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Boomy notes.... any ideas??

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by grunter, Aug 29, 2005.


  1. grunter

    grunter

    May 1, 2005
    London, UK
    I have a big panormo copy swell back grunert bass strung with dominants which sounds great.... except for the notes from F# to A on the d string! They are slightly 'woolfy' with the bow but sound twice as lound as all the other notes when i play pizz.
    I've experimented with woolf note eliminators and having people adjust the soundpost to no avail... :crying:
    Has anyone fixed a problem like this? I was thinking about changing the tailpiece but im not sure whether to go heavier or lighter.
    Any help would be greatly apprieciated!

    Cheers
     
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I find it very common for European set-ups to feature a very high D string. I guess it's harder to cross strings cleanly with the bow over there... ;) If your D is high, it could be louder than the other strings, especially in the middle positions. The other possibility is that the body of your bass has a very strong resonance in that area, and there is little you can do about it. I would try an uneven-length tailpiece if you decide to change it.
     
  3. grunter

    grunter

    May 1, 2005
    London, UK
    Could someone tell me exactly in which way an uneven or compensated tailpiece would change the sound of the bass... dose it make the sound more 'puffy' and looser or more direct and focused??
    Are they effective in fixing wolf notes?
     
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Just making sure... have you tried both kinds of wolf tone eliminators? I'm thinking specifically of the ones that attach to the top on the inside of the bass, just below the ff-hole.
     
  5. grunter

    grunter

    May 1, 2005
    London, UK
    I've never heard of the wolf eliminators that go inside the bass... sounds like another fun thing to play arround with!
    I just had an ebony compensated tailpiece fitted, and i am very impressed... the soundpost did fall down and get re-fitted which could of helped, but my bass seems to sound more open, clearer and less woolfy. 'spose it could all be in the mind, but im happy... for the time being... :bassist: :bassist:
     
  6. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    USA
    i have witnessed more than a couple times a certain repairman using rasps or files to "tune" the F-holes of basses, with the noticable result of evening the tone from string to string and also from low to high on each string. sometimes the visible pattern of vibration on certain strings would also be "corrected" (made more even, less "wavy"). the repairman was specific about exactly where on each F-hole he filed to address specific problems. all filing was done on the inner edges. to my ears and eyes, it worked each time. anyone have any knowledge or experience of this kind of thing?
     
  7. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    BLABLA needs his address to send out the ninja finger removal squad.
     
  8. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    USA
    funny thing is, he already clocks in at just under 10 in a upper phalanges count! no joke!

    but seriously, I watched (and listened) as he improved the tones of basses in this strange way! seriously, does anyone know anything about this?
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    A makers FF holes are one of the things that judge his abilities and are his signature along the Scroll, Purfling and Varnish. Touching the FF holes is a Sin and dangerous especially if He and his File get within a few feet of one of my Basses!! :scowl:
     
  10. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    USA
    i knew enough to expect the frowning smileys on this topic, but at the risk of suffering another passionate rebuff (hey, it's not even my technique, i just witnessed it!), does anyone have any >>knowledge or experience<< of this? the carving i witnessed was not exactly obvious from looking at the outside of the holes, it was done at points along the inner edges. is this kind of thing not something like tuning a speaker-box? artistic and emotional feelings aside? just curious
     
  11. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Perhaps what he is doing is beveling the inside edge of the ff hole body (not the commas) and not at all changing the top edge, so the outline (as viewed from the outside) is exactly as the maker had intended. When I was in violinmaking school every one of my teachers did this detail, and I have done it to every one of the instruments I have built to date.

    I have never done it to someone elses work...but honestly when I am restoring older basses the edges are trashed anyways.

    I just started a restoration job on a Prescott and as I check it now, the inside edges are rounded over. I just checked the Klotz and it too has some beveling, but only on the upper portion of the outside edge of the body (closest to the purfling). Who knows if these details are original...but they are there.

    We rarely see this done on new basses today.
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ok, so can you say it actually changes the sound of a Bass? Have you done b4 and after comparisons? And if so, was it on new Basses or old Basses? Was other work done as well to make it difficult to attribute the change or was it done seperatly with immediate results as claimed?
     
  13. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    I have never done it to a bass as I had said I have never done it to someone elses work. To date I have only made violins and violas, and I never went back in and beveled the back edges after completion. I have always just done it as I carved the ff holes. To me, it was just another step, like cutting the notches.

    Let me do some asking and see if I can come up with some logical explanations as to what the intentions of it are.
     
  14. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    USA
    i saw it done more than a couple times right in front of me, usually on plywood basses b/c that's what I always brought the guy.
    before and after? i played the bass for the man, he took it into his hands, filed some on the holes, handed it back. it sounded better. more even from string to string and through the range of the instrument. sometimes the bass would be passed back and forth 3 or 4 times in one session, him filing, me playing, him filing again, me playing it again, etc.
     
  15. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    THE BELOW QUOTE IS AN EXCERPT FROM: http://www.josephcurtinstudios.com/innovation/innovation_in_violinmaking.htm

    "It is widely known that the Helmholz resonance is the lowest radiating resonance on a violin. Weinreich (3) has pointed out that its strength in relation to the other modes can be changed only with respect to its damping. A decrease in damping, allowing larger amplitude, might be effected by rounding the edges of the f-holes. Interestingly, the edges of the f-holes of most old instruments have been rounded with time, while violinmakers often pride themselves on the crispness of their cut. Some simple experimentation would determine how significant such differences are. More radically, one might try changing the f-hole's shape. The damping of the Helmholtz resonance is largely determined, for a hole of given area, by the total length of the edges of the hole. An f-hole has rather long edges for its area. The least-damped hole would be a circular. Given that the length and placement of the f-holes are important in lending flexibility to the bridge-carrying part of the top, circular f-holes don't seem feasible. However, a simplified f-hole design might reduce damping somewhat."

    I will find more to read on this...this is just one of the first that was suggested to me...
     
  16. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Not too much to report here. I got a nice response from a very well respected luthier who worked with Carlene Hutchins many years ago.

    He said Hutchins and others looked at the laminar air flow in and out of the ff-holes of new and old violins. They noticed that violins with sharp edges on the underside of the f-hole displayed a turbulent air flow, while the flow from the holes with rounded or battered edges was much smoother. They concluded that the ff-hole edges in old violins had probably been sharp when new, but centuries of sound post setters had rounded the edges off. Since a smoother air flow offers less resistance in the body, it seemed logical to think that a smoother flow was probably better for the sound quality.

    It has been suggested to me that air is pumped in and out of the ffs only at the lowest frequencies, so any positive effect of turbulent air reduction would be more pronounced on the lowest notes and possibly not a factor at all at higher frequencies. Perhaps this is why it works well on the basses, and Dave is affirming that to him it was an improvement.

    The most popular answer from those I have been asking about this is is that it is possible that it can offer some subtle differences, but no hard concrete data to truly answer the question can be offered. Just, "possible"...
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    How much and what degree/angle of rounding makes this difference? Is it a SIN to touch the FFs of a Classic Bass or try it on something with less or no Pedigre at all?
     
  18. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Can I regraduate your Martini if I don't like the numbers?

    Honestly, I draw distinctions between factory made instruments and handmade instruments. Is it a sin to bevel the edges on a new laminated bass or factory bass of any origin? Prob not. Is it a sin to do it on handmade bass of any era? Yup. Our workshop approaches any setup, repair or restoration with conservation in mind. Who the hell am I to say that "x" luthier was wrong, and then proceed to "correct" his work?

    Again, I want to state that this is not something I (or we as a shop) do to basses or any instuments. This was brought up by Dave P. for our feedback, discussion, opinions...etc.

    I PERSONALLY have done it to my own handmade instruments and will most likely continue this practice...but damned be the day I start offering it as a service to our clientel to improve tone.
     
  19. bierbass

    bierbass

    Sep 5, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
    I've also witnessed the filing of f holes by the same luthier as David has mentioned. It was done to my old German bass. Basically the guy grabbed it out of my hands and started filing before I could say a word. It made me sick. Yes, it changed the sound and the strings vibrated more freely and all that, but it doesn't seem to be ever a permanent fix because I've seen instruments that the guy worked on over the course of years, some of them 18th century Italian, and the f holes' shapes were distorted. uuuhhh, Thank you, but NO!
     
  20. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    USA
    hey bierbass! yeah, it's one thing to watch as your englehardt or shen ply gets the business end of a rasp, but on a serious pro instrument? ouch! i don't endorse any of it, i just find it very interesting and uncommon, that's why i brought it up...