LFY

Violin lost its voice...

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I'm wondering if anyone might be able to suggest some of the possible problems that I may be facing with my violin.

The sound has been disappointing for many years, but the past few years it has been unbearable. Here are its symptoms:

- When I play slowly, it's not that bad...bad but not completely lost. When I increase speed to play traditional Celtic tunes, it loses it's tone, becomes scratchy, and sounds like I've got a mute on it and that it needs more rosin. At the start of the session, it's at least playable. The more I play, the worse it gets.

- The strings are difficult to play and my arm ends up sore...even new strings. New strings sound like they never break in...always that tinny, hollow, scratchy sound (I use Obligatos, but it sounded better back in the day when I was using cheap steel compared to now!). The lower end sounds muddy. The higher end has always been unpleasantly bright.

- I can't go higher than first position on the D string without hitting the G and A strings.

I've been playing 20 years, so I don't think I'm the problem. The violin is not of cheap quality. New strings make no difference. More or less rosin makes no difference, but it seems like I have to rosin it every 30 minutes just to keep a real tone. The bow was rehaired 3 years ago and has been played very little in that time. Different rosins make no difference and I've tried several over the past 10 years.

The violin saw a luthier when the bow was rehaired and they didn't mention there being any problem with the violin other than a few simple things, and they lowered the bridge height. That was Heinl's in Toronto and I no longer have access to them. I wasn't able to play for some months after seeing them but the problem was still there when I started and has gotten worse.

The nearest luthier to me now is many hours away, so I was wondering if some knowledgeable folks here might be able to suggest what might be wrong. I won't touch the violin (unless I can do so without doing much) but I'd sort of like to know what might be going on so I can plan the trip (whether it's a quick fix or I'll have to make two trips) and the potential finances. In any case, I won't be able to get to a luthier until Spring and I'm worried about it, so I think I'd feel better if I just had something to go on or something I could check.

Many thanks for any advice you might be able to give. I understand that it's very hard to pin anything down when you don't have the violin in front of you.

LFY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As soon as possible, please post photos as described in the pinned post on photo posting.  In the meantime, please fill us in on what it is and where you got it, etc.. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, LFY said:

- I can't go higher than first position on the D string without hitting the G and A strings.

New bridge, check fingerboard height at end of fb., check for arching collapse on top plate.

28 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Are the strings cutting deeply into the bridge?

Check the nut as well.

10 hours ago, LFY said:

The lower end sounds muddy. The higher end has always been unpleasantly bright.

Check sound post for placement, fit, and tension.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to the ideas offered above...are you positive there are no loose seams?    Another option would be to send it to a reputable luthier.   Or, if, as you said, the sound has been disappointing for many years, and you feel certain that the current setup is good, maybe your time, effort, and money would be better spent in seeking another violin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, LFY said:

-I can't go higher than first position on the D string without hitting the G and A strings.

Assuming you are a reasonably competent player, this HAS to be a problem with the bridge being too flat, at least on the bass side.

All that other stuff is extremely difficult to diagnose without seeing/hearing/playing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think that could happen because the violin is too dry ( below the humidity level ) ,
so that it cause some lose or open seem in some where in the internal parts , such as ; ( corner block , upper/lower block , linings ) 
so i suggest to inspect the internal parts by a luthier , then use a violin cleaner & polish , also you have to use a "Dampit Humidifier" if it's too dry , as well as new setup with a new ( bridge , soundpost , pegs , tailpiece ) and new set of Dominant strings because it's a suitable for the old violins with a Jargar Forte for the E string .
means you need a complete (overhauling) if your violin deserve what it's worth .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure I'd go with a dampit. Its very dry here in southern IN, indoors and out, right now. In the last week I have had to glue a lot of things up, but the worst have been two cellos and a viola, the only three instruments in question which were being "humidified" with a dampit. 

All three had major lower bout back separation, and one of the cellos had a very distorted lower bout bass side rib in the bargain. There's too much margin for user error - clearly the kids were getting and keeping them too wet. 

Any humidity introduced artificially is going to be fair game for the bone dry, thirsty conditions in a heated practice room or auditorium. 

Use a silk bag. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/8/2018 at 11:42 AM, LFY said:

I've been playing 20 years, so I don't think I'm the problem.

I've been playing for twice that and I still have to remind my bow arm (and stuff attached to it) what to do sometimes.  It might be revealing to see if another good player had the same problems with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, mood2000 said:

also you have to use a "Dampit Humidifier"

Personally, I hate those things. I don't think there is any good reason for sticking a wet rubber object inside of a violin.There are much better alternatives for keeping a violin humidified inside a case. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, mood2000 said:

Anne-Sophie Mutter performs on the ‘Lord Dunn-Raven violin ’ Stradivarius 1710 , using "Dampit humidifier" 

 

violin dampit humidifier .jpg

violin humidifier dampit .jpg

Really?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

Wow, lots to take in. I'll do my best to answer.

What it is and where I got it...it's a mid 19th century German violin from my Grandfather. It says Gio Battista Gabbrielli inside, but no year. It was appraised. It's a worthy violin and I haven't the funds to replace it with something in it's price range. I wouldn't be able to play at all but for my Grandfather giving it to me.

There aren't any open seams around the outside that are visible. Having a luthier fuss around with the inside sounds like it's starting to cost a hefty bit.

As far as dryness, it's kept in a room that is humidified.

The top of the strings are almost flush with the top of the fingerboard and the bridge is quite old and been through many shavings and new cuttings. I'm sure I'll need a new one when it gets to a luthier, since it looks pretty old and crabby, but it's changed little since it last saw a luthier and they didn't think it was a problem.

I will see what I can do about photos. I only got two before my battery died. They're probably useless, but at least it shows the arch of the bridge and the belly. Is the belly a bit flat?

Belly to TOP of fingerboard - G-string side: 14mm, and to BOTTOM of FB: 9.5-10mm

Belly to TOP of fingerboard - E-string side: 13mm, and to BOTTOM of FB: 8mm

Top of FB to bottom of G-string: 5mm, D: 4.5mm, A: 4mm, E: 3mm (taken at the very end of the FB)

Could this be an issue of the neck sinking (I'm not sure what that means but I heard that can be a cause of the D string problem)? What is that and would I know?

Thanks you so much! It's very much appreciated.

DSC_0729.JPG

DSC_0731.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mood2000 said:

Anne-Sophie Mutter performs on the ‘Lord Dunn-Raven violin ’ Stradivarius 1710 , using "Dampit humidifier"

She can do as she wishes, but I certainly don't recommend them. There's no reason to peform with one in the fiddle anyway. There's too much air moving in and out of the fiddle during playing for them to make any difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The image isn't very clear but it's most likely a spot mike for the recording.

I can't see anyone risking a serious performance with a Dampit stuck in their f-hole.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey all,

On second inspection, using the tapping method, I may have an open seam on the upper bout (G String side), on the back side. Perhaps on the top side, a bit, as well. The tapping changes at those points and, when I hold the bout tightly, that sound goes away when tapping. You can't see it to look at it but you can hear it.

Could this cause the sound problems and response problems?

It's been a long while since I was on this forum (waay back when...), so I don't know how long it takes for my posts to be seen but, when they're seen, I want you all to know how much I appreciate your generosity.

Thank you, very kindly.

LFY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, martin swan said:

The image isn't very clear but it's most likely a spot mike for the recording.

I can't see anyone risking a serious performance with a Dampit stuck in their f-hole.

i agree with .

 

violin dampit humidifier 2 .jpg

violin dampit humidifier 3 .jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, martin swan said:

Intriguing ...

Is it some kind of wolf suppressor?

In a way it can be, but only because the humidifier is moving B1+ down some Hz so it's not at a specific note (usually C - C#)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.