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Michael Jennings

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

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40 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?

& did it still fit?...er...probably not

 

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You'd have to assume the procedure goes make it almost the right length, adjust it, and then cut it to the right length and try to get it back in the same place.  Then if you're a real Italian it won't fall down on its own + you can squeeze the sides and make it fall w/o squeezing hard enough to break the fiddle.  3. Put it back in the same place again.

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On 2018/2/16 at 11:34 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!

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.

Roger, do you mind to share your view on cello and viola as well?  Thank you!

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On 17/02/2018 at 12:14 AM, Bill Merkel said:

Something that starts with a "Z" and is impossible to spell is always good.

Made me laugh :-) I'd let an unspellable luthier starting with "Z" adjust my soundpost any day.

I wish someone with an impressive sounding name would promote gluing them in. Or perhaps retaining them with a neat brass screw through the back. My last fallen soundpost went down unprovoked, with only one string off. It is unrealistic to visit the maker, unless they happen to be local, to get it stood up again. Maybe that is another reason to support your local makers--of violins as well as of food and wine.

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When determining the north/south bridge/soundpost relation I start with the initial "by the book" position of the bridge and the post (1,5mm inside the bridge foot and around 2mm south of the  the bridge works for me as a starting point) when setting up and instrument. Tension is set so that the post will fall under the  light preasure acros the "C" bout. Since I belive that it is a relation between the bridge and sound post and not the actuall position of the post on the soundboard side, that is realy matter, I change the position of the bridge (north-south) under the full string tension from 1-5mm from the post  to establish optimal distance of the post from the bridge. I  try that (by playing) on a several positions, till I am satisfied (results are as Roger described), than move the bridge back to the correct string lenght, and reset the post to the established distance from the bridge. It usualy work very well as a first information, and save me retuning the violin several times.

I usualy end up nearer to the bridge with lighter more flexible  top.  I do final tension and east west seting after a month or so.

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42 minutes ago, Marijan said:

When determining the north/south bridge/soundpost relation I start with the initial "by the book" position of the bridge and the post (1,5mm inside the bridge foot and around 2mm south of the  the bridge works for me as a starting point) when setting up and instrument. Tension is set so that the post will fall under the  light preasure acros the "C" bout. Since I belive that it is a relation between the bridge and sound post and not the actuall position of the post on the soundboard side, that is realy matter, I change the position of the bridge (north-south) under the full string tension from 1-5mm from the post  to establish optimal distance of the post from the bridge. I  try that (by playing) on a several positions, till I am satisfied (results are as Roger described), than move the bridge back to the correct string lenght, and reset the post to the established distance from the bridge. It usualy work very well as a first information, and save me retuning the violin several times.

I usualy end up nearer to the bridge with lighter more flexible  top.  I do final tension and east west seting after a month or so.

Interesting.  Do you account for the change in afterlength?

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No, I am just  getting the idea what relation between the bridge and top of the post will be appropriate for the given instrument. Bridge goes back on it`s " hot" spot and afterlenght is usualy around 55mm. I sometimes need to adjust the bridge/post distance after that, but not for much. I may be wrong but I think that the change of the post-bridge distance is biger than change in afterlenght. Again, it just gives me the first impresion what will work for that particular instrument.

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Marjan, I have a couple questions for this method. How do you know that it will sound the same with the same bridge/post distance relationship if the bridge isn't sitting in the correct place for scale length? Also, if you later change east/west distance, do you need a shorter/longer post, and if so, how do you guarantee it will sound the same with a different post? Many times I have made two identical posts, set to the exact same spot, and get totally different tonal results.

Also, nobody has given an answer yet about what the general effects of East/west movement are.

 

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5 minutes ago, Fiddler45 said:

.

Also, nobody has given an answer yet about what the general effects of East/west movement are.

 

Very generally, it depends if you are talking top movement or back movement.  Top-balance; back-flexibility of sound and dynamics.

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9 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Very generally, it depends if you are talking top movement or back movement.  Top-balance; back-flexibility of sound and dynamics.

So top determines how strings sound (power/volume) in relation to each other, and back can more change the general tone of the instrument (clarity/overtones)?

I generally start about where Roger suggests, then try different spots/posts until the sound is about as good as I can make it. Unfortunately, I have found (in my limited experience) that all instruments are different, and will not necessarily follow a distinct pattern every time.

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27 minutes ago, Fiddler45 said:

I generally start about where Roger suggests, then try different spots/posts until the sound is about as good as I can make it. Unfortunately, I have found (in my limited experience) that all instruments are different, and will not necessarily follow a distinct pattern every time.

Oh boy, we may be shaking the bushes here.

The overwhelming majority of the time when an instrument does not follow some very basic “cause and effect” behaviors, the post is too short.  This also seems to explain fleeting improvements from soundpost adjustments.

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49 minutes ago, Fiddler45 said:

How do you know that it will sound the same with the same bridge/post distance relationship if the bridge isn't sitting in the correct place for scale length.

Also, if you later change east/west distance, do you need a shorter/longer post, and if so, how do you guarantee it will sound the same with a different post? Many times I have made two identical posts, set to the exact same spot, and get totally different tonal results.

Also, nobody has given an answer yet about what the general effects of East/west movement are.

 

I don`t know that it will sound the same. But the change in the scale lenght will be smaller than the change in the distance between the bridge and post. We talk about a milimeter or two deviation from the "ideal" scale position, if that. Again the position of the pair (bridge/post) is less importante than relation between those two (talking about the resonable limits of a few mm). And I simply get a picture of that relation slightly quicker than if I need to retune the instrument every time. I do make final setup, again by ear after the bridge is back in corect position and change the relation if needed. But now I know what my set up goal is, since I already heard it..

I initialy place the post slightly more to the west . After a month or so I usualy need to move it to the east, due to the spruce compresion, to increase the tension. For a mm or so.

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5 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Oh boy, we may be shaking the bushes here.

The overwhelming majority of the time when an instrument does not follow some very basic “cause and effect” behaviors, the post is too short.  This also seems to explain fleeting and temporary soundpost adjustments.

I know moving east/west necessitates a different post. Sometimes,depending on the (questionable construction) arching, even north/south movements may necessitate a slightly different length in order to keep the east/west location where you want it. Wherever I put a post, the tension is always the same, or at least I try to keep it the same, generally the way Roger describes it. I can't believe how tight some posts are in violins that are brought to me for repair.

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3 minutes ago, Marijan said:

I don`t know that it will sound the same. But the change in the scale lenght will be smaller than the change in the distance between the bridge and post. We talk about a milimeter or two deviation from the "ideal" scale position, if that. Again the position of the pair (bridge/post) is less importante than relation between those two (talking about the resonable limits of a few mm). And I simply get a picture of that relation slightly quicker than if I need to retune the instrument every time. I do make final setup, again by ear after the bridge is back in corect position and change the relation if needed. But now I know what my set up goal is, since I already heard it..

I initialy place the post slightly more to the west . After a month or so I usualy need to move it to the east, due to the spruce compresion, to increase the tension. For a mm or so.

I only asked the first question because I know some violins are so touchy that moving the bridge even .5mm or less can change the sound enough  where it's not suitable to the owner, and the difference is quite noticeable. If your method works, it definitely would save a lot of time and post adjustment though.

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9 minutes ago, Fiddler45 said:

I know moving east/west necessitates a different post. Sometimes,depending on the (questionable construction) arching, even north/south movements may necessitate a slightly different length in order to keep the east/west location where you want it. Wherever I put a post, the tension is always the same, or at least I try to keep it the same, generally the way Roger describes it. I can't believe how tight some posts are in violins that are brought to me for repair.

I do not agree that moving the post east/west necessitates a new post. 

I do not agree that the tension should always be the same.

Maybe the posts feel tight, but be aware that the tightness you experience may have very little to do with the tightness when installed. 

Oh, and I do not always agree with Roger.B)

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2 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Maybe, but be aware that the tightness you experience may have very little to do with the tightness when installed. 

Of the ones I'm repairing? I would hope so. I'd definitely never install one that tight. 

Some of the ones I'm referring to are from a music store I have done repairs for..new Chinese garba..I mean instruments. (I think I'm done messing with them..some of these have no hope no matter what is done to them).

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4 minutes ago, Fiddler45 said:

Of the ones I'm repairing? I would hope so. I'd definitely never install one that tight. 

Some of the ones I'm referring to are from a music store I have done repairs for..new Chinese garba..I mean instruments. (I think I'm done messing with them..some of these have no hope no matter what is done to them).

You are probably right.

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@JerryP & @RogerH 

What I don't understand is, after spending time getting your post to fit exactly at one spot, at the right tension, you then start shifting it hither and thither to adjust the sound. Once you shift it from the spot where it fits exactly, it doesn't any more. So what is an acceptable shift? 

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5 hours ago, jowl said:

@JerryP & @RogerH 

What I don't understand is, after spending time getting your post to fit exactly at one spot, at the right tension, you then start shifting it hither and thither to adjust the sound. Once you shift it from the spot where it fits exactly, it doesn't any more. So what is an acceptable shift? 

You are really moving it a very small amount. A few tenths of a mm on even a cello may make a large difference and if you move the post any larger amount and it sounds good then you need to refit or remake the post for the new spot and hope you can get it back to where it sounded the way you wanted. You have some leeway with North- South movement but almost any significant East- West will need some modification of the post itself.

Unfortunately making and adjusting posts correctly is a fairly difficult process yet is always the first thing the beginner thinks to try. 

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1 hour ago, nathan slobodkin said:

You are really moving it a very small amount. A few tenths of a mm on even a cello may make a large difference and if you move the post any larger amount and it sounds good then you need to refit or remake the post for the new spot and hope you can get it back to where it sounded the way you wanted. 

There's the frustrating part. The question is though, if you move it say 1mm, and it sounds better than it has and it's the way you want it to sound, and the post still fits flush on top and back, and the tension is still  within a reasonable range, is it really necessary to make a new post, taking the risk that a new one might not sound as good?

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31 minutes ago, Fiddler45 said:

There's the frustrating part. The question is though, if you move it say 1mm, and it sounds better than it has and it's the way you want it to sound, and the post still fits flush on top and back, and the tension is still  within a reasonable range, is it really necessary to make a new post, taking the risk that a new one might not sound as good?

Yes, good point.  If the post fits, the tension is good, and it sounds fantastic, do not argue with success.   I do not believe a “fit” sound post is without variable.

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