Setup question: too much sustain


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I've recently come across a problem with a client's violin (classical player). Her violin that she has played on-and-off since the seventies has recently become much more 'ringier', i.e. lots of sustain and very resonant. I played the instrument, and it is honestly the most ringiest violin I've ever played... to such an extent that it would have bothered me as well. The sound just carries on - almost guitar-like. Now from a setup perspective, I normally aim to increase the ring or sustain, not decrease it. An examination of the violin shows no glaring issues. As an initial attempt I tried shortening the post slightly and moving it closer to the bridge. And then I temporarily added some weight to the top of the bridge and the tailpiece, thinking that if this works, I can always make these changes permanent.

She reported back that the instrument is better, but not enough. So I'm asking for a bit of advice how to proceed. My ideas currently are:

  • Shortening the post more
  • Decreasing the afterlength
  • Different strings?
  • Change the bridge to a stiffer, heavier bridge
  • Different tailgut?
  • Maybe change the fingerboard resonance?

Any other advice?

 

 

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2 hours ago, b sharp said:

I've recently come across a problem with a client's violin (classical player). Her violin that she has played on-and-off since the seventies has recently become much more 'ringier', i.e. lots of sustain and very resonant. I played the instrument, and it is honestly the most ringiest violin I've ever played... to such an extent that it would have bothered me as well. The sound just carries on - almost guitar-like. Now from a setup perspective, I normally aim to increase the ring or sustain, not decrease it. An examination of the violin shows no glaring issues. As an initial attempt I tried shortening the post slightly and moving it closer to the bridge. And then I temporarily added some weight to the top of the bridge and the tailpiece, thinking that if this works, I can always make these changes permanent.

She reported back that the instrument is better, but not enough. So I'm asking for a bit of advice how to proceed. My ideas currently are:

  • Shortening the post more
  • Decreasing the afterlength
  • Different strings?
  • Change the bridge to a stiffer, heavier bridge
  • Different tailgut?
  • Maybe change the fingerboard resonance?

Any other advice?

 

 

The long sustain might be due to a large mismatch between the string impedance and the violin body impedance.  The string's vibrational energy is not being transferred to the body quickly and the result is a long ringing effect.

Two quick options are:

Decrease the body's impedance by using a less stiff, lighter bridge.  

Increase the string's impedance by using heavier tension strings.

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3 hours ago, b sharp said:

I've recently come across a problem with a client's violin (classical player). Her violin that she has played on-and-off since the seventies has recently become much more 'ringier', i.e. lots of sustain and very resonant. I played the instrument, and it is honestly the most ringiest violin I've ever played... to such an extent that it would have bothered me as well. The sound just carries on - almost guitar-like. Now from a setup perspective, I normally aim to increase the ring or sustain, not decrease it. An examination of the violin shows no glaring issues. As an initial attempt I tried shortening the post slightly and moving it closer to the bridge. And then I temporarily added some weight to the top of the bridge and the tailpiece, thinking that if this works, I can always make these changes permanent.

She reported back that the instrument is better, but not enough. So I'm asking for a bit of advice how to proceed. My ideas currently are:

  • Shortening the post more
  • Decreasing the afterlength
  • Different strings?
  • Change the bridge to a stiffer, heavier bridge
  • Different tailgut?
  • Maybe change the fingerboard resonance?

Any other advice?

 

 

Before jumping into all of that, it might be worth asking her if she has changed anything herself, such as chinrest, string brand, tailpiece etc. or if anyone else has worked on the instrument recently before you.
For it to have changed so markedly, something must be different to before.

I guess humidity could play a role, but as this is regularly changing, I'd have to assume it is something else.

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6 hours ago, b sharp said:

I've recently come across a problem with a client's violin (classical player). Her violin that she has played on-and-off since the seventies has recently become much more 'ringier', i.e. lots of sustain and very resonant. I played the instrument, and it is honestly the most ringiest violin I've ever played... to such an extent that it would have bothered me as well. The sound just carries on - almost guitar-like. Now from a setup perspective, I normally aim to increase the ring or sustain, not decrease it. An examination of the violin shows no glaring issues. As an initial attempt I tried shortening the post slightly and moving it closer to the bridge. And then I temporarily added some weight to the top of the bridge and the tailpiece, thinking that if this works, I can always make these changes permanent.

She reported back that the instrument is better, but not enough. So I'm asking for a bit of advice how to proceed. My ideas currently are:

  • Shortening the post more
  • Decreasing the afterlength
  • Different strings?
  • Change the bridge to a stiffer, heavier bridge
  • Different tailgut?
  • Maybe change the fingerboard resonance?

Any other advice?

 

 

Let it ring. It could be her thing. She could be famous as the Lady with the ringing violin. And she could say to her admirers "Yes, the rings the thing"

A solo career  beckons.

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On 11/2/2020 at 12:09 PM, Wood Butcher said:

Before jumping into all of that, it might be worth asking her if she has changed anything herself, such as chinrest, string brand, tailpiece etc. or if anyone else has worked on the instrument recently before you.
For it to have changed so markedly, something must be different to before.

I guess humidity could play a role, but as this is regularly changing, I'd have to assume it is something else.

Exactly. Does she store it  differently?

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So just some feedback.... i changed a lot on the violin: moved the bridge back to a more standard position, new heavier stiffer bridge, shortened afterlength, dropped the string height, and some soundpost work. It still rings, but less. Client is happier now, although, if it was my violin, i would have done less to kill the ring. It grew on me... very good fiddle!

I also asked about recent changes. Not much clarity, but the bridge did fall over recently and the FB was shaved. We've also had a change of seasons here from very dry to very wet. Maybe it was a combination of many things...

One thing I noticed was that the neck is very thin... 3-4mm less than normal. Maybe that affected the body resonance? But that doesn't count as a recent change...

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13 minutes ago, b sharp said:

 Client is happier now, although, if it was my violin, i would have done less to kill the ring. It grew on me... very good fiddle!

That's how I feel about a violin I own. I just think it has an upper harmonic response that is different to some others with a darker tone.

Comparisons about which has a better tone are moot.

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If nothing changed, then nothing should need to be changed to restore the original sound... period.

I am betting the bridge was located further south (perhaps accidentally) than it is now.  I have noted on some violins, particularly those with thicker tops, that north-south bridge adjustments really affect ring on the E string and the relative balance with the ring on the lower strings.  Super easy to check.

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A little while ago (March 10, 2010 in the topic "Ideal tailpiece string widths") Don Noon had mentioned that if the string spacings at the tailpiece were the same as at the bridge then string after lengths would be parallel and this would provide a more flexible connection with less damping than if the spacings were unequal.

The tailpiece string spacing might have an effect on the amount of ringing.

 

 

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The open strings ring longer than stopped strings because the open strings have a stiff hard short nut which produces low damping whereas the stopped strings have higher damping from the  wide fleshy fingertips.

This suggest that the physical properties of the player's fingertips might influence the "dinginess"  (our dumb MN spell checker wants to use "dinginess" instead of "ringiness") rather than the properties of the violin itself.

Players with narrow heavily callused finger tips might produce a more ringing sound from their violins.  The more you practice the more dinginess "ringiness" you get.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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