Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Fiddle Lovers Online

What??? Me??? Step Away From the Fiddle??? Naw....

Posted by fiddlepogo on Thursday, July 28, 2011

Well, I went to the local luthier to pick up some 7207 Black Diamonds.

More about those later.  I took Booker the Highly Tweaked Bucharest with me, and asked the luthier what he thought.

He said "For what it is, it's unobjectionable, but violinists need something more."  Well, that got me to thinking, which as you know can be a dangerous thing.  Especially for a fiddle tweaker!

First it occurred to me that much of what I've been doing IS removing or attempting to remove or balance out objectionable qualities.  That's a good thing, but the result might be a little bland.. which is almost synonymous with "unobjectionable".

Then, after putting the BD 7207s on Estelle the Eastman and not really liking the initial sound but liking it better after some tweaks, it occurred to me that really much of what I've been doing has been optimizing for a particular brand or kind of strings.  Lucky for me that what worked for Precision Lights on Booker also seems to work in spades for Prims.

Anyway, I was playing Booker and liking what I was getting pretty well.  And then I was resting between tunes, and I noticed something. That's a VERY dangerous thing!  Tweaks often start with noticing something and thinking about what caused it or how that could affect the sound.  And what I noticed (and had NEVER noticed before) was this detail about Booker's sprayed-on varnish finish I had never noticed before: There was some overspray on the f-hole side of the bass bar.  And I got to thinking- violins with brushed on finishes wouldn't have that.  And I got to wondering if removing some of that overspray would improve the sound.  And so, I gambled again and...


I WON!!!

I rubbed the Q-tip on the little spot of varnish on the bass bar, and it didn't all come off, but some of it chipped off, which would great reduce the stiffening properties of that spot of varnish on the side of the bass bar.  And when I tried the results by playing, lo and behold, there was more and nicer bass, and a better quality bass than you get by tweaking the bridge- it's a more 3-dimensional bass.

I did a couple of other reliable tweaks that I use to get the back plate to flex and respond more and to move the sound forward so it wouldn't be so loud under the ear... and the results are VERY nice.  Even a bit more violinny that before, but with still enough bite for fiddle tunes.  One of the pluses is that my two favorite bows for Booker bring out even more pronounced different qualities than before- the carbon fiber has the bite and the aggressive sound, and the fiberglass K. Holtz has more richness.

I took Booker to a regular monthly gig, and it sounded GREAT- on Irish tunes, airs, waltzes and Old Time fiddle tunes.

I also did the varnish-on-the-bass-bar removal tweak on Stinky, and there was a spot of black paint on the bass bar on Estelle. Polishing off some of the spot of whatever had similar beneficial effects on both fiddles.

Oh yeah, the Black Diamond 7207's. 

I'm underwhelmed so far, at least on the Eastman, where they replaced Prims that had been on a year and a half but had not gotten heavy use.  The basic sound is, well, unobjectionable for Old Time.

But they don't respond well to dynamics, and squawk out easily.

This makes me not wanna play the fiddle.

HOWEVER, Estelle the Eastman has a fairly short scale for a full sized fiddle.  So that certainly could contribute to the problemo. So I'm going to migrate the 7207s over to Stinky the eBayed Knilling 4KF at the next opportunity.  Having tried the 7207s on two fiddles I will have a better idea about what is the fiddle and what is the string.

However, the contrast makes me all the more impressed with Prims.  Hard to believe that at one time I didn't like them.  I put the year-and-a-half-old set on Stinky, and compared to the even older Precision Lights that were on it, they sound brand new.

I wonder if they don't use spring steel in those strings- that might explain the long break in time (don't tell me they don't, I HEARD it change sounds on Booker for about 3 days!).

And it might explain why they not only last a long time, but sound GOOD longer... more elasticity.

(at least a day later)

The removing-overspray-from-bassbar tweak also works VERY well on Stinky- that and a couple of other tweaks have improved her sound a LOT.  She had plenty of midrange and treble, just needed some good BASS tones.

6 comments on “What??? Me??? Step Away From the Fiddle??? Naw....”

mudbug Says:
Friday, July 29, 2011 @2:02:43 AM

That's what I like about you, Pogo. You know you're a tweaker, you can't stop yourself, and yet, you can laugh about it. Three cheers.

BC Says:
Friday, July 29, 2011 @5:54:58 AM

Good for you Pogo! Tweak away!

Tommys dad Says:
Friday, July 29, 2011 @6:35:56 AM

I had Preludes on my Eastman and swapped them for Dominant's.They took a very long time to break in. I think I would prefer something softer next string change. Like yourself I've never understood the adage "If it an't broke don't fix it". MY motto has always been "they were rushing when this was made and I can help them out" it has gotten me in trouble more than once.

bj Says:
Friday, July 29, 2011 @9:39:38 AM

Those dang 7207s didn't settle in for almost TWO WEEKS. They're fine, and do hold up a long time, but I still prefer Prims.

fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, July 30, 2011 @4:13:49 PM

bj- thanks for that info- I'll TRY and be patient with them then@@@

Mudbug- yeah, I TRY not to take myself too seriously. I used to, but life is just easier when I don't. Plus making fun of myself makes for good stage patter!!!!

fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, July 30, 2011 @4:17:05 PM

Tommy's Dad- now me, I prefer the Preludes to the Dominants. But I prefer the Prelude Heavies- the Mediums were WAY too wimpy.

However, I AM thinking I need to give synthetics another try- maybe Zyex, or something from Pirastro. The local luthier is a Pirastro dealer, so it would be a good time to try them.

You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.

More posts from fiddlepogo

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Privacy Consent
Copyright 2024 Fiddle Hangout. All Rights Reserved.

Newest Posts

Click for Details 'Clifftop 2024' 2 days

Click for Details 'Big Mon' 5 days

More >  

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories