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Bad sounding c on e string (violin)


Jwillis
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Hello the other day playing I noticed around the c note on the e string sounded horrible. I’ve never notice this before.....weak like a sympathetic vibrations cancels out the note?  Could this be caused by the fine tuner?  That is the only thing I can think of that may have changed.  I had a old witnauer long one and put a hill style on. Could this be it or what?  Thanks

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Odd notes (ead or harsh) on the E string are generally easy to fix.

I agree with Dwight that you should try different fine tuners as this may simply be an afterlength issue, but often a tiny movement of the right leg of the bridge will fix it ... most times I find that nasty notes on the E are to do with a poor bridge fit, either badly fitting overall or just slightly out of position.

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Thanks everyone. I will try all of your suggestions. Yeah I have played this violin for many years and just out of the blue it started. I did move the bridge ever so slightly but it’s still choking out at the same spot.  I will admit the entire violin sounded better with the bridge tweak.  It couldn’t have been more than a mm or two.  WAY better sound.  Kinda amazing how sensitive little changes can make. Next I’m going to swap out the tuner... 

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1 hour ago, Jwillis said:

Thanks everyone. I will try all of your suggestions. Yeah I have played this violin for many years and just out of the blue it started. I did move the bridge ever so slightly but it’s still choking out at the same spot.  I will admit the entire violin sounded better with the bridge tweak.  It couldn’t have been more than a mm or two.  WAY better sound.  Kinda amazing how sensitive little changes can make. Next I’m going to swap out the tuner... 

Small adjustments to the bridge mean tenths of a mm. A mm or two is huge. 

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7 hours ago, Jwillis said:

Hello the other day playing I noticed around the c note on the e string sounded horrible. I’ve never notice this before.....weak like a sympathetic vibrations cancels out the note?  Could this be caused by the fine tuner?  That is the only thing I can think of that may have changed.  I had a old witnauer long one and put a hill style on. Could this be it or what?  Thanks

Are you sure the new tuner is correctly tightened, and seats properly onto the underside of the tailpiece?
If it was fine before, and now isn't, something is either loose or has moved. Check the tailpiece fret too.

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14 hours ago, Jwillis said:

I just had the board dressed within the year but will check

Not many do this well, so it's worth having a look at it, and if you play a lot there could easily be enough wear in a year to cause problems.  I agree with Nathan that moving a bridge a few mm is a LOT.  Good Luck with it.

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1 minute ago, Mark Norfleet said:

Not many do this well, so it's worth having a look at it, and if you play a lot there could easily be enough wear in a year to cause problems.  I agree with Nathan that moving a bridge a few mm is a LOT.  Good Luck with it.

Thanks Mark. I might have been a bit ambitious with my estimate but it was at least a mm.  It sorta looked like it migrated toward the treble side. I changed strings not long ago and probably pulled the A up a little too fast not realizing the bridge moved slightly.  Made a load of difference. I know this violins board is softer because I have dirty finger prints after about an hour of play so you might be right 

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Some things I've noticed that seem to cause unevenness of a string, including what you describe.  Very low violin humidity.  Trying to play more quietly than usual (notes scaling in loudness differently).  String that could stand being replaced.  Slight tuning difference, bringing out something that's usually hidden "in the cracks" between two notes.  Bridge not in optimal vertical position.  Also, often the effect is more noticeable to you up close than to somebody three or four feet away, fwiw.  Less pressure and more speed may help even it out too

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On 2/13/2021 at 9:57 AM, Jwillis said:

.....weak like a sympathetic vibrations cancels out the note?  

I don't see many things that could vibrate sympathetically at that frequency.  Afterlengths are too short (higher frequency) and the other open strings don't appear to have any harmonics that line up close enough.  The one thing that might be in that range is a tailpiece vibration at the lower end, sprung by the tailgut.  Easy to check... put a glob of clay on the lower end of the tailpiece, or if you have an over-the-tailpiece chinrest, you could wedge something in there.

That would be my best guess.  Fingerboard issues I think would also exhibit some buzzing, and bridge placement would have a significant impact on sound in a broad sense, but wouldn't seem likely to me to have a huge effect on just one note.  I could be wrong, though.

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On 2/13/2021 at 6:57 PM, Jwillis said:

Hello the other day playing I noticed around the c note on the e string sounded horrible. I’ve never notice this before.....weak like a sympathetic vibrations cancels out the note?  Could this be caused by the fine tuner?  That is the only thing I can think of that may have changed.  I had a old witnauer long one and put a hill style on. Could this be it or what?  Thanks

Pluck your string afterlenths and hear if the note appear there. The afterlengths are often by part overerwound silk on the strings. A mute may be mounted there as well. 

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It appears to be a fingerboard/low bridge issue.  I personally like the strings a little lower than is customary.  I usually play with a heavier gauge e but had put a thinner one on not long ago. Seems like it sits ever so slightly lower in the bridge notch. This was catching a vibration somewhere down the fingerboard because the scoop doesn’t seem overly pronounced. It just would happen to be that note because that is where the issue was happening on the fingerboard.  Perhaps there is a slight hump that isn’t perceptible to the eye. I put a bridge protector plastic thing I’d ordered on an it was just enough lift of the e to stop it.  Thanks for all the help everyone! 

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On 2/20/2021 at 7:33 AM, Jwillis said:

I put a bridge protector plastic thing I’d ordered on an it was just enough lift of the e to stop it.

Wow, this was a fortuitously timely thread for me. I was experiencing the same problem, only it was b on the e-string. I replaced the string and the "wolf" moved to g on the e-string. After reading your experience, I examined the bridge protector, and noticed that the e-string had cut into it a bit. (It was at least 10 years old.) After replacing it, and letting it dry overnight, the "wolf" disappeared. thank_you.gif.11470a7a36677423eaf8339ca3d2cabc.gif

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