Sound Of Violin Seems To Change
I usually only play one violin and most of the time the sound is very consistent, yet sometimes the sound quality seems to change.
I've noticed over the last several days the sound seems thinner with less body. I have tried all of my bows to see if possibly it could be a bow problem. The bow doesn't seem to matter.I made sure I rosined the bows well. I've tried using different pressure/weight on the bow. This made it louder but it still had a more hollow sound.
I recently changed strings. I'm not blaming the strings yet. The sound post seems ok. I don't hear it inside the body moving around.
I hate to admit that maybe it's me and not the violin, or do violins have different characters at different times?
The only time there was a change in humidity was when I had it in my car about a week ago. The temperatures were mild then, so I didn't suspect extreme heat was an issue.
Just odd. I've has a similar thing happen awhile back that seemed to last for a few weeks and then I didn't notice it using the same violin.
It was so bad last night I cut my practice short.
Did you change string brands, if so from what to what???
I only changed the E back from Platinum to the standard vision solo E.
In my experience, climatic changes (also small ones) can modify the way a violin (or a guitar) resonates.
Have you had it in to a luthier for a checkup lately? If seems to be happening at random, and doesn't necessarily coincide with a string change, then it probably needs to be looked at by someone who has experience with repairs. It's normal to have replace a sound post every once in while, even on an older violin. It could be that yours isn't quite doing the job it used to.
Thank you for those suggestions and ideas.
I doubt this had anything to do with perceived sound changes, but please don't leave your violin unattended in the car. Cars can heat up very quickly even in mild weather, and should your violin be stolen (and this does happen), your insurance will likely refuse to pay on the grounds that you were negligent.
I am wondering if it was because the violin had been in the car. Temps probably went to to 90s F with windows up.
If you find a good luthier, they can go a long way toward preserving the magic, or even bring it back if it's lost. I'm lucky in that we have a skilled luthier within a 30 minute drive from my house, as well as a reputable full service violin shop just 90 minutes down the interstate. My main violin goes to the luthier about twice per year for cleaning and checkup. It'll probably end up being three times this year because the old tailpiece got a hairline crack in it somehow and had to be replaced. I've also had seams reglued, a new bridge cut, and a new soundpost within the last several years. I'm probably due to have the fingerboard planed before too long.
Thanks Jennifer. Yes I don't doubt it's time for a violin checkup. Probably something I should have already done. Though I'm not familiar with who a good luthier in my area would be.I'll need to look into that.
Changes in humidity in the wood of the violin do change the sound of the instrument. Temperature and humidity stability will keep the tone from varying daily. Always keeping the violin in a good case when not playing helps too. Car storage for violins is an absolute boon for repairers!
Keeping it in the car is a bad idea indeed.
Open seams change the sound of my instruments and change the way they feel to play. Sometimes it takes me a bit to figure out why it feels different though. I also know if the A string on my violin starts sounding harsh it is time for a trip to the luthier and an adjustment.
Here it was really humid before the seasonal change. My violin sounded muted. Reaaly muted. But maybe it also had to do with my new E string...
I think that many times, perceived changes in the instrument's tone is more affected by one's own hearing than the instrument itself. I've seen times when I thought the instruments changed significantly, several time, in the same day while there was no significant change in temperature or humidity. This is I think especially evident if I don't wear an ear plug in my left ear. Without ear protection, high frequencies become muted the more I play. Your blood pressure can affect hearing, and many other physiological conditions as well. Not to say there's nothing changed with your instrument (are the strings fairly new?), but yes indeed, it could be you. I thought once that I should record the instrument whenever I think its tone has changed, and compare the wave patterns with previous recordings, bit I never did.
You should definitely do that Roger!
Thank you everyone who chimed in on this. Many useful things to consider.
As other said: please don't let the violin in the car...... :)
Major sound changes can be caused by the bridge tilting slightly (often forwards away from the tailpiece), which can happen over time or with a string change. Have you tried checking its angle / shifting it back? Of course, this is also one of the things a luthier would look at routinely.
Yes the bridge was "bent" a little at the top when looking at it from the side. This was something I seen a few months ago after a string change.
The tilt of the bridge is indeed very important, also for the relationship between the normal vibrating string and the part of the string behind the bridge.
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