Wolf note

September 9, 2019, 7:48 AM · Does anyone know if it is possible to remedy a wolf note on a viola ?

Replies (11)

Edited: September 9, 2019, 7:56 AM · I have found the Krenz Wolf Eliminators to be very effective:

Krentz was the first device I found that really worked for eliminating cello wolves after a 60 year search through all devices sold for that purpose.

In addition to completely eliminating wolf tones on two of my cellos they have also cleaned up certain tonal anomalies on one of my violas and 2 of my violins. The Krentz devices come in different sizes for violin, viola, and cello.

Krentz has had an annual sale price on these devices at the anniversary of their introduction - so it might pay to investigate now and wait a few months to see if they have the sale again this year.

September 17, 2019, 11:55 AM · Thank you Andrew , I'm getting interested in wolf notes now . I tried attaching a little weight to the g string of my viola , this definitely works but only to a certain extent . I looked up wolf notes in "Violin Making As It Was And Is " by Edward Heron Allen , and this what he said. " By a wrong arrangement of the sound post or base bar what are termed wolf-notes are produced , when present they may generally be cured by the proper adjustment of the bar or post ".
This explanation is a little lacking in detail for me , so I wonder if you or any other devotee of this site could recommend further reading on this subject ?
September 17, 2019, 5:45 PM · i like new harmony. check cello sites for how to determine where to place it.
Edited: September 17, 2019, 6:02 PM · If it is an after-length (between the bridge and tailpiece) issue, try moving a piece of blue tack around the string that matches your wolf pitch when you pizz on the wrong side of the bridge. Often it will be between Eb and F#. If that works, I would recommend a light mass eliminator first.
More comprehensive recommendations that can be transferred from cello are at https://www.aitchisoncellos.com/publications/cello-and-bow-articles/technical-articles-about-the-cello/taming-wolf-notes/
September 17, 2019, 5:58 PM · My back-up Ernst Heinrich Roth viola developed one after I removed a fine-tuner tailpiece. It was well remedied with a very light new harmony wolf eliminator tuned to match the wolf.
September 17, 2019, 6:01 PM · Oddly, a mute such as the Spector, Poly, or Finissima that grab the string can also tame wolf notes when well placed.
September 19, 2019, 9:58 AM · I have 2 Krentz "modulators" as they call them, instead of just saying wolf eliminator. I have been thru all the other wolf eliminators on violin, viola and cello, but each of them did only a little bit; the Krentz really does the job. If you can't find a cheaper remedy, get a Krentz. I think they have a money back guarantee, so you are at no risk! Best of luck!
Edited: September 19, 2019, 12:56 PM · Different strokes for different folks!

I tried to eliminate an F# wolf from my Strad-model cellos starting about 60 years ago eventually using every "on-string" device sold (as they entered the market). I even learned to tune the devices' location to match the pitch of the offended note. I did learn that putting the on-string devices on the most offending string is not necessarily the best approach (despite what one luthier told me).

Despite moderate reductions in the wolfs by every on-string device nothing was completely successful until Krentz.

My Rugeri-model cello never has had a wolf.

My smaller instruments (violins and violas) have never had wolfs, but several of them have tonal improvements from Krentz modulators appropriately placed. The other instruments' sound was actually spoiled by Krentz devices.

Edited: September 24, 2019, 2:06 AM · Can anyone recommend further in depth material on the causes of wolf notes ?
September 24, 2019, 7:15 AM · Google "wolf note on string instruments".

In his book, "The Violin Explained," James Beament provided a fairly thorough (physicist's) description and explanation in an understandable, non-mathematical way starting on page 79.

Unfortunately the book is now rare, out-of-print and may be expensive.

Edited: September 24, 2019, 12:14 PM · Ken, in a nutshell, the string moves the bridge, the bridge moves the top of the instrument, and then the top moves the bridge and the attached string. If the top moves enough, there will be two separate frequencies trying to vibrate the string: One at the natural resonance of the instrument top feeding back through the bridge, and the other from the finger stopping position. The poor string gets confused about which one to choose, so it goes back and forth between the two. ;-)

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