a heaver D string. Would that be going from a medium to a heavy of the same brand or is there a specific brand with a "heavy" D string

If it's less than a couple months old I wouldn't knock yourself out trying to adjust it yet. I generally put the first post in pretty tight and a little towards the G, then pull it into place over the first couple months. Probably replace the post again in the first 6 months. The upper wing of the fhole should be flush or slightly raised when the instrument is strung up to full tension. Moving the post away from the bridge would make it slightly tighter, but my bet is that you need just a touch more. What is the post diameter and position? Is the bridge centered on the body/fholes?

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The most common cause is because it's a normal violin, where there is a hole in the response at both the fundamental and first overtone of the notes on the D string, 1st position.

 

I do believe that this is a remnant of the B-1's presence in the known universe,sort of the dark matter , with the hole in the d string region being the first order of visible effects.

Just as the steady state theory gave way to a greater understanding, some day it will be be recognized that B-1 does play a role in the sound production of a box known as,,

 

The Violin.

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I think the most important options have been mentioned above. I would start with non destructive changes. It is possible to get some feeling for in which direction a sound post change will go by moving the bridge slightly forward/backwards to change the relation to the sound post. Then I would check that the sound post i reasonably well made and that it stands in roughly the correct place. Experimenting with the sound post on a reasonably cheap instrument is a valuable learning experience.

I think trying different strings at this stage may also be a good advice that doesn't destroy anything ...

Now the destructive alternatives ;) . If you feel the D-string problem is only a small problem and you want to be able to get back to the starting point then it is best to make a new bridge based on the existing one and start adjusting the copy.

If moving the sound post doesn't help I would try to very slightly enlarge the opening in the heart under the A-string. Two or three filing turns with a round file should produce an audible difference. If you are using a knife you need to remove extremely little material. My experience is also that making the arch between the bridge feet slightly higher especially in this case on the E-A side could help. It may also help to slightly enlarge the heart over the D-string but less than on the A-side. Everything you do will spill over to the strings close to the change. You can never adjust a single parameter you will often get unintended surprises. You can often fix problems you caused by finding other locations to sand. The key is to do extremely small changes and immediately listen to the result.

Other potentially DESTRUCTIVE methods are:

- Sand the channel between the bass bar and the neck from the inside but very carefully. This causes the tone to darken but it generally influences the G and the D-string. When sanding here the G and D strings will loose character which will need compensation elsewhere.

- Sand the bass side lower bout area roughly defined by mode 2 of the top in http://www.platetuning.org/html/modes_-_tuning_plates.html .

- You can also try sanding an area from the other side (E-side) of the X-mode (mode 2 above) towards the tailpiece. This generally gives more character to both the G and the D strings. Don't sand very close to the edge.

 

All changes should be done with the instrument tuned and playable and in very small steps. Based on my own sanding tests it is easy to hear changes where critical areas are thinned a few micro meters (um). With my tools one um corresponds to roughly 10 forward/back movements when using 80 grit sand on the tool.

 

REMEMBER! Doing changes to the bridge or the body may destroy the bridge (can be fixed reasonably easily by making a new one) ... Re-graduating the plates may destroy the instrument if you don't know what you are doing. It is STRONGLY recommended to buy a few cheap Chinese instruments and experiment on them before trying to modify a real instrument. My experience with bridge adjustments is that you tend to destroy a few bridges before you learn to listen and learn when you think you have reached an optimum. Adjusting the bridge isn't a silver bullet that always helps but it is often surprisingly powerful.    

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The post position is 3mm inside the treble bridge foot and about 8mm behind the bridge. I did not realize it was this far back until I measured.  This seems too far back. Do you think it will be OK?   

 

8mm South, 3mm West is pretty far from the usual starting point.  If it was not adjusted to that position for a specific reason, I would definitely start at a more standard spot:  2.5mm South, .5mm West, and go from there.

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I think the most important options have been mentioned above. I would start with non destructive changes. It is possible to get some feeling for in which direction a sound post change will go by moving the bridge slightly forward/backwards to change the relation to the sound post. Then I would check that the sound post i reasonably well made and that it stands in roughly the correct place. Experimenting with the sound post on a reasonably cheap instrument is a valuable learning experience.

I think trying different strings at this stage may also be a good advice that doesn't destroy anything ...

Now the destructive alternatives ;) . If you feel the D-string problem is only a small problem and you want to be able to get back to the starting point then it is best to make a new bridge based on the existing one and start adjusting the copy.

If moving the sound post doesn't help I would try to very slightly enlarge the opening in the heart under the A-string. Two or three filing turns with a round file should produce an audible difference. If you are using a knife you need to remove extremely little material. My experience is also that making the arch between the bridge feet slightly higher especially in this case on the E-A side could help. It may also help to slightly enlarge the heart over the D-string but less than on the A-side. Everything you do will spill over to the strings close to the change. You can never adjust a single parameter you will often get unintended surprises. You can often fix problems you caused by finding other locations to sand. The key is to do extremely small changes and immediately listen to the result.

Other potentially DESTRUCTIVE methods are:

- Sand the channel between the bass bar and the neck from the inside but very carefully. This causes the tone to darken but it generally influences the G and the D-string. When sanding here the G and D strings will loose character which will need compensation elsewhere.

- Sand the bass side lower bout area roughly defined by mode 2 of the top in http://www.platetuning.org/html/modes_-_tuning_plates.html .

- You can also try sanding an area from the other side (E-side) of the X-mode (mode 2 above) towards the tailpiece. This generally gives more character to both the G and the D strings. Don't sand very close to the edge.

 

All changes should be done with the instrument tuned and playable and in very small steps. Based on my own sanding tests it is easy to hear changes where critical areas are thinned a few micro meters (um). With my tools one um corresponds to roughly 10 forward/back movements when using 80 grit sand on the tool.

 

 

 

I'm reading that (um) as millimeter? I would saynot to take mms out of the tops of instruments you didn't make.

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That post is probably too short to put into proper position. I'd suggest starting at 2-3mm back and 1.5 mm inside the bridge foot. You may end up at 0.5mm-1mm inside the foot, but it's best to start in the tallest position(further in and closer to bridge) and refit as necessary if you find that it should be further back or east. Considering how far off it is, it's likely that a proper post will solve your problem.

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I'm reading that (um) as millimeter? I would saynot to take mms out of the tops of instruments you didn't make.

1 um (micrometer) = 0.001 mm

After testing some instruments before and after removing a significant amount of material I just can't see there being much change from removing such small amounts of material no matter how precise the location of that removal. I agree with something I recall reading from Don Noon recently suggesting that the basic tonal capability is set by wood selection and arching.

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We tend to think of arching as a 3D surface, and not as a whole (solid) with the graduations.  Certainly the thickness/graduations go hand-in-hand with the wood-and-arching in producing sound.  Conceptually, adjusting thickness is well accepted, but certain methods of micro-adjustment have not gained universal acceptance, or anything like.  But the same doubters acknowledge that minor changes in bridge openings or thickness have a major impact on sound production.  thinking-smiley.gif?1292867689

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Thanks for all the help guys

The new sound post position is now 3.3 mm behind the bridge and about 2 mm inside the foot.  The G and D are now balanced nicely. The A is still a bit stronger but not too bad - This is probably acceptable (particularly for me I am not a good player)

 

To clarify a bit on the position. This is close to where the post was before. I moved it west to try to improve the balance but to get it to fit well I had to put it too far back. This was the 8mm position. I did not realize it was that far back until reading the posts and going back and measuring it.

I kind of like it,  so I'll play it like this for awhile and see how it does. I was just really longing for that perfectly balanced violin.

 

Kev   

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