Tone Production Troubles
I've recently been having some difficulty getting certain notes to speak on my instrument, specifically notes in mid-high positions, and the open G and D strings. Instead of a full tone, I often hear a whistling/scratching sound. The only way to cure the bad tone seems to be to press my fingers down all the way to the fingerboard. Normally, my instrument is very responsive, and I can play with a light left hand, so that I can stay a tiny distance away from the fingerboard when I play a note.
I was wondering if the problem might be caused by the sound post needing to be adjusted. It's been 4 years since I last had that done. I've experimented with different ratios of bow speed/pressure and distance from the bridge, so I don't think I'm causing the problem. Also, my strings are new, but broken in, and I had my bow rehaired recently, so those can't be the culprits either (besides, I noticed the issue before I replaced my strings and rehaired my bow).
If anyone has any thoughts about this or has experienced similar issues, I'd love to hear from you!
I always clean my strings with a microfiber cloth after playing - and if they screech too loudly when I do that I also use a nylon "Scubbie" (check them out on ebay or Amazon). If they are still bad I clean them with alcohol - using the alcohol pads sold in drug stores and IMMEDIATELY wipe each string dry with an absorbent cloth (cotton) to prevent wetting the core - my thought on this step is that rosin may be lodged between the string windings and the alcohol dissolves it and the cloth wipe removes the residue and the alcohol solution between the windings.
I'm not suggesting that you should blame your tools, but keep in mind that some violins simply cannot play that high on the G string with a nice tone.
This is definitely an adjustment issue, especially since it hasn't always been that way!
Yes, this condition is new so something has changed which means something needs to be adjusted.
Andrew, I tried cleaning my strings with alcohol, and it did eliminate most of the squeaks! I didn't realize they were that dirty; I typically just wipe them down with a cotton cloth. I do still think the instrument might be due for a sound post adjustment, since I'm still having to press down into the fingerboard harder than I usually do. Plus, my D string has been sounding kind of muffled lately. For now though, the alcohol solution helps.
"It's making a bad sound. It only works when I play the instrument properly!"