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experimenting with violin stuff
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MrYikes
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March 19, 2014 - 11:54 am
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Hi, I've disfigured 6 bridges so far and have learned a lot from each.  I've played with 3 sound posts and even put in two at one time to learn the effects. I've tried so far, 5 different brands of strings to learn their sounds.  And I'm having a ball.

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Uzi
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March 19, 2014 - 12:44 pm
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It would be helpful if you share with us what your results and what you learned as you perform your experiments.

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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March 19, 2014 - 5:39 pm
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Sure Uzi, as long as you keep in mind that I first touched a violin in January.  
The sound post was moved all around with no real improvement noted.  The double post took away the highs and did very little for the lows,,kinda a waste.  But fun.  I ended up putting it right where it should be.
The bridge that came with the violin had to be wrong,,,I kept hitting other strings,,ha.  So I started making changes.  Had one very high, which took the strings way up.  Supposed to be louder, I couldn't tell.  But it did make it slower to move, lot farther to push down.  Then I made the bridge a lot smaller, the strings were barely off the board.  It just felt weird. But I bet it would be a lot faster.  I wouldn't know about that, I'm still at the "hunt and peck stage". Then I started making changes that made everything feel better and when I was done and started measuring,,surprise,,surprise, I was right where I was supposed to be and right at 42mm radius.  I laughed.
The strings that came on the violin, I assumed were junk, so when the Cecillios got here I changed them.  I then found that the originals were not so bad after all.  The Cecillios were steel core and sounded that way,,,but I liked the E.  The perlons from Startright got here and I put them on and that was quite a difference.  But the G looked smaller than the A or D, so after a week I switched,,turns out looks can be deceiving so I took them off again, but I noticed that at the bridge they were starting to come apart and when I took off the D it broke at the bridge spot.  I tried to contact Startright, but it looks like he's going out of business.  Then the perlons from Texas came in, they are a lot thinner than the startright strings, but they sure do sound like gut strings, but after a while I realize I don't really like that sound. So off they came because some Chinese steel strings got here and I put them on. I like them, loud clean sound,,especially the E.  Played with them for a week and put a texas A perlon back on.  So I like the Chinese E, the Texas perlon A, the steel D, and I'm not done with the G.  I haven't found a G that I like yet,,of course I don't spend a lot of time on the G, except for running scales.  I'm sure you have noticed
that all these strings are the cheap ones.  When I get better than these strings, I'll buy better strings.  Bob

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fiddle chick
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March 19, 2014 - 6:32 pm
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Whew. I'm exhausted now. But I enjoyed reading about your experiments. You sound like my boyfriend with his guitar...always tinkering. Have fun!

Let the bow flow.

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Uzi
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March 19, 2014 - 9:01 pm
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Thanks Mr. Yikes.  I got my first fiddle toward the end of January also.  With regard to the bridge, it looks like you learned a lot.  From what I've read, so far, it is important when making a new bridge to make sure that there's adequate space in the string slots for the string to move smoothly when it is being tightened, does not have any sharp edges to cause string abrasion and that the slot is lubricated with a bit of graphite from a pencil lead, so that it can move smoothly.  Also here's a pretty information article from this web site from a few years ago on bridges.  It seemed pretty informative to me.

 

http://fiddlerman.com/2011/11/.....n-m-healy/

With regard to the strings, they do make a significant difference. I too quickly removed the original strings and replaced them with D'Addario Zyex strings. They do sound better than the original.  I also have a set of D'Addario Pro Arte strings which I have yet to try and am considering testing the Dominant and Obligato strings pretty soon. The Obligato strings sound fantastic on my grandson's viola, but it is a much more expensive instrument and not a violin, so I'm not sure how they will sound on this inexpensive fiddle, but I'd like to find out. The one issue that I have with the Zyex strings is that I have a whispering E string which really bugs me, so I'd like to find something to fix that.

I've discovered that the biggest factor in improving the tone of this particular violin is practice.  For the first month I thought the violin sounded just horrible (oh and it really did and still does -- but less so.)  Yet, for some reason the more I practice the more this thing's  tone improves.

violin_girl

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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rockinglr33
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March 19, 2014 - 10:36 pm
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@MrYikes  It's always so much fun to experiment. I haven't gotten to experiment with shaping my bridges yet but it sounds like so much fun!  My old violin could use a new bridge so maybe, just maybe, i'll take it and go play around with some bridges! And strings really do make a huge difference with violins. Hope you find the right set, or group of strings you really like!

I can't wait to use my old violin as my project violin so i can learn all those cool trades of setting sound posts, fixing bridges and replacing the nut! maybe even someday i'll try and replace the fingerboard to! ya never know 😀 

 

@Uzi With the wolf tone on the E. Have you checked to make sure your bridge is straight? I know my old violin had started kind rattling, especially on the G string and i realized my bridge had somehow gotten off kilter. After straightening it the sound ceased. don't know if that will help. and if its a true wolf tone, i saw on fiddlershop a little thing to stop wolf tones. not sure how its installed

http://fiddlershop.com/accesso.....liminators

 

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

             ~General George S. Patton

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RosinedUp
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March 20, 2014 - 1:44 am
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MrYikes said ... When I get better than these strings, I'll buy better strings.  Bob

I know very little about strings, but I have learned one important thing.  If you use the following idea, It may help a lot with intonation.

You should get strings that are sensitive enough to vibrate sympathetically with one another.

For instance, when you play G on the D string, you should hear ringing from the open G string.  When you play A on the D string, you should hear the open A string ring like crazy.   If you aren't sure whether a string is ringing, stop it with a spare finger to hear the difference.  If you never hear any such ringing, try some better strings.  You don't have to spend a fortune.  I first heard sympathetic vibrations when I installed Preludes, at a cost of about $15.

When you play a tone that is a unison, octave, fourth, or fifth relative to some open string, you should hear some ringing---when you play the tone accurately, that is.  There are other intervals that produce weaker ringing.

The ringing provides points of reference for intonation, so you can nail down the notes precisely without needing to look at a tuner.

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MrYikes
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March 20, 2014 - 9:51 am
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Thanks RU, I hear a booming sound when on the note and am not sure if I like it.  It sounds like the note is locked inside the violin.  I've heard that the varnish can mute a violin, so one day I started scrubbing the side with steel wool (bet Fiddlerman wouldn't do THAT to his violin, ha.), but since I wasn't sure that the varnish was the problem, I held off doing the whole thing.  My ears can't tell me if that helped or hurt.
The bow that came with the violin wouldn't allow the hair to loosen, the frog nut would hit the front of the slot, so I drilled out the slot so that it works now.
My A peg worked too deeply into the peg box so that the string coming out of the hole was marking the side of the wood, so I took out the peg, moved in about a quarter inch and redrilled at 90 degrees.  It works okay, but seems to want to slip.  If that continues, I have some sidewalk chalk, I'll put on it.

I keep trying to find things to make it better or things to buy to make it better,,,,but in the end there is only one thing that will make it better,,,,pratice.

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Uzi
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March 20, 2014 - 9:58 am
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@rockinglr33 It's not a wolf tone, it's more like a whooshing sound like shhhhhhhhh...

I imagine that it's the sound of the bow hairs going across the string and being amplified by the bridge and sound post along with the sound of the string vibrating. It is only evident on the E string. I have heard others mention this before and one person claimed to have fixed it by replacing the E string with a "Kaplan" E string, which I am not familiar with.

I doubt that the whispering sound travels very far, since I don't hear it on any recordings and in any event any live listeners (or "victims" as they prefer to be called)  would have fled in terror long before they noticed the whispering (ssshhhhh) sound.  

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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March 20, 2014 - 12:11 pm
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Ha, that's how I think of it also Uzi.
On the bridges, I find the white color distracting, so I stain them walnut,not dark, just a little, then sand them off a little, then I harden them by rubbing them on a block of pine 2x4.  That puts a shine on them and they are ready to set.  It's better but still needs work.
I use a cheap Hamilton music stand, but had to drill two holes at the bottom so that I could use it while sitting.  It works but sure does splay the legs out.  I also put "Goop" on the corners of the shelf and thumb adjusters to hopefully prevent scratches and the shelf becomes a handy violin holder for those 47 bar rests (123,223,323)(during practice, I have a lot of those)ha.
On the bow, the wrapping was very loose so I put super glue on the bottom of the wrap.  It worked.  I also put super glue in the grooves in the nut for the E and A.  That worked also, but I've had to add some more after three weeks of practice.
I am kinda proud of my bow now, it was scratchy on the really high notes of the DEF double octive scales (of which, I sometimes find myself "sliding" into). There's almost no scratching now.  yea.

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Fiddlestix
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March 20, 2014 - 7:09 pm
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@Uzi : You're right, it is not a wolf tone you hear but a whistling sound. It's caused from the bow not making immediate contact with the E string to start it vibrating, therefore the bow hair's just slide over the E string until there's enough contact to make the string vibrate. The normal E string is a solid wire, the "Kaplan non Whistling E string is a wound string which prevent's the sliding of the bow hair's over the string, just like the other three wound string's and eliminates the whistle.

I use the "Kaplan" non whistling string with any set of string's I buy.

http://fiddlershop.com/strings.....scale.html

It's a bit more expensive than the regular E string, but well worth it.

 

Ken.

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MrYikes
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April 14, 2014 - 12:46 pm
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I put on a set of Hauyin perlon strings on my new, old, mv650 and used a Yeto amber rosin on the bow.  That was a bad combination.  I would get three tones on one bowing stroke.  The rosin was really grabby and the strings would flex.  I had to wash out the bow hair, dry it and brush it out (I think my wife is jealous).  I changed strings to a steel core and things are back to normal.  I need to find a "slicker" rosin.  I have some light colored which is okay but I need to try others.

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Oliver
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April 14, 2014 - 12:56 pm
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You might find that "slick" doesn't last as long per application.  I use poor man's "student block" and it is definitely on the slickier side. 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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MrYikes
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April 14, 2014 - 7:52 pm
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I sanded off the bottom (back) of Jane (plain Jane, my first violin,,the new one is Vanessa) and stained it and then put on a thin layer of tinted varnish.  I'm not good enough to match varnish, so I wasn't trying.  Just trying to see if I can get the sound to come out better.  I ordered another set of perlon strings from Texas and two types of rosin from some other places.  California is sending another violin for me (free this time).  It should be here sometime next week.  Still thinking about a carbon bow, but I'm not ready for a good one yet,,there's just so many lesser ones to try.  I did learn America the Beautiful.  Which was super easy and fun.  Funny thing in that song.  In the middle of the song, it goes like this:    dc dead  gee dc.  I just thought how appropriate.

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