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I actually play violin once in a while...
Brahms F-A-E Scherzo, work in progress
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AndrewH
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April 17, 2020 - 2:54 am
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I've been playing violin instead of viola lately because of a shoulder injury, and thought I'd at least try to add a little to my almost nonexistent violin repertoire. Just one short piece for now, because I'm trying to rest the shoulder: the Brahms F-A-E Scherzo.

This is still very much a work in progress. It's taking me a long time (especially with very limited practice time) to get used to the closer finger spacing and much lighter bow stroke on violin; there are some crunchy sounds from too much bow pressure. Still, I think my bowing is much less crunchy than it was when I picked up the violin again.

 

One unexpected challenge: my violin has a very inconvenient wolf note that I didn't know about before because I haven't played it regularly in more than 15 years and the violin hasn't been to a luthier since 2004. It's audible because the note is sustained several times in the piece. I've been told a soundpost adjustment would most likely help, and going to a local shop is currently not an option because of the ongoing pandemic. Are there any good options for reducing this wolf note in the meantime? I would rather not tune to a different A, because I'd like to be able to play with the piano track.

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cid
April 17, 2020 - 8:18 am
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Very nice. No sure what you can do about your wolf. I have it on my cello, but I have an eliminator on it. Not sure if they have little ones for a violin. I have actually wondered if violins and violas get them. My wondering has now been answered.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Irv
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@AndrewH and others.  I have not tried either of these as yet, since I do not have this issue.  But they are worth a shot.

If you are an angler or have access to split shot, the placement of a split shot on the afterlength of the offending string may cause enough harmonic disruption to negate the wolf.  You may have to move the shot a bit to find the sweet point.

If you have access to a pair of disc magnets, you may want to mimic the wolf solution championed by “Krentz String Works.”  I would glue a patch of felt to each magnet before insertion to protect the finish and underlying raw wood.  

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

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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AndrewH
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Irv said
@AndrewH and others.  I have not tried either of these as yet, since I do not have this issue.  But they are worth a shot.

If you are an angler or have access to split shot, the placement of a split shot on the afterlength of the offending string may cause enough harmonic disruption to negate the wolf.  You may have to move the shot a bit to find the sweet point.

If you have access to a pair of disc magnets, you may want to mimic the wolf solution championed by “Krentz String Works.”  I would glue a patch of felt to each magnet before insertion to protect the finish and underlying raw wood.  

  

Unfortunately I don't have access to any of those items. I may have to find some other way to add mass to the string afterlength.

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Gordon Shumway
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April 17, 2020 - 10:38 am
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Yes, although I only mentioned blutak on the vcom thread, the idea of split shot occurred to me, but I couldn't think of the name of of it (last went fishing in about 1970, lol).

This isn't a huge waste of money. You can probably find even cheaper on amazon.com, but I'm looking at the moment, and everything seems dearer.

keywords=split+shot&qid=1587134246&sr=8-3

Andrew

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Irv
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April 17, 2020 - 1:55 pm
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@AndrewH .  I know I can find some split shot around the homestead (heavily doubt if mine is non toxic, however).  Do you have a set of pliers or their approximate equal?  If so, please send me a pm with your mailing address and I will send a few off to you.  It would do me proud for you to get a “diy” badge here through my effort and material.

I also have disc magnets and felt I could send you if you would like to try a set of them as well.  

In the interim, substituting a 3/4 violin tail piece may cause a sufficient shift in the troubling harmonic to also solve your situation.  I have generally benefitted from this technique, but your results may vary.  

Awaiting your response to get this thing in motion (and I promise not to lick the seal of the envelope).

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

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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AndrewH
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April 19, 2020 - 10:03 pm
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@Irv

Let me see if I can find something in my apartment to add mass to the afterlength first. I do have pliers. (No access to tailpieces or other violin parts, so I'm going straight to adding mass to the afterlength.) As it is, this is all an interim solution until I can get to a luthier for a soundpost adjustment.

@cid

I'm told it's quite common for violins and violas to have wolf notes, but usually not nearly as bad as the cello one. On violins it's usually a C or C#, heard only when playing more than an octave up the G string, so there isn't much need to worry about it. Mine is clearly audible in third position on the D string, and even a little on the A string, but this is probably because the violin hasn't been to a luthier in so long, and the soundpost may have shifted slightly. (Even though the violin has stayed in climate-controlled spaces as much as possible, I've moved three times since I last played the violin regularly, including a 350-mile drive in the summer of 2010.) I actually didn't know what a wolf note sounded like until I started practicing violin again last month -- when I last played violin regularly I was a lower-intermediate player and didn't play that high up the G string, and I'm guessing the wolf note didn't show up on the D string.

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cid
April 19, 2020 - 10:56 pm
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@AndrewH said

I actually didn't know what a wolf note sounded like until I started practicing violin again last month

Funny. I did not understand what a wolf tone was until I bought my good cello. It actually came with a wolf tone eliminator on the G string. All the F#’s have the wolf tone. I was playing the cello on the second day I owned her. All of a sudden it vibrated, got this crazy growl. It was so loud, of course this cello is boisterous. Everything vibrated. It even felt like the neck was vibrating. It dawned on me that that must be the wolf tone.

I had heard that term before, and I saw the doohickey on the G string at the violin shop and they told me what it was for. I wanted to know how to remove it when I changed strings, put it back on and how to adjust its position between the bridge and end of the string before I brought her home. When we put it on, we didn’t make sure it was back where we needed it to be, the place it was before I was shown how to remove it from the string.

When I played it, I had forgotten all about it, hit those F#’s and wow! I remembered then. I was able to adjust it to get it as good as I could. It does not vibrate nearly as much, and does have less of a wolf howl or growl. It is very interesting.

The eliminator on G string seems to tone it down quite a bit, but I have to adjust where it is on the G string when I change strings, but it needs to be on that G string. It does not work to eliminate the wolf F# if it is on any other string. Sometimes an F will give a howl but it is more like a purr. I could probably use another somewhere else because a particular G note will do it, too. 

I actually like having my wolf, LOL. It is like having a pet that I do not have to walk. It just howls approval once in a while.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Irv
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April 19, 2020 - 11:15 pm
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@AndrewH .  I question your reasoning on adjusting the sound post to change the resonance pattern for the bass side of the instrument.  Particularly if you are without prior experience of playing the upper positions with that instrument.  Please let me know how you make out, and let me know if I can be of help.

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

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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AndrewH
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Irv said
@AndrewH .  I question your reasoning on adjusting the sound post to change the resonance pattern for the bass side of the instrument.  Particularly if you are without prior experience of playing the upper positions with that instrument.  Please let me know how you make out, and let me know if I can be of help.

  

I think you misunderstand me. I don't expect the wolf note to go away on the G string. But I've been told by a luthier that, if the wolf tone is audible on the D and A strings in lower positions (which it is), it is typically a soundpost issue. I did play third position on the D string before I stopped playing violin 15+ years ago, and did not have the wolf note at that time.

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starise
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Nice playing Andrew. 

Can someone describe or post a sound clip of a "wolf tone"? 

I have heard the term numerous times but don't really know what it is.

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Irv
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@AndrewH .  Got you.  Another thing for the luthier to look into is a potential glue problem between the plates and the ribs.  It seems strange to me that you are experiencing these tones across three strings.  

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

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

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AndrewH
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starise said
Nice playing Andrew. 

Can someone describe or post a sound clip of a "wolf tone"? 

I have heard the term numerous times but don't really know what it is.

  

 

If you jump to the slower middle section of the piece, somewhere around 2:30 of the video, you'll hear a wolf tone every time I play a C on the D string. The sound seems to cut rapidly in and out.

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AndrewH
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April 20, 2020 - 8:33 pm
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I suspected it might be a wolf tone after noticing the bad tone was on the same note every time, realized I didn't actually know what a wolf tone sounded like, and then found this demonstration video on YouTube:

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cid
April 20, 2020 - 8:42 pm
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I wonder if the violin has the vibration when a wolf tone makes an appearance like it does  on the cello. You can feel it as much as hear it. It is actually very cool, but then I do not play with anyone, so there is not issue.

Does your violin get a wild vibration?

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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AndrewH
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April 20, 2020 - 9:04 pm
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I can definitely feel it. I'm not sure I'd call it a "wild" vibration because the violin is much smaller, but it feels unsteady.

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cid
April 21, 2020 - 12:42 pm
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I am glad this topic was brought up. Having experienced it with my cello, I often wondered about a violin. Very interesting.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Gordon Shumway
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The one in the video is a 5 or 6 Hz vibration, so I'd imagine you can feel it. Luckily I have nothing that bad on my violin, just a C# that requires careful control, and I am treating it like the plastic oboe I had where C5 was a horrible open note that took a few years' embouchure and diaphragm development before I could control it.

Andrew

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