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nathan slobodkin

Loosening soundposts

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59 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

. There seems to exist something like the perfect sound post pressure for each instrument.

we can argue about the terminology, but I agree.

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3 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Jerry can you elaborate on the loose posts cause bulging theory? I know I see big differences in how my instruments change over time depending on how they are maintained and by whom.

I have seen many instruments that do not fit the too tight post narrative, and often bulging when the original post is still in from the original maker.  My thinking is, if the post is short, it is not only the post is too loose but the top is too big....meaning, the top is flattening at the bridge so the post area is the only portion that is directly restricted from sinking.  You can see this often when the arch is flat and the wing is dipped.

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22 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Does the change ln the bow hair with humidity also change how nice the violins sound?

My ex-wife had a lot of bad hair days.

There's a trade off somewheres.  I know violins perform better when it's dry.  Like here yesterday I had a reading of 23 percent humidity and that alone would of enabled less effort for better sound and ease of playing.  I think the bow is the total opposite - they do better in the soupy, high humidity readings.

 

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@Jerry Pasewicz

@nathan slobodkin

Thanks for your replies. I have a violin that sounds great, and a luthier looked at the soundpost through the f-hole and saw that he thought it was on the border line of being too small. The soundpost is about 35-40 years old, and has never been adjusted since the soundpost was new.

I said that violin sounds great, and I don't want to change it unless it is necessary. He said don't change it because it was not too short to hurt the violin. I later changed the tailpiece without the post falling.

So that is why I was asking. I don't know how one can tell that a soundpost is too short by looking at it through the f-hole, though.

 

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I do not know of a way to tell by looking through the f either, athough a dipping wing might be a clue.  The typical characteristics of a loose post are  difficulty playing in the upper positions on the lower strings, playing through the instrument, and a general wolfiness.

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Jerry,

I'm not following what you mean by "the top is too big". Are you thinking there is a structural problem with the instrument or would changing to longer posts as the instrument stretches prevent this?

I always assume that a new instrument will require a new post within the first year and often one more within the next few. I routinely pay colleagues to deal with this if the client lives far away from me.

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6 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Jerry,

I'm not following what you mean by "the top is too big". Are you thinking there is a structural problem with the instrument or would changing to longer posts as the instrument stretches prevent this?

I always assume that a new instrument will require a new post within the first year and often one more within the next few. I routinely pay colleagues to deal with this if the client lives far away from me.

I am just turning around the equation.  The soundpost becomes too short for the top because the top stretches and becomes too big for the post.  The pressure from the bridge is going to push the top down to meet the post....that is why the wings drop and the top becomes flat....a bulge would just be a continuation of the same movement.

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12 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

I am just turning around the equation.  The soundpost becomes too short for the top because the top stretches and becomes too big for the post.  The pressure from the bridge is going to push the top down to meet the post....that is why the wings drop and the top becomes flat....a bulge would just be a continuation of the same movement.

Thanks Jerry. I completely agree with this. And thinking about it this way makes it more clear why some instruments develop problems while others do not. I'm thinking that if the post is not changed when needed the top starts to sink and as soon as it does the whole geometry changes, the top loses strength in the center and starts to sink even more

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3 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Thanks Jerry. I completely agree with this. And thinking about it this way makes it more clear why some instruments develop problems while others do not. I'm thinking that if the post is not changed when needed the top starts to sink and as soon as it does the whole geometry changes, the top loses strength in the center and starts to sink even more

I think that is exactly correct.  I have found that players who miss the new soundpost early in an instrument’s life can be redeemed with a new post and relatively quick follow up adjustments.  The adjustment moves from fleeting to stable in a predictable time frame.  BTW, I do know of one maker that puts in posts wickedly tight at first, I assume to keep from having to replace it early on.  I have known many of these, and they in fact do not need posts for many years, and some more than a decade.

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A few thoughts on sound post fitting/ tightness:

 

I think one should bear in mind the non-romantic view of a violin, namely that it is a wooden box under some tension from the strings. Seen like that, the violin, when tuned to pitch, has the belly clinched from string tension at the top by the neck mortice, and the bottom at the saddle. The back, by contrast, is being stretched. One fits the sound post without this clinching/stretching by the string tension, i.e. a wooden box without string tension and is well advised to remember that, after one has threaded the strings on, the belly can be expected to rise a little. This will make a sound post that fitted “snugly” without string pressure, a trifle loose with strings up to pitch. In this case, the belly will be pressed down onto the sound post by the bridge, which I would expect to play a part in any deformation issues. As others have expressed, it isn’t possible to define “Snugness” of fit in words, but as a rule of thumb, I would say that a sound post that falls over when one removes the string tension is too short. I certainly endeavour to fit posts with a firm “snugness” into the “wooden box” without string tension.

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

A few thoughts on sound post fitting/ tightness:

 

I think one should bear in mind the non-romantic view of a violin, namely that it is a wooden box under some tension from the strings. Seen like that, the violin, when tuned to pitch, has the belly clinched from string tension at the top by the neck mortice, and the bottom at the saddle. The back, by contrast, is being stretched. One fits the sound post without this clinching/stretching by the string tension, i.e. a wooden box without string tension and is well advised to remember that, after one has threaded the strings on, the belly can be expected to rise a little. This will make a sound post that fitted “snugly” without string pressure, a trifle loose with strings up to pitch. In this case, the belly will be pressed down onto the sound post by the bridge, which I would expect to play a part in any deformation issues. As others have expressed, it isn’t possible to define “Snugness” of fit in words, but as a rule of thumb, I would say that a sound post that falls over when one removes the string tension is too short. I certainly endeavour to fit posts with a firm “snugness” into the “wooden box” without string tension.

Yes I always tell clients that if the post is in the right place but falls down when the strings are removed that the post will have to be replaced. I remember Rene being quite interested in how much longer the post had to be to get the desired tension and it was usually more than I expected, often a millimeter or more on violin.

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Soundpost tension/snugness is one of those things that unfortunately  is impossible to learn via book or internet.  Nothing like setting a post and taking it to the silver hair in the room to check the tension.

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15 hours ago, David Burgess said:
15 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

@Jerry Pasewicz

@nathan slobodkin

Thanks for your replies. I have a violin that sounds great, and a luthier looked at the soundpost through the f-hole and saw that he thought it was on the border line of being too small. The soundpost is about 35-40 years old, and has never been adjusted since the soundpost was new.

I said that violin sounds great, and I don't want to change it unless it is necessary. He said don't change it because it was not too short to hurt the violin. I later changed the tailpiece without the post falling.

So that is why I was asking. I don't know how one can tell that a soundpost is too short by looking at it through the f-hole, though.

 

As David said I think there were other observations involved in the luthier's comment although a post which seemed in the normal place up top but was slanted too far out on the bottom would indeed indicate a longer post would be required. I myself would be thinking new, longer post as soon as I was told it hadn't been changed in so many years. In general there are often reasons to make a longer post or to move the post tighter if the placement allows but seldom reasons to move a post in a way which loosens it. If I felt the adjustment needed to be more toward the center of the instrument I would make a longer post which felt right in the position I wanted. Definitely interested in anyone's observations about any visual cues which would indicate a post was too tight. I have at times tried to adjust a post and determined that it was tighter than I wanted in the position I wanted it in but that is again a matter of feel rather than visual observation.

 

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20 hours ago, uncle duke said:

There's a trade off somewheres.  I know violins perform better when it's dry.  Like here yesterday I had a reading of 23 percent humidity and that alone would of enabled less effort for better sound and ease of playing.  I think the bow is the total opposite - they do better in the soupy, high humidity readings.

 

Violins perform better when it is dry?

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In this whole thread, I see only one passing mention that post tension might have some relation to the player experience, along with two comments implying that all players will be happy with the  same "correct" tension!

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29 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

In this whole thread, I see only one passing mention that post tension might have some relation to the player experience, along with two comments implying that all players will be happy with the  same "correct" tension!

Well,...do you have anything constructive to add?

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27 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

I wouldn't dare challenge the certainty of such an esteemed collective of experts!

Your ego is a lot safer that way too.....<_<

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5 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

A few thoughts on sound post fitting/ tightness:

 

I think one should bear in mind the non-romantic view of a violin, namely that it is a wooden box under some tension from the strings. Seen like that, the violin, when tuned to pitch, has the belly clinched from string tension at the top by the neck mortice, and the bottom at the saddle. The back, by contrast, is being stretched. One fits the sound post without this clinching/stretching by the string tension, i.e. a wooden box without string tension and is well advised to remember that, after one has threaded the strings on, the belly can be expected to rise a little. This will make a sound post that fitted “snugly” without string pressure, a trifle loose with strings up to pitch. In this case, the belly will be pressed down onto the sound post by the bridge, which I would expect to play a part in any deformation issues. As others have expressed, it isn’t possible to define “Snugness” of fit in words, but as a rule of thumb, I would say that a sound post that falls over when one removes the string tension is too short. I certainly endeavour to fit posts with a firm “snugness” into the “wooden box” without string tension.

One simple test after fitting the post is to squeeze the body at the c bouts of the back. If a little squeezing makes the post tumble it had definitely not enough 'snug'. 

 

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2 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

In this whole thread, I see only one passing mention that post tension might have some relation to the player experience, along with two comments implying that all players will be happy with the  same "correct" tension!

Yes, I guess special emphasis should be put on this not just being a structural or deformation issue, but also affecting sound and playing properties. Sometimes I take stuff like that as a given, and fail to explain it adequately to people from all the varying backgrounds who might be reading here.

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

In this whole thread, I see only one passing mention that post tension might have some relation to the player experience, along with two comments implying that all players will be happy with the  same "correct" tension!

Discussing this would be opening a can of worms. Let's rather stay with the basics. 

:D

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4 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Careful Michael, he will teach you “humility” in a minute:D

These guys are all acolytes of a guy who by their own account blamed the instruments when he broke them with a too-tight post. They don't  know "humility".

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34 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

These guys are all acholytes of a guy who by their own account blamed the instruments when he broke them with a too-tight post. They don't  know "humility".

It takes a lot of character and personal integrity to attack someone who has been dead for close to a decade....

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