mood2000

Hamberger Adjustable Soundpost for Violin

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These are inventions for people who can't fit a wood post? I assume?, seems to be a reinvention of a wheel that doesn't need reinvention. I, like Mr. Saunders am baffled as to why they went though the ff holes when there was that big opening just sitting right there:rolleyes:

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I can imagine they would weigh several times more than conventional post with all the CF and metal? Isn't hat a problem?

One can easily make wooden post with swiveling feet out of ordinary post for experiments with temperamental instruments...

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You don't think it's a benefit to be able to get a perfect fit top and bottom, to be able to position the post precisely where you want it with the set-up in place, and then to be able to make marginal adjustments to the tension (for instance seasonal adjustments to a cello post) without moving the position of the post?

It seems to me that 90% of set-up problem diagnosis is just hot air, given the inevitable interaction of so many elements. this post allows one to keep two paramaters identical (fit and position) which varying a third. Even if you respond badly to the idea of a composite material, I think it's fascinating to be able to experiment and to isolate a single parameter.

However, I must admit that until I spent time with this I was violently against the concept.

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I don't make violins so I'm not against any new materials, just if the weight of the post is not too far away from traditional post. (even not assuming that added weight is bad) You know most violin folks are not willing to go too far from he old path.

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The weight seemed negligible to me. But as you say, do we have proof that lightness is a virtue in a post?

Incidentally, it's quite a development from the "Cave" patented soundpost in that it's set in position with magnets (so you don't need to take the set-up down), and the length adjustment happens once the post is loosely in position.

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2 hours ago, martin swan said:

You don't think it's a benefit to be able to get a perfect fit top and bottom, to be able to position the post precisely where you want it with the set-up in place, and then to be able to make marginal adjustments to the tension (for instance seasonal adjustments to a cello post) without moving the position of the post?

It seems to me that 90% of set-up problem diagnosis is just hot air, given the inevitable interaction of so many elements. this post allows one to keep two paramaters identical (fit and position) which varying a third. Even if you respond badly to the idea of a composite material, I think it's fascinating to be able to experiment and to isolate a single parameter.

However, I must admit that until I spent time with this I was violently against the concept.

In trials the carbon fiber does not compare well to a traditional well done post.  There are a whole bunch of things we could do to instruments to protect them from the activity for which they were designed, but as a profession we would rather keep them playing to their potential.  

Thinking that 90% of set-up problem diagnosis is just hot air is a pretty whacky statement, I would suggest maybe your 10% accuracy rate is the issue.

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14 hours ago, martin swan said:

With conventional posts there are no mechanisms in place to prevent amateurs or even great set-up maestros from buggering up a table with an overlong post.

Amen.  

4 hours ago, martin swan said:

You don't think it's a benefit to be able to get a perfect fit top and bottom, to be able to position the post precisely where you want it with the set-up in place, and then to be able to make marginal adjustments to the tension (for instance seasonal adjustments to a cello post) without moving the position of the post?

It seems to me that 90% of set-up problem diagnosis is just hot air, given the inevitable interaction of so many elements. this post allows one to keep two paramaters identical (fit and position) which varying a third. Even if you respond badly to the idea of a composite material, I think it's fascinating to be able to experiment and to isolate a single parameter.

However, I must admit that until I spent time with this I was violently against the concept.

I have never tried this post, or any other adjustable one for that matter, but this all makes sense to me.  The question for me would be whether I could get it to do what I want with less effort (or cost) or better than I can with a regular post, not what other people would do with it.

I can imagine trying it if I had an instrument that had some strange behavior, to get an idea of what might work without fitting 15 posts (or giving up).

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2 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

In trials the carbon fiber does not compare well to a traditional well done post.  

I can only speak about my own experience.

Fitting this post in 3 violins, one of which already sounded great, another indifferent, the third awful, I could hear no common quality in the resulting sound which you could attribute to the material. Of course it's possible that my hearing is defective.

What was immediately apparent was that quickly being able to get the post in a conceptually ideal position, having a perfect fit, and having micro-adjustment of tension, resulted in all cases in a more even sound and a more reliable response across the register.

But if you have negative results from double-blind trials that would be quite convincing - although I tend to trust my own ears, I do concede that they are attached to a brain and a set of presuppositions.

And the fact that I was pleasantly surprised by something I was determined to dislike doesn't in itself prove that it's good ....

 

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People who are prepared to try and come up with something new should earn a modicum of respect even if the idea seems a bit out of the box.  If no-one pushes boundaries then nothing can change.  In our profession we pride ourselves on our traditional techniques but that doesn't mean that innovation should be ignored or discouraged.  I have no experience with this Hamberger soundpost but I use the Anima Nova one.  The latter is designed to be a post that allows a quick and easy adjustment of length/tension without having to cut a longer or shorter post.  I believe it was designed to replace a traditional soundpost but I use it as a diagnostic tool to try out posts of different tension very quickly and easily.  I use that information to inform the length of my wooden post although the swivel feet of the Anima Nova make determining length a bit tricky.  But hearing the change in sound with more/less tension is very informative.  Often we change tension with a wooden post during adjustment by changing the position of the post.  That's effectively two changes at once albeit subtle usually.  But being able to adjust tension without moving the post is also informative.  Before I tried it myself last year I played a viola with an Anima Nova soundpost installed.  I had no idea when I picked up the instrument.  It sounded terrific to this ear and average player.  For me it's a bit too expensive to leave in an instument and the mental shift needed from our profession and from players is difficult, but as a tool it can be very useful.

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3 hours ago, Kevin Kelly said:

Amen.  

I have never tried this post, or any other adjustable one for that matter, but this all makes sense to me.  The question for me would be whether I could get it to do what I want with less effort (or cost) or better than I can with a regular post, not what other people would do with it.

I can imagine trying it if I had an instrument that had some strange behavior, to get an idea of what might work without fitting 15 posts (or giving up).

That's the way I look at it. Post material cost is really not a factor ( I generally make posts from my scrap top material.} the "labor" of dropping a post gauge in a predetermined location, removing it, then holding that against the post material, making a pencil mark, then one swipe with a Japanese saw , dress the ends and then start to fit it. I don't see that as time consuming labor, and that if for some reason needed, I could do that procedure 6-7 times in an hour.

The thing that seems to make this thing work is the spinning dial remaining easy to turn with the stick, I would worry that prolonged exposure to vibrations could make the dial back itself down and loosen the fit? But I don't know, to me it just seems un necessary and probably appeals to someone who has fit a few post's and hasn't "got it down yet"
 

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26 minutes ago, jezzupe said:

But I don't know, to me it just seems un necessary and probably appeals to someone who has fit a few post's and hasn't "got it down yet"
 

I don't think that's the appeal at all.

There seem to be two groups of people who are seriously interested.

1. Foundations such as Chi Mei who have a primarily conservational interest in their violins, and who want to be sure that a post won't dig into a top and who want to relax tension easily when necessary.

2. People who want to be able to control set-up parameters very closely, and to modify or experiment with micro-adjustments to tension without changing position or fit.

Like you, I am happy to fit 5 or 6 posts and after a thousand or so it's pretty simple unless you're charging by the hour, but I am aware that every time I wish to change the tension I am either changing the position or I am undoing the set-up completely or I am perhaps changing the fit.

Anyway ... he who has ears to hear, let him hear ... 

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28 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I don't think that's the appeal at all.

There seem to be two groups of people who are seriously interested.

1. Foundations such as Chi Mei who have a primarily conservational interest in their violins, and who want to be sure that a post won't dig into a top and who want to relax tension easily when necessary.

2. People who want to be able to control set-up parameters very closely, and to modify or experiment with micro-adjustments to tension without changing position or fit.

Like you, I am happy to fit 5 or 6 posts and after a thousand or so it's pretty simple unless you're charging by the hour, but I am aware that every time I wish to change the tension I am either changing the position or I am undoing the set-up completely or I am perhaps changing the fit.

Anyway ... he who has ears to hear, let him hear ... 

Edited, much too candid a post.  Let's just say that while I find the concept promising, I'll wait a while before I invest in one. :ph34r:;)

 

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Martin,

   I am not willing to cede the territory that a post that fits is an absolute.  I can certainly move the back of the post slightly and it will still fit top and back, but it will not effect the instrument in the same way.

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28 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I don't think that's the appeal at all.

There seem to be two groups of people who are seriously interested.

1. Foundations such as Chi Mei who have a primarily conservational interest in their violins, and who want to be sure that a post won't dig into a top and who want to relax tension easily when necessary.

2. People who want to be able to control set-up parameters very closely, and to modify or experiment with micro-adjustments to tension without changing position or fit.

Like you, I am happy to fit 5 or 6 posts and after a thousand or so it's pretty simple unless you're charging by the hour, but I am aware that every time I wish to change the tension I am either changing the position or I am undoing the set-up completely or I am perhaps changing the fit.

Anyway ... he who has ears to hear, let him hear ... 

Well if I were to get one, it would be along those lines where I would buy one to use it as a "jig" for testing locations for the final wood one. That's the appeal for me, is to be able to try several locations, primarily where there may be a height difference, it may be a quicker way to find the sweet spot, I'll give it that

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30 minutes ago, deans said:

Come on Martin, get it right

Ok I'm not happy to fit 5 or 6 posts :lol:

In reality I can't think I've ever gone beyond 2. 

I'm sure other peoples' experience is different, but if the fit is good and the tension is moderate and the position is conventional and it still doesn't sound great, I put the instrument into auction.

I have never succeeded in turning a sow's ear into a silk purse by tweaking an already well fitted soundpost. The "sweet spot" eludes me (on violins).

But for people who do believe in the transformative power of minor post adjustment, I would have thought this one would be a godsend. Maybe you need to spend some actual time with it to realise just how rapid and controllable the process could be.

I should really be getting a fee ...

 

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33 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I'm sure other peoples' experience is different, but if the fit is good and the tension is moderate and the position is conventional and it still doesn't sound great, I put the instrument into auction.

Or you could crank up the tension, slap on some Evahs, and learn to play the opening of the Bruch concerto really loud. 

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46 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Ok I'm not happy to fit 5 or 6 posts :lol:

In reality I can't think I've ever gone beyond 2. 

I'm sure other peoples' experience is different, but if the fit is good and the tension is moderate and the position is conventional and it still doesn't sound great, I put the instrument into auction.

I have never succeeded in turning a sow's ear into a silk purse by tweaking an already well fitted soundpost. The "sweet spot" eludes me (on violins).

I won't claim that soundpost adjustment can transform a junk violin into precious one, but the differences available can be great enough that it can seem that way to a high-level player. Kinda depends on how picky one is.

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

I won't claim that soundpost adjustment can transform a junk violin into precious one

Yup, but the reverse is certainly true.  I also wonder how many supposedly "junk" violins have never had a decent setup.  Why don't you take a Strad or a GDG, stick a badly fit soundpost in the entirely wrong place, sand in an otherwise uncut and unpromising Chinese bridge, put a dollar set of Chinese strings on it terminated in a knockoff Wittner tailpiece, and, telling them that it's a Markie you got on eBay that you want to see if it's any good, hand it to one of your celebrity clients along with a $15 wholesale bow.  See what sort of brilliant performance results.  :lol:

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7 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Yup, but the reverse is certainly true.  I also wonder how many supposedly "junk" violins have never had a decent setup.  Why don't you take a Strad or a GDG, stick a badly fit soundpost in the entirely wrong place, sand in an otherwise uncut and unpromising Chinese bridge, put a dollar set of Chinese strings on it terminated in a knockoff Wittner tailpiece, and, telling them that it's a Markie you got on eBay that you want to see if it's any good, hand it to one of your celebrity clients along with a $15 wholesale bow.  See what sort of brilliant performance results.  :lol:

Yup, I've transformed really fine violins into junk violins quite a few times with adjustment, just out of curiosity whether it could be done, and how easily. That would suggest that the opposite can also be done, at least in some cases.

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I won't claim that soundpost adjustment can transform a junk violin into precious one, but the differences available can be great enough that it can seem that way to a high-level player. Kinda depends on how picky one is.

Yes I agree with this.

But making a modification to a violin which belongs to a player, and in which they have a heavy investment (emotional or financial) is a bit of a black art. A very small improvement may make a world of difference. I don't dispute that this is a skill and one that is hugely appreciated. OTOH some major league players just need regular stroking, and post adjustment seems to be the best mechanism ...

My contention was more from a dealer's perspective that if the post is sensibly positioned, well fitted, and neither stupidly loose nor stupidly tight, a minor modification won't make much difference to whether someone likes the violin or not.

And I think that players are sufficiently diverse in their tastes that one person's "sweet spot" won't necessarily work for another person.

 

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All the praise for this device seems to come from the idea that fitting a normal post with a perfect fit and tension is a big deal and might take time and cause damage etc. It is very fast and easy for an actual  expert to fit a post perfectly and do so without causing damage

 

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I don't think anyone's said that on this thread. Kind of the opposite ... and I don't think any of the literature or advertising for these posts claims or suggests that either. 

So far it seems I'm the only one commenting who has direct experience of these posts. Although I went in extremely sceptical, I was struck by the beauty of being able to modify tension without changing the fit (though when I saw it it didn't yet have the flywheel, and it wasn't as easy to adjust).

I also like the possibility of being able to try many different post positions/relationships without having to take the strings off or cut a new post.

But the ultimate test is sound quality, and you would have to try it yourself to have a view.

 

 

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As a tinkerer, I admit I would love one of the adjustable soundposts, for the exact reasons of trying "many different post positions/relationships without having to take the strings off or cut a new post".

...but the price...  :unsure:

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If I suspect that a post might need to be a bit tighter, it's easy enough to mark it's position then just start placing some masking tape on one end of the post, then remove it a bit at a time til I've covered the bases,, then cut a new one.

I'm pretty sure in a blind test it would not be obvious which one had the tape on it. If you were messing with the fiddle first hand you could tell a bit of difference, but it doesen't stand out. You can get the info your looking for then go from there.

It's just a fast way to check things out a bit.

Some fiddles work with the post far on the treble side, others favor the bass side, there's a big difference in length.

But  Martins got me thinking one of those new jobs might be very useful.

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