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kyproset

Violin bass-bar

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Dear experts,

I need your lights on this one, please.

I have recently being made aware, the bass-bar in my violin is situated 2-3 mm further inside from where it  should really be, (3-4mm inside the bridge foot, where 1 mm inside the bridge foot is the accepted position).

How does this in your opinion affect the sound of the G and D strings and is it advisable I have a new one installed? Ideally I would like more brilliance (less dark) on the G string, quicker response  and a little freer sound on the rest of the strings. The violin is a Guarneri copy.

What is the effect on sound and response on violins with bass-bars that are placed in this position?

Than you all for your responses.

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I don't have an answer for your questions (will be curious what others say), but a couple of thoughts:

1. A new bass bar is an expensive experiment with uncertain results. Unless this is a valuable instrument, it may not be worth it; and you might consider changing violins rather than bass bars. Dark sounding instruments tend to be more popular than bright sounding instruments. The economist in me says there is opportunity for trade :-)

2. Competent bridge fitting would accommodate bass bar position. Maybe you can try a bit more here. There are bridges which have feet closer together and it is also a possibility to fit a bridge slightly off- centre.

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If the bar is out of place it will absolutely have a noticeable affect on sound. What it means is that the balance is thrown off, forcing the luthier to make compromises in the setup.
 

It isn’t something that you must address, but it will make a big difference if you do. Getting the bar in the right place will even things out and will facilitate a more ideal setup—it’s a change that can have far-reaching impact. 

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I've got a modern Italian fiddle that is 36 between the upper eyes. 39mm bridge makes it work.

How your bar will alter, or not, the sound I can't say, but if it goes through a good shop they will replace it with a "standard" bar that we know works. Unless, of course, it sounds so good that they can't believe it, but it still won't cause them to put their new/replacement bars in your new place.

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Thank you for your answers,

the bridge used  is 41.5mm and the post side is 1mm inside the bridge foot, on the BB side is  more than  3mm. This tells me that a narrower bridge was not used to acommodate the position of the BB.

What would the effects be, had a narrower bridge  been used, 1mm under either side, or changing the BB to accomodate the same bridge which which presumably, the width of was arrived by the distance of the top of the F's and thus more correct in width?

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A vast amount of antique violins (the majority?) have the bass bar a couple of mm closer to the middle joint than one would learn nowadays in a violin making school. If making a new bass bar in the perceived optimal position would improve the sound, or even change it at all is a very bold assumption, and pity the violin maker charging you money in the presumption it would. If you are dissatisfied with the sound of your current violin, I would advise you to buy a new one that you like.

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22 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

A vast amount of antique violins (the majority?) have the bass bar a couple of mm closer to the middle joint than one would learn nowadays in a violin making school. If making a new bass bar in the perceived optimal position would improve the sound, or even change it at all is a very bold assumption, and pity the violin maker charging you money in the presumption it would. If you are dissatisfied with the sound of your current violin, I would advise you to buy a new one that you like.

the voice of reason.

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I agree with Jacob, having witnessed the rebarring of a Cello owned by an enthusiastic Amateur. The Change was small,all Things considered, and it remained a tough-to-Play Instrument. She ended up wanting to sell it after all.

 

I'm only a Cellist, so pardon me if I'm mistaking, but aren't there bridges with a Variety of waist and foot widths readily available from all the known suppliers, exactly for this reason?

Edit note: Milo Stamm offers from 38 to 43 MM width

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Dear Mr. Saunders,

The violin maker who set up the violin actually suggested not to change the BB. She just said she worked around it with admittedly brilliant results. I'm not suggesting either that I would go ahead and change it on just the question whether it might benefit the violin or not. I'm only seeking information on how such an operation changes the sound and in which way if any. I do appreciate all the comments and hoping I come out wiser in the process.

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Ok, i take your question from the other end. Basically you are not satisfied with the sound and because the bass bar is obviously out of place the next thought is that this must be the cause. As a matter of fact as long as the bass bar is crossing the bridge foot it can work well. The shape of the bass bar, its length and how much it is tilted have IMO a bigger influence on the sound than its position related to the bridge foot

So If you would be visiting my shop I would look first at all the other parameters of a setup before I would consider to change the bar.

1. Bridge model, bridge material and thickness. 

2. Soundpost position and how it fits to top and back and how tightly it is fitted. 

3. tailpiece length and material (weight)

4. Tailgut material

5. height of the lower saddle 

6. fingerboard thickness 

A 'wrong' bass bar has more influence on how the instrument responds than the sound quality itself and this is more obvious in my experience on cellos than on violins.

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I‘m afraid that you will have to ask someone else then, since I rather think it will make little or no difference. 40 years of repairing violins seriously erodes ones belief in the stuff one learnt in vm school.

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55 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I‘m afraid that you will have to ask someone else then, since I rather think it will make little or no difference. 40 years of repairing violins seriously erodes ones belief in the stuff one learnt in vm school.

Truer words have never been spoken.

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

I‘m afraid that you will have to ask someone else then, since I rather think it will make little or no difference. 40 years of repairing violins seriously erodes ones belief in the stuff one learnt in vm school.

Not having attended violinmaking school, I have not had to unlearn anything.  And although I only have a tiny fraction of the experience messing around with violins, my experience and test results are similar:  a mm or two on the bass bar isn't a big difference in tone.

The only thing I'd worry about if the bass bar is too far inside of the bass foot is that the upper wing of the bass F hole might get pushed down, so it seems like a good idea to align the bridge foot and the bar.

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Thank you all for your expert lights, now I know that the solution does not lie with such a radical change, but mostly with the rest of the geometry on top of the violin and probably trying a different SP position. The violin in question is my 1857 Guarneri Vuillaume which although having a great sound, I do wish it was more brilliant on the G and possibly D strings. I had it set-up by a very reputable luthier and was amazed by the results. As I had to catch a plane back home, I didn't have the chance to go back for further adjustment, but it seems I'll have to do it this coming vacation. The lady who performed the task said to me it needs time to adjust to the new set-up.

 

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