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mood2000

Hamberger Adjustable Soundpost for Violin

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As a violin maker with an entirely traditional training, and four decades of subsequent experience, I have to side for once with Jerry, even if it goes “against the grain”. I was taught as a teenager to wind down at least the E and A string to move a sound post. Not for fear of a sound post crack, but to avoid making the all to common skid marks on the inside of the belly. As such I would never move a sound post with the full tension on anyway, so this purported “advantage” of this patent post is imaginary. Unfortunately there is no accurate statistic of how violins get broken. From personal experience I have noticed that if one drops a violin (or if a stood up cello case falls over), one of four things happen:

1. the finger board falls off

2. the neck comes out

3. it gets a sound post crack in the belly

4. it gets a sound post crack in the back

Normally only one of these things happen, it would seem that any one of these things is sufficient to absorb any shock. Other causes of sound post cracks like sitting on one’s violin, or running it over happen less often. Getting a sound post crack from moving a sound post is practically inconceivable, unless you’re Mr. Bean

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7 hours ago, HoGo said:

I think that wooden post is time proven concept and there's no need to defend it's usefulness.

 and few good reviews and list of possible improvements are not a proof.

Time will tell...

Agreed

7 hours ago, HoGo said:

Not all professional luthiers are good luthiers so you want to get the soundpost work done by real experienced luthier. I've seen so much damage on cars done by professional (even authorized) car mechanics...

Agreed

7 hours ago, HoGo said:

What Jerry etc. are trying to say is that soundpost adjustment is not just about tightening the post but also finding the right position and that takes substantially more time than just jacking it up, so cutting the spruce post is not a big factor for experienced luthier.

The fit is the most important factor structurally and I think tonally too.

7 hours ago, HoGo said:

The problem with humidity is that if you care properly for your insrument (e.g keep it in proper humidity all the time) you won't need adjustments because of that. And if that happend the adjustment required will likely include finding new position and not just cranking the post tighter or looser.

One good way to control the effect of humidity on an instrument is to leave it in the middle of a room on a table, thereby avoiding excessive condensation which collects in corners of the room. Apologies to experienced players who already know this, but many people don't. 

I like David Burgess' idea of making the saddle slightly narrower to avoid sound post cracks which develop from a saddle crack as the spruce shrinks across its width but the saddle proportionally does much less so.

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2 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Hardly!  You can quote anything you want, the meaning of:

”And don´t forget that all the post cracks in the past have been caused by moving the post under tension.”

Doesn’t change!  What does change is the perception of remaining credibility when one follows up that demonstrably ridiculous statement with another about moving soundposts entirely tension free!  Do you have any experience at a bench?  Obviously not.  Until you do junior, perhaps stick to commenting on things you have a clue about.

Jerry, after carefully reading your comments on this thread, I reached a clear conclusion: A sharp tongue is no indication of a keen mind. You are proof that God has a sense of humor.

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1 hour ago, cellopera said:

Jerry, after carefully reading your comments on this thread, I reached a clear conclusion: A sharp tongue is no indication of a keen mind. You are proof that God has a sense of humor.

But yet, you still have no clue about what you are talking about and refuse to justify your positions.  I am sure that is why you are anonymous.....it is easy to have strong words when you are hiding behind a bush. 

Put your identity where your words are and we can discuss the definition of keen mind, otherwise, I am sure there is some other board that would closer align with your expertise ...whatever that happens to be.

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2 hours ago, cellopera said:

Jerry, after carefully reading your comments on this thread, I reached a clear conclusion: A sharp tongue is no indication of a keen mind. You are proof that God has a sense of humor.

Cellopera, while Jerry and I don't agree on absolutely everything (no two luthiers do),  Jerry is damned good as both a restorer and a teacher.

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I just wish there was more substance in the thread, if there are going to be insults. On forums every day, people with 0 experience in something malign that thing, but most of the time they at least have the decency to post some form of reasoning. 

All I've learned is that many are worried players will overly tighten it, that people who have used it say their instrument sounds better, and 1 guy who has never even seen one thinks all the players in this thread are lying, the inventor has no understanding of sound posts, and it isn't a real post. 

I wish we could have a conversation about why this material is better, or worse, why this post doesn't fulfill the function of a sound post, or does, and why for centuries, these dang players have let their violins get outside the optimal RH! Why is that so hard?

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Porteroso,

   This is not a new discussion and I believe you will find a host of answers you are looking for in other threads.  It is also a very old subject matter, especially in the violin world, with new things being introduced as “improvements” that have not often stood the test of time.  While there are many that have come into the profession that substantially moved things forward, the Sacconi tail gut is one that comes to mind, there have been far more that have faded through the years.....I dare say that both the successful and the horrible failures have had their cheerleaders, and it is always the case that the inventors are among the later.

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On 11/27/2019 at 8:42 AM, Wolfgang Hamberger said:

You forgot to mention millions of sound post cracks that have been caused by luthiers with the traditional sound post, long time before any adjustable sound post was available...

 

7 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

As a violin maker with an entirely traditional training, and four decades of subsequent experience, I have to side for once with Jerry, even if it goes “against the grain”. I was taught as a teenager to wind down at least the E and A string to move a sound post. Not for fear of a sound post crack, but to avoid making the all to common skid marks on the inside of the belly. As such I would never move a sound post with the full tension on anyway, so this purported “advantage” of this patent post is imaginary. Unfortunately there is no accurate statistic of how violins get broken. From personal experience I have noticed that if one drops a violin (or if a stood up cello case falls over), one of four things happen:

1. the finger board falls off

2. the neck comes out

3. it gets a sound post crack in the belly

4. it gets a sound post crack in the back

Normally only one of these things happen, it would seem that any one of these things is sufficient to absorb any shock. Other causes of sound post cracks like sitting on one’s violin, or running it over happen less often. Getting a sound post crack from moving a sound post is practically inconceivable, unless you’re Mr. Bean

Sorry Wolfgang, I didn't forget to mention it but simply I agree more with what Jacob says about soundpost cracks causes.

In any case I do not want to claim that your (or others) adjustable soundpost cannot work well if properly used, I really don't know, but simply that I prefer the spruce ones for my violins. Establishing whether one is better than the other in my opinion is not really possible in an objective way as there are too many variables to consider when it comes to judging the final sound and in fact I'm not aware of scientifically reliable studies on this topic. If you have made them, could you tell me where they can be found? I would be interested in knowing them.

I confess that in the nineties I was also tempted to build a similar thing to use as a temporary soundpost during the making to induce some deformation (i.e. for neck setting), inspired by that described in the attached patent.   Then I never make it but yours would be perfect for this purpose, even if you don't need particular and expensive materials for this function as a tool and not as a final soundpost.

cave_soundpost US Patent.pdf

 

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2 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Porteroso,

   This is not a new discussion and I believe you will find a host of answers you are looking for in other threads.  It is also a very old subject matter, especially in the violin world, with new things being introduced as “improvements” that have not often stood the test of time.  While there are many that have come into the profession that substantially moved things forward, the Sacconi tail gut is one that comes to mind, there have been far more that have faded through the years.....I dare say that both the successful and the horrible failures have had their cheerleaders, and it is always the case that the inventors are among the later.

Yeah again, so there are no better materials, than spruce, to fulfill the function? Is that what reading about soundposts would tell me? This post is a fake post because? 

I'm asking for answers, and you are evading. 

You have enough time and energy to type the same thing over and over, that you don't like this and the inventor doesn't even know what a sound post is, but you can't be bothered to say why? And everyone who has used it is just lying. I'm a bit shocked at your unwillingness to do anything but attack, but I guess that's the way it is. 

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44 minutes ago, Porteroso said:

Yeah again, so there are no better materials, than spruce, to fulfill the function? Yes, that is correct Is that what reading about soundposts would tell me? Yes This post is a fake post because? I did not call this a fake post.....It does not work like a real post because of the basic design.  The swivel ends, the way the post is set in, and the screw jack element, etc.  Because of these elements, this does not work like a real soundpost in either setting, adjusting, or the feel that comes from using a screw jack as opposed to an experienced hand.

I'm asking for answers, and you are evading. Your unwillingness to read does not equate to me evading.

You have enough time and energy to type the same thing over and over, that you don't like this and the inventor doesn't even know what a sound post is, Once again, be accurate in your paraphrasing  if you cannot be bothered to read...I never said he doesn’t know what a soundpost is..but you can't be bothered to say why? Once again, your laziness does not equate to me not bothering. And everyone who has used it is just lying. Obviously not everyone “who has used it is just lying” unless of course you wish to count those that hated it...looks like  more research issues I'm a bit shocked at your unwillingness to do anything but attack, Once again these discussions have been going on for years, your unwillingness to read does not equate to me being unwilling to do anything but attack. I guess that's the way it is. Nope....see all of the above.

You seem to mis-paraphrase a whole bunch of things throughout this discussion, maybe that is the reason for your confusion. Now, do you have any specific questions?  Please also include your background as you choose to remain anonymous.

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The problem is that there are not set rules to measure what is better in violins (and simply cannot be set because too many variables and tastes) unless the difference is really vast (like between VSO and master violin). From experience we see that only the real improvements survived the test of time regardless of how their inventors reasoned. There are hundreds of gizmos that promised to improve sound on the cemetery of violin making. (Anyone remember Virzi tone producer? I believe even Heifetz? jumped on that train and made bold claims, but now it's all but gone and forgotten)

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14 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

You seem to mis-paraphrase a whole bunch of things throughout this discussion, maybe that is the reason for your confusion. Now, do you have any specific questions? 

wow

Quote

Yeah again, so there are no better materials, than spruce, to fulfill the function?

Quote

Why doesn't this post fulfill the function of a sound post?

Quote

1 guy who has never even seen one thinks all the players in this thread are lying, so why?

edit: specifically, is there a reason this wouldn't sound as good as a normal post? Just trying to get my head around your reasoning, which so far, is non-existent.

 

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Not really sure what you are asking.....did you not read my last post?  Dude you have to read, I posted it 14 hours ago!  Oh, if it is confusing to you, my answers are in bold type while your post is not....

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6 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Not really sure what you are asking.....did you not read my last post?  Dude you have to read, I posted it 14 hours ago!

What I'm asking was pretty clear. I didn't see that you replied inside the quoted area, not used to that. Normally you quote someone, and reply outside the quoted box, you sort of mixmatched. Now that you've pointed it out, I do see your answers. Thank you for taking the time to finally answer a few questions.

When you say that it doesn't fulfill the function of a soundpost because it's not what you're used to, is there any other reason? It seems to perfectly fulfill the function, and also add other functionality. I guess I'm asking if you think, having never seen one, that it restricts the movement of the plates, or doesn't transfer sound as well. I wondered about the ball joints myself.

Also, on the topic of the material, can you explain why it's inferior to spruce? I'm wondering if the musicians perceive it sounding better, fuller, and louder, for some sort of reason. Is spruce the very best sound transmitting material known to man? Or to you? That simply seems strange.

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On 11/27/2019 at 11:59 AM, Jeffrey Holmes said:

I'm stepping in here to ask things stay civil on this old thread... 

Obviously the manufacturer has a great deal of time and money dedicated to this device, so he'll want to defend the attributes he believes the product has... and has a right to do so... and those of us that have been installing and adjusting sound posts for several decades without problems may not agree and/or may be skeptical concerning the claimed "benefits" of the product.

Please try to keep claims within reason and avoid the absolutes (ie. one can argue that having a material "that transmits sound even better than spruce" is a good thing or a bad thing... and therefore "results in more tone quality, more colors, more flexibility and a wider range of dynamics" Too much subjectivity for my stomach). I've seen a good number of materials used over the years, often with similar claims. A soundpost does a great deal more than transmit sound.  You can certainly state your theory/intention, but facts not in evidence tend to make discussions into pointless arguments.

The reverse of the coin; A poorly installed wood post has the same potential to do damage as a player jacking up an adjustable post well past healthy limits "to improve response" or adjust for RH changes.  These types of devices are rather new to a very, very traditional trade.  They may certainly have their place in certain situations/conditions, but many of us who work with old classic instruments continue to tread carefully. Time will tell.

That said, although I've seen one or two, I personally have not felt the urge to adjust or install this particular product... so I'll leave comments pertaining to use to those with experience using them.

Coffee is served.  :)

I'm reposting this as I'm not sure some of the members actually read it. I've bolded three statements that I feel pertain to the recent portion of the  exchange.

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25 minutes ago, Porteroso said:

What I'm asking was pretty clear. I didn't see that you replied inside the quoted area, not used to that. Normally you quote someone, and reply outside the quoted box, you sort of mixmatched. Now that you've pointed it out, I do see your answers. Thank you for taking the time to finally answer a few questions. Yes, I thought it would be less confusing.

When you say that it doesn't fulfill the function of a soundpost because it's not what you're used to, This is not what I posted or said,. is there any other reason? Yes, this is the quote from that post "It does not work like a real post because of the basic design.  The swivel ends, the way the post is set in, and the screw jack element, etc.  Because of these elements, this does not work like a real soundpost in either setting, adjusting, or the feel that comes from using a screw jack as opposed to an experienced hand."  It seems to perfectly fulfill the function, and also add other functionality. "It only perfectly fulfils the function if you believe that it does, obviously, I do not because of the limitations of the basic design...this is really my point.  Design a post that fulfills the functions of a traditional post and makes it better, instead of designing something based on a limited understanding of the need. I guess I'm asking if you think, having never seen one, that it restricts the movement of the plates, or doesn't transfer sound as well. I wondered about the ball joints myself. I have seen one, and many of the other products that have been made to do the same job.  The ball joints are a big issue as some of the subtlety of specific adjustments is lost.  Also, I believe the post further fails because the design assumes all posts are vertical...they are not, as the back of the post does different stuff than the top of the post.  As you already mentioned wondering about, if the post was not vertical, than obviously the ball joints would add another variable that is not there with a wood post.

Also, on the topic of the material, can you explain why it's inferior to spruce? I'm wondering if the musicians perceive it sounding better, fuller, and louder, for some sort of reason. Is spruce the very best sound transmitting material known to man? Or to you? That simply seems strange. There have been many experiments with post material.  The problem is to experiment one has to be good enough to work consistently otherwise the work would influence the experiment.  I do not know how the material sounds as the design has many to many variables to isolate the material.

I hope this clears a few things up.  I am happy to expound if I can be more clear.  The last bit is that these are sold as remedies to RH changes....the tightness of the post is only one symptom of changing RH....believing or suggesting that this is an antidote is misguided to say the least.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

I'm reposting this as I'm not sure some of the members actually read it. I've bolded three statements that I feel pertain to the recent portion of the  exchange.

Thank you Jeff, we are trying to play nice.

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16 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

So, is that a good, bad, or insignificant thing?  

I've always been a big proponent of freedom, but I like to keep my violin in a case :)

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