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Mystic

A Wolf at my door

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I just got a violin (<100 eBay) and it has a tremendous wolf at C on the A string. I’ve never encountered one before. I’ve been reading a bunch here about all the different causes. 

When I hit that C, the whole neck vibrates heavily. Is this a clear indicator of the root cause of the wolf? The neck is very thin.

 

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It is worth adding a temporary mass to the underside of the fingerboard, and moving it around to see if it will stop.
Something like blu tack, or blu tack and a small coin is a good starting point.

Given the value of the instrument, I doubt either the strings or set up will be good, so you may need to look at a range of other factors too.

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9 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

It is worth adding a temporary mass to the underside of the fingerboard, and moving it around to see if it will stop.
Something like blu tack, or blu tack and a small coin is a good starting point.

Given the value of the instrument, I doubt either the strings or set up will be good, so you may need to look at a range of other factors too.

It came as a blank slate. I did the set up myself and have tried different size sound posts and different bridges and positions.  I put a fine tuner on, I’ve tried parchment at the nut,  I even tried a wad of pliable rubber eraser on the after string. Everything else sounds phenomenally good. I’ll give your idea a try. Thanks!

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30 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

It is worth adding a temporary mass to the underside of the fingerboard, and moving it around to see if it will stop.
Something like blu tack, or blu tack and a small coin is a good starting point.

Worth experimenting with.

13 minutes ago, Mystic said:

It came as a blank slate. I did the set up myself and have tried different size sound posts and different bridges and positions.  I put a fine tuner on, I’ve tried parchment at the nut,  I even tried a wad of pliable rubber eraser on the after string.

Experiments are just a normal part of the learning curve. Might be better or worse than what one can read off the internet.

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Since you are messing with posts, try cutting one that's a bit closer to the bridge than you have been trying, and fit it tighter than you have been. Make sure it fits, or we'll have other problems. If this seems to do something you like, mess around more in that general direction.

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I tried the weight under the finger board trying different weights and location. No go. BUT I tried a much larger glop of eraser on the after string, right up next to the bridge and that worked!

so... knowledgeable ones, do I just have to go through life with a booger on the string or is there a forehead slapping easy solution? 

I read the trick about the eraser on this site but I’m not finding it now and can’t remember what/if there was a real fix.

 

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10 minutes ago, Mystic said:

so... knowledgeable ones, do I just have to go through life with a booger on the string or is there a forehead slapping easy solution?

Uh, cut the post I suggested, perhaps?

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

Since you are messing with posts, try cutting one that's a bit closer to the bridge than you have been trying, and fit it tighter than you have been. Make sure it fits, or we'll have other problems. If this seems to do something you like, mess around more in that general direction.

Funny you should suggest that... when I first set it up, I could see the bridge wear, forward of the notch and I could see a mark where the post was set almost directly under the foot and I tsk tsk’d it because it looked all wrong. 

Messed around quite a bit....

Did some research, found out the violin was made by an actual, REAL luthier/ violin teacher early last century.

Funny how easily a sound post finds “home” when you let it.

But it still had the wolf. 

I’ll  mess around with the post some more....

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3 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

That's a sign that someone was trying to choke something. . . . like the wolf. The tight post will add to that effect.

Ahhhh... thank you for that key piece of information! The soundpost mark was also HUGE and I didn’t know what to make of it. That explained why there are abrasions  on the slightly larger bass side f hole. 

Thank you! I’m off to cut a tree.

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3 hours ago, Mystic said:

I tried the weight under the finger board trying different weights and location. No go. BUT I tried a much larger glop of eraser on the after string, right up next to the bridge and that worked!

so... knowledgeable ones, do I just have to go through life with a booger on the string or is there a forehead slapping easy solution? 

I read the trick about the eraser on this site but I’m not finding it now and can’t remember what/if there was a real fix.

 

I use Orvis heavy metal sink putty. Fishermen stick it on their lures to make them sink faster.  The putty is filled with tungsten (non toxic) metal powder which is very dense so you only need a small bit and its dark grey color also makes it hardly noticeable.

I've never tried it on a violin but it does help my violas sink faster.

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9 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I use Orvis heavy metal sink putty. Fishermen stick it on their lures to make them sink faster.  The putty is filled with tungsten (non toxic) metal powder which is very dense so you only need a small bit and its dark grey color also makes it hardly noticeable.

I've never tried it on a violin but it does help my violas sink faster.

What are you using as bait? Caught anything interesting?

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20 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

That's a sign that someone was trying to choke something. . . . like the wolf. The tight post will add to that effect.

I’ve tightened the post which helped A LOT and  I got very precise with the tuning frequency of  A. If I can stay tuned between 440.6 - 441 it moves the wolf puppy between B and C. I can live with that. So THANK YOU!

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On 3/17/2020 at 4:16 PM, Mystic said:

I tried the weight under the finger board trying different weights and location. No go. BUT I tried a much larger glop of eraser on the after string, right up next to the bridge and that worked!

so... knowledgeable ones, do I just have to go through life with a booger on the string or is there a forehead slapping easy solution? 

I read the trick about the eraser on this site but I’m not finding it now and can’t remember what/if there was a real fix.

 

tiny pinch on fishing weight. try what Michael suggest's, try mass, a large blu tack mass right on the edge underside of the fingerboard, the very end.

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On 3/17/2020 at 10:34 PM, Mat Roop said:

Warning... Shameless self promotion...

Play around with one of these.... 

https://www.amazon.ca/Rezx-Patented-Violin-Modulator-Eliminator/dp/B07NYGTQ91/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=rezx&qid=1584498703&sr=8-7

or you can simulate the same effect with your own magnets. Its amazing what you learn by just messing around.

Cheers, Mat

Moving some small magnets around is an easy thing to try.  A good area to move them around is below the bottom eye of the  left f hole. 

But unfortunately it might also diminish the sound level of other notes.

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Just a cello player's ideas, but I am a tinkerer! My experience is that sometimes, some things that didn't seem to have any effect at all will start having being effective once you've changed something else, and sometimes getting rid of a problem can be done by a combination of many very little things. For instance, now that you have some success with the tightened post, the weight added to the fingerboard may help. Some things that still spring to mind is to mess around with the tailpiece : closer to the bridge can have an effect, or an extra fine tuner can, os simply a bigger one, or a stiffer tail cord. In extreme cases, cellists wedge a cork under the fingerboard (not too tightly!). What can also help a lot is the krentz frequency modulator (bit expensive), or you can try some rare earth magnets of different weights on different locations on the plate. Ah yes, and on violins, the chin rest can also make a difference! 

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With a normal tension sound post, I would use some magnets,, (they don't have to be huge),,, moving them around on the top and back to see if anything can be accomplished there.

Then do what Michael suggested, and maybe between the two approaches, nothing will be overdone to mitigate it.

I would use what Michael said first without the weight, to see what you have there, then, take some tension off the post and see what can be done else where,,, then meet in the middle with all the info. Pieces of dense wood can be glued inside after they are weighed, a few small ones are better than one lump.

Do one thing at a time then combine the info, don't keep stacking changes on top of one another. One change affects another.

After some observation you may well see that one change won't have it's desired effect without the affect of another,,

Now,, are you thoroughly confused???????????

Testing by,, Putting a wedge under various places of the fingerboard, or tailpiece?

Then there is the gluing in of light stiff wood,,,(have to know where it goes)

But that's next seasons episode.

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The easy way to find the source of the wolf is to play the note while someone else runs their fingers around the top. There are two specific places that go wild when the wolf is played. One is about 35 mm below the bass f, and the other is about the same distance above. Pressing on these spots can erase the wolf, and that's where I would start with magnets. Then if you feel like the effect is killing other things, move away from that point in various directions to find the best location. This is something you can do on the fly. I use magnets about  5mm in diameter, 2mm thick, on inside, one outside.

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...and you might notice that when you find that you have killed the wolf... it appears elsewhere! So, keep experimenting until it moves off the instrument, or at least out of playing range.  Location of the magnets is most important but weight is also an influence.

Caution... if you are using larger flat magnets on the inside, build them up outside the instruments before you insert them thru the f hole, rather than adding more to the ones inside... otherwise, you may not find it easy to remove them later. Similarly if using them on a cello or bass with a steel rod, if you drop the magnet thru the f hole it will likely attach itself to the rod... then try getting it out!

 Cheers, Mat

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This is all GREAT information! Thank you! Yesterday I cut new fancy pegs and changed the tail piece which I’d planned to do anyway so while I was there I played around a bit  with the after length  during which,  that very carefully cut and tight fitting soundpost fell over....of course it did. Going back to square one, recutting/fitting a skosh bigger post, put it all back together and it’s way better, I’m not getting that strong vibration in the neck and it’s down to just a bit of a growl. It sounds kind of cool and I would just leave it but since my whole reason for messing around with  is to learn, onward I go. Next stop- magnets.

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You mention the neck, so my next question is how thick is the board at the edges, and how thick is the neck at each end just before the curve sets in. Thin necks have all their own problems, tonally. That buzz in the hand is a bad thing, not good.

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2 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

You mention the neck, so my next question is how thick is the board at the edges, and how thick is the neck at each end just before the curve sets in. Thin necks have all their own problems, tonally. That buzz in the hand is a bad thing, not good.

Fingerboard 5mm, top 3mm, bottom 2mm.

 But the buzz is gone now, apparently when I changed the after string length. Or maybe it was from reseating the sound post tighter, or maybe it was putting in new pegs, or maybe the violin gods just felt it was time to give me a break...

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