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Easy Rider?


gottawonder
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Just now, Mark Norfleet said:

Why not use a concentric cam? ;)

Because then I lose my commision. 

13 minutes ago, gottawonder said:

A disclaimer I might have included from the first had I realized how creative and entrepreneurial responses would get - I have no commercial interest in product or service mentioned in my posts!

Ok, I want 45%

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45 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Welcome to MN!

I can see immediately how it varies the total string deflection angle over the bridge (and therefore the afterlength, as well as the static force on the bridge).  With particular regard to the violin, however, how can it be "equivalent to a neck reset or higher or lower bridge" when it does nothing to vary the height of the strings over the fingerboard, which is possibly the most important result of a neck reset (or a bridge height change), for a violinist?  :)

I will disagree that the distance between the fingerboard and the strings is the most important result of a neck reset. In some cases, it can be, under a limited set of circumstances, and in other cases, not. I have not been able to find (so far) that John has claimed that his device is a way of altering the distance between the strings and the fingerboard.

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Friends, the point is that there is an optimal pressure on the bridge for each instrument.  How to find that pressure without re-setting the neck, re-planing the fingerboard, fitting a new bridge etc.?  Let's say you re-set the neck, only to discover that the optimal pressure existed before the changes are made.... whoops.   So, John's 'Saddle Rider' is an elegant solution for trying out various relationships of string angle over the bridge (pressure) before going to heroic lengths, and making some fairly permanent and costly alterations.  My own experience with the Saddle Rider afforded me a look into a possible future for my viola, in my individual case with a more relaxed tension.  This has now been achieved- I was confident of making a change, knowing that I was actually improving the playing and acoustic possibilities of my instrument.  Also, many readers may be playing on modern instruments, which undergo changes in the first 5-10 years, such as a sinking of the fingerboard, which causes the strings to be nearly unplayably elevated above the fingerboard in high positions.  Keep an eye out for that, and be open to the solutions that John is talking about.

Regards, M Hunter, Berliner Philharmoniker

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I will disagree that the distance between the fingerboard and the strings is the most important result of a neck reset. In some cases, it can be, under a limited set of circumstances, and in other cases, not. I have not been able to find (so far) that John has claimed that his device is a way of altering the distance between the strings and the fingerboard.

Since you, of all people, seem to have missed what I said as well as how carefully I said it, I'll restate.

  • I am not addressing the use of this device on the cello.  I'll leave that to cellists.
  • I am not addressing its use as removable experimental hardware.
  • I am specifically questioning the inventor's statement in his first post, "The changes it brings about with graduated precision are equivalent to a neck reset or higher or lower bridge."  (emphasis mine)
  • I am specifically limiting my remarks to the use of the device on violins as a possible alternative to neck resets (or changes in bridge height).  I feel that it would be unsuitable for that application.  This does not restrict its use in any other application.
  • I consider that one primary reason for a violin neck reset in the absence of catastrophic glue failure, is to decrease the string heights over the fingerboard back to what the player needs to make effective use of higher positions, by increasing the angle of the neck back to its original state (in the case of a modern violin).

I can see that the device may have many legitimate applications, and do not question these.  :)

 

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9 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Since you, of all people, seem to have missed what I said as well as how carefully I said it, I'll restate.

  • I am not addressing the use of this device on the cello.  I'll leave that to cellists.
  • I am not addressing its use as removable experimental hardware.
  • I am specifically questioning the inventor's statement in his first post, "The changes it brings about with graduated precision are equivalent to a neck reset or higher or lower bridge."  (emphasis mine)
  • I am specifically limiting my remarks to the use of the device on violins as a possible alternative to neck resets (or changes in bridge height).  I feel that it would be unsuitable for that application.  This does not restrict its use in any other application.
  • I consider that one primary reason for a violin neck reset in the absence of catastrophic glue failure, is to decrease the string heights over the fingerboard back to what the player needs to make effective use of higher positions, by increasing the angle of the neck back to its original state (in the case of a modern violin).

I can see that the device may have many legitimate applications, and do not question these.  :)

 

The OP's question and the inventor's solution concerns the string break angle and its effect on the downforce and thus the sound and possibly stress of the instrument.

Varying the angle with a simple device would be both fun and hopefully a learning experience. 

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3 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Since you, of all people, seem to have missed what I said as well as how carefully I said it, I'll restate.

  • I am not addressing the use of this device on the cello.  I'll leave that to cellists.

 

Nor have I. In what way is this significant, unless you expect that you and I need to agree on what we are not talking about?

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1 minute ago, David Burgess said:

Nor have I. In what way is this significant, unless you expect that you and I need to agree on what we are not talking about?

That one wasn't directed to you.

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16 minutes ago, sospiri said:

The OP's question and the inventor's solution concerns the string break angle and its effect on the downforce and thus the sound and possibly stress of the instrument.

Varying the angle with a simple device would be both fun and hopefully a learning experience. 

Yup, agreed.  I saw the words "are equivalent to" used, and decided to head that one off at the pass, before anybody drew the wrong conclusion.  It's a single, and very specific, concern.  :)

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I just got the following PM from @JohnHE

"Hello Viola D’amore,

I agree with you:  I should have said that adjustments to the Saddle Rider are “similar to, in terms of tone and playing response” instead of “equivalent to” changes in neck angle or bridge height.

Unfortunately, because I am a new member of Maestronet, I have reached my message quota for the day and the algorithm won’t let me submit this directly to the group!

Please feel free to cut and paste this message to a post vindicating your response to my initial message.  :)

Thanks,

JohnHE"

 

Thanks, that removes any concerns that I had.  :)

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7 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Yup, agreed.  I saw the words "are equivalent to" used, and decided to head that one off at the pass, before anybody drew the wrong conclusion.

So back to plan A, a neck re-set? 

And what better instrument to practice on?

But should the re-varnish be re-varnished to a more acceptable standard? What would Jacob say?

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1 hour ago, sospiri said:

But should the re-varnish be re-varnished to a more acceptable standard?

Is there a concern that the current re-varnish is compromising the sound and/or playability of the instrument? If not, the varnish will stay as-is however unacceptable from any other perspective. 

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8 hours ago, Violadamore said:

IMHO, it looks like a brilliantly engineered solution to a nonexistent problem.  :)

The Strad apparently removed the gratuitous sexual, motor vehicle, and Sawzall content that we're all used to.  Editing costs money.  :lol:  ;)

 

Aw man, why even subscribe then?

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6 hours ago, JohnHE said:

Hi all,

I’m the inventor of the Saddle Rider Tone Adjuster.  It’s nice to see it mentioned here!  Just to clarify: I’m a professional cellist, and invented the device because I needed to be able to adjust the sound and response of my instrument when concertizing.  The changes it brings about with graduated precision are equivalent to a neck reset or higher or lower bridge.  A luthier could certainly cut multiple saddles .5 mm apart in height, glue each on, take down the tension fully on the violin and wait for the glue to dry between comparisons, and try to remember what it sounded like before — so why do we need a device that allows nearly instant AB tone and response comparisons? Is tiny enough to be invisible on stage?  :)

I have encountered a great deal of resistance from people who haven’t tried it, but most recent adopters luthier Lawrence Wilke and Berlin Philharmonic violist Matthew Hunter are pleased with theirs!

Sincerely,

John Haines-Eitzen, cellist

Senior Lecturer and Artist in Residence

Cornell University Department of Music

Member of The Philadelphia Orchestra from 1995 to 2005

 

 

Congratulations on a truly interesting and potentially very useful tool, especially perhaps for diagnostic purposes in the shop/lab. I would make a friendly recommendation that you modernize your website. It has become very easy to do these days even without html skills. 

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10 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I've already had a few holes drilled in my chin, to secure replacements for teeth lost in bar fights. :lol:

But really, wouldn't a threaded fastener installed in a jaw be more secure than a conventional chinrest? :)

(In conformation with "The Truth In Posting Act", I am required to reveal that I have not yet run the various musical instrument stabilization methods  past my prosthedontist, nor my proctologist.) ;)

people need to learn to suffer for their art.:o:lol:

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2 hours ago, Christopher Jacoby said:

David, I really enjoyed strapping that device you made to my violin at Oberlin a few years ago. I believe the consensus was that a break angle of 157-8 was where people like the sound most.

Was 157-8 a universal favorite regardless of string type, table arching, relative humidity?  

In my experience, each instrument, string type, and playing style responds a little differently.  Most will be “in a range” (which could be 157-58?) but there are outliers.  

And in very humid or very dry weather I prefer different amounts of downward force on the bridge. (ie different break angles)

During the 21-22 season I’ll be playing a concert with violinist Aaron Berofsky and fortepianist Matthew Bengtson (U Mich School of Music faculty) on all gut strings.  I expect a shallower break angle will sound best there?  Looking forward to finding out!

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  • 2 months later...
On 5/17/2021 at 6:32 PM, sospiri said:

The OP's question and the inventor's solution concerns the string break angle and its effect on the downforce and thus the sound and possibly stress of the instrument.

Varying the angle with a simple device would be both fun and hopefully a learning experience. 

OP here again. Confirming that working with the Saddle Rider has been both fun and a learning experience.

Now that I have finally gotten everything else about the violin addressed that I can and have spent some time working with the Saddle Rider to see if I could discern any effects from varying the string break angle on this old Markie (a few recent pictures below), I thought I should contribute some observations on the experience. [Caveat for anyone reading this post who has not previously read any of my totally amateurish questions/comments - I am just an underemployed dad with more time than money (or probably sense) to commit to getting a first full size violin in the hands of my daughter.] Short version (long one immediately following) of my takeaway from working with the Saddle Rider - really well designed device that, with much care and attention, can be safely installed by even non-professionals such as myself and easily adjusted to vary string break angle in search of optimal setting for a given violin.

Before getting into working with the Saddle Rider, a number of other things were changed/adjusted on this older violin. Resetting the neck to get the fingerboard projection down from 30ish to 27 was ruled out (for now anyway) due to cost, thus the decision to work at the saddle end to alter the string break angle which was initially just less than 156 degrees. Prior to the exploration of string break angle, modifications to the violin entailed:

A few open seams were glued closed (by a local luthier)

A new soundpost was cut and installed (by a local luthier)

The warped bridge was given a borax treatment (by me) per this old MN thread -

Top of the bridge was shaved (by me) to reduce the string indentation depths

New geared pegs were installed (by me) strictly for my daughter's convenience

New tailpiece was installed (by me) to adjust string after-length closer to 1:6 ratio

New strings were installed (by me) 

With all of that done, it was time to try the Saddle Rider. I should mention that my daughter was playing the violin regularly in the time it took me to make all of these modifications, so we had some baseline idea of the sound of the instrument and how it had responded to modifications. So, I removed the end pin and installed the Saddle Rider to see what could be accomplished by altering the string break angle. Turns out, a very satisfying improvement in the sound of this instrument could be achieved! I experimented with angle adjustments over a range of just over 2 degrees (just under 156 to just over 158) in small increments of one half turn of the Saddle Rider adjustment screw. I did not record how many half turns it took to cover the 2 degree range unfortunately; all I can say is that it was quite a few. My initial impression that the sound of the violin, while loud, was somewhat thin and harsh at the smaller angle (higher stress) were quickly confirmed. As I opened up the string break angle, the sound of the violin opened up correspondingly, becoming richer and more resonant across all of the strings. The G and D strings on this instrument seem to my ear to be consistently more ringing than the A and E strings, but the degree of discrepancy was diminished as I opened up the string break angle. The violin remains quite loud (my daughter almost never takes off the practice mute) at the 158 degree string break angle. My guess is that the unusually tall bridge still exerts a marginally greater than average force on the table; would be interested to know if anyone can confirm that bridge height would be likely to have that effect. I did work in both directions - increasing the angle for some time then periodically decreasing it again to compare - as I explored the range of possible string break angle settings. Ultimately I decided to leave the Saddle Rider set so that the string break angle is a full 158 degrees. In my case, the Saddle Rider will remain on the instrument for the foreseeable future as changing the neck setting is unlikely to become a realistic possibility for us any time soon, and I can discern no negative consequence of having it in place on on the violin.

The violin I am working with benefitted in a way that few others could be expected to due to its extreme neck setting. I do not have prior experience or available opportunities to compare the Saddle Rider on any other full size violins, but I do feel that my experience with the device demonstrates that it has value as a diagnostic tool. For anyone with long experience of working on the instrument, I imagine it would be child's play to install and remove the device. For me, the Saddle Rider has helped get my violin sounding more than good enough for my daughter's next steps in learning the instrument.

Thanks to John, the inventor, for helpful advice along the way on how best to make use of the Saddle Rider.

Thanks as well to all of the generous MN participants who deign to share their wisdom with the rest of us; it's been a big help for me.

Best,

Ben

 

P.S. - there is a bow; two even. Some pictures of the ones that made the cut for those who take a special interest in such things. The strange looking heel plate on the BAUSCH bow is an improvisation - lead tape for a tennis racket; just enough to get a good balance point. Call me a heathen but it's working like a charm.

 

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