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Shunyata

Controlling Bridge Vibration

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My most recent build seems to have much more resonance (sympathetic vibration on open strings) than my 100 yr old daily-use violin. 

These resonances seem to damp out at the same rate as my old violin, but they somehow seem more intense to me.  But this may simply be due to the fact that the tonal color is generally a little "sharper" on a newly made violin and my ear simply isn't use to hearing it.  Or maybe the vibration amplitude really is greater.

The resonances seem to be fading a bit as the instrument plays in, but again maybe I am just getting used to it.

Overstand, projection height, and bridge thickness are all standard.  Sound post is well south of the bridge foot.

Top is old growth red spruce, with wider grain than I would like.  More dense than usual spruce.  Top graduation is a little on the thicker side, around 2.5mm.  Instrument is very responsive with full tone (slightly weaker around the C natural notes, but getting stronger as it plays in).  The G and E strings are awesome! Have Pirasto Evah Gold strings on it.

 

What setup or construction choices affect these resonances?

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5 hours ago, Shunyata said:

Top is old growth red spruce, with wider grain than I would like.  More dense than usual spruce. 

Top graduation is a little on the thicker side, around 2.5mm. 

Instrument is very responsive with full tone (slightly weaker around the C natural notes, but getting stronger as it plays in).  

What setup or construction choices affect these resonances?

I like using red spruce.  It's a hardier wood and one can go thinner if need be imo.  Wish I had some more of it.

How much of the wood is 2.5 mm?  Around 2.5 mm like you say could be too thick still in some places and not thick enough at other areas.

Slightly weaker at the C's usually means still too much material left on the neck as well as the fingerboard.  If there's no wolf problem {unplayable notes} maybe leave well enough alone.   

If you've really been lurking over the years like most do then you'll find other makers mentioning that it takes quite a few builds to really know what happening or what to do to get things close to right the first time.  Well. they're not lying - it takes time to realize that what you used to think is best for your early violin builds turns out later down the road that the thought out theories by yourself or influenced by others just doesn't quite cut the mustard.  It simply takes 15 to 20 builds just like they say.  I'm at 15 when I start up again and even I'm not really, really sure what is exactly 100% right, if there is such a thing.

Live handling of master grade instruments can help some if the discipline and patience is there to begin with. 

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5 hours ago, Shunyata said:

What setup or construction choices affect these resonances?

All of them.

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Weigh the current bridge and cut a new one that is a bit heavier. 

Resonance is usually considered a good thing. Does it really make the violin sound bad, or are you objecting to it simply because it is different that your other violin?

 

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The top is 2.5-2.7mm in the lungs and closer to 3mm in the plate center.  About 3.3mm right at the sound post. The neck and scroll are a little heavy.  Each scroll iteration gets better, but I need to refine it even further.  The necks come out too bulky even when I take more off that the last time.  Also need to lighten the heel.

The violin sounds better the more I play it.  I think it may be just a matter of a new violin having a less warm sound than an old one.  I am having a professional try it out early next week, so I will have another opinion.

My concern is that the resonances persist to the point of muddying the Sound.  But I can't judge this under the ear.  I need someone else to play it for me.

 

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Would moving the sound post northward damp the resonances.  My own observation is that northward tends to choke the tone overall, and to alter the balance between the D string and the others.  So I am loathe to do this.

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Have to ask this: moving the post north is faster than typing the question, so why have you typed the question rather than done the act? THAT is how you find out. You will discover immediately how it sounds, and if you don't like it, then you move it back.

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While I am duly shamed by your answer, I can only say that getting the sound post in a particular spot is difficult for me.  (Don't have much experience yet.)

I would save myself the risk of chipping my varnish if someone said, "No, Don't move the post. That is a stupid idea."

But I hang my head and acknowledge that I should be more responsible for my own skill development.

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1 hour ago, Shunyata said:

The violin sounds better the more I play it.  I think it may be just a matter of a new violin having a less warm sound than an old one.

I often find that freshly minted violins will have strong resonances that verge on wolfing, but don't produce a corresponding amount of sound.  Things usually smooth out over the next few days and weeks.

A heavier bridge is what you'd use to cut down on the high-frequency sound, but won't have much effect on the lower frequency resonances you apparently are concerned about.

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

Have to ask this: moving the post north is faster than typing the question, so why have you typed the question rather than done the act? THAT is how you find out. You will discover immediately how it sounds, and if you don't like it, then you move it back.

Pretty much agreed. With all the TV shows and movies where everything is resolved in 1/2 to three hours, why would a youngster place importance on longer time frames? 300 years of learning is much more challenging to learn and accommodate, than what comes up on the latest Facebook post.

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21 hours ago, Shunyata said:

My most recent build seems to have much more resonance (sympathetic vibration on open strings) than my 100 yr old daily-use violin. 

These resonances seem to damp out at the same rate as my old violin, but they somehow seem more intense to me.  But this may simply be due to the fact that the tonal color is generally a little "sharper" on a newly made violin and my ear simply isn't use to hearing it.  Or maybe the vibration amplitude really is greater.

The resonances seem to be fading a bit as the instrument plays in, but again maybe I am just getting used to it.

Overstand, projection height, and bridge thickness are all standard.  Sound post is well south of the bridge foot.

Top is old growth red spruce, with wider grain than I would like.  More dense than usual spruce.  Top graduation is a little on the thicker side, around 2.5mm.  Instrument is very responsive with full tone (slightly weaker around the C natural notes, but getting stronger as it plays in).  The G and E strings are awesome! Have Pirasto Evah Gold strings on it.

 

What setup or construction choices affect these resonances?

my last violin had stronger sustain on the E string  and I love it.  But I am a folk musician where that is probably more important.  My experience with sympathetic vibrations is really limited, but again very important to folk musicians.  Gosh, those Swedish violins have extra strings just to augment the effect. 

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2 hours ago, Shunyata said:

While I am duly shamed by your answer, I can only say that getting the sound post in a particular spot is difficult for me.  (Don't have much experience yet.)

I would save myself the risk of chipping my varnish if someone said, "No, Don't move the post. That is a stupid idea."

But I hang my head and acknowledge that I should be more responsible for my own skill development.

Shunyata, do yourself a huge favor. Go onto the internet and find the cheapest "beater" violin you can, one you will not care about "hurting" use this violin as a teaching aid. Use the violin to OVER AND OVER AGAIN knock out, reset the post, once you get good at removing and resetting, then you can move to "knocking" tapping" "scooting" the position by whacking it with the setter.

If you only practice this skill on new violins that you make, it will take forever to get this down and you will never gain the skill and confidence needed to "tweak" the sound, which in the long run, is one of the most important skills you can have.

You can become the best builder, but if you do not learn the last part of "sound adjustment" you will be forever kneecapped with your abilities.

So, go get something for 50$ that you don't care if you damage and start tap,tap,tapping your way to better sounding violins.

Trust me, even after 20 removal and resets your confidence will be built up way more than if you do not do this, after an hour of whacking through the ff's , it will be way more comfortable and not so nerve racking.

And if you do it 100 times and put in many hours of post whacking, you will see it will be a piece of cake 

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2 hours ago, Shunyata said:

The neck and scroll are a little heavy.  Each scroll iteration gets better, but I need to refine it even further.  The necks come out too bulky even when I take more off that the last time.  Also need to lighten the heel.

Possibly, but why have you come to this conclusion so early on in the game? After many years of dinking around, I'm liking my necks and scrolls on the heavy side.

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I will do exactly as you all suggest!

I have an otherwise reasonable violin with crapped up the finish.  It is an earlier build where I didn't handle the ground right and wound up with poor adhesion.  In addition, my overall workmanship isn't up to my current level.  So i won't worry about banging it up, but will be working with good enough quality to actually learn some things.

Let the sound post setting practice and positional studies begin!

Are there any position experiments this group would be interested in seeing?  (Please don't ask me to tilt soundposts just yet!)

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1 minute ago, David Burgess said:

Possibly, but why have you come to this conclusion so early on in the game? After many years of dinking around, I'm liking my necks and scrolls on the heavy side.

I was responding to someone else's suggestion that a bulkier neck was affecting tone. I don't know if that is actually true, but it's worth investigating. 

Myself, I prefer playing with a bulkier, rounder, less steep/less oval profile.  It makes it easier for larger hands to support the violin during vibrato.

I learned my scroll working from a bulkier Guarneri scroll template.  And i think i have gotten pretty refined in my control of its shaping.  But I have always had an eye for some of the lighter scrolls I see on some of the French instruments.

And my neck heels are simply to deep by about 3mm.  Makes highest positions on the E string even more challenging! I've written this down on my reminder poster in my workshop.  (My first entry is don't cut the button off.  My second is don't cut the neck mortise upside down.)

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57 minutes ago, Shunyata said:

I will do exactly as you all suggest!

I have an otherwise reasonable violin with crapped up the finish.  It is an earlier build where I didn't handle the ground right and wound up with poor adhesion.  In addition, my overall workmanship isn't up to my current level.  So i won't worry about banging it up, but will be working with good enough quality to actually learn some things.

Let the sound post setting practice and positional studies begin!

Are there any position experiments this group would be interested in seeing?  (Please don't ask me to tilt soundposts just yet!)

beyond getting it in and out easy, beyond getting it so you don't damage the plates too much, beyond all that, be concerned about north, south east west, but REALLY be concerned not so much with what you "see" but more so with how what you "see" correlates to what you hear, or changes it.

Something to think about getting good at with this all is to remove the tension from the strings enough to be able to knock things about, but not have to break it all down, that way, you can loosen the strings, do some adjusting, and then tune back up, and immediately hear what you did, if at all possible, this is the main goal of post moving/hopeful sound adjustment, to do it as quickly as possible without needing to break it all down, and of course not damage anything.

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