How can I keep the sound post standing?

April 23, 2020, 3:48 AM · How can I keep the sound post standing, if I am working to check my pegs?

Strings are expected to unwind. How can I make sure that the sound post won't move?

Thank you in advance!!

Replies (17)

April 23, 2020, 4:21 AM · Pass a soft belt around the corpus between the bridge and fingerboard, putting a small and benign object (perhaps your rosin in its box?) under it below the E string. Tighten to compress the table under the strings. You can now release the strings with less anxiety.

I cut and set my own sound-post; it's a few tens of microns too long to drop.

Edited: April 23, 2020, 5:53 AM · I have long used that technique successfully when changing a tailpiece, but without Peter's thoughtful "benign object". I must try that useful addition next time.

Horace, when checking pegs do it one at a time and make sure the other pegs are pressed in tight. You shouldn't have any sound post problems then; but if you do that may be a sign that the sound post is a shade too short. Unless you're already skilled in preparing and setting up a sound post your best recourse will be to get a luthier to do the job.

April 23, 2020, 6:53 AM · You just need a set of these babies:

Only be careful. Not too tight!

Edited: April 23, 2020, 10:31 AM · Heh!
I can just picture those hard-wearing Acme threads tearing right through to the purfling.
April 23, 2020, 8:29 AM · If you work on one peg at a time and leave the other strings at tension, the post will stay in place.
Edited: April 23, 2020, 9:02 AM · OP writes, "strings are expected to unwind"
If strings are unwinding on their own, you can try chalk on the pegs to provide friction; Hill's peg compound, powdered rosin, or talc may also work.
If the pegs are loose due to misshapen parts, lutherie is needed.
As Rich has stated, there is no need for YOU to unwind all four strings at the same time--work on one peg at a time and your soundpost will be in no danger.
April 23, 2020, 10:10 AM · Easy, just drip some glue down in there.
Edited: April 23, 2020, 10:29 AM · Cotton, PLEASE don’t make potentially destructive jokes. Not everyone reading this forum has the background knowledge to differentiate good suggestions from bad ideas.

Do not drip glue on a sound post.

April 23, 2020, 10:50 AM · Hi thank you for your input everyone!!
So, it means that if I loosen all the strings, the post is expected to fall, unless I belt the body up and maintain the pressure?
April 23, 2020, 10:53 AM · No, the post will not, and should not, just fall when all the tension is taken away. I've done this many times when doing things like adjusting the tailpiece and never had an issue.

If you feel you must mess with things (do you really have to mess with it now?), take reasonable precautions: Don't bump the violin, try to keep it upright. You should be fine.

April 23, 2020, 11:29 AM · But why loosen all four strings at the same time if you don’t have to? One at a time is safer.
Edited: April 23, 2020, 11:41 AM · "So, it means that if I loosen all the strings, the post is expected to fall, unless I belt the body up and maintain the pressure?"

No it's not expected to. Usually it doesn't. But if your violin has not been serviced in a long time or you're experiencing a lot of changes in your weather, etc., then it can happen, and unless you've got a pretty good hand for putting it back up and adjusting it, you don't want that happening.

And I was just kidding about the big clamp. A belt (something to go all the way around your violin, it can even be a strap with velcro) and a "benign object" you can wedge into it to develop VERY GENTLE pressure should work just fine.

Edited: April 23, 2020, 11:48 AM · I once met a "fiddler" (I'm using the word most pejoratively in this instance) in a pub session who proudly showed us how he'd prevented his sound post from falling over when he replaced strings. He had fixed it in place with a small nail through the back of the fiddle! The only thing I can say in his defense is that he had done it very accurately. Another violinist in the session, a local luthier, saw it and made some apposite remarks that I regret I am unable to repeat here ;)
April 23, 2020, 12:12 PM · One peg at a time is good advice. I wouldn't belt the body. When I want to drop a post quickly, I squeeze the c-bouts, just like the belt. Putting something in place of the bridge may help, but I can drop a post in a tuned up violin this way if I want to. The belters are just lucky. . . . so far.
Edited: April 23, 2020, 1:38 PM · fixed it (the sound post that is) in place with a small nail through the back of the fiddle

Brilliant... why have I not thought of this before!

April 23, 2020, 2:59 PM · Michael makes a good point about the contour of the violin and what happens if you squeeze on the C bouts.
April 29, 2020, 10:53 PM · I don't think it's a given that the sound post will fall if all strings are slack. Certainly I've never had it happen. Nevertheless, I prefer to work on one string at a time. (If all strings are slack, forget the sound post - it's a dead certainty that your bridge will fall down.)

Back when all I had was my old VSO, at a late night jam at a bluegrass festival a fellow player (who happened to be a luthier) noticed that my sound post was way out of position. He suggested I come by his table the next day so he could adjust it. After some much-needed sleep I showed up the next day and he set about trying to remove my sound post, which refused to budge. I wound up holding my fiddle firmly on the table while he reached in with a tool through one of the F-holes and whacked at the sound post with a hammer. The sound post had been glued in place!

Once he knocked the old sound post loose he cleaned up the insides of the instrument as best he could, then cut and fitted a new sound post. My old beater violin sounded like a brand-new instrument.

(Back in my guitar days I was in the habit of removing all strings at once, which made it easier to clean the fretboard. The first time I tried that on a mandolin the bridge fell off. Lesson learned.)

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