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SeSlack

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Thanks Nathan! I'm playing on a Hans Benning 1998 instrument.  I live in TN.  The issue is after a top plate crack was repaired about a year and a half ago, about 3 months ago a bad wolf start on my D string and isn't going away with adjustments.  I never had this issue before so I think it may be a problem with the crack repair possibly.  

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7 hours ago, SeSlack said:

Thanks Nathan! I'm playing on a Hans Benning 1998 instrument.  I live in TN.  The issue is after a top plate crack was repaired about a year and a half ago, about 3 months ago a bad wolf start on my D string and isn't going away with adjustments.  I never had this issue before so I think it may be a problem with the crack repair possibly.  

How did the "crack" develop?

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With the owner's permission, I'll mention: 

I saw this cello last week and have done adjustments on it in the past. I didn't fix the crack myself, but it was a simple short weather crack, and is fine now. The setup was done by someone for whom I have the highest respect and is excellent.

I checked all of the seams, and they're tight. The board is getting a bit thin, but it's not loose. Nothing is obviously loose. The cello is overall in great condition and nothing is obviously wrong.

I tried every anti-wolf strategy I know and the most interesting thing was that nothing I did had the least effect. She's got a nice wolfer (one of those folded silver ones) on it, and while that pushes some of the wolf around a bit, nothing changes the overall situation at all. Putty under the board or tailpiece didn't have an effect. Post moves did nothing. The wolf is very broad, covering from about D to F#, even on the D string! I couldn't find any center of wild vibrations that I could dampen, as with magnets on the top--not on the top, the ribs, the back, the head, the board.

I wonder if from taking the top off it isn't securely glued somewhere, but couldn't find anything that responded to pressure. I guess one of the end blocks could be incompletely glued, but I've never seen that to cause a wolf (willing to be informed differently).

It was really a mystery to me, and so I suggested that she reach out to other shops to see if anyone had a brainstorm. I was not willing to take the top off and put it back on again without a good reason. And that's where we're at now.

I did suggest the A2 gang might have someone to check with--looking at @Jeffrey Holmes and @Mark Norfleet in particular.

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1 hour ago, Michael Darnton said:

With the owner's permission, I'll mention: ... It was really a mystery to me, and so I suggested that she reach out to other shops to see if anyone had a brainstorm.

Hats off to you , Sir, whether or not this is standard behavior in the industry.

lol here's Olaf discussing it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1HehMa2dr8

 

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It sounds like a conundrum indeed! Have you checked if the bass bar is still firmly glued in? Has anything been changed recently, like string brand,  tail piece, end pin? If so, have you tried reversing the change? I once had a top block come unglued under the top plate, while the ribs remained glued. It only showed when releasing the strings, the fingerboard at the bridge end had a lot of lateral movement. That did change the sound quite some.

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Here is a picture of how the top plate was repaired if that is helpful in any way?  A few months before the top plate was removed here I had come in to have a wedge put under the neck because the fingerboard had become to low from humidity.  Then when the top plate was put back on I remember the fingerboard was too high then and the neck was crooked.  I wonder if something with that not fitting correctly and the change in weather has made something come loose or vibrate differently?

Screenshot_20230531-202607-307.png

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On 5/30/2023 at 8:23 PM, Michael Darnton said:

With the owner's permission, I'll mention: 

I saw this cello last week and have done adjustments on it in the past. I didn't fix the crack myself, but it was a simple short weather crack, and is fine now. The setup was done by someone for whom I have the highest respect and is excellent.

I checked all of the seams, and they're tight. The board is getting a bit thin, but it's not loose. Nothing is obviously loose. The cello is overall in great condition and nothing is obviously wrong.

I tried every anti-wolf strategy I know and the most interesting thing was that nothing I did had the least effect. She's got a nice wolfer (one of those folded silver ones) on it, and while that pushes some of the wolf around a bit, nothing changes the overall situation at all. Putty under the board or tailpiece didn't have an effect. Post moves did nothing. The wolf is very broad, covering from about D to F#, even on the D string! I couldn't find any center of wild vibrations that I could dampen, as with magnets on the top--not on the top, the ribs, the back, the head, the board.

I wonder if from taking the top off it isn't securely glued somewhere, but couldn't find anything that responded to pressure. I guess one of the end blocks could be incompletely glued, but I've never seen that to cause a wolf (willing to be informed differently).

It was really a mystery to me, and so I suggested that she reach out to other shops to see if anyone had a brainstorm. I was not willing to take the top off and put it back on again without a good reason. And that's where we're at now.

I did suggest the A2 gang might have someone to check with--looking at @Jeffrey Holmes and @Mark Norfleet in particular.

Thanks Michael.

I always have trepidation about people traveling long distances to address challenging problems, especially when they’ve already been investigated by thoughtful colleagues!

I have seen more than a few instruments which have had just the sort of broad wolf you described with the joint between the upper or lower block and top being loose only on the inside, usually on the upper block.  I’ve also seen this happen with openings between the back and C bouts, again, only on the inside.  In most cases I wind up looking for those problems on instruments I know well and that I’ve not been able to achieve the level of focus and sound quality I’m used to, which also tends to make wolves less problematic.

Similarly I’ve seen back center joints open only on the inside cause significant problems with sound quality and wolfyness.  So far I’ve always been able to solve that problem without opening the instruments.

That said, I’m all for the preservation and study of wolves, so may not be the best person to pursue this problem.  I regularly donate to this organization.

https://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Mark Norfleet said:

Thanks Michael.

I always have trepidation about people traveling long distances to address challenging problems, especially when they’ve already been investigated by thoughtful colleagues!

I have seen more than a few instruments which have had just the sort of broad wolf you described with the joint between the upper or lower block and top being loose only on the inside, usually on the upper block. 

 

I echo Mark's thanks and trepidation.

The owner emailed me, but my schedule won't allow me to meet with them any time soon.  I did email them back when I saw the photo of the block area.  Always makes me a bit dubious about that joint (block to top) when I see significant fill in that area... and problems there have the potential to cause all sorts of difficulties. ...but as Mark mentioned, Michael is pretty thoughtful and thorough, so the mystery could reside elsewhere. 

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So…. Since the wolf is inherent in every cello and caused by phase/counterphase issues why are loose seams involved in this? Obviously no instrument works well if not glued together properly but what is actually happening with the wolf when they aren’t?

And while we’re at it, getting enough glue into the upper block area is often a bit suspect. I am seldom convinced that the entire block is adequately wetted when running glue in from the sides of the neck. If any one has clever ideas on that I’d like to hear them.

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Should one look, I believe the belly doesn’t perfectly fit airtight on the top block on the great majority of instruments. It certainly isn’t something I would suspect of being the cause of a wolf note. Commiserations to Michael, I’m glad the op and his/her cello don’t live in Vienna<_<

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6 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

So…. Since the wolf is inherent in every cello and caused by phase/counterphase issues why are loose seams involved in this? Obviously no instrument works well if not glued together properly but what is actually happening with the wolf when they aren’t?

And while we’re at it, getting enough glue into the upper block area is often a bit suspect. I am seldom convinced that the entire block is adequately wetted when running glue in from the sides of the neck. If any one has clever ideas on that I’d like to hear them.

 

5 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Should one look, I believe the belly doesn’t perfectly fit airtight on the top block on the great majority of instruments. It certainly isn’t something I would suspect of being the cause of a wolf note. Commiserations to Michael, I’m glad the op and his/her cello don’t live in Vienna<_<

I agree there are a good number of instruments out there with inadequate joints at the top block...and I believe I mentioned that the mystery could reside elsewhere, but I will say that I've had some success in taming (not eliminating) wolves in the past when this area has been corrected.  It's certainly not something I'd ignore, as that joint flapping in  the wind can cause other problems as well.

Especially these days, for those of us who have access to a scanner and CNC mill, corrections in this area (if there is torn/missing wood) are minimally invasive and rather painless (wood excavation is non-existent or minimal)... and if one doesn't have access, there are still "traditional ways" to address that platform. In my experience, the less fill there the better.

The reality is that we all tend to go through our checklists for things like wolves and buzzes.... and in this case the hive mind of MN is doing just that... without being in the same room as the instrument. Michael is the only one here (I assume) who has had hands on this cello.

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On 5/31/2023 at 9:03 AM, SeSlack said:

When I received the cello back after the crack repair, the neck wasn't center so I know something in the reglueing wasn't right however it sounded fine until about 3 months ago when we had a bit of a dry spell.  I haven't changed anything.

 

On 5/31/2023 at 10:11 PM, SeSlack said:

Here is a picture of how the top plate was repaired if that is helpful in any way?  A few months before the top plate was removed here I had come in to have a wedge put under the neck because the fingerboard had become to low from humidity.  Then when the top plate was put back on I remember the fingerboard was too high then and the neck was crooked.  I wonder if something with that not fitting correctly and the change in weather has made something come loose or vibrate differently?

 

If the neck was off center after the repair, doesn't that indicate there were other problems than the initial crack. I know of no way to get a neck to move in that direction  without some defective joints around the block or mortise being involved. And if it was put together crooked what does that say?

Oops!

Maybe some pics. of the entire area are in order.

Just thinking out loud here.

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