From Marc Metzger
Posted September 25, 2007 at 05:09 AM
The post was then navigated into the instrument, and what I think you are calling the S-tool was used to position it; and, I do not remember a dentist's mirror being used.
The pointed tool was used to place the post 'vertical' near it's seat to the best of my memory.... So, are you going to fool around and try for different tonal effects?
Incidently, it's great to start learning how to do that, but I know of already one very good craftsman who, when he started years ago moving around sound posts, did a lot of damage. You can never force the sound post whatsoever. In fact if you would go to Alf's site (Alf the violin maker) http://www.alfstudios.com/Shop/process/process.html is a place where he shows that people with even a del gesu have damaged the instrument playing around with the sound post setting.
You have to also make sure that the grain is 90 degress the other direction as the top – Also, because when the sound post gets shifted to the other direction from when it fits the contours of the top and belly it can do damage, especially if you are forcing it. You would need the other tool to grab hold of it and turn it around.
Do yourself a favor and file down the corners of the tool (along the length) to prevent chipping the varnish within the f. If you can knock down the tool grip width without losing too much strength, do it. You will gain a lot of mobility. Once this is done, do yourself another favor and cover most of the tool with a piece of thin rubber hose, leather, or some kind of soft padding or tape.
It's also nice to have a sound post gauge for measuring/estimating the length of the post from within the violin. You can definitely do the job without one, but it's nice.
Actually setting the post is a constant nitpick process... peering through the ffs, end pin hole, and with a mirror, to make sure that the post is straight. I've even found that it's good to walk away for a bit, and come back to see if the post still appears level. Sometimes our eyes like to lie. You may even have to abandon a post, and cut another one. Just take your time.
When you finally get the post to fit properly, you'll fell like the million bucks. You can do it.
Roelof - I just ran across a reference to the post grain being perpendicular to the top grain, and I was wondering about that. I had not seen that written elsewhere in my researching so far, so thank you for confirming that. Out of curiosity, does anybody know why that is??
There’s very good advice on soundpost fitting/setting procedure in past threads at Maestronet.
It's also easier to pierce the post with the grain, so generally speaking, most people (knowingly or not) probably end up setting the post with the grain somewhat crossing the top.
1. don't do it! (just kidding)
2. without attaching the post to the S tool, try insert the S into the violin and move around, to get a sense what it can/cannot do, and appreciate why it is shaped as such.
3. the moment you are totally intoxicated with "i want to move the post just a teeny bit left/right" is the moment you may have overlooked something, that is, you may be scratching on the varnish of the f hole:)... above all, do no harm. especially on the first day:)
4. the biggest challenge to me is learn to set the post "straight" the moment it is inserted, meaning it arrives at both plates straight. i think this may take some time and thinking ahead/experimenting, to see at what angle should the S meet the side of the post, or, should the S tool be bent a little here and there to accomodate the violin in hand. if the post touches on both plates at a "funny" angle instead of being very close to straight, take it easy...come back out and do it again. it may not be a great idea to try to straighten it. first it may not be in the right place to start. second, think f hole varnish, again:)
5. i think it is a great idea for violinist to get instant feedback from the post adjustment, to learn to listen. on the other hand, i think it is important to draw the line: what is my ability and what is the task?
good luck and have fun!
Once the post is in the general position then you can play the violin and move the post around to find the sweet spot where it sounds best. It may need to be tighter or more loosely fit , it may need to move closer to the bridge or father away.
If the post feel out it could mean that you need a new, longer soundpost.
The set up of the violin, setting the soundpost, cutting the bridge, adjusting the string height etc., is where the the heart and soul of the violin is discovered. An excellent violin may sound terrible with a bad set up.
Also if you start the fitting process closer to the center of the arching, you will get feedback on the right angle so that by the time the post is short enough and you’re approaching the right spot you’ve got the angle.
Give it a try,life is short.
Woody . .
When one puts cleats for supporting a crack that has been glued now adays it would be against the grain as well, although that has been different and the situation with putting patches in... it's the same as well!
Incidently Marq, I find that actually with a top that is softer wood that it is different the way that the strings sound with the soundpost inthe correct place. A harder top (or perhaps one that is more aged) has the strings all post vibrating quite a bit longer after simulation has occured. With a softer top the string vibration actually sinks into the top faster with the higher strings So, what happens is that the lower string's post stimulation reverberation lasts longer in length on the strings but the top actually holds the vibrations of the higher strings in which it has dissolved, so it's different – although it seems to be missing time... :)
Positioning is personal
The G string was terrible, bow sliding, no good sound as if there was no rosin on the hair. So, I replaced the G string by the one in my spare set. No improvement. I decided to re-position the Sound Post.
I bought 2 Sound Post Setters :
1. The S shape with a sharp end and a 5 notch stainless steel.
2. The one with a Clamp, reference " VS-PRO 2 + " , with a guide on top to help determine where the Sound Post stands from the foot of the bridge.
I re-positioned the Sound Post from 0 to 10 mm from the foot of the Bridge. I tried this at least 50 times ! Still no improvement in the G String. A couple of days ago, I replaced my G String by a new one. Immediately, there is a decent sound from the G String. After some hours playing, the Sound was very good. I finally positioned the Sound Post at 8 mm from the foot of the Bridge.
1. The 2 G Strings supplied to me were faulty.
2. This incidentally made me good at re-positioning the Sound Post easily with the easy tool VS-PRO 2 +, I think so.
At 8 mm, I find the sound to be very good. Some People would suggest 2 to 3 mm from the foot of the Bridge would be better. 2 to 3 mm, I find it a bit too bright for my taste.
So, is this an issue ? Are there hard and fast rules about the Sound Post positioning.
I also found that the Sound Post needs not be (very) perfectly upright !
My problem now is how tight the Sound Post needs be between the top and back of the Violin. Mine is very light. As soon as I release tension of the A and E Strings, the Sound Post falls off. Since the sound is good now, I hesitate to tap the Sound Post to tighten it between the Top and Back of the Violin.
Will appreciate your experience in this matter. Thanks Guys.
My friend who studied violin making in Cremona for few years now, and back to home country, and what a huge different it makes compared to others who self taught or learning from some less competent luthiers. There's an increasing number of players from the top orchestra in my country approaching him for setup and adjustments, and would let him touch their precious and valuable old italians and end up very happy with the results.
Good lucking finding a good luthier around you, there's probably no better solutions.
I once knocked mine over and spent a good 4 hours until I got it back. Many obscenities ensued.
Not to mention that practicing sessions became more like luthier obsessions where I'd adjust until I got the tone or articulation I want. You can get obsessed with the wrong thing...I'm pretty sure ysaye 2 was about someone who obsessed over memorizing bach emajor, not the position of his post in mid-autumn.
I'm serious, get rid of it.
I intentionally left mine in a practice room. When it came back to me month later through people's benevolence (or that things curse to haunt me), I threw it off the Baytown bridge into the ocean.
Unfortunately, there is no Luhtier on my Island. This is the main reason why it took me so long to detect that my 2 supposedly new G Strings, supplied by the Seller, were faulty.
Ended up needing rosin and new strings haha. Someone said they "loved my new viola" after I did that!
The moment I wanted to go and throw my violin into the plain, I got a phone call that saved my violin. A Friend called me for help because he locked his keys in his car. I asked him if he has a spare car key and he said yes, in his house, but his house key also was locked together inside his car !
Crazy ! I just thought that it would be cheaper to break a window in his house to get his spare car key. Suddenly, something rang in my mind and I asked him where was his wife and if his Wife has a spare key of his house. He exclaimed " Oh yeah ! Oh yeah ! " So, his Wife came to the rescue !
This incident saved my violin because I was laughing so crazily that I forgot to throw my violin into the plain. The next day, I reached a website selling G-Strings for Women ! Wrong web connection and again something rang in my mind and I discovered that my 2 G strings were faulty, and I replaced them by a D'Addario G String. It was good and now I am soooo happy with my Gama 1.
Keep bowing and Cheers !
Could you inform me what is the difference in the violin sound/tone based on each position of sound post. And what is your best?
Thank you for your posts.
There is no Luthiers on my Island. So, I had to take the risk moving the Sound Post. It all started when the G String on my new Gama 1, did not play well. I replaced that G String by another G String from the new set of spare strings, and again that new G String did not play well, though the other 3 strings were playing well. Later I detected that both G Strings were faulty. A new D'Addario G String was what I needed to get good sound. It was the only one available on my island.
I remember that Smiley Hsu suggested that I replaced the G String. He was right. My 2 faulty G Strings made me think that the problem was with my instrument.
During my study of what could be wrong with my violin, I re-positioned the Sound Post more than 50 times.
To start with, I re-positioned the Sound Post very near the foot of the bridge, It was a bit bright and I was not happy with the sound. Moving the SP mm by mm away from the bridge, the sound started to be better, but not good enough. I moved the SP up to 10 mm away from the bridge and the sound was still no good. In certain position, the ringing tone was too much and not good. It must have been aftre 8 or 9 mm away from the bridge. Finally, I found that at 8 mm from the bridge I :
1. have the best sound.
2. the best ringing tone.
3. oddly enough, at this position of 8 mm, I had no problem to play with my pinkie. (In other positions, I had to strive with my pinkie).
Please note that at 8 mm, my Sound Post is very loose, only the tensions of the A and E strings hold the SP. As soon as I release the A and E strings, the SP fall off. I did not force it between the top and back of my violin because I was afraid to destroy my instrument. At this point, my heart is not brave at all !
I have been using the Sound Post Setter " VS=PRO 2 + ". It is a very easy tool indeed as it has a nice soft clamp.
Since I have moved the SP more than 50 times, I noticed that the Pinkie could be a natural tool to tell if the violin is well fine tuned. This is a personal feeling. If you have to strive with your pinkie, I feel your instrument is not yet well fine tuned.
It will be nice to have the opinions of Others who have taken the risk to move the SP.
Pay particular attention when you use your pinkie. Is there one best position of the SP that makes it easy for the pinkie ? I really think so. Now, I do not have to go to the next open string.
There is also one thing to find out : Does each violin has its own critical SP position and how loose or tight should it be between the Top and the Back ?
I have pencil marked a line all along the length of the SP so as to always know where are the 2 slant (angled) cuts of the SP at the top and bottom. This slant cuts are critical because of the arching of the Top and Back of the Violin.
John, thank you also for your post. I am thinking over it.
Cheers Guys !
We must always take care when introducing a Sound Post Setter through the f-hole of a violin.
I have already slightly scratched the edge of the f-hole. No severe damage ! I tinted it with a black marker.
Yes, I had to de-tune the A and E strings only as follows :
1. The A and E Strings being still tight, I introduced the SP Setter and clamped the SP.
2. Leaving the SP Setter, clamping the SP, I released the A and E Strings. This reduced the tension of the Top over the SP.
3. I re-positioned the SP. The SP Setter " VS-PRO 2 + " has a guide on top, and you could see where the SP is underneath the Top.
4. After re-positioning the SP, you re-tightened the A and E strings. Then you twist the clamp, releasing the SP and remove the SP Setter.
5. Tune to A440 the A and E Strings as you used to do.
The SP Setter is of metal. So, it could scratch your Violin and particularly the edge of the f-hole. SO TAKE CARE !
Cheers from Mauritius !
I accidentally, very slightly, scratcedh the edge of the f-hole on my Gama 1. Fortunately no severe damage !I tinted it with a black marker.
Introducing a SP Setter in the f-hole is always very delicate, needs full focus of the eyes, mind and hands in a very silent room.
After many months, the G String problem is solved. To understand and go faster in many problems solving, we always need to go back to basic !
Cheers, Trevor, and thanks again for your technical post.
Very good advice indeed. I have never wanted to lock tight the Sound Post between the Top and Back of my violin. First is to prevent damage and second, I guess that a tightly fitted Sound Post loses a lot of the good sound.
At present, my Sound Post is so loose that it will fall off when the tensions are released from the A and E Strings. I am keeping it as such because I am absolutely happy with the sound, the ringing tone, the ease of my pinkie and in general, the play ability.
One Question, please : How tight should the Sound Post be between the Top and Back of the Violin ? I understand it will be difficult to say because of the various mathematics involved. Anyway, if you could at least give us some tips as much as possible.
I would indeed be glad to try the different types and thicknesses of the Sound Posts. Not for now ! I am still an Adult Learner and I had to get involved in the physical features of the violin because of faulty NEW G Strings !
Thanks again and Cheers !
I experimented on all my violins. I reached the conclusion that the Sound Post, though in perfect position from the bridge, it must not be unnecessarily lock tight between the Top and Back.
I got the SP loose enough and enjoy the best sound. I uploaded photo pf my violin at DropShots
I will appreciate comments from Luthiers. Do they have a best kept secret ?
I tried to re-set the SP on my 20 year old Chinese Bestler, Valencia 400, Gem 1 and Gama 1. Am I crazy ? Believe it or not, I got better sound, ringing tones etc.
My new Sound Post Setter as in the following sites, is real good and easy :
Not many would risk moving their SP, but when there is no Lutiers available around on an Island, the necessity to do the job becomes important.
I have set my Gama 1 at : my existing SP at 8 mm from the bridge, 20 mm from the edge of the f-hole, SP held by the tensions of the A and E Strings. I was told by a Luthier that at 8 mm there is still sufficient mechanical support. Another One would prefer the SP to be nearer to the bridge.
Will be nice to have more advice from some Luthiers.
1. Just covering it superficially would require pages and pages of writing.
2. It's really something which is best learned with extensive "live" coaching. With a little information, people who might not otherwise try it might be encouraged to do so, and all of us in the luthier business have seen many examples of instruments which were damaged by these attempts.
One example: If the top of the soundpost doesn't fit perfectly, it can gouge or dent the inside of the top, which is a rather soft wood. Once this happens, it becomes very difficult for even a very skilled person to get a good fit, and the best sound.
What you've mentioned is an often-repeated piece of soundpost lore. Not sure where it came from, or how it got started. Like many things relating to sound though, if you believe in it strongly enough, it will probably work. ;-)
It's pretty rare to run across people who aren't highly susceptible to the power of suggestion (about sound), whether the source of the suggestion is external, or is an internal "belief-based" source.
And people who have been dealing with such things all their professional lives are not immune. It's something they need to be very careful about (myself included)... distinguishing real improvements from imaginary improvements.
I think that I have been lucky enough to move my SP more than 50 times, and still not wrecked my violin. I have not locked the SP tight, but kept it upright by the tensions of the A and E Strings only.
Recently, I also realized that the humidity and temperature on my Island are affecting the sound. At 26 degres C and 80% relative humidity, I love the sound. As soon as there is a change, for example, 28 degress C and 70% relative humidity, the sound changed. Obviously, I should not move the SP all the time !
Could you recommend me a very good Book + DVD about the SP and Sweet Spot ?
I am not a Professional. So, I consider myself as an eternal Learner on this long journey.
Thank you, David, and keep posting your advice. Cheers !
The answer to your question is loosening the post by moving it very slightly to the left USUALLY boosts the bass and lowers the top string volume, the reverse, tightening the post moving very slightly to the right USUALLY boosts the top notes but damps the bass.
Closer to the bridge tends to be brighter in harmonics, really far from the bridge is good for cheap violins that are obnoxiously bright and need to be toned down a bit. On a really good violin I can't see how you'd end up more than 5mm from the bridge.
Thank you for your post. You must have observed that I requested for a Book also about the SP and Sweet Spot.
Being without a Luthier and on an Island, I have to listen and not question what I am told ! Every thing goes ! lol.
Following your post, I am now questioning my Gama 1 (US$ 1,100.00) if genuine or not ! It looks genuine without a Certificate of Authenticity, with a faulty Dominant G string on and another faulty Dominant G string in my spare set of strings. Thanks to my purchase of a D'Addario G string, I can now play the G string. This problem forced me to move my SP more than 50 times ! I am very interested to study the SP techniques. Please recommend me a good Book + DVD.
Probably, On my Island, I am already a Champion in moving the Sound Post more than 50 times.
Thank you and Cheers from Mauritius !
Can you imagine if the Crowd wreck their violins and send the Bills to David ? !!!!
I think David can write more with a clear WARNING for those who are not techie.
In fact, moving the Sound Post with the proper tools, is very much like moving a Cursor on a straight line. The most delicate part of the job is the locking of the SP between the Top and the Back of the violin. As yet, I am not prepared to lock it, but I let SP be held upright by the tensions of the A and E Strings.
Judex, you actually got some uncommonly good advice from the luthiers you talked to in the States (and it makes me curious who they were).
Soundposts have "sweet spots" where the violin just works well, more than they exhibit "trends" from moving the post in a certain direction. If the post is on one of those sweet spots, moving it in any direction, even 1/4 mm, will make everything go downhill. Until you move it far enough to hit a different sweet spot, where the instrument will also be working well, but in a slightly different way. Then, the player (if offered the choice) needs to decide which sweet spot (and there can be several on both the top and the back) works best for them.
So it's not as simple as saying, "I want more bass, so I'll move the soundpost in this direction". I wish it was, because it would make things much easier.
Sorry, I don't know of any books or videos I could recommend on sound adjustment. In fact, some of the violin-tech advice in videos is so poor, that most of my own videos are just satires inspired by the poor advice I've come across. Most people in the trade seem to think they're pretty funny, but bad advice is so prevalent that there are some people don't even get that they're entirely a joke. ;-)
Those Persons are Karol S and the great Fiddlerman, Pierre. I suppose they are Luthiers and Violinists.
I am wondering if we may bring a mathematical Ratio in the SP setting. For example, my present SP is at 8 mm from the bridge and 20 mm from the edge of the f-hole. So, if I bring and lock it to 18 mm from the edge of the f-hole, will it still be ok at 5 mm or less from the bridge ?
I do not like too bright sound and not too mellow sound either. I feel at 8 mm and 20 mm mentioned above is right for me. It must fall into a mathematical Coordinate. What is your opinion ?
Cheers from Mauritius.
I just spent about 20 minutes looking for a video of a trained pro making and fitting, setting and moving a soundpost, and didn't come up with anything decent. Sorry about that.
A professional luthier I know told me that setting a sound post is the one thing that can reduce a grown man to tears.
Thanks again for your posts.
I think that moving the Sound Post by trial and error could eventually bring a Man to tears. I did it with a logical plan, assuming that moving it :
1. from 0 to 10 mm from the bridge was like moving a Cursor mm by mm, and noting the sound at each point.
2. Further, I think that there is a 2 or 3 mm move to do somewhere to / from / under the E String.
So, the Secret (Sweet Spot) is found somewhere in a mathematical coordinate of 1 and 2 mentioned above.
3. One other thing that is troublesome on my Island is the changes in Relative Humidity average 70% to 80% and Temperatures average 22 C to 30 C.
At present, I do not feel confident enough to tap the SP and bring it to 18 mm from the edge of the f-hole. So, I left it at 20 mm, and it is held upright by the tensions of the A and E strings. A few times I released the strings tensions and the SP fell down. I can easily put it back by using my SP Setter " VS - PRO 2 + ".
So, my final Sweet Spot is at 8 mm from the bridge and 20 mm from the f-hole on my Gama 1.
Thanks again and Cheers !
I read everywhere that shifting the SP a little to the left increases the bass at the expense of the treble. I have found the exact opposite, even on my own very decent instruments! A longer post, a little further from the edge, evens out the response of a student-grade fiddle, reducing wolf-tones and the "honking" formant, and even reducing the tiresome resonance around 1 kHZ (B to C on the E-string). All this at the expense of a little depth.
Maybe those who say the opposite are keeping the original post, and therefore loosening it, or maybe it only applies to my instruments?
People read and repeat stuff they hear, and this expands exponentially with the internet.
Oh darn. Double-darn! It's a good thing that I have lots of prune-enhanced Christmas eggnog to get me through this crisis. LOL
Before tinkering with the soudpost, I do indeed move the bridge back and forth, and from side to side, to find the best relation between SP & bridge.
By then my tinkering is "informed" rather than "needless"..
Do not put a lamp as close to the instrument as shown in the video! There's a good chance of blistering the varnish.
What I meant that the bridge should specifically be matched to the particular soundpost, for example if you change the bridge and get a different bridge, you should also check the compatibility with the soundpost.
I gained that piece of knowledge from an 82-year-old Czech luthier who did experiments with optimizing violin set up for 35 years and recently published his results 'not to be taken to the grave with him'. His conclusion was that the weight of the bridge and weight of the soundpost were in close relationskip and was even able to create an equation for it.
David, I watched the video and smiled because I initially used same SP Setter, but I finally chose the SP Setter " VS-PRO 2 + " which is an extremely easy Tool.
To effect the extra fine tuning by tapping to move the SP at 1/4 of a mm is no easy job for a Novice. I have left my SP loose enough at 20 mm from the edge of the f-hole as this ensure the maximum vibrations. I think this helps avoid the need for too much extra fine tuning.
Unfortunately, I do not have additional Sound Posts to experiment with.
One Question : Commercially the SP is locked tight enough between the top and back of the violin so that it won't fall down. BUT, BUT, BUT, technically speaking, shouldn't it be loose enough to ensure maximum vibrations. I prefer it loose enough, get good ringing tone on open strings and even when any finger is applied on any string.
Hope you simulate what I tried and let us know. DO NOT WRECK YOUR VIOLIN !
I recommend the SP Setter " VS-PRO 2 + ", less than US$ 20.00. You will all love it !
One Question, please : Can I insert the SP at 8 mm from the bridge and 20 mm from the edge of the f-hole on my Gama 1 ?
At this coordinate, my Gama 1 is sounding absolutely nice.
One more Question : What is the acceptable list of coordinates to insert the SP in different violins ? A few examples will help.
I have a 17 year old Chinese Bestler, a Spanish Valencia V400, a Romanian Gem 1 and a Romanian Gama 1. I am sure I improved the sound of my Gama 1 at coordinate 8 mm / 20 mm. Is it a dangerous coordinate ?
Thanks for your advice.
Judex, generally you measure the left right position of the soundpost by how far inside the outside edge of the right bridge foot it is, not the distance to the f hole.
On a cheap violin like the Gama, 8mm from the bridge does not sound outrageous, however on a good violin, on might wonder if something were wrong.
Lyndon Taylor, should you ever reach a place where you can do more than dream about having a reputation as high as Melvin's, you'll be in a better position to offer him advice. I reckon his reputation will survive your skepticism. ;-)
I am lucky, I am only 45 minutes away from Paris's "rue de Rome", where I can choose between a dozen or so "luthiers". Some of us on v.com have to make do with mere sailsmen, mail order, or luthiers who know an enormous amount and therefore know everything, but are wary of sharing it.
As a "tinkerer", I only touch violins that luthiers sneer at ("we only have time for professional instruments") or of course, my own. I am well-equipped and fairly skillful.
What I have learned by cautious experiment I find echoed, and expanded, in the writings and correspondence of Carleen Hutchins, william Fry, John Ewan McLennan, Don Noon, to name but a few.
I would never expect esteem or "reputation", just recognition of my eager curiosity about the craft and science of the violin family.
Lyndon, I understand the move left from or right to the bridge. What scares me is how much I should move the SP towards the E string or f-hole. Some People say the SP must be the same distance as the Bass Bar from the f-hole. Is that correct ?
I logically should bring the SP at 18 mm from the edge of the f-hole, as the bass bar is on the other side. This means the SP needs be tapped to literally locked it between the top and back, otherwise it stays at 20 mm where I am keeping it, fearing if I force it, I may wreck my violin. Despite this, my violin offers ample vibrations and ringing tones.
Is there a Luthier who could shout " Hey, Guys, this is what you should do to learn the trade and tricks . "
Thanks and Cheers !
Fitting the post to the correct position re the bridge and the bassbar is something you do when setting the length of a new post, once the post is made there is nothing you can do to correct its length if it is too short or too long(actually you can have it made shorter by a professional), forcing it into the 'correct" position where it is either too loose or too tight is no solution, having the optimal tightness is more important than having the optimal position(re the bassbar) for the post you already have, if you can't get a new professionally fit soundpost made properly.
LOL, sure. That's why pro luthiers pay me to teach, and why many of my former employees have earned high levels of peer respect in the profession.
Best that I bow out now. There are healthier and more productive environments than those with continuing patterns of false and hostile accusations.
I hate to say this but the truth counts....
PS I just checked with the top expert I know on violins who has worked on Strads, etc for many years. He disagrees with David about each violin having a "sweet spot" for the soundpost, one optimal position, but says the post has many possible positions based on the preferences and wants of the player/owner.
Personally I think of soundpost position like the tone and balance controls on a stereo, there may be one sweet spot for one person, but any other person may want a totally different tonal balance and require different soundpost positions, just because one expert tells you there is a sweet spot doesn't mean other equally respected maker/restorers think totally differently.
LOL, I reckon so, because that's not what I said. I said there can be multiple sweet spots, with less desirable areas in between, each sweet spot slightly different from the other, with the choice among those coming down to player preference (if they are offered that choice).
Thanks. Perhaps you would be willing to recommend a good spot for the soundpost on a clavichord? ;-)
While I have heard of other builders using soundposts, I don't know of any historical evidence for such, and soundposts are usually an attempt to correct something that is wrong with the sound of a clavichord, the clavichord does not have a resonating back or bottom like a violin(its about 25mm thick) so the idea of connecting and getting resonance from the back would not work unless the whole instrument was redesigned, people that have used soundposts on clavichords are using it more to stop unwanted resonances than to further positive resonances like one would on a violin.
Size it, and position it where you get the best tone and response out of that particular violin.
There you have it!
I know I've risked my reputation that has been hard earned over the past 14 or so months of tinkering with inexpensive Chinese violins, but I felt it would be the best Christmas gift I could give to fellow V.Comers by spilling the beans on that long kept Cremona secret.
Now, I have my own little quirks and specialities that go with my own soundpost setting techniques: these mostly involve cursing like a sailor as the soundpost falls for the umpteenth time in a row, or throwing a heavy object once I realize I have got the post perfectly perpendicular, but it is a mm or two in front of the bridge....
These are some of the little tricks you will learn along the way. But, basically, put it where it sounds best.
One thing that still scares me. By now, I must have moved the SP nearly 80 times, but I have never locked it tight or tighter between the top and the back. The SP is kept upright only by the tensions of the A and E strings. Releasing those strings tensions, the SP falls down. Do you advise me to tap it and lock it tighter between the top and the back ? Will this probably reduce the amount of ample vibrations of the violin ?
I do appreciate the many posts that have given me much food for thoughts. I wish I could be the first Luthier on my Island !
Thanks and cheers.
Of course other luthiers will tell you to never make any soundpost adjustments under any string tension, certainly for fragile really old violins this may be the best advice! In any case all of this advice should be limited to only student violins, and all professional violins refered to a professional for adjustment, serious damage can be done to the surfaces inside the violin by indiscriminate adjustments under tension, and even under no tension if the fit is not perfect.
Sorry about that. A couple of us started posting some opinions and info, but it seems to turn into a waste of time once Lyndon starts arguing with things, making accusations and throwing darts (some of which he later edited out).
I generally try to avoid posting on threads where Lyndon is already involved, but he came in after I did on this one. Hope you will understand if it's just not worth it.
Best, and Merry Christmas.
Actually David Burgess is the only one who has talked about the Magical sweet spot post position each violin has where it sounds twice as good, in fact the magical sweet spot theory is about the only thing he has contributed to this discussion.
PS if I go back and look at your first post you entered this thread to announce you knew exactly how to fit soundpost(which I have no doubt you do) but that this was not the place to discuss your methods, it was too complicated to explain, and people might damage their violins if you gave them advice. Ok so you don't want to give advice, then what are you in this thread for, to disparage anyone from giving any advice about fitting soundposts??
Wow. Just wow! That's quite a fairytale!
(Edit: I see that the post quoted above has now been completely changed, but I'll leave the quote as it was when I originally responded to it, for context, and because it may provide some interesting insights into "state of mind".)
No, Barry Dudley first mentioned sweet spots in post number nine. Later, Judex mentioned hearing about them from some other people in the US. Then Melvin Goldsmith (a professional maker) affirmed the description.
Will you please stop making stuff up? Gawd, it's a nuisance! It's like swatting at swarm of gnats!
Sorry folks, I better stay completely out of this to preserve my sanity. So please understand that this will leave Lyndon free to invent whatever he wants. Leaving these things alone doesn't make them true, it simply represents a renewed effort on my part to ignore them.
Grow up, David. You still haven't learned not to make personal attacks in violation of forum rules, If you have something negative to say about my comments on soundpost positioning, do so, your endless rambling about me personally is none of your business, I suggest you stick to your own repeated promises and butt out of this thread, and this forum if I had a say.
Lots more here:
Merry Xmas! :)
Hope you are all spending a Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year to all of YOU. God bless.
Season's Greetings and Peace on Earth!
For 90% of the violin users let me quote extensively from Auer's Graded Course of Violin Playing, Section Care of the Violin:
8. Always guard the bridge with utmost care; never remove it or change its position for the sake of experimenting. (See special remarks about the bridge).
9. Neither should you try to move or experiment with the Sound-Post. If the tone of the instrument needs regulating, through an altered position of the Sound-Post, consult an experienced violin repairer. Inexperience in trying to move the Sound-Post may result in serious damage to the instrument (smashing of the top, splitting of the back). All such trouble may be avoided by adopting a firm and fast rule: Keep your hands off the Sound-Post.
Exceptions to the rule: Judex - no luthiers on his island, Adrian - he knows what he is doing with his instruments.
Judex and Adrian, once you tinker with your instruments, could you make the following experiment (only if you are brave)? Get the analytical weight (precision at least 0.1g), and weigh your bridge and soundpost separately. Multiply the weight of the bridge and soundpost in grams. If the result is 1 or near 1.0, install them back. If not, try to get a bridge of different weight when the multiple of the weight of the bridge and sound post is 1.0 and try to install this pair of bridge and sound post and compare the results with the previous pair.
And Judex do not forget, the grain of the sound post is perpendicular to the grain of the top.
Gosh, it sounds so seductive to play with the violin in this way. Or rather not. Our violin is set up well.
Best Wishes for Christmas and Happy New Year.
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!