Is replacing/fixing a sound post worth it?
Recently when I went to get my violin repaired (the top wooden plate had to be reglued) the man who was doing it mentioned some other things - which I recognized too - that I had to repair later on when I had the chance.
One of the things he mentioned was my sound post, saying it was pretty old and would need to be changed. However he mentioned it'd be risky(?) and that possibly my violin wouldn't sound the same after.
Is it worth changing or should I just keep my sound post? My violin is probably 80+ years old (or so I was told) if that gives any idea as too the current condition of the violin.
I wouldn't consider the age alone of a soundpost to be a good reason to replace it. That's about all I can say from this side of the computer screen, and from the information you have provided so far
There's no reason to replace a soundpost just because it's old, assuming that the wood hasn't cracked or the like.
Why would changing the soundpost be "risky?" It's a very routine task when the technician knows what they're doing. And if you're not happy with the outcome, there's nothing preventing putting the old one back. Bear in mind that your violin might not sound the same because it winds up sounding better. I'd look for a tech who inspires more confidence. Unless it's your own anxiety that's clouding the waters. (?)
Sounds like the sort of things a luthier would say about changing the bass bar.
A violin repair person who reckons changing a sound-post is risky? The good news is that it is indeed risky if the repair person is not a qualified luthier. The second bit of good news is that you have had a good indication of that person's level of technical competence, clearly well below that of a qualified luthier.
When I took one of my violins in for a "professional" soundpost adjustment last summer the head luthier was on vacation and the luthier who got the job told me the old soundpost should be replaced. I figured maybe he was right, after all this was the original soundpost on a violin made in 1951 and $55 seemed reasonable enough for 2 precise cuts on a stick of wood and some additional finishing. So he went ahead and did the job for me.
Soundposts and bridges should be adjusted and replaced from time to time. As your violin ages and the plates change shape, sometimes gaps develop between the soundpost and plate and that robs you of sound. If you play a lot, you may want to get your instrument tuned up once a year.
"Soundposts and bridges should be adjusted and replaced from time to time."
Daf, most changes result in changes. A shop should be experienced enough to give you some indication what the shop intends to happen if something is changed.
I've had my 19th-century violin since 1994. During that time, I've had the sound post swapped out once (the old one didn't fit anymore), the bridge replaced once (the old one had started warping), the tailpiece swapped out once (the old one developed a hairline crack in 2017), and a seam reglued.
" However he mentioned it'd be risky(?) and that possibly my violin wouldn't sound the same after."
I think that ideally the key to adjustment would be to understand exactly what the causes of various tonal problems are and exactly what you can do to correct these. The larger your catalogue, the greater the possibility of success. Just slapping the post around and hoping for the best is the lowest level of understanding I can imagine, but it's what a lot of shops seem to do, in which case it's a real crap shoot. If your adjustment session habitually runs to an hour, without constant forward motion, perhaps you're going to the wrong place. :-)
Having "endured" 80 years of my own violin playing, 70 years in a fairly "conscious" state, I presume that as players get older the sounds they want from their instruments may change as their hearing changes - although they are probably unaware of it. At least, that is how I think it has been for me - although I really have no idea of the specifics since I can only hear (at any time) what I can.
Michael, my usual luthier (who is primarily a maker) uses tap tuning when he does adjustments. The frequency of the bridge alters with time, and so a tiny re-carve (taking off a bit more wood around the hearts) generally results in an audible tonal improvement.
Sound post replacement is risky? Let me tell you my story...
That means you voided the warranty. ;)
Michael, Thanks.I see your point here. I think I'm fairly particular. I know the limitations of my instrument, at least on the basic level. In that respect there is some tolerance. I've played with the sound post a bit. For me the most difficult thing was getting a loose post out of the violin. Placement wasn't too bad with the right tools. I'm sure I could likely play with it some more.Always room for improvement I suppose.
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