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My Soundpost Fell
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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MoonShadows
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February 24, 2019 - 1:05 pm
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Today, I did a stupid thing. I was looking at my violin and it looked as if the bridge under the E string was leaning ever so slightly. Rather than holding the bridge on both sides to make the adjustment, I tried to just move the E string side just a hair. I don't know what happened, but the bridge fell faster than you go down when you slip on ice.

I guess once that happened, I should have loosened the strings to put the bridge back up, but I didn't. That gave me my first scratch on my violin. (It feels worse than a scratch on a brand new car.) With the bridge back in place, I then picked up the violin and heard the rattle...my sound post had fallen over. 

At least I know enough not to try and fix that myself. We have a violin shop in town, but they are closed Sundays and Mondays. They have another shop about 50 miles away that has "by appointment only" hours on Sunday and Monday. I called and left a message to see if I could just bring my violin into the local shop on Tuesday morning or did I need to make an appointment there first.

Within 5 minutes the owner called me back and told me not to worry, I could bring my violin into the local shop Tuesday morning and he would take care of it for me. He was very reassuring. He must have heard the disgust and disappointment in my voice. I can't believe how out of sorts I feel over this. (Is it too late to change my answer in the "How many backup violins?" thread?)

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
February 24, 2019 - 1:24 pm
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Man !  You'll get used to that ( well, I exaggerate - it shouldn't happen often ) !

All I meant was - it's not really a huge issue - and I KNOW - I KNOW ( he wrote in capitals, shouting ) - it's your beloved instrument - do you REALLY want to work that sound-post setter in through the f-hole for the first time ?   Nooooooo....   it's gonna cause scratches and surface damage !!!!  Yup, been there...   🙂

But really, it is not all that bad.

These bits of support-hardware ( sound-post-setters ) aren't all that expensive and make the task relatively easy - there are even work-arounds if you can't afford wasting a kitchen-fork ( was kidding about the kitchen fork - but there are plenty home-made versions ! ) - here is one of many.... https://maestronet.com/forum/i.....tion-tool/

But - nonetheless - glad you got it fixed - FIDDLE ON my friend !  devil-violin

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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MoonShadows
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February 24, 2019 - 1:41 pm
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Funny that you post that link, Billy. It was one of the first ones I looked at when I Googled this right after the soundpost fell. I really don't want to mess with it myself, though, and create a bigger problem. I read that a beginner luthier, even with training, has to set 25 soundposts before he is competent at it. I also read how placing it incorrectly can affect the sound, tone, and even be detrimental to the instrument itself if not done correctly, i.e. creating a crack down the road. I guess I'll just have to wait until Tuesday and let the luthier fix it.

I guess as a beginner, it kind of shocked me. And, that first scratch....I feel like I hurt a friend, not to mention I can't practice for two days!

Sound-post-illustration.jpgImage Enlarger

 

Sound-Post-Patch-full-size.jpgImage Enlarger

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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Irv
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February 24, 2019 - 1:56 pm
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@MoonShadows and others.  Until your appointment, secure a piece of cardboard or similar cushioning material between the belly plate and tail piece so that the top will not be scratched by the fine tuners and string balls during transport.  Best of luck.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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BillyG
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February 24, 2019 - 1:57 pm
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🙂 @MoonShadows - it is all about confidence - trust me - if you're good with your hands and enjoy making / building / modifying things - it will become easy !

And- being a kind of perfectionist myself - the absolute final position of the SP chosen by your luthier may suit HIS ear - it may sound different to you from what it was before...

This was one of the first things I did as a beginner 4 or so years back - although - I must admit it was done on an old, and generally worthless in any monetary sense 4/4 SkyLark fiddle - and I did ALL sorts of horrible things to that poor instrument....

If you have an interest in the "mechanics" of messing with a fiddle - it is maybe worth a punt on e-bay or something to get something "still-playable"... I got myself what turned out to be actually usable for $30 - it happens to be a 3/4 size - I knew that when I got it - and I had intended to take it apart ( like ALL THE WAY ) - but all it needed was reaming out the peg box and a set of new, tapered-down over-size pegs...  I had a LOT of fun and learned a lot from doing that...

dancing

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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MoonShadows
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February 24, 2019 - 2:03 pm
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Irv said
@MoonShadows and others.  Until your appointment, secure a piece of cardboard or similar cushioning material between the belly plate and tail piece so that the top will not be scratched by the fine tuners and string balls during transport.  Best of luck.  

Thanks Irv. I did that already I used a Fiddlershop polishing cloth that I folded in half. I loosened the strings to take the pressure off since the soundpost is not supporting right now. Is that correct?

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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MoonShadows
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February 24, 2019 - 2:10 pm
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@BillyG I am actually pretty good with my hands in my woodshop. I guess it's just I feel like a new father with a brand new baby with this 3-week old violin. LOL You should have seen me the first time I loosened the strings just to practice tuning! I'm sure over time, as I get more comfortable, I'll attempt things like this.

Good tip on the luthier's ear. I didn't know that. I thought the soundpost has to be placed in a "right spot". 

Ha...Maybe I'll take a look on ebay and get a violin to practice on rather than my Fiddlerman Concert violin. Good idea. I never thought of that.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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February 24, 2019 - 3:00 pm
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Sorry to hear you're out of an instrument to play until Tuesday morning, MoonShadows. Sounds like grounds for withdrawal symptoms, like when I accidentally leave the house for a few hours without my cell phone ... only worse and longer 🙁

I bet you've figured out that Youtube is full of bow hand only exercises which don't involve the violin itself. My new teacher had me doing several for half of my last lesson. I'd say they're beyond useful... they're central if I'm ever going to develop a flexible wrist. So I went at them with a vengance and am now nursing an amazing charlie horse in my right forearm. I'll do a few more after a round of ice packs bunny-headbang 

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Irv
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February 24, 2019 - 3:23 pm
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Hi @MoonShadows.  Yes, loosen the strings, although without the bridge little harm can be done.  You should be good to go.

Considerable variation is possible on the location of the sound post, and they all represent a different sound.  Tell the luthier what you like so he can experiment.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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Fiddlerman
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February 24, 2019 - 7:31 pm
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I don't know where you live or if you have a luthier nearby, but we would do it for free at Fiddlershop. Would take seconds.....

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

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MoonShadows
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February 25, 2019 - 2:14 am
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Fiddlerman said
I don't know where you live or if you have a luthier nearby, but we would do it for free at Fiddlershop. Would take seconds.....  

@bocaholly That's a good idea for today...bow hand only exercises.

Thanks @Fiddlerman I appreciate that! I live in Northeast PA. We have a violin shop in town, about 6 miles away, and the owner is a luthier.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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MoonShadows
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February 25, 2019 - 6:25 am
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Acting on @bocaholly 's suggestion, I started Googling Bow Hand Exercises. I found many including pinky taps, bow circles, windshield washer, spider crawls, etc. I stumbled upon one video from an old series made by Yehudi Menuhin in 1969 called Six Lessons with Yehudi Menuhin. This particular one was Right Hand First Exercises and I thought it was worth noting here if you have never watched it. Menuhin works with a group of young students from his famous school in Stoke D’Abernon. (a bit scratchy)

I wound up watching the whole six lessons...the best series of violin video tutorials on technique I’ve seen so far. If interested, you can see all six tutorials here: https://fiddlingforolderfolks......t-goodies/

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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GregW
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February 25, 2019 - 10:35 am
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I havent had this happen.  I wonder if you would be able to record a couple of different spots your luthier places it in.  Ive always wondered how much of a difference small adjustments would make.  The suggestion to get an inexpensive fiddle to experiment with sounds like something to go after.  Bummer you went to play and had to deal with that so early in playing..good experience I suppose.  Hope all goes well.

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
February 25, 2019 - 12:14 pm
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@MoonShadows - I think this was in 1985 or so - and I recall seeing Sir Yehudi on TV with some Scottish fiddlers....   At the start, he was struggling (and admitted so) to "synch in" to their way of playing...  by the end, an hour later - he nailed it !  Classical violin meets folk-fiddle...  Exactly, it's really all one and the same, but different... if that makes sense...  Here's a quote he gave as a forward to a book entitled "Fiddle Music of Scotland" - 

This is in the beginning of the book. It's a "Forward" by Yehudi Menuhin.

"I salute in my Scottish fiddler friends that innate urge to be audible, visible and recognisable to our clan for what we are and what we feel. Their music knows no detour--it goes straight to our feet if dance we must, to our eyes if cry we must, and always directly to our hearts evoking every shade of joy, sorrow or contentment.

This music is living proof that the origins of all music are in our pulse and in our voice and that the true and colourful folk heritage and tradition must always remain at the very source of a culture and of an organised, literate musical life, however erudite and complex the structures may become.

The genuine Scottish fiddler has an infallible sense of rhythm, never plays out of tune and is master of his distinctive and inimitable style, which is more than can be said of most 'schooled' musicians. We classical violinists have too obviously paid a heavy price for being able to play with orchestras and follow a conductor.

May this thorough and well-documented collection of a people's music serve to keep it alive in the song and dance and, above all, in the hearts of those who will give our civilisation voice, spirit and shape.

Yehudi Menuhin"

🙂 Just though I'd share that experience ( well, I only saw him on TV- I *think* it was recorded in The Usher Hall in Edinburgh, but I'm not sure - I can still picture him playing...

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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MoonShadows
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February 25, 2019 - 12:22 pm
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I watched his biography made by the BBC earlier today. It was very good, and I learned so much about the man and his music.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
February 25, 2019 - 1:12 pm
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Man @MoonShadows - I hadn't seen that ( and I used to believe I had seen darned near everything the BBC had ever produced since like 1960 or so ! )  

I'm about 10 or so minutes into the video - but it's just turned 6pm here and it is "my turn" to make dinner - trust me on this - I'll be back to watch the whole thing later - it's already referred to his "intentional-down-slide" to an occasional note - interesting!  Although - I'm never gonna play that style of music - it all adds to the experience and technique, and appreciation of "what makes it different from player to player"...  yeah, exactly

Thank you very much for the link MoonShadows !  Nice one...

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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MoonShadows
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February 25, 2019 - 1:22 pm
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Ah, glad you are enjoying it, Billy! I sure did. Some say he was never the same after WWll. Also interesting how he led such an isolated early life and how that affected him in relationships later on. I'm never plan on playing classical either, but his story is one anyone who picks up a violin/fiddle should see. His style revealed a lot about the man.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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MoonShadows
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As a follow up....

I took my fiddle to the local violin shop yesterday. (Montero Violins https://www.monteroviolins.com/) I met the owner who reset my soundpost within just a few minutes. Cost: $20. When he saw my Fiddlerman Concert Violin he mentioned that he knows Fiddlerman. 

A friend sent me an email with a soundpost setter that he bought from eBay. It comes with a small LED Endoscope camera that you can hook up to your cell phone to check the setting. Thought it was interesting.

fd43331ae04e1140a784c3d7b4743bd9.jpgImage Enlarger

https://www.ebay.com/itm/SET-S.....:rk:1:pf:0

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks

There are only two things keeping me from becoming a great fiddler...My right hand and my left hand. 

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Gordon Shumway
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BillyG said
 it's already referred to his "intentional-down-slide" to an occasional note - interesting!  Although - I'm never gonna play that style of music - it all adds to the experience and technique, and appreciation of "what makes it different from player to player"... 

Yes, I've downloaded it, as I'm not sure when I'll have 50 minutes available (!) to watch it all.

What the video says about slides should possibly be considered in context - certain classical violinists in the 1920s and/or 30s did like the gypsy style, and I've heard quite extreme examples on the radio. No idea who - Kreisler and others?

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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GregW
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Moonshadows..that kit looks handy.  Think Ill look into getting it..  Did your luthier try different spots and see how it changed sound or just decide on a place and set it?  I think a geeky gearhead kinda project would be to set a violin up in some sort of stationary jig and record say the open strings.  Then move the post and repeat.  Repeat the process a few times then use one of those frequency type graphs to look for differences.

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