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Ebony fingerboard muted A string


elcuervo

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Good morning.

Some time ago I had an old German copy Stradivari violin, which is well made, but all its accessories (pegs, fingerboard, tailpiece) were plastic and of poor quality, in addition to having a poorly adjusted sound post and a poorly made bridge.

The sound of the violin was very loud and strident, like an old radio and in my orchestra it was the violin that stood out the most, to the point that my joking companions called it "il cannone".

This Christmas an old luthier friend who lives more than 1000km away came to town to spend Christmas with his family and I immediately asked him to adjust my violin.

As I mentioned earlier, the violin has a strong, deep sound, but with some small parasitic vibrations that caused it to sound like an old radio blaring, and I blamed this on poor quality accessories and poor sound post setup. and the bridge.

He added ebony parts to the pegs, chin rest, tailpiece and fingerboard, since the ones that the instrument had were not original, they were made of poor quality wood painted black, added shortly before I acquired the instrument. The pegs were also painted and poorly adjusted, the tailpiece was plastic.

He added an ebony fingerboard that he recycled from a cello fingerboard, ebony pegs set to perfection, a bridge that fully fits the top of the violin, and an ebony tailpiece.

When I saw the instrument I was surprised, especially by the fingerboard, which had a tiny and old flame that matches the flame of the violin.

When you finally play the instrument notice the change in sound. It still sounded loud, but it no longer had those annoying parasitic vibrations, instead it now sounded round and warm, but the A string did have a decrease in its sound, being very muted compared to the rest of the strings, as if there was something that prevented it from vibrating freely.

I talked to my friend and he told me that it could be the position of the sound post, that he hoped to do that job with me so that I could tell him which place seemed best to me, but he couldn't do it because he traveled back He went ahead to his house, for which he gave me the violin with the sound post without my being able to play it before.

He added some new pirastro tonic strings, which are nylon wound. Before that he had high tension all metal strings.

I don't know what this decrease in sound could be due to, specifically of the A string.

I think it may be the excess of ebony parts prevents the violin from vibrating freely, a sound post configuration that does not enhance the A string, the new low-tension nylon strings that do not fully vibrate the instrument or... all of the above together.

What do you think?

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Welcome back to Maestronet!!!    :)

The thread linked below would also apply to photos we need for troubleshooting.  Until you provide photos, probably no one will get involved. This is because the most likely cause of your problem will be some easily seen (for an experienced eye) interference between the fingerboard and the string, rather than something moving the soundpost could fix.

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/333119-how-to-photograph-an-instrument-for-identifcation-purposes/

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21 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

¿Qué te gustaría que alguien dijera al respecto?

Hello, my question is if with the changes I make it is normal for the A string to be silenced or could it be a failure in the repair.

21 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Según sus fotos, no diría que la persona que reemplazó el diapasón es muy buena en lo que hace, pero no veo nada obvio que pueda asociar con un sonido deficiente en la A.

Thanks for your answer.

 

20 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Ajustar el poste de sonido todavía parece lo más obvio para intentar, no veo muchas razones por las que una cuerda A débil aparezca en las fotos, aparte de que es un violín barato comercializado en masa, que es más probable que tenga este tipo de problemas.

Yes, in my country it is very difficult to acquire handmade violins, not because they are expensive, simply because they are not available. This personally acquired it very cheap in a liquidation sale of a conservatory that closed due to lack of funds.

Anyway, before making the changes it sounded really good (and strong), to me. Maybe you should go back to the old settings.

 

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2 hours ago, elcuervo said:

Hello, my question is if with the changes I make it is normal for the A string to be silenced or could it be a failure in the repair.

Thanks for your answer.

 

Yes, in my country it is very difficult to acquire handmade violins, not because they are expensive, simply because they are not available. This personally acquired it very cheap in a liquidation sale of a conservatory that closed due to lack of funds.

Anyway, before making the changes it sounded really good (and strong), to me. Maybe you should go back to the old settings.

 

A weak A string can be such a subjective thing. I've had players complain about the same thing and I could not hear a difference when they played it. Have you had anyone play it for you, not just hearing it under the ear?

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Tonic strings will sound very different than the metal strings you had on it. Metal strings tend to be bright and loud while synthetic strings tend to be warmer. Also, strings take time to break-in. New strings often sound weak and lack overtones until they have been played on for a while.
 

I’d recommend playing it for a few weeks before making any adjustments.

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59 minutes ago, Mark Norfleet said:

Really?!

This doesn’t happen in my universe.

Am I in a time warp…?

I feel that @GeorgeHis probably referring to initial stretching, and the associated frequency instability.  Some synthetic strings sin more than others.  :ph34r:  In my experience, the newer and more expensive ones seem to settle in more quickly.  For example, Evah Gold, which hit a plateau of stability in less than a day, and then stay there indefinitely.

[Goes back to scraping time flies off her TARDIS.]  :)

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13 hours ago, Mark Norfleet said:

This doesn’t happen in my universe.

My experience is that brand new synthetic strings can sound dead when installed. Some strings take longer than others to start to really ring. In my experience, Evah Pirazzis take a few days to reach their full sound, and Thomastik Vision Titanium Solos can take a week. 

I don't play a violin for 24 hours after installing new strings other than to tune it to pitch every few hours during the day. They usually achieve marginal tuning stability in that period. Then it takes a some period of time to reach full-tuning stability and optimal tone production.

Therefore, I never get violins adjusted when they have newly installed strings. 

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5 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

My experience is that brand new synthetic strings can sound dead when installed. Some strings take longer than others to start to really ring. In my experience, Evah Pirazzis take a few days to reach their full sound, and Thomastik Vision Titanium Solos can take a week. 

I don't play a violin for 24 hours after installing new strings other than to tune it to pitch every few hours during the day. They usually achieve marginal tuning stability in that period. Then it takes a some period of time to reach full-tuning stability and optimal tone production.

Therefore, I never get violins adjusted when they have newly installed strings. 

We're clearly coming at this from opposite directions.  

When I put new strings on an instrument in good condition they tend to always ring and sound well for that instrument.  If not, there's something off with the adjustment or health of the instrument.  I regularly adjust instruments with brand new strings, including just yesterday for the assistant concert master of a major SO.  Certainly they can sound slightly brash when brand new, but ring and overall sound quality isn't an issue when adjusted well.  Pitch stability varies between different strings, but when using the bridge position gauge I provide the players I work with, and their willingness to use it..., sound quality, playability and stability aren't an issue.

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52 minutes ago, Mark Norfleet said:

We're clearly coming at this from opposite directions.  

When I put new strings on an instrument in good condition they tend to always ring and sound well for that instrument.  If not, there's something off with the adjustment or health of the instrument.  I regularly adjust instruments with brand new strings, including just yesterday for the assistant concert master of a major SO.  Certainly they can sound slightly brash when brand new, but ring and overall sound quality isn't an issue when adjusted well.  Pitch stability varies between different strings, but when using the bridge position gauge I provide the players I work with, and their willingness to use it..., sound quality, playability and stability aren't an issue.

Mind you, it is probably a sneaky trick to tell your concertmaster that he will have to go home and play the strings in a week or two first:)

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

Mind you, it is probably a sneaky trick to tell your concertmaster that he will have to go home and play the strings in a week or two first:)

Just as with fiddles, someone of at least concertmaster status must play-in new strings, to infix high-caliber musical and spiritual juju. :)

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