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Soundpost setter review

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One area I've always had a little trouble with is setting the sound post. I know where to set them usually, but with my old hands, I have trouble with my standard S shaped setter actually holding the post. I see there is a new setter out there with a little clip that holds the post until it's set and you yank the setter free.

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Does this actually work? Anyone here use these? Any drawbacks?  Thanks!

 

 

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I haven't used the clip type setter you speak of but anything that goes around the outside of the post could interfere with insertion of the post in through the F-hole and could chip the varnish.  Soundposts are essentially made to slip fit in through the notch area of the sound hole. 

 

The "S" type setter is not that hard to use if you sharpen the wedge shaped point sufficiently to get a good dig into the side of the soundpost without making a huge hole.  It may be the post is not sticking well enough to the setter in the out of the box configuration.

 

I've have a soundpost extractor with a clip on the end and found it to a little dangerous trying to remove a fallen post by pulling it out through the body of the sound-hole.  I end up pushing the end of the post up through the soundhole eye and removing it with my fingers rather than through the body of the sound hole.

 

Cheers,

Joe

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I've used a clip-type setter for some years. After a few minutes of practice, I was able to set a post confidently within a few seconds. But there are some tricks to getting it positioned quickly and accurately, just like with the S type setter. Best advice I can give is buy one and experiment on a VSO.

As Joe pointed out, if you have a post that just barely slips through the f-hole, even the small added width of the clip can prevent you from pushing the setter into the violin. Simple to fix though. Place the empty clip in first, then push the post into the clip inside the violin.

I add some tension to the strings before sliding the clip off the post as it is difficult to jam the post tightly into position with a clip setter (a good thing IMO). You would still need to use the hammer-like end of an S-setter to tap the post for micro-adjustments.

There is a clip setter that has a sliding tube on the outside that you can move so it is jut above the surface of the top. Pay the extra bucks for this version as it makes it much easier to place the post to less than a millimeter of where you want it from the bridge foot.

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For me, the whole issue is getting the post where I want it while minimizing any chance of dinging up the fiddle.  Straightaway this eliminates various gimmicks, and of course the scissors model.

 

After having used a somewhat clunky old French setter (I think I gave it away), its design inspired the modification of my standard-issue German setters.  The clover-leaf head is reshaped into something that makes sense and the arms are taken down to the minimum size and strength necessary, then rounded and polished off with a bit of crocus cloth.  The point end is thinned to just thick enough to be able to rotate the post in place without bending the setter.  It may need to be beaten out a bit wider to be effective.  When sharpening the piercing point, leave the file marks parallel to its edge to help grip the wood.  In use, moisten the tip to swell the post a bit to give the setter some traction.

post-69230-0-99840600-1472954268_thumb.jpg

post-69230-0-88573700-1472954293_thumb.jpg

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Yes, I am aware of the extra width a clip setter will add to the post during insertion. For fiddles with thin F holes I probably would not use it. Bill, interesting re-design on your S type setter. Seems to limit it's tapping abilities though. Part of my problem with the S type setter (aside from my old hands~and old eyes) is the density of the post wood I use, which is quite dense and difficult to get a good stab even with a sharp tip. Maybe I should reconsider that.

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For an effective SP retriever, push the blunt end of a needle a good way into a 5mm-ish dowel (fractional size SP for example), and secure with a couple of drops of super glue. Stab it gently into the slit made by your setter if you don't want your post to look like it has woodworm.

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For mine I silver soldered a couple small washers to the top to give it some heft.  This way I don't have to hit the post hard to nudge it forward or backward, just a lite tap. Same principle as "get a bigger hammer".  Bill's comment about leaving the file marks parallel to the edge is a good one. It does not have to be razor sharp, just good enough to pierce the post and hold it till you get it wedged into place.

 

Something else I forgot to mention, I used some heat shrink tubing to cover the shaft to help save varnish around f's.

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I'm only a hobbyist, but I've had some success in creating some nice electric instruments (check out zamarstrings.com if you are inclined).  I've only set about 2 dozen sound posts, so I certainly do not speak with any kind of real experience, but I have successfully used a simple sewing pin and a traditional s-post setter.  The needle is inserted parallel to the grain for easy orientation, and it holds surprisingly well, yet releases with just the right amount of force when the post is pulled into place.  Once loosely in the violin, I use a traditional post setter together with the pin to shift it into the exact location I want it through both f-holes.  Rather than having to tap the post into place, I can have a better "grip" on it to shift it as necessary.  The needle can also be inserted high enough on the post that any tool markings are virtually impossible to see (unless you remove the post or hunt for it with a mirror), and the mark left by the needle is merely a tiny hole compared to a post setter gouge.

 

I would be curious if any professionals could comment on such a technique.  Feel free to knock it, but maybe try it first and let me know what you think.  

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The best setters I have found are available from Cleveland Violins and Yanbing Chen. They have some heft and a good three notch shape. The problem I find with most setters is they are so flexible it is difficult to gauge how tight the post is.

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Well, I bought the thing, and I have to say it works fairly well. No problem getting it through the F holes. Does seem a bit flimsy. About the tightness of the post; if it seems loose, I just nudge it a bit further with the regular S setter.  Win some loose some. I'm satisfied.

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The best setters I have found are available from Cleveland Violins and Yanbing Chen. They have some heft and a good three notch shape. The problem I find with most setters is they are so flexible it is difficult to gauge how tight the post is.

Hi Jerry, I couldn't find a link to a setter on Clevland Violin's site. Is this something you have to call them up for? Does someone there make the SP setters?

Thanks,

Jim

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Hi Jerry, I couldn't find a link to a setter on Clevland Violin's site. Is this something you have to call them up for? Does someone there make the SP setters?

Thanks,

Jim

Hello Jim,

 

    Call Cleveland Violins and they will hook you up.  Yanbing Chen is the owner and he has them made, and it is very possible he will have a bunch available at the vsa convention.

  JP

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Hello Jim,

 

    Call Cleveland Violins and they will hook you up.  Yanbing Chen is the owner and he has them made, and it is very possible he will have a bunch available at the vsa convention.

  JP

Thanks I'll give them a call. I spent my travel money going to Joe Thrift's work shop, so my next VSA will be the non-competition one in 2017.

-Jim

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Thanks I'll give them a call. I spent my travel money going to Joe Thrift's work shop, so my next VSA will be the non-competition one in 2017.

-Jim

Well best call them before the convention;).

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Hello, I am not an experienced luthier, but I find this setter to be... very friendly! 
It is made of copper tube (easy to get, bend and weld) and the nylon string (that goes inside the tube) gives you great force feedback while manipulating.

Any thoughts, please? 

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Edited by Duilio Spalletta
Large JPG, sorry!

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Yes, it works very well. I usually use it to get the post roughly in position, then use a standard S shaped setter to push and pull post into final position. Then gently pull the clip from the post.

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I use the new style clip setter and love it. works fast, then use the old s shape type to move it to correct position it needed. these you can get around 12.00

 

vsp-classic-500x500 (1).jpg

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On September 19, 2016 at 6:39 PM, Jerry Pasewicz said:

The best setters I have found are available from Cleveland Violins and Yanbing Chen. They have some heft and a good three notch shape. The problem I find with most setters is they are so flexible it is difficult to gauge how tight the post is.

Absolutely, especially cello setters. 

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On 9/19/2016 at 7:39 PM, Jerry Pasewicz said:

The best setters I have found are available from Cleveland Violins and Yanbing Chen. They have some heft and a good three notch shape. The problem I find with most setters is they are so flexible it is difficult to gauge how tight the post is.

I find the same problem.
The copper tube I use, is rigid enough, and you can "feel" the tightness with the nylon fishing line (between you fingers).
 

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I have the basic one, dictum handmade English model and French dsp handmade setter. 

The basic flower head setter is too soft . The other two expensive batman head are better and harder but I spend hours to thin them on a grinder. Their original diameter is around 4mm! 

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