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Amazing Sound Discovery
Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 (1 votes) 
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Uzi
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September 14, 2014 - 2:12 pm
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I've had Obligato strings on my FM new Soloist for maybe 4 or 5 months.  Over the last 2 or 3 weeks I've noticed that the tone of the G and the D strings were sounding muddy and unpleasant at about the 3rd finger position and got worse as one went up the neck.  This was particularly annoying to me when playing a G or A on the D string. It sounded dull and lifeless and somewhat muted. I thought that the strings were nearing the end of their useful life and I was a little miffed that they hadn't lasted more than 4 months, since they are fairly spendy.  But then today...

I was looking at the bridge and I noticed that the foot of the bridge nearest the tailpiece had a tiny gap between the foot and the top of the fiddle.  By tiny I mean 1mm or less, just enough that I could see it with my reading glasses on. I pulled the bridge back just a hair so that the foot made contact straight across and voila. The entire fiddle increased in volume and the muddy sound on the low strings magically disappeared. 

It's really amazing the difference that a very small "micro" adjustment can make in the tone of these instruments.  

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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coolpinkone
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September 14, 2014 - 2:35 pm
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 Congratulations Uzi.   It is nice to know you will get good sound and more  playing from your strings. 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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harvestman
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September 14, 2014 - 2:36 pm
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Excuse me, but do you mean the foot of the bridge nearest the G or E string? Maybe it had something to do with soundpost relativity. it is amazing how such a small change will make a huge difference.

Good, Better, Best.
Never Rest,
Until your Good is Better and your better is BEST.

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Uzi
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September 14, 2014 - 4:27 pm
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harvestman said
Excuse me, but do you mean the foot of the bridge nearest the G or E string? Maybe it had something to do with soundpost relativity. it is amazing how such a small change will make a huge difference.

It was the foot nearest the tailpiece on the G string side Apparently, tuning had pulled the bridge forward (toward the fingerboard) just a tiny bit. So on the heavy stringed side, the bridge wasn't effectively transmitting the string vibration to the body of the violin.  On the D string for example (which was the one that was bugging me) it wasn't noticeable on the open string or on the E or the F, but by the time I would hit the G note on the D string the tone was dull and muted.   Once the foot was firmly planted again, the volume went up on the G and D strings and the dull/muted sound went away and it once again sounded like it did before. 

I was just surprised that such a small movement of the bridge could lead to such a noticeable difference in volume and tone. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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MrYikes
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September 14, 2014 - 4:52 pm
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 I was going to keep this to myself out of embarrassment but what the heck..yesterday while practicing my bridge fell down,,,should say exploded downward because the volume of sound that close to the ear was awakening.  On inspection I must have been asleep when fitting the feet of this bridge because there was a definite slope...slop in slop out.

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Tucson1
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September 14, 2014 - 5:21 pm
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welp , yer getting an education , sounds like ...when i pic my fiddle up to play it i allways look at the bridge from the side to see if it's tilted any ...and again during / after tuning

gotta do it or sooner or latter you'll get a big surprise ....violin-1267Have fun   Be happy

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 17, 2014 - 2:54 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I can't stress enough the difference it makes to pay attention to all the above mentioned details.
Thanks for bringing it up Uzi. :-)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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rockinglr33
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September 19, 2014 - 12:12 pm
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What a great topic uzi! I noticed that on my first violin. because it was a "silent" acoustic, even the smallest amount of movement of the bridge during turning or changing strings would cause it to change from just being quieter to nearly silent as far as projection. I'm always checking the bridge now on my Bourree to make sure that doesn't happen, because that muddy sound is just plain annoying! 

Violin is such a fascinating instrument with so many fine pieces where something changes and the whole violin changes from the sound post and the bridge to the strings and even the bow! 

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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coolpinkone
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September 19, 2014 - 12:25 pm
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@rockinglr33   I can't recall but is the violin the Bourree one of the GVC violins?

I might have had a brain bleep.  Anyway.. how is that violin working out?

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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rockinglr33
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September 19, 2014 - 1:15 pm
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@coolpinkone  

Yes the bourse is one of  the GCV violins sold on fiddlershop! the violin is just amazing! I am completely in love with it. Our resident fiddlerman found me the perfect one! I can't say enough good things about it. It's really opening up the more i play it, and its absolutely beautiful! I just wish i was good enough to really open it up and truly test it but i'm getting there!!!  

I just love it to pieces. though i just realized i never named him! oh dear me....I gotta find a good one! and yes a Him, i find it weird to call it a her, with its darker sounds much more reminiscent of a him. lol. 

I'll post a video soon of what i've learned of ashokan farewell. i feel it sounds the best in the slow waltz's right now, but thats probably because i'm better at playing that right now then anything fast! lol. 

 

Do you have a soloist? I thought you had one of those but i could be wrong. hope all is going well for you and your violin adventures!! 

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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RosinedUp
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September 19, 2014 - 3:43 pm
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Uzi said
I was looking at the bridge and I noticed that the foot of the bridge nearest the tailpiece had a tiny gap between the foot and the top of the fiddle.  By tiny I mean 1mm or less, just enough that I could see it with my reading glasses on. I pulled the bridge back just a hair so that the foot made contact straight across and voila. The entire fiddle increased in volume and the muddy sound on the low strings magically disappeared. 

Wow, I think it must have been a lot less than 1 mm.  The bridge should only be 4 to 5 mm thick at the foot, so a whole millimeter would make the bridge tip a lot.

I think the usual setup is that the tailpiece side of the bridge is supposed to make a right angle with the belly of the violin, and it's okay if it tips a little toward the tailpiece.  I use a pad of the small-size yellow sticky note paper as a square to check the angle---gosh, I hope 3M cuts those at 90 degrees!  Using it also as a straightedge can tell you whether your bridge is starting to warp.   I use the note paper pad if I want to be very careful, say after I've changed strings or perhaps bumped the bridge.  Day to day I just eyeball it.

Nice to hear your experience tracking down the problem.

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happyjet
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November 2, 2014 - 1:09 pm
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Something like that happend with my bridge. I now keep my bridge straight or very slightly leaning back.

Playing a piece is easy... Playing it right is not...

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cdennyb
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November 2, 2014 - 3:29 pm
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Straight or leaning back is a secondary thing, if the bridge is made properly or hasn't started bending and loosing it's flat solid shape, it should have maximum foot contact with the top of the violin body...regardless if it appears to lean back slightly. If it was mfg to lean back slightly then standing it up straight would result in the back edges of the feet lifting away from the violin, not good either.

When a bridge is made to match a particular curve of a violin body many use a piece of sandpaper as shown here to lightly remove material from the bottom of the feet and match the curve exactly. I have a tool that holds the bridge perfectly level and allows me to sand barely what I need to get that max contact shape.

In one picture you can see a bridge that has started to bend out of shape, and it was just a matter of time before it snapped. I replaced this bridge in about 2 hours with a brand new one and the traces show the slight improvement that was obtained with a properly fitted bridge.SI853900.JPGImage Enlarger

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"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Uzi
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November 2, 2014 - 5:20 pm
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Great tip.  Thanks.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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