Hi all. I got my fiddle out of the closet today and there was some rattling inside of it. Looks like there is a wooden dowel in there rolling around, it must have come loose from somewhere. It appears to be barely too big to fit through the f holes. Anyone know what purpose this part might be serving, or where it's supposed to be?
If I took this to a repair person, would they have to pry the top off my instrument to fix it? Or do they have long tools that they can work through the f holes with? I'm not sure what their methods might be.
Sounds like your soundpost needs to be reset. It sits upright inside the violin and connects the top and bottom sides of the instument. The soundpost is important for the sound quality of the violin. I think they can usually use a special soundpost resetting tool that reaches through the f hole; there should be no need to pry off the top of the instrument unless there is some unusual circumstance.
Thanks for the prompt response, Fidelestre. You may be right about the soundpost. I thought it sounded a little deader than I thought it should today, but I just chalked it up to poor technique, lol. Do you know if this piece is glued in or just kept in place by pressure and friction?
Any chance this could be done by an amateur (myself)?
You CAN do it yourself - relatively easy with a low-cost tool ( soundpost setter ) - but getting it to exactly where it performs best can take a while. It should be placed (roughly) underneath where the E string crosses the bridge. There are many places to research this - but here's the wikipedia entry to give you an idea - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_post as a summary. Also check out @Fiddlerman 's video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....rY6ORicq64
- but I would research further info before you embark upon it.... It can be quite "finicky" first time - I spent most of a day (mostly experimenting by making very small position changes within the usable length of the post ). For an existing soundpost, there are of course limits to how far it can be moved and still stay in place once tensioned before you need something a mm or so shorter or longer - so there are limits to how far you can move it. But, it would be 5 / 10 minute job for a luthier if you are fortunate enough to have one nearby....
And @Mark makes a good point- you may not believe this, but on a fully tensioned violin there could be up to 20kg pressure on the top plate - without the support of the soundpost between top and bottom plates you could run the risk of either damage or deformation of the top plate over time. For sure - relax the strings until you get it fixed !
Oh - and no it is not glued - its just a friction fit and keeps in place with the applied downward pressure when tensioned.
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
Thanks for the tips, guys. Sounds like this is a very common occurrence that every fiddler should know how to deal with. I am admittedly a noob. I'll get my instrument tuned down right away. I ordered a tool to help reset the soundpost, although I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to get it out of the fiddle in the first place.
Turn the violin over and let the post roll to the hole. A straightened paper clip can help. It takes time the first try, but then it is easy. Putting in the post can not harm your violin, though you might not get the optimum sound, at least you are able to continue playing. Later you can pay to have it placed, but to me it is important to learn to do this so that you need not live in fear of the post falling.