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Various and Sundry Magnetic Discoveries and a BAD Cold... AND A SAFETY WARNING ON NEODYMIUM MAGNETS.

Posted by fiddlepogo on Sunday, June 3, 2012

Of, course, "inquiring minds like to know" and once Booker started sounding good with a pair of magnets, I HAD to know how Stinky and Carthy would sound.

AND, a pair of nickel diameter but slightly thicker neodymiums improved them too.

So I wondered, what should I do now.... do I go back to the hardware store (the town has an old fashioned hardware store that really is amazing for the kind of stuff they carry.) or do I hunt for DIFFERENT kinds of neodymiums to try?

Well, experiments got interrupted by a nasty cold. Really got gunked up, it's hard to hear, and very little energy.. I'm MOSTLY over it, though.

When I have gigged with Booker though, it works like a charm.  Carthy deceives me.  Sounds good in practice, then at a gig, it DOESN'T sound good.

Last night it occurred to check at an economy tool store to see if they had any neodymium magnets.  They did- BUT... they were very small.  But they were nickel plated like the others, and cheap and there were quite a few in the pack so I bought one.  I had been thinking I could place several next to each other across from the big one I don't have a match for, but that doesn't work... the best thing is to just put the whole stack of little ones across from the big one.

And it works well that way- this way it sounds better if the stack of little magnets is NOT cushioned with masking tape.  It also seems to have about the same grab as two large ones BUT the small magnet is sitting on top of and muting less wood surface.  I tried it both ways on Carthy, with the stack of little magnets to the front of the fiddle, and to the back of the fiddle.  Both ways sounded good, just different.  I haven't tried the large magnet/small magnets combination on the other two fiddles yet.

EDIT Monday afternoon:  I took Booker and Carthy with their magnet mutes and very similar appearance to one of my two Monday volunteer gigs.  This one has an enthusiastic audience, but not so good acoustics... if a fiddle is going to sound bad, it'll sound bad there... conversely, if it sounds good there, it sounds good most anywhere.  I got Carthy out first with its one big magnet and 10 small magnets.  In this room it sounded WAY over-muted... so I took off the mutes, and the audience agreed Carthy's natural voice sounded better.

Then I took out Booker after a few tunes- they liked Booker muted AND unmuted, but they did agree that Booker is pretty loud without the magnets.

Then, since I had the magnets from Carthy, I put them on Booker instead.

At first I really liked the sound, but when I hit an A unison, it went weird- that note combo would cause the smaller magnets to vibrate against the bridge cause a distortion sound that was rather annoying... but the rest of the time it sounded good.  So afterwards, I put the matched pair of large magnets back on Bookers bridge.


If you have small children around that put things in their mouth and/or swallow them, DO NOT mess with neodymium/rare earth magnet mutes!!!!  If they swallowed one it might be okay IF nothing else was swallowed that was magnetic, and if they swallowed magnets that were already locked together, it might be okay, but if they swallowed first one, then another, the magnets could come together in the body in a way that pinched soft tissues in between them, and PUNCH A HOLE right through them!!!!  That's how strong neodymium magnets are!!!  You also don't want them anywhere near a pacemaker.

1 comment on “Various and Sundry Magnetic Discoveries and a BAD Cold... AND A SAFETY WARNING ON NEODYMIUM MAGNETS.”

fiddlerd Says:
Monday, June 4, 2012 @12:32:55 PM

I might try the magnets on my old German fiddle. I don't want to drop a magnet in the F hole!! that would be bad.

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