Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

“Trapped” sound


Mystic
 Share

Recommended Posts

I recently acquired an unmarked (except for the Strad star on the scroll eye and on the bridge) violin from 1936 per a date on the bridge.  It has a one piece top and back with quite nice flaming, nice arching,  is fairly well made. It has very little wear and has, what  I am assuming is the original bridge, in “ like new” condition. I did the set up. It has great resonance when the strings are plucked BUT when I bow it, the sound sounds trapped.  I’ve worked with sound post adjustments and no change in the trappedness. Here’s the thing.... the f holes are really, really, REALLY narrow. I had a choice of using a fractional sound post or sanding down a standard. I chose the later. A very tight fit. Could the narrowness of the sound holes and limited air movement be the contributing factor? My instinct says yes, but I’m a tinkerer, not a luthier. 

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My opinion, based on some theory and a bunch of testing, is that the narrow F holes aren't a big factor.  I would suspect some other construction feature... wood thickness, density, or the like.

What is the weight without chinrest, and what are the body dimensions?  That might give a clue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

 

What is the weight without chinrest, and what are the body dimensions?  That might give a clue.

421.69g

lob 357

upper 168

mid 112

lower 209 

with a rib height of 31 

taken with tape, not calipers.

30 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

What are the dimensions of the f holes?

If your neighbor is playing pleasant music you like should you open or close your window more? 

 

F holes are 70 long with the very widest at the notch 5.5.

mensur is 195

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Mystic said:

421.69g

With the caveat that I'm a lightweight builder, that looks to be somewhat heavy.  My average (for 17 violins) is 387g without chinrest.  On the other hand, the Cannone weight has been given as 434g, so heavy can work (according to some).  And on the third hand, most student bricks that I've encountered have been even heavier than that. 

I think a lot comes down to the wood itself, where you can have wood that speaks or wood that mumbles.  The maker matters as well... not just from what they do with the wood, but in selecting good tonewood in the first place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, so here’s another thought to throw into the mix...

i just spent some time playing it and changed my bowing style. I got very aggressive, put much more pressure on the bow than usual and it doesn’t sound muffled. Thinking back...the strings are not top quality. I got them off Amazon quite awhile ago and they were really inexpensive....$12

I’ll swap out the strings and see what I get.

Thank you for all your thoughts and input.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On December 31, 2020 at 1:18 PM, Don Noon said:

On the other hand, the Cannone weight has been given as 434g, so heavy can work

It does work. My copy of the cannon came down to 432g. It sounded very rough sitting close to the performer in a 256 seat hall, but very clear in the back of the hall. 

Least we should not forget that the cannon has still its original heavy neck and 3 iron nails in the top block adding at least 10g to its weight compared to modern standard setup. (Could be up to 20g)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/31/2020 at 12:20 AM, Mystic said:

Roughly? I’d say around 5.5 mm. I sanded off just enough from a 6mm post to make it slide in without risking the wood. And even then, it only fits at the very widest, where the nicks are.

You can drop as big a soundpost as you want through the lower eye, then spear it with your setter. Getting it in and out this way becomes easy with a bit of practice. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

It does work. My copy of the cannon came down to 432g. It sounded very rough sitting close to the performer in a 256 seat hall, but very clear in the back of the hall. 

 

This ties to my husbands comment when I first played it in an aggressive manner. It sounded really rough under ear but he was at the other end of the house and said it sounded really good. I just thought he was being kind. I think I’ll set up my recording equipment at a distance and see what I think. This may turn out to be a more interesting violin than I paid for. 

Thank you all for your comments!

Much appreciated food for thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

you're the one being foolish, thin the soundpost like you're supposed to, don't make tonnes of extra work for yourself.

It's hardly any extra work at all. Hope the 15 second video works!

Sound post diameter should be based on what works for the instrument, not what will fit through the stem of the f-hole.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/1/2021 at 4:00 AM, Bodacious Cowboy said:

You can drop as big a soundpost as you want through the lower eye, then spear it with your setter. Getting it in and out this way becomes easy with a bit of practice. 

Thank you. I wasn’t aware. I have a junker for practicing with, I’ll give it a try. I figure the more tools in the mental toolbox, the better. 

The video was interesting.

Is there a clean release tape or something to protect the edges of the f holes to prevent damage while fishing around with the setter? The sound of metal grating on the edges makes me a little queasy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, Mystic said:

Thank you. I wasn’t aware. I have a junker for practicing with, I’ll give it a try. I figure the more tools in the mental toolbox, the better. 

The video was interesting.

Is there a clean release tape or something to protect the edges of the f holes to prevent damage while fishing around with the setter? The sound of metal grating on the edges makes me a little queasy.

There's negligible contact between the setter and the f-hole. If I was doing this properly, without being distracted by a precariously balanced iPhone camera, there would be none. The sounds you hear are mostly wood to wood contact between the post and the box. The setter is actually no closer to the edges than it would be when inserting/removing through the stem. And there's no "fishing around". Everything is completely controlled.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/30/2020 at 10:18 PM, Don Noon said:

With the caveat that I'm a lightweight builder, that looks to be somewhat heavy.  My average (for 17 violins) is 387g without chinrest.  On the other hand, the Cannone weight has been given as 434g, so heavy can work (according to some).  And on the third hand, most student bricks that I've encountered have been even heavier than that. 

I think a lot comes down to the wood itself, where you can have wood that speaks or wood that mumbles.  The maker matters as well... not just from what they do with the wood, but in selecting good tonewood in the first place.

Gosh I hope to hear one of your instruments some time. Wish you made cellos but you said you don’t. But sure would like to compare you v or vla with others I’ve heard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Mystic

One of the things I teach my kids the proper ratio of bow speed to bow weight and how to optimize that ratio for the desired color and volume.

I just had an “Aha” moment when you were describing “rough under the ear, good far away” and realized that-possibly-a rough under-the-ear sound isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending on the degree of toughness.

I would be very grateful, if you have the facilities, if you would make a recording with two microphones, one essentially under the ear and the other a distance away. Then play the same passage gentle and rough and compare the difference.

Edit: I will try the same thing myself, though the Mics will be IPhones and therefore not glorious.

Edited by PhilipKT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Gosh I hope to hear one of your instruments some time. Wish you made cellos but you said you don’t. But sure would like to compare you v or vla with others I’ve heard.

VSA 2022 should be good.  Other than that, you'll have to just go with video clips that I post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Change your strings - that's for sure. What was mentioned above the case can also be bow pressure, attack. 

I would check also the projection, maybe the 'original' bridge is too low. 

Soundpost perfect fit should be secured.

According to strings maybe worth trying is to temporarily put a heavier gauge E string i.e. Westminster E, next to a better grade than Amazon's other ones. 

Last but not least - maybe your violin needs also some time to get use to sing again.

Regards

J

Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

@Mystic

 

I would be very grateful...

Until you heard my playing.... I’m a second year student (if you don’t count the failed attempts in my youth). But I’m meeting with my teacher on Thursday and I’ll see if she will give it a go. It will be much more pleasant for all.

its been an interesting journey learning to play and at the same time, learning about violin construction and set up. I’ve bought old “junkers” on the low cheap to mess around with and to my great surprise and delight, after doing (simple) repairs and working through learning proper set up, several of them have turned out to be very nice and sometimes challenging players, like this one, that have taught me more about playing than if I’d just stayed with my original, quite adequate, inherited violin. 

It may be an addiction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...