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Jan 19, 2020 - 11:53:58 AM

gapbob

USA

705 posts since 4/20/2008

I have several fiddles I play regularly, switching off to each from time to time, tune to tune, and they are all nice, but there is a difference that I cannot really identify how to say.

One fiddle feels "tight," when I play it, the strings are quite responsive, but it does not feel like I can dig in on the lower strings as much, and I feel it through the bow.  It soars if I dig in on the E string and the A string is also quite nice, but the D and G leave me desiring more.

The other fiddles gradually change in this feeling of "tightness," which seems to affect their responsiveness and power, especially in the low strings.

The fiddle that seems loosest when I play on it has a fine sound, perhaps not as interesting a sound as the others, but it is responsive and sounds quite well.

So I was wondering if anyone else has noticed this feeling of tightness, noticed through the bow hand, and an idea what causes it? Tight soundpost, thick back, poor soundpost placement? I don't think it is the setup of the bridge angle, since these are all about the same in that regard.

Edited by - gapbob on 01/19/2020 11:54:52

Jan 19, 2020 - 2:24:21 PM

2040 posts since 10/22/2007

All the same strings?
What about neck angle?
I've seen a violin with a wedge between the neck and fingerboard.
Nothing as drastic as that, no?
Same bow? Same rosin?
Tailpieces different? Bassbars?
All Strad copies?

Jan 19, 2020 - 2:38:57 PM

4826 posts since 9/26/2008
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Do they all have the same strings? I mean, I'm sure you've thought of the variables but the most noticeable tightness I've encountered had to do with strings. I do have a fiddle that feels different but I'm not sure I'd call it tight.

Jan 19, 2020 - 2:44:10 PM
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963 posts since 6/26/2007

I'm not sure, but I suspect a sound post problem. Might be either tightness or position, but I haven't had that problem with any of my fiddles. Another possibility is the way the top is graduated, but I think it would have to be pretty unusual.

Jan 19, 2020 - 4:37:26 PM

2040 posts since 10/22/2007

I've also had instruments that seem to wake up after you play them some. Some took an hour. Some took closer too half an hour. My Fav is ready to bark right from the gate.

Jan 19, 2020 - 5:56:43 PM

gapbob

USA

705 posts since 4/20/2008

Same strings, all handmade instruments. Same neck angles, though one has a low bridge. I am going to explore the soundpost on the one, I think that might be the reason (the fiddle plays great, but...) Same bow, same rosin.

It is a feeling I get from every violin I play, they are all a little different in this feeling, but I don't really know what it is I am feeling—it might be that a looser top allows the bridge to rock more, which I might somehow be able to discern.

Highly responsive fiddles can have a tight feeling to them, sometimes it is hard to play them because they run away from you.

Edited by - gapbob on 01/19/2020 17:57:22

Jan 19, 2020 - 6:52:19 PM
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8688 posts since 3/19/2009

Even the slightest difference in string height above the fingerboard and make a significant difference in the FEEL of a string..

Jan 19, 2020 - 7:43:24 PM

fidlpat

USA

574 posts since 5/11/2009

string height, neck graduation?
also it occurs to me, the tailpiece length?
I know about the 1/6th metric for the distance behind the bridge, but was just wondering,,,

Jan 19, 2020 - 8:16:30 PM

1653 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver

Even the slightest difference in string height above the fingerboard and make a significant difference in the FEEL of a string..


With guitars, we always called it the action.  Lower action made a guitar much easier to play but if the action was too low the strings would buzz against the frets.

Jan 19, 2020 - 9:23:55 PM
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2201 posts since 8/23/2008

I noticed this with my fiddles, they all have same strings and the bridge heights are all exactly the same. In my case I put it down to fingerboard scoop, they all have different degrees of scoop.

Jan 19, 2020 - 11:20:24 PM
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2612 posts since 9/13/2009

Just to clarify if you are referring to "tightness" in actual string tension; or "tightness" in sound quality?

The latter might also be described as focus, directness, presence... versus smoothness, roundness.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 01/19/2020 23:27:07

Jan 20, 2020 - 7:38:01 AM

11224 posts since 9/23/2009

I'd look at sound post or bass bar. Could be just the difference in instruments.

Jan 20, 2020 - 7:42:48 AM
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2272 posts since 10/1/2008

Interesting thread / question gapbob .... one thing that has not been asked ... and it may or may hot cause any difference in feel.... Is the after length the same on these instruments?

Jan 20, 2020 - 8:13:52 AM
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Swing

USA

1965 posts since 6/26/2007

Of the three fiddles that I have and use, two of them are very easy to play i.e. the string tightness and response is similar. The third fiddle is a newish five string and it takes more to get response out of it.. I use the same strings on all three fiddles so that rules out the strings, I attribute the difference to the fiddle not being aged/broken in, but it is getting better and easier to play

Play Happy

Swing

Jan 20, 2020 - 11:36:17 AM

156 posts since 11/28/2018

Bob, when I change to new strings (always the same brand) on the same fiddle I experience what I would refer to as a change in "tightness".

Jan 20, 2020 - 1:18:34 PM

fidlpat

USA

574 posts since 5/11/2009

I meant to say fingerboard relief, the scoop,,,not graduation, sorry

and while that's variable on many fretted instrument, take a new fingerboard with a fiddle, or a luthier, with subsequent bridge lowerings, I guess

Jan 20, 2020 - 2:00:39 PM
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gapbob

USA

705 posts since 4/20/2008

I think I will try cutting a few soundposts and see what that does.

Jan 20, 2020 - 2:02:05 PM
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8688 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by gapbob

I think I will try cutting a few soundposts and see what that does.


Maybe just 'tweak' the position of the one you have currently?

Jan 20, 2020 - 2:13:23 PM
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8688 posts since 3/19/2009

Bob, I just remembered a story that MAY be true or maybe not.. Seems this person took a violin to a luthier and said it needed new, 'this or that' because it sounded terrible. The patient luthier took the instrument to his back room ..worked in secret for a while and returned .. NOW, the violin sounded amazing. A miracle had happened.. Apparently, according to the legend.. the luthier, removed the strings, bridge and tailpiece and sound post...and then reinstalled the strings, bridge and tailpiece and soundpost.....THEY say (and you know that THEY are always right).. that setup is important.. Maybe just do a New setup??? (I always did like that story..)

Jan 20, 2020 - 5:04:50 PM

2612 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by TuneWeaver
quote:
Originally posted by gapbob

I think I will try cutting a few soundposts and see what that does.


Maybe just 'tweak' the position of the one you have currently?

 


Agree, might check that first.

There are videos on moving the sound post and what effect it had on tone; how to balance the tone.

https://youtu.be/REf12y7QSFw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEv3NF3AMx8

I recall seeing  others as well

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 01/20/2020 17:05:49

Jan 22, 2020 - 7:37:08 PM

849 posts since 8/11/2009

I don't know if this will help or not, but I had an old Saxony fiddle that needed a new fingerboard, the old one was some wood like pine, light weight and worn out. I replaced it with an ebony fingerboard, which of course was more dense, heavier, and was also a bit thicker. Ever since then the fiddle has not sounded as open, or maybe has sounded tight. My point, you knew that would be one eventually, lol, are the fingerboards similar in thickness, material they are made from etc. Maybe a thicker fingerboard just needs to be planed down a bit. Good luck, let us know what happens with the sound post.

Edited by - bandsmcnamar on 01/22/2020 19:38:34

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