Inconvenient wolf tone -- solutions?
Tonight I realized that my violin has a very inconvenient wolf tone: right at C5 on the D string. I've had the violin for 20+ years, but I'm almost exclusively a violist, so although I noticed problems on that note before, I assumed I was just not used to the amount of bow weight required on the violin -- I only learned tonight through YouTube what a wolf tone actually sounds like.
Anyway, I have a wolf that I reach in 3rd position, so it's difficult to play around it without awkward string crossings. Are there things I can do to reduce it without taking it to a luthier (rather difficult at this time for obvious reasons)? Would different strings help? The violin has Vision strings on it now, and I think I have a set of violin Dominants sitting around.
Andrew perhaps this sounds stupid, but try bowing close to the bridge and practice producing a good sound nevertheless. It may work. Some decent violins have that but you can bow around it, so to speak.
Does the same wolf note not occur on the A string, Andrew?
Doesn't occur on the A string at all. I didn't try playing that high on the G string, will investigate further next time I play the violin.
Lower tension strings (Dominant, Tonica) can help by not cramping the finer vibrations or reinforcing the wolves.
It's a common phenomenon - my last violin had it on C#, both D and A strings but not strictly a wolf but a pinched sound as Adrian describes. New strings always helped
Without going into the physics, I've had success with small Tourte mutes for a single string, or a shield mute that sits on adjacent strings, placed on the afterlength but as close to the bridge as possible without it touching the bridge when playing.
I have never noticed a wolf on my violins or violas. However I noticed a wolf on 3 of the cellos I have owned and fought them for 60 years trying every wolf elimination product that was sold without total success
Another endorsement for the Krentz; I have them on each cello. Fantastic.
Broken record here: Why do you people insist on bandaids to fix an improperly adjusted instrument? When part of the adjustment is off, NOTHING else works its best! You are just hurting yourselves.
Michael - I'd love to have you take a look at my viola. F# wolf on D and G string. Not the horrible wolf I have heard on some cellos, but on just that tone it is more difficult to get the string to sound. And the tone is more nasal than the surrounding tones. My local luthier could not fix it.....
Michael - in this case I'm probably not able to get to a luthier for at least the next two months due to the currently active shelter in place order.
I agree that your wolf is coming from an adjustment issue, most likely from the soundpost. If you have a spare instrument, play that one and set your main one aside for a time when you can visit a luthier. It’ll be well worth it!
As I noted, I'm almost exclusively a violist. My violin
Well, this is embarrassing: I took out my violin to look at the soundpost, and noticed that my bridge feet were about 1.5 mm toward the fingerboard from the f-hole notches. Moved the bridge to the f-hole notches, which brought it closer to the soundpost. (If the mountain will not come to Mohammed...)
Micheal's comment will save a lot of wasted time on the part of some of us inveterate tinkerers!
"Why do you people insist on bandaids to fix an improperly adjusted instrument?"
If your violin has a wolf, it’s out of adjustment. Some violas and a lot of cellos have wolves that must be worked around or adjusted to different places, but a violin with a wolf has a problem that needs to be addressed.
Are you. familiar with the concept of a wolf eliminator between the bridge and the windings? I played a concert a few years ago on a fine instrument on a loan that happened to have an inconvenient wolf tone on the leading tone of the piece I was playing. I took the eraser from a mechanical pencil, cut it into a small section (<0.5 cm diameter in all directions), cut a slit through it, and put it between the beige and windings on the G string. I moved it back and forth until the wold tone was eliminated - though finding the correct position took a while.
Nicola Benedetti's Strad has two wolftones. If it was simply maladjusted, you'd think she'd have found out and got a luthier to readjust it.
A couple of years ago i asked advice for a similar problem. A wolf eliminator did not help.
@marco I somewhat alleviated the wolf tone on my newer fiddle with ZMT tailpiece. The instrument is also louder now.
As I think Scott has said before, when other setup tricks don't work, a light-gauge Dominant G can be a huge help for a muddy g-string - without sacrificing the overall volume of the violin.
The combination of a setup that’s out of adjustment and high-tension soloist strings can cause wolves. Great instruments are quite sensitive and can quickly develop tonal issues, especially when they’re taken all over the world on tour. For this reason many artists go straight to luthiers when their planes land to check the adjustment.
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