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Shunyata

Sound Post Technique

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4 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

I suspect that high sound post tension crushes the post’s fibers ensuring better contact and conductance of vibrations. 

It certainly crushes the table's fibres, possibly ensuring better contact and conductance of vibrations :ph34r:

Personally I feel that high soundpost tension is from every point of view a BAD THING, and should be seen as an in extremis remedial measure for a bad sounding violin ... by high tension I mean a post that doesn't move easily with a slight pinching of the ribs.

Just my opinion ...

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Certainly the longitudinal grain of the post is stiffer/stronger than the tangential grain of the top.  There are plenty of dented/mangled tops... anyone seen a dented/mangled end of a post? (that was damaged in place rather than by the hack with the knife)

The force of even a fairly tightly fit post I think pales in comparison to what happens when you tighten up the strings, but it seems good practice to keep stresses as low as possible, even if it's just a little bit percentage-wise.

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4 hours ago, martin swan said:

It certainly crushes the table's fibres, possibly ensuring better contact and conductance of vibrations :ph34r:

 

 

1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

Certainly the longitudinal grain of the post is stiffer/stronger than the tangential grain of the top.  There are plenty of dented/mangled tops... anyone seen a dented/mangled end of a post? (that was damaged in place rather than by the hack with the knife)

I too would think that if any wood "crushing" is involved in a better fit, this would mostly take place on the top, and secondarilly the back, rather than on the soundpost.

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6 hours ago, uncle duke said:

He was banned before I joined here and to this day the only fault of his that I can find , if it can be a fault, was that he wasn't a professionally trained workman pertaining to violins.  Some didn't like that.

As you say, you weren't here.  It was a great deal more than that, involving bullying, IIRC.  Things had gotten waaaayyyy out of hand involving several now-banned members.  As I understand it, Lyndon wasn't banned, he's just on "perpetual squelch".  The worst of the wreckage from that era (a lot of it verbally radioactive) was laboriously removed by Jeffery.  Since you can't see it any more, you can't really judge how toxic it got around here for a while.  :rolleyes:

Jeffery's a prize.  Thank God we've got him.  Now, I dunno about you, but I'm enjoying reading the sound post discussion.  :)

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56 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

As you say, you weren't here.   The worst of the wreckage from that era (a lot of it verbally radioactive) was laboriously removed by Jeffery.  Since you can't see it any more, you can't really judge how toxic it got around here for a while.  :rolleyes: 

Now, I dunno about you, but I'm enjoying reading the sound post discussion.  :)

Understood and point taken.

As for the soundpost discussion.  Hopefully most here make plates with a sorta flattish inner contour area for easier soundpost placement instead of some of the ski slope interiors I tend to carve out that look real well visually but don't hold up soundposts very well at the beginning.  That's one disadvantage of building too high and slopey through out the middle section.  Doable but it's more work.  

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21 minutes ago, uncle duke said:

...some of the ski slope interiors I tend to carve out that look real well visually but don't hold up soundposts very well at the beginning.  That's one disadvantage of building too high and slopey through out the middle section.  Doable but it's more work.  

I suppose that might be one arguement for intentionally setting a post with a slope.

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I took a quick look, but can't seem to find the old German mechanical drawing of the interior of a rather high arched violin I have (probably still in a box after my move) with the soundpost set at a noticeable angle (toward the center of the back).  Kept it because I found it interesting.  Kind of the reverse of what I occasionally see from some NY shops.

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19 hours ago, Al Cramer said:

Could our moderator  please do something about morgana?  I love Maestronet because I've learned so much from it. I enjoy the quirkiness of the people who post here. It really bothers me to see these stupid bot postings.

I was trying to diffuse the fighting with humour. I am no bot, and you need to understand that you ask questions and then try answering your own questions instead of actually reading other people's advise, replies. Please don't speak like this to me again I thank you.

A strong metal coat hanger is useful for the task, as I have utilized this method.

As long as it's definitely hard enough metal not to bend much, okay?

Have a great day! Xxx

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I would like to apologize to everybody for complaining about morgana. It never crossed my mind that someone would choose to mimic trigram based  stochastic sentence productions  in posting here! Sorry again -- I've no right to complain about anybody.

Having said that -- I really enjoyed the interchange between Senseis  Swan, Noon, and Burgess re the crushing of wood fibers. It kinda relates back to my questions about the wood used to make  soundposts. 

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5 hours ago, Al Cramer said:

I would like to apologize to everybody for complaining about morgana. It never crossed my mind that someone would choose to mimic trigram based  stochastic sentence productions  in posting here! Sorry again -- I've no right to complain about anybody.

Having said that -- I really enjoyed the interchange between Senseis  Swan, Noon, and Burgess re the crushing of wood fibers. It kinda relates back to my questions about the wood used to make  soundposts. 

I accept your apology, Al, no worries.

I'm just finishing work at this ungodly hour, and just have been going through a 16 inch brand new, cheapest of the cheap unbranded which I bought for £38.67 and free shipping from Amazon UK.

The reason for buying it was the case and the rosin. The strings, the integral tailpiece.

The viola is correct in dimensions, fake purfling, laquered varnish, the fingerboard is maple as is the neck and scroll, the pegs are wood with black dull finish, as is the chinrest, the endpon is ebony! Bizarrely. The top is some kind of real wood, looks like very close grained semi softwood, it's fingerboard is better than some higher end old violins, with correct length arching width, almost and better scoop than I expected. I have wire wooled the fingerboard dyed it again and rubbed it with a bit of renaissance wax, for easier shifting.

It's got a sound post! Hooray! And it was a bit wonky at the bottom end so I just pushed it carefully eastwards.

I tried to carve the bridge which was a BIG waste of time but you do these things for practice, the bridge is correct sizing for a 16 inch viola 50 mm and I then, after trying to thin it, re shape it, fit feet flush, tried it out. It was slipping, so zI looked to the nut (I had shaped it more rounded as sharp edge to the back, then saw immediately anyway that the notches for the strings where not correctly measured, however I tried it without changing them.

That bloody bridge was slipping west.

I played it and it sounded like a dog.

So I corrected the spaces on the nut, no, still crap sound and shifting.

I then found a bridge from a 15 inch viola, of which was only 48 mm and much better hard maple, shorter in height, the feet fit exactly which was lucky.

OMG that viola actually sounds very good. Not the same viola! It's powerful, resonant, wonderfully dynamic and even though it needs to be a bit higher on the G string it is so much better. I have learned from all of that work that as long as everything on the instrument is correct in terms of weight, depth etc. The soundpost will not make sense to adjust unless you go through everything else that corresponds with that certain instrument, even if it is a mass produced one. Meaning that everything made is not exactly the same so judgment on just changing a sound post, after many years of believing that it alone, can do wonders for the tone, well, the sound post needs adressing within all other considerations. I long suspected this trouble and have now realised that all of the sound posts in the world won't make much difference unless they aren't there or are broken, twisted ill fitted, or made of straw ir prawns.

Anyway, just to add on, that a decent sound post is one made from spruce, and aged and if anyone carves their own sound post or uses a machine to shape it, I congratulate you if you are good at whittling a circular dowel.

A sound post gauge is a really needed tool. Because it gives you a chance at a fair contour each end and length too.

Some old violins have a mark made by someone who either made said violin, or had set a sound post in thedaus gone by, on the back inside with a circle or even a gauze cloth cut round and glued in. Everyone I have seen seems to be further back and more east, as in to the curved edge right hand side, which seems too far back, when reading standard fitting instructions by divers luthiers, restorers, doctors, hypnotherapists and knicker wearing constables.

An F hole, is a maker's showpiece of intricate carving, scraping and aesthetics of grave importance, so if someone comes out of the primordial sludge asks you to fiddle with his sound post, as his Del Gesu isn't sounding as good as it should then tell them, I will check your instrument out now preliminarily, and see if it could be something else after inspection. Then check for too tight, too loose, crack, bulging, soundpost shrinkage, neck gravity, either downward or upward, play the thing, then maybe you can actually know how to deal with customers which is 90 percent of running a viable business rather than the Victorian waffle spoken by cranks who also think that insulting people is the way to actually get the benefit of their custom. Explaining that in a way the average lay person understands, concisely, and actually multi tasking is the direction to become adequate and useful in this passionate niche business. Jimmy Hendrix, have you been experienced, well I. HAVE. Still working at it. Still gorgeous too. My fluffy kitten needs a cuddle now and I need to annoy my neighbours by playing my cheap viola.

The thing is, ppl these days buy these instruments and think they will be all right just setting the bridge up, tightening the strings and then moaning cos their bow doesn't work. Try ABC easy as 123. Spoonfed ppl feed my pussycat.The Rosin goes on the bow by ruffing it up and rubbing up and down the bow hair after tightening the end screw. Aaaaggghh!

Jeffrey, I'm sorry but I am fed up with spoon feeding players on here now.

But I am grateful for the ones who have gone to great trouble to help me.

Love Ya!

XXX

Edited by morgana
I hadn't finished

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19 hours ago, Evan Smith said:

Georgie Sweets,,,

That was simply marvelous,

Right on track

Thank you for that very refreshing and much needed slap!

Yes three degrees,,, as temperature goes,, not much but just enough!

Not hot enough Yet,,,, to burst into flame, temperatures rising, tis, the end of the game.

What a shame,,,,,,

Didn't realize,,,,,, So it would would take care of the C on Viola, that does make sense, my Bar's and marbles are loose.

And could use such much needed stability, though they don't realize it yet.

On a heavy cheap one only the outside would do, it's dense and stubborn and will have  to be to be forced to change or else, all is lost.

Not to worry, Hell is bright and clear, where all is purified, it burns forever,

Don't all Violas go there?

And the grain crossing at 33, very interesting to think about.

And Think I will.

Evan

Ta Evan Bobien! You know a good few things and are eloquence of epic proportions and I bow gracefully to you, my Cutie Bach, Bora Da, my little petit fleur, Viv la liberation! Nes pa? Zee hot house is there to keep The rarest orchid, as well as the Venus Fly trap.

xxx

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19 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Henceforth, there shall be no more quirkiness or levity on Maestronet. And no more posting when blood alcohol levels exceed .48. Dave hereby decrees! :angry:

(On second thought, then we might not have anyone posting at all) :lol:

Exactemonty mine Fuhrer. I agree with everything you say, all the time. Just keep thinking about that vibrating pumping bridge foot allignment tool on youtube. I was erm...oh sorry Jr Levity...I'm going somewhere where we can forget.

Georgeenie Weenie, loved by all..

and she's mine All mine. Ha! I think we are entering our Mauve period here.

Confused? Me too. Dead Siamese cat. Still upset. But getting drunk now so I hope you and your lovely wife are good xxx

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20 hours ago, uncle duke said:

He was banned before I joined here and to this day the only fault of his that I can find , if it can be a fault, was that he wasn't a professionally trained workman pertaining to violins.  Some didn't like that.

I don't see how one could logically come to that conclusion, since there are many people posting here who haven't had professional training, and some of them post some very valuable stuff.

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20 hours ago, martin swan said:

It certainly crushes the table's fibres, possibly ensuring better contact and conductance of vibrations :ph34r:

Personally I feel that high soundpost tension is from every point of view a BAD THING, and should be seen as an in extremis remedial measure for a bad sounding violin ... by high tension I mean a post that doesn't move easily with a slight pinching of the ribs.

Just my opinion ...

Martin, that IS the CORRECT answer, not only your opinion. I stand by you. Mikey hun, I'm in love with you and want a warm milky bedtime story, instead of ego induced endorphine leaden misery about silly sound posts to mask the utterly wonderful nature, cruel, callousness we need to really be at one with each other. Give me a cyber hug you gorgeous man!!! Now damn it!!! Lol! Aww no lets talk nicely and remember the oldies who helped you and me in our entre innocently going into the world of lonely COD obsession with the devils' plaything. We all need a break, and as a message from old Abraham who was a lovely old lad, prophet of pearls worth more than even a broken heart couldn't mend.

He said, to cut the shape of the sound post, offer up the back of the violin to an uncut round of spruce, aged and flat, then place it on that back, where the sound post position will be, then draw a line across it's girth after tilting flattened end, with pencil crossed at base of back end. Making sure that the grain of the spruce is at at less than 45 degrees., then turn the post on opposite end and offer it up to the front at that same append in conjunction to that back plate. Then mark the spot in the same way with pencil, draw a line on tilted end, then cut through sharp tool need you. Beforehand also measures made of said post from gauge inserted into right handed F hole to make the size completely correct and mark with a circle a cross inside said instrument, at the only place a pencil will go at the back, you know.

Remember to mark the top and bottom as well or only something forgot, ten will be a gravely waster of your time, and put you out of your sure sense of mind.

Then cut with a sharp knife across the pencilled marks, be true be bold and make it not blather the edges, a crisp snap is better in long rounds, than miserly short edges.

 

Remember always to work upside down but the cut is sharper than Georgies tongue, and then use a sharpened tongue, with a careful eye as you place it's spiritual gift inside.

God Be With You xxx

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On 2/20/2020 at 6:31 AM, David Burgess said:

It's not that I would plan to tilt a post, counting on a known and predictable sonic or playing effect from doing so. Instead, I have the notion that there is an optimal position on the top, and an optimal position on the back, and that there's no reason to believe that a vertical line would happen to pass through the center of each.

A lot of this positioning, for me, Is initially trial and error, trying to notice and establish trends applicable to that particular instrument as I go. But if an instrument comes in with a really crooked post that seems to fit pretty well, I will suspect that this was done for a reason, and will try to memorialize the position before changing anything. I might need to go back to it, and knowing how it was positioned previously can be a lot faster than starting over from scratch.

Very commendable. 

I've had more than one instrument that has sounded immeasurably better with a slightly slanted post. One of them is my wife's, and it is extremely touchy...a straight post cuts a good deal of the tone and responsiveness out.

Sometimes I have made a post for a fiddle, and noted that it is slightly slanted either N/S or E/W, and sounded great, and then make a new one straighter just to see if it will improve, and  end up using the first.post anyway. 

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On 2/19/2020 at 4:26 PM, Shunyata said:

On a related note, what tonal impact should I expect if a post is too far south?

In my (comparatively limited) experience, moving the post south gives the instrument a more open, mellow tone...to a point. Then it starts sounding fuzzy and develops a "cheap"  quality to the sound.

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12 hours ago, morgana said:

I'm just finishing work at this ungodly hour, and just have been going through a 16 inch brand new, cheapest of the cheap unbranded....

OMG that viola actually sounds very good. Not the same viola! It's powerful, resonant, wonderfully dynamic and even though it needs to be a bit higher on the G string it is so much better. I have learned from all of that work that as long as everything on the instrument is correct in terms of weight, depth etc. .....

Nah, it finally just wore you down. Believing it sounds better allows you to finally take a break from working on it. ;)

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9 hours ago, morgana said:

if anyone carves their own sound post or uses a machine to shape it, I congratulate you if you are good at whittling a circular dowel.

During my days when I wanted to be like Errol Flynn I would take a section of metal U channel longer than the length of the arrow I wanted to make, lay the squared stock in the u channel, plane to octagon shape and then chuck one end of proposed arrow into an electric hand drill and then shape with sandpaper to whichever diameter needed. 

With the use of a dust mask/respirator and a glove for the sandpaper holding hand this is also a decent way to make a length of soundpost material for several instruments.  Use a micrometer preset from 5.8 to 6.2 mm carefully to check diameter before removing from the drill.  Use good wood.

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5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I don't see how one could logically come to that conclusion, since there are many people posting here who haven't had professional training, and some of them post some very valuable stuff.

Granted I have not spent hours daily reading older posts about he but from what I did read it just didn't seem fair to the guy.  

These were just incidences where I was just lurking/searching different subjects and he'd be there somewheres.  After reading I'm like man, he sure does take a beating.  I've noticed that over at the other violin website some too.  Someones asked a question, Lyndon replies first and then kaboom, someone let's him have it soon afterwards.  

I just happen along afterwards in a later time period and see or read what can happen to one person when everyone gangs up on him.  Didn't seem fair to me and I'll admit I don't know the whole story or stories, maybe better to leave at at that.  Did I learn anything while reading such - no except maybe to earn a potential customers trust dealing with rehabbed fiddles.   

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On 2/22/2020 at 9:19 AM, martin swan said:

It certainly crushes the table's fibres, possibly ensuring better contact and conductance of vibrations :ph34r:

Personally I feel that high soundpost tension is from every point of view a BAD THING, and should be seen as an in extremis remedial measure for a bad sounding violin ... by high tension I mean a post that doesn't move easily with a slight pinching of the ribs.

Just my opinion ...

This is a great post (pun) on addressing how tight is tight. Clear and concise, especially usful for amatuer makers like myself.

Cheers,

Jim

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On 2/22/2020 at 9:19 AM, martin swan said:

Personally I feel that high soundpost tension is from every point of view a BAD THING, and should be seen as an in extremis remedial measure for a bad sounding violin ... by high tension I mean a post that doesn't move easily with a slight pinching of the ribs.

Just my opinion ...

While I can agree, what are some dealers or adjusters supposed to do when a megabuck fiddle won't otherwise come up to snuff?

I don't like it, but will readily acknowledge that some tweaks and workarounds have kept the myth going.

I have spent countless hours, trying to make various fiddles live up to their reputation.

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44 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

While I can agree, what are some dealers or adjusters supposed to do when a megabuck fiddle won't otherwise come up to snuff?

I don't like it, but will readily acknowledge that some tweaks and workarounds have kept the myth going.

I have spent countless hours, trying to make various fiddles live up to their reputation.

So much depends on the context when a violin comes in under the weather.

If it belongs to the dealer, I would say it’s their duty to show it in the best condition they can, while preserving as much of the originality as is reasonable . If a luthier has identified a structural concern, it’s important to rectify it to avoid problems down the road.

If it belongs to a collector, I think it’s important to preserve as much originality as possible, and that might mean keeping something that doesn’t necessarily sound great in one’s own opinion. If there is a structural issue, take care of it conservatively. 

If a player comes in with it, they need the sound to be at its best for their style. Sometimes instruments come in with posts that don’t work for the climate they are suddenly experiencing. If the concert or recital is the same day I don’t like to take down a setup unless it’s a last resort and the artist insists. I want to make changes to soundpost position that will be helpful but will not make the instrument perform in a way that will affect playing and response to the extent that the instrument will feel like its character has changed. The player comes in with a memory of the sound they liked, and it’s my job to get back to that as efficiently as possible without worrying them by taking things apart. If there is a concern about the soundpost tension, I’ll certainly share it with the artist, but I’ll do it as respectfully as I can.

One of  the advantages of “megabuck fiddles” is that they usually come in with setups done at the highest level, so only micro adjustments are necessary. 

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Maybe players who have a concert the next day but feel the sound of their fiddle has gone just need a pat on the head. A Morel-like audible bash of the post without actually moving anything is worth trying first ...

ps I know I’m going to regret this post :ph34r:

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