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uguntde

Wolf on viola

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I have a really good sounding viola with an annoying wolf on the E on the G-string. It doesn't rattle but the note sounds sick, much weaker. It is not there on the same note on the D-string, there the E is crystal clear. But I have to play many passages in 1st position that work better in 3rd.

I know how to eliminate it. A little pair of magnets does the job - see the picture. I shifted it arond to find the optimal position. Further down it makes a worse wolf on F, but in this position all is gone.

I do not like this magnet on the instrument and wonder what solution you would suggests. One could stick a piece of wood on the front through the f-hole, one could also fit a slightly higher bass bar.

 

20181218_120424.jpg

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It would be good to know the thicknes of the plates first. Second I would check the sound-post. If it is by any chance very lightly setted you can try slightly tighter setting.

If that does not help.... I had to remade bass-bars (made them "heftier"/higher) on two of my "Conte Vitale" A.Guarneri violas, made with thicknes graduations, close to the original (which is quite thin),  to get much better balance and kill the wolfs. It worked well and made all the difference.

But this is  just personal expirience on my violas, and just a sort of a guide line of what you can try.

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There is no guarantee that a bass bar would solve the problem. You have already solved it.

Anyone worth their salt as a repairman or maker, could mark the spot, weigh  some ebony and glue it inside using magnets to hold it in place while the glue dries.

So alas,,,,, there is a solution. Now to go find the salt!

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I am no expert at all.  I had a issue w a wolf on a violin g string. I shortened the string afterlength by 2 mm and it went away with no noticeable loss off power.  I don’t know why but it’s a simple thing that you may try that is easy.  However it may have been an anomaly just for my one violin 

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4 hours ago, uguntde said:

I have a really good sounding viola with an annoying wolf on the E on the G-string. It doesn't rattle but the note sounds sick, much weaker. It is not there on the same note on the D-string, there the E is crystal clear.

A wolf is associated with a strong resonance of some kind, usually a major body resonance (B modes)... which are strong sound producers.  The E note is also not a normal location for the major body resonances (except as noted below), so I'd look for something vibrating that does not radiate sound, and the first thing I'd check would be the tailpiece... removing the movable mute, adding weights in various spots, etc. to see if anything changes.

If that's not it, then there IS a resonance that could be in that range, the CBR, which is not a good sound producer.  Before tearing into the instrument to change the bass bar, or gluing on something, I mess around with chinrest weights and positions, which can have an effect.

One oddity here is that the wolf is only on the G string, and not the identical note on the D string.  A resonance of the types above (or any other type I can think of) would likely be stronger on the G string, but should still be there on the D string.  

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Let's start with something simple:  Place the mute at the 1/4 afterlength position (closest to the bridge).  Also try it when the mute is between the C and G strings at the same position.  

The way we fix this on cellos is to place a small weight on the afterlength at approximately the same position on the G-string.

If there is no loss of sound quality with the magnets, then keep doing it.

I am not comfortable with replacing the bassbar, and the soundpost is on the wrong side of the instrument where the resonance is taking place.  In other words, the magnets are placed on the location where is resonance is located.

Mike D

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On 12/18/2018 at 8:10 AM, uguntde said:

...I do not like this magnet on the instrument and wonder what solution you would suggests. One could stick a piece of wood on the front through the f-hole, one could also fit a slightly higher bass bar.......

two issues...

1-If you do use magnets, get smaller diameter ones... A wide diameter flat magnet can dent the inside curved surface  as well as dent the varnish ... I don't recommend more than 1/4 "  diameter for violin & viola. The outer magnet contact surface should be lined with smooth fine grained leather (never anything of rubber or plastic as it can stain the varnish) to prevent scratching and denting the varnish. If your varnish is a soft varnish , be sure to remove the magnet  after each playing session, otherwise in time the varnish will be dented.

2-There are glued in wolf eliminators like this one... https://www.boscoviolinsupply.com/ca/5961/ . Gluing in a piece of wood of suitable weight will also work.

Problem is they are glued in and once glued, it cannot be ajusted. More often than not, players request that it be removed, and that is not easy without causing damage.... and costs.

Here is a pic of my solution... http://rezx.biz/violin/solutions

If working with adjusting the setup does not work, stick with the magnets... my 2 cents worth!

Cheers... Mat  

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On 12/18/2018 at 5:29 PM, Don Noon said:

A wolf is associated with a strong resonance of some kind, usually a major body resonance (B modes)... which are strong sound producers.  The E note is also not a normal location for the major body resonances (except as noted below), so I'd look for something vibrating that does not radiate sound, and the first thing I'd check would be the tailpiece... removing the movable mute, adding weights in various spots, etc. to see if anything changes.

If that's not it, then there IS a resonance that could be in that range, the CBR, which is not a good sound producer.  Before tearing into the instrument to change the bass bar, or gluing on something, I mess around with chinrest weights and positions, which can have an effect.

One oddity here is that the wolf is only on the G string, and not the identical note on the D string.  A resonance of the types above (or any other type I can think of) would likely be stronger on the G string, but should still be there on the D string.  

You were spot-on with "so I'd look for something vibrating that does not radiate sound". This viola has a very thin fingerboard, made in Degani's style, hollow underneath. If I stick a piece of lead underneath with double sided tape the wolf is completely gone.

How did you come to this guess? Because B modes can'e be around E or F?

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53 minutes ago, uguntde said:

How did you come to this guess? Because B modes can't be around E or F?

Yes, the usual body wolfing modes on a viola wouldn't be at that frequency, and they are not weak-sounding.  The deduction is that the wolf has to be a mode that doesn't radiate sound well.  The CBR of a viola could be in that frequency range, but so far I have never encountered a significant CBR wolf.  By process of elimination, there should be something else flapping at that frequency.

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