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Michael Jennings

Is there a Sound Post "General Rule/Tendency"?

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 Question for the Set Up Guru's.

Understanding that each instrument is an "individual" and All Things are never equal....

Is there a "general Rule" regarding the effect on tone/timbre regarding the placement/adjustment of a sound post?

North/South/East/West relative to the treble foot..... re: darker/brighter?

 

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4 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

Me too, and that the starting position is just rearward of the rear edge of the center of the treble bridge foot, about half the width of the post.

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9 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

"The position of the sound post inside a violin is critical, and moving it by very small amounts (as little as 0.5mm or 0.25mm, or less) can make a big difference in the sound quality and loudness of an instrument."

 

Only if the fit was horribly wrong and then corrected.

I agree with those luthiers of great experience who say the fit is the crucial issue. To go outside of (as I understand it) a small general area of sound post placement, a new post would have to be cut.

Sound post tweaking? No, that's just amateur experimentation which should only be practiced on cheap intstruments as it can easily damage the instrument. The best sound post fitters spent hundreds of hours perfecting that skill and hundreds more putting it to effective use.

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

This is close enough, although I usually simplify it to: Away from bridge opens or frees the sound (more volume), but too far away and the sound looses focus. Closer gives you more focus but eventually stifles the sound. Mostly however, I find that tightness-tension is the main key. Tightness depends on the flexibility or otherwise of the plates, but as a general rule, once in the "right" place, the post should fall over if the ribs are squeezed gently. The correct fit is most important of all, but only for the health of the instrument, otherwise it has little bearing on sound. Like everything else, in the end it is trial and error. Lick it and see!

Here is a tip: When fitting the post I always make sure that the slot for the setter is facing forward. That way you will know if one of your posts has been moved. Generally, on a new fiddle I start with the post at least 1mm inside the outside of the foot. This allows for later adjustment when the instrument has been played in. I set the post about a bridge foot width behind the bridge. Most of the big shops used half a bridge foot; but they are clearly wrong. Like bass bars, Sound-posts have no rules but my rules, or your rules, or someone else rules. Just stick to the rules - whichever ones you choose.

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1 hour ago, Roger Hargrave said:

The correct fit is most important of all, but only for the health of the instrument, otherwise it has little bearing on sound.

There are as many good theories as there are good makers.  Another well-known maker on here said fit is singularly important to sound,  I don't know how to reconcile a lot of the stuff I read here.

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1 hour ago, Bill Merkel said:

There are as many good theories as there are good makers.  Another well-known maker on here said fit is singularly important to sound,  I don't know how to reconcile a lot of the stuff I read here.

Choose a path that you believe is correct and take it. If it works, more people will come to you and your name will carry the concept. If it doesn't work, and people don't come back to you, then you must consider whether to continue to follow your path or be open to the concept(s) of others.

If I came out here and wrote exactly what Roger wrote, it might not be taken seriously. I mean, who knows my name or work, aside from those who come to me and tell their friends to come to me. Everyone knows Roger's name and work. If he says it, I'll try it, even if it is different from what I do now or was taught. 

First and really only "rule": do no harm. (which really includes don't practice on other people's stuff-learn on your own instruments!)

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These sound post gauges, made by a MN member, are a big help me in setting and adjusting posts (for east-west measurements).   Note that this one has seen better days.

 

IMG_2449.JPG

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4 hours ago, duane88 said:

Choose a path that you believe is correct and take it. If it works, more people will come to you and your name will carry the concept. If it doesn't work, and people don't come back to you, then you must consider whether to continue to follow your path or be open to the concept(s) of others.

One maker's perfect setup is another's nasty one.  The trend implies that anything is good enough!

4 hours ago, duane88 said:

I mean, who knows my name or work, aside from those who come to me and tell their friends to come to me.

I've never even heard of a violin made by Duane88.  You must be a real nobody :)

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16 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

There are as many good theories as there are good makers.  Another well-known maker on here said fit is singularly important to sound,  I don't know how to reconcile a lot of the stuff I read here.

A somewhat poor fit (not super off) will eventually smash itself into the plates enough to fit well for purposes of sound, but will also damage the plates.  

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19 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

There are as many good theories as there are good makers.  Another well-known maker on here said fit is singularly important to sound,  I don't know how to reconcile a lot of the stuff I read here.

Either he/she or you misunderstood what is meant by fit. Fit is the most important factor for the health of the instrument. So it goes without saying that when the post is in the optimal position for sound, it should also be fitting the plates exactly. Too often people find the best sound position, but ignore the fact that the post does not fit perfectly, thus risking damaging the instrument permanently.

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21 hours ago, Roger Hargrave said:

This is close enough, although I usually simplify it to: Away from bridge opens or frees the sound (more volume), but too far away and the sound looses focus. Closer gives you more focus but eventually stifles the sound. Mostly however, I find that tightness-tension is the main key. Tightness depends on the flexibility or otherwise of the plates, but as a general rule, once in the "right" place, the post should fall over if the ribs are squeezed gently. The correct fit is most important of all, but only for the health of the instrument, otherwise it has little bearing on sound. Like everything else, in the end it is trial and error. Lick it and see!

Here is a tip: When fitting the post I always make sure that the slot for the setter is facing forward. That way you will know if one of your posts has been moved. Generally, on a new fiddle I start with the post at least 1mm inside the outside of the foot. This allows for later adjustment when the instrument has been played in. I set the post about a bridge foot width behind the bridge. Most of the big shops used half a bridge foot; but they are clearly wrong. Like bass bars, Sound-posts have no rules but my rules, or your rules, or someone else rules. Just stick to the rules - whichever ones you choose.

Excellent post (pun intended). This is the best explanation I’ve read for how tight is tight. Very helpful.   

-Jim 

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On 16.02.2018 at 4:34 PM, Roger Hargrave said:

This is close enough, although I usually simplify it to: Away from bridge opens or frees the sound (more volume), but too far away and the sound looses focus. Closer gives you more focus but eventually stifles the sound. Mostly however, I find that tightness-tension is the main key. Tightness depends on the flexibility or otherwise of the plates, but as a general rule, once in the "right" place, the post should fall over if the ribs are squeezed gently. The correct fit is most important of all, but only for the health of the instrument, otherwise it has little bearing on sound. Like everything else, in the end it is trial and error. Lick it and see!

Dear Roger, I have licked it and it tastes good. Thanks for sharing!

I owe you at least a good bottle of Scotch.

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Fit and tension are as important as placement. 

Generally if you move a post it will no longer be a perfect fit ....often this kind of operation is performed by a charlatan involves shunting a post around from one ill fitted position to another ...quite often it is done with strings at full tension causing damage to the instrument and any gains are temporary.

Post adjustments are best done ( for the health of the instrument) with string tension reduced. This  relaxation of the strings in itself has an effect on the way the instrument will sound apart from the post movement so basically if it's going to be done right it needs to be done by someone who understands the complications and can fit in a post to meet the players requirements in the real word that will be still working in 3 months time......Good luck finding that person!..

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In general, I have a much clearer understanding of the effects of north-south movements, as opposed to east-west.    What is the farthest east or west you have placed a post and what was the rationale?

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21 minutes ago, Brad H said:

In general, I have a much clearer understanding of the effects of north-south movements, as opposed to east-west.    What is the farthest east or west you have placed a post and what was the rationale?

Depends on the torque

 

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