Live from China: Coverage of the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition

SAAH--SAAH noise, Help!!

January 16, 2009 at 06:41 AM ·

I also have the unpleasant sound on my 3/4 violin. The sound like "saah--saah" with the note played. When I play the open strings, the sound were not so serious. But when I press notes on the finger-broad, the "saah--saah" is obvious and annoying. At first, the "saah--saah" sound was more serious on A and E strings. Then, I move the bridge a little, the sound shift to become more seroius on G and D string. Should I change the bridge to fix the problem? Or, the "saah--saah" sound is quite normal? Please help me too! 

Replies (15)

January 16, 2009 at 04:39 AM ·

Waiting for your kindly help!

January 16, 2009 at 09:52 PM ·

Can you explain the sound a little more specifically? For instance, when you draw the bow once, do you hear a rhythmic, pulsating sound as in "sahh-sahh-sahh-sahh-sahh-sahh" or is it one long, drawn out "sahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"? Is it a light, whispery sound? Or more of a buzz?

If one draw of the bow brings out just one long, drawn out "sahhhhhhhhhhhh" then it could be you're just noticing the natural, textury sound of the bow hairs against the strings, or maybe you don't have enough rosin on the bow hairs. But if it's more of a rhythmic, pulsating sound it could be bad strings, or perhaps your bridge is leaning, or there's something rattling around inside of the violin, or maybe the little rubber tube on the E string isn't resting on the bridge as it should and instead is sliding freely about and buzzes in response to the vibration of the strings.

Do you have a teacher, or access to another violinist who could listen to the sound your violin is making?

January 17, 2009 at 02:25 PM ·

Hello Gelanda,

I don't have a violin teacher, so........ The sound should be a long sahhhhhhh. I checked with my other violins. They also have such kind of long sahhhhhhhh, just like what you mentioned, the sound may be produced naturally with the hair bow against the string. But the problem is, the long sahhhhhhhh sound is too heavy and too coarse in that 3/4 violin, that mean the sound is beyond the normal friction sound. And the bridge seemed leaning, actually, the bridge seemed bended. I want to take the violin to a violin shop to change a new bridge to see if they can fix the problem, hope it work. But I am afraid that if the sound is due to some loose inner structural part, I will waste my money.........Anyway, thanks a lot. 

January 17, 2009 at 02:41 PM ·

Hi Rosa,

It could be the leaning bridge in your violin that's causing the noise.

I hope you will get to a violin shop and have it fixed. A leaning bridge can lead make it warp up and collapse.



January 18, 2009 at 07:08 AM ·

Thanks Jan,

I think I will get the bridge changed for that violin and let you know what had happened later.

January 20, 2009 at 09:20 AM ·

I took my violin to a violin shop for changing a new bridge today, but they said that the bridge bending problem is not so serious and the saah saah problem is due to the expensive strings(about 70USD) used on my cheap violin(about80USD), therefore the sensitive strings magnify the problem of my violin. And they said, if the pitch is not accurate press on the strings, it will also cause saah saah sound. Is the saleman right?

Therefore, I get my violin back home without changing anything, besides they relocate the bridge for me.

Can any people help me?

January 20, 2009 at 09:55 AM ·

Hmm. Try to bring it to another luthier and see what he/she'll say? Hear more opinions before committing into unwanted expenses.

But since this a $80 violin, if anything involve a new fingerboard/pegs etc etc, even a soundpost or bridge, doesn't seems to worth in a long run. Although won't help, but maybe it's time to invest a better violin? If possible, moving to a full size violin? But don't force it if you still need to stay on a 3/4 size.

January 20, 2009 at 10:00 AM ·

Hi, Casey,

Actually the saleman has not any intention to ask me to pay any money to this violin and I want to buy a new one now. Therefore, I tried some of their violin. But to my surprise, all violins I tried have such SAAHHHHHH noise problem, although all of them were not serious as much as my violin.

January 20, 2009 at 10:53 AM ·

If the noise you heard is the same on other violins (just not that loud), I can't help but to think that it's the natural bow noise which is apparent to the player but not so to the audiences.

Did you use the same bow to try out other violins (and what kind of violins? 3/4?). It could be your bow problem, bad horsehair maybe? Could be your rosin too.

January 20, 2009 at 02:14 PM ·

Yes, I used my own bow. I asked the salesman if the problem comes with my rosin, and told him that the rosin I used. He said the rosin I used is made in Germany and good enough.

And I just checked the violin with different bows, the noise problem seems similar with either bow. 

January 20, 2009 at 02:17 PM ·

And, I tried 3/4, 7/8 and 4/4 violin, the prize range around usd350 to 600.

January 20, 2009 at 02:24 PM ·

And, when playing the high position, the noise problem is much much heavy and coarse!!!Terrible. 

February 28, 2009 at 07:25 PM ·

After these few month practicing, I found that the Saah-Saah noise is not acturally SASA but GAGA. I played the 3/4 and a new 7/8, the 3/4 would produce more friction sound, but the 7/8 also produce ga ga sound (especially in higher position). When I tried the 7/8 in the shop, I didn't feel the ga ga sound was so loud. Therefore, I tried my 1/2 violin, both ga ga sound and friction is much less, but the 1/2 is a cheap violin, so I think, is the larger the instrument, the louder sound, even those unpleasant sound?

Please kindly advice!

February 28, 2009 at 11:57 PM ·

Rosa, you may be hearing the natural "scratchy" noise made by the bow moving against the strings, as Casey pointed out.  After months of playing, your are probably bowing with more pressure, so the noise changes from "SASA" to "GAGA" using your own words.   Lighten the bow pressure and you may hear "SASA" again.   If the noise is louder than normal on different violins,  something may be wrong with your bow (including bow hair), or the way you bow.

It is very difficult for people to help you here, because they can't see and hear you play.  The easiest way to diagnose the problem is to ask an experienced player or teacher to help.  Ask the experienced player to try your bows and violins, and to watch you play.

Do you have a teacher?  If not, you should get one as soon as possible.  A good teacher makes all the world's difference.

March 1, 2009 at 01:41 AM ·


I've gone GAGA trying to make sense of this thread!!!nopity.gif No Pity image by TGrosjean

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