Soundpost setting tips, tricks or techniques??Instruments: Looking for techniques on soundpost setting.
From Marc Metzger
From Albert JusticeBrave soul! The S-tool I think has a pointed edge with which to place the post? Or perhaps that's another tool. Nonetheless, I saw a post being installed where one tool with a point was lightly inserted into the post.
Posted on September 25, 2007 at 05:29 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?
From Roelof Bijkerkyou probably need the other tool, the S tool is to get the soundpost inside the violin or push it around on the inside but there's the other tool which holds the sound post and you need this to move it from side to side or other ways.
Posted on September 25, 2007 at 08:42 AM
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.
From Ian BurkardThere is a scissor type setting tool, but I have never used one. You can set a post with just the S shaped (scalpel and rake) tool. I believe there is a post setting video on youTube. It doesn't show you everything (i.e. fine adjustments and trimming), but does depict the basic function of the S tool.
Posted on September 25, 2007 at 03:43 PM
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.
From Marc MetzgerThe instrument is a Czech shop violin that was in pretty poor condition. I got it from a friend for $50 in order to experiment with refinishing it, and Jason Thomas planted a planetary peg seed that I think I will eventually try as well. I suppose it was inevitable the post would drop after I had the strings and bridge off for more than a couple days. That being said, I am not too concerned with superficial damage to the instrument around the f holes, but I will take your suggestions on modding the tool, Ian. It seemed pretty thick to me for a fishing-type tool anyway. I am pretty happy with how the refinishing is going. How it sounds when I am done is the big mystery, and I am filled with anticipation.
Posted on September 25, 2007 at 04:42 PM
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??
From Andres SenderIf you were to match the grain direction, the top and post woods would tend to interlock due to hard grain pressing into soft grain areas.
Posted on September 25, 2007 at 05:34 PM
There’s very good advice on soundpost fitting/setting procedure in past threads at Maestronet.
From Ian BurkardI've never gone so far as to do this when setting posts myself, but it seems to make structural sense that the grains should cross perpendicularly #, instead of running parallel ||||. The force is being distrubted fairly evenly via crossing grains, instead of unevely via parallel grains (especially if the parallel grains don't match in density/pattern).
Posted on September 25, 2007 at 06:17 PM
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.
From al kui have against all senses tried to play around with my kid's fraction violin posts and here is couple things that i can think of...
Posted on September 25, 2007 at 06:27 PM
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!
From Barry DudleySetting the soundpost can be tricky if you don't know what you are doing. Placement is crutial to the sound that the violin will produce. It has a location along the long axis of the instrument 1.5 - 2 mm behind the treble foot of the bridge and along the horizontal axis about equal distance as the bass bar is out from the centerline. You use the sharp end of the "S" tool to insert the post through the "f" hole and stand it up. the you use the other end of the tool to gently push or pull the ends of the post in to a straight position.
Posted on September 27, 2007 at 08:44 PM
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.
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.
From Edward FerrisWhen fitting a new soundpost, how do you get the correct angle for the top and bottom?
Posted on September 28, 2007 at 03:08 PM
From Andres SenderSome folks place the post on the outside of the plate in the spot it’s supposed to go as a kind of visualization aid.
Posted on September 28, 2007 at 06:26 PM
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.
From Kevin JangI think that doing your own SP adjustments can be counterproductive. What I mean is that it can become an obession for something that should be left to professionals. I was talking to a cellist friend and we both agree that one should spend their time obessing about practicing well instead messing with the sound post.
Posted on September 28, 2007 at 07:31 PM
From Joe FischerWhen you do hit the sweet spot,it's a huge thrill and chances are good that you will not move the SP again.
Posted on September 28, 2007 at 07:44 PM
Patience is the key,along with tons of common sense,knowledge and even luck;plus,it's enjoyable.
Carefully watch someone else adjust a SP first if you can,then you'll catch the essentials.
Give it a try,life is short.
From Woody LemckeThe following link has a very empirical method of both fitting/setting soundposts as well as a few creative homebrew tools.
Posted on October 17, 2007 at 08:32 PM
From Roelof BijkerkWhy it is cross grain?
Posted on October 17, 2007 at 09:39 PM
I think that, well if you look at a violin or the human body the middle again is different. Most of the organs are there(with human) and there is a LOt that goes on there in the middles of the violin. Thus, I would think that it has to do with the amount of activity which goes on there. When it's cross grain you see, there is more directions for the vibrations to go which are doing a lot there. So, perhaps if you put a sound post by the upper or lower bouts rather than in the middle it wouldn't be droxx grain.,,,, sorry gross brain....no no no cross grain. I read somewhere that with one violin (with a *hem* professional) that he got the violin with the sound post actually in front of the bridge and couldn't find a place for it behind the bridge and embarassingly left it there. This isn't as far as it would be would it be with the bouts though.
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... :)
From Emil AlbaneseI think for the number of times you need to replace or move a soundpost, it is not worth doing yourself. My opinion would have been different a few weeks ago, but a badly scratched f hole on a violin of mine is now a constant reminder. Setting the soundpost appears infintely easier than it is to do. Although, I do wonder why a soundpost setter has never been designed to prevent the horrific damage that the S shaped one has the potential to do despite its tight rubber sleeve. Emil
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 10:39 PM
From Emil AlbaneseI do wonder with regards to my previous posting if there is something I can do myself to fix the damaged varnish. The violin, although nice to look at, is not really a great one and it costs far less than what a expert violin finisher woould charge to touch it up.
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 10:37 PM
From Graham ClarkI was taught to use a thick soundpost with a thin belly, and a thick one with a thin belly
Posted on October 28, 2007 at 12:55 AM
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