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Bass bar tuning?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by BrandonTurner, Jan 1, 2003.


  1. Hello all !!! I have been reading for a while and finally had something to say.
    Is there such thing as tuning a bass bar to the top? Or is this just hocus pocus.
    I have read about in the strobel books for violin but was wondering if this done when rebarring a bass. While I am at this subject can it adversly effect the sound of a bass if you don't ?
     
  2. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    Is there a problem with your bass? Is it not doing somehting that you think it should? What kind of bass is it?
    Every maker and repairer has different ideas. I think a lot of bass bars are just too big; too thick, too high and too massive.

    You might just need a better set up or soundpost adustment.
     
  3. Yes - there is such a thing as tuning a bass bar to the top. Proponents of Chladni patterns will tune the top for the best obtainable mode shapes - particularly modes 5 and 2. When the bass bar is fitted (and the f holes are cut while making a new instrument), the Chladni patterns are thown out of wack. The bass bar tuning process attempts to return the patterns to a shape close to the shape prior to adding the bar. Starting with an oversize bar, the luthier carefully removes wood from the bar and retests until he reaches the point where removing wood no longer improves the Chladni pattern shapes. This method of tuning was developed many years ago by members of the Catgut Acoustical Society.

    Is it hocus pocus? No - it's just a visual tool showing something that luthiers have tradionally done by sight, feel and touch. As Martin said, many bars are too big and heavy. Bass bar tuning is another method that is used by some luthiers to arrive at the right size and shape bar for a particular instrument.

    He is a site with some detailed info on tuning with Chladni patterns.
    http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/chladni.html
     
  4. Well I myself am an aspiring luthier and my bass teacher just got a old wilfer resorted. It had a lot of things wrong with it but was restored nicely but doesn't have the sound it used to. There a couple of possiblities on why that is and I was wondering if this would be one of them. One of many things that have to do with the overall sound of a bass.