My Violin doesn't sound right

Edited: March 15, 2019, 7:35 PM · I bought a violin about two years ago from a local luthier. At the time of purchase, the violin had a gorgeous deep, rich sound.

Recently my violin has started sounding off. The best way I can describe it is it sounds like a tin can. All the strings sound muffled and cold, which they definitely didn't before when I bought it. It's almost like my violin isn't able to open up/warm up.

It's so bad that when I'm playing I have to put an ear plug in my left ear. If I don't the cold, hollow sound irks me. It sounds awful.

I took my violin to my luthier (I usually do a little check up for it whenever the weather drastically changes, which is usually every six months) and got new strings put on. I asked if I could have Evah Pirazzis, but he recommended vision solos and an obbligato gold E. I also asked if my sound post should be moved but he seemed kind of uncomfortable by the question (almost like he didn't know how to move it) and didn't do it.

This was the first time I asked to have my soundpost moved.

Do you think it's a soundpost problem? If not, what do you think it is?
Should I find a new luthier? Am I being silly?
Can you recommend a better string for a violin with a deep tone? The vision solos sound terrible on my violin.

I'm sure these questions are no brainers to many musicians on here. I'm just a beginner on the violin, but I bought a relatively nice violin and would just like it to sound the way it used to.

I'm sorry for any mistakes in this post. My auto correct was going crazy while writing this.

Replies (11)

Edited: March 17, 2019, 8:08 AM · Perhaps your bridge has wandered around? It happens, and can do weird things to the sound.

Measure the distance from each edge to the F holes. If that is OK, make sure it is not skewed. Put an index card on one edge of the feet and make sure it is reaching the F holes in the same way.

Then you make sure it is correct up/down. It should have the notches in the sound hole hit the feet the same way when you hold it sideways at eye level. There is a finer adjustment you can do there, but make sure the basics are correct.

One other option— did the luthier check the seams? After a long dry winter, glue can start to let go. That will kill a good percentage of your bass response.

March 15, 2019, 9:20 PM · When you get new strings sometimes your violin will sound like a tin can for a short time, but after a few days that should go away completely.
March 15, 2019, 9:22 PM · You did not mention if your violin was new at the time of purchase. Also, if it was made by the same luthier, or he just sold you a violin. Sound post on a new violin is intentionally made s a bit shorter, to allow the plates to settle. Typically after 6-8 months, the sound will change and that is the time to get the sound post replaced by a permanent one. On some violins, plates take longer to settle and a new sound post is needed until the process is done.
If the violin is old, quite a few factors may contribute to sound deterioration , for example, changes in humidity and temperature. It is also possible that the sound post moved, especially if the strings got relaxed and you happened to bump your violin or violin case. Even a slight change in position can result in sound changes.
March 15, 2019, 9:41 PM · Ah, yes. "Why does this sound like garbage?".
A question I ask myself all too often, although not usually pertaining to my instrument.
March 15, 2019, 11:26 PM · I once encounter a similar problem and got fixed by a soundpost adjustment. My luthier hit it away from the bridge and the ring came back again. It depends.
March 16, 2019, 5:58 AM · Hi Kenna, you could take your instrument to another luthier to check its setup. Some guys are much better than others at determining what to do that might make for the best sound. Your Vision strings are as good as any others so I would use them till they get tired and then if you want Evahs ask again for them but if he is unwilling to then order them online amd install them yourself. Trying differeent strings is a fun lifetime pursuit! Your choice of an E string can subtly impact the lower strings.

You might not like the tone because these Visions could have higher tension then what your ear was accustomed to hearing.

March 16, 2019, 10:45 AM · I have been told that the sound post on a new instrument will need to be replaced within the first year. It is a bit off-putting that your luthier refused to check your sound post! I hope there is someone else in town or nearby who is competent to work on your instrument. Where are you located? Someone here may be able to recommend a luthier to you. Best of luck!
March 18, 2019, 6:16 PM · I find it interesting how some luthiers avoid soundpost adjustment. It's one of the least invasive ways for sound adjustment.

However - people bug the living daylights out of luthiers when they feel their instrument is suboptimal, which is basically every time they have anything adjusted at the luthier...

I try not to bug luthier about it, but encourage him to experiment. After all - they are all tinkerers. We usualy sit together and muse on the sound. It makes him more comfortable (knowing I am not going to bite his head off) and I get accustomed to different sounds from the instrument... Win win...

March 19, 2019, 2:35 PM · Hi Kenna!

Moving around the soundpost changes the sound. It depends on the weather, and also on other conditions. It is not necessary, to change it, I mean, it's location under the surface. I hope that helps

Also, moving the bridge also is affecting the sound too. But for that, you should take it to a luthier :)

krisztian

March 19, 2019, 4:34 PM · A luthier may not necessarily be the best person for doing repairwork or setup, it probably depends on the person. If I was going to someone that was uncomfortable with moving the soundpost (and not because this person really thought that the problem was coming from elsewhere) then I might look around for someone that does a lot of set-up work.
Edited: March 20, 2019, 9:00 AM · First off, I would try to get good a good violinist (or two) to try it out and see if they think the sound is as you describe... to make sure it's real.
Then I'd try another luthier, trying not to bug them too much, but just describe the tonal issues and ask if they can find a problem or suggest a cure.

My first guess (as has been mentioned) would be a seam that has become unglued.

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