Scratchy violin tone fixes?

May 31, 2018, 5:34 PM ·

Hi, so if you listen to the recording linked above, you can hear me playing on 2 different violins. From what I'm hearing, the first one has a lot less scratches in the tone than the second one. I've had this issue for a long time, and it seems that whenever I try playing on a friend's violin, my tone is much smoother than when I play on my current one. Would there be any way to fix my tone to make it smoother on the violin I have? Thanks!

Replies (6)

May 31, 2018, 6:15 PM · It could be many things. Maybe your bridge isn’t as straight, so your bowing is crooked. Different strings etc. you could also be playing with more crunch because it’s your instrument. You might lighten up on a borrowed fiddle. Is it the same bow? Too many factors to diagnose.
May 31, 2018, 9:31 PM · From the recording, what you call "scracthy" I call "nasal".

I would start checking the bridge, if the feet are well planted to the top plate, and if it's in good position and angle. Eventually I would try/buy/commision a new brigde.

Second check: The afterlength. See if the bridge is in the proper starting position and leaves a 1/6 string to the stop in the tailpiece. You may need to shorten the tailpiece gut. Rarely to make it longer.

Third check, the soundpost. Not its position, but if it's properly angled to the inner slopes of the violin. Some nasality comes from soundposts that have uneven contact with the wood.

Good luck!

May 31, 2018, 9:38 PM · Are the strings too old or caked with excess rosin, or both?
May 31, 2018, 10:32 PM · You're playing too close to the bridge on the second one.

Every violin has a different sweet spot. Adjust outwards by about 5-10mm and possibly increase pressure on the bow.

Let us know how it goes.

June 2, 2018, 1:33 AM · Your violin simply sounds brighter and harsher. Every instrument has its own timbre character. Then, also set-up and strings matters. Bow and rosin as well, but I assume you have used the same in both recordings.

If you combine brighter violin with brighter set-up (thinner bridge, soundpost very close the the bridge foot) and bright strings, the result may be awful. I recommend you adjusting or at least checking your sound post and using mellow strings such as Eudoxa, Obligato or Warchal Amber.

Edited: June 2, 2018, 5:58 PM · Go to a luthier and play several other instruments, to see if the problem is you or the fiddle.

Think carefully about what options that presents you with.

Maybe you can live with a bit of scratchy, understanding that a different axe might solve the problem tomorrow.

Or, get the luthier to work on your current instrument.

Probably you shouldn't worry too much, though, if you continue to improve on your current instrument. One day the stars will align, and a new purchase might see several advantages fall into your lap with one step.

(Surely you are keeping your strings clean!)

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