How To Set Up Old Stringed Instruments
Much attention to detail is required to get the best sound from a stringed instrument. This article explains why a violin or cello needs to be well adjusted.
Set up is the process of choosing and coordinating the fittings to get the best sound from an instrument. The work begins during restoration with the replacement of the bass bar. This bar is fitted to the inside of the table and runs most of its length. An old instrument needs a new bass bar to help resist the downward pressure of modern strings.
There are different bridge models and types of tailpiece to choose from, as well as various types and tensions of strings to consider. After this, there is the setting of the sound post - a good sound post position is very important. All of these choices will affect the way an instrument sounds.
A well chosen set up will find the right resonance and the natural voice. One can make the sound sharper and clearer, or richer and deeper. Players often don’t realise that an instrument can be made to sound in many different ways: they can be surprised when changes are made.
In adjusting instruments, some need to be given more projection; others need work on the quality of sound.
The set up on your instrument should be checked regularly. It is important when an instrument is not sounding well; otherwise it should be checked at the very least every year. I am always happy to revise instruments for clients.
For assistance with the set up of your violin or cello,
call me on 020 8958 4456.
I'll be happy to help.