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Teardrop fiddle build #16: Last bits

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 04-01-2020 12:17 PM 358 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Nut slots and neck scraping Part 16 of Teardrop fiddle build series no next part

The last bit of the instrument to be added is the soundpost. It sits inside the instrument under the foot of the bridge on the treble side. The way it gets there is one of those great luthier mysteries. SEveral methods exist, but I prefer using the traditional ‘soundpost setter’ In a pinch a piece of bent clothes hanger wire could be used.

The soundpost for this fiddle is somewhat short because of the lack of arching in my front and back plates. This made it a little harder to position because of the cramped space inside, but I managed.

This a video showing a soundpost being set from the inside. [link]

Because of the uniqueness of each instruments arching, fingerboards projection, and desired action height, the bridge has to be custom made in order to function properly. Since my instrument is flat, I just had to flatten the feet of my bridge using a disk sander then create the radius to match my fingerboard.

I’ve played around with this instrument. It sounds good to my ear. I will eventually post a short video of it being played.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!



6 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

5164 posts in 1316 days


#1 posted 04-01-2020 12:44 PM

It’s a good looking fiddle, I think. My brain wants to think up other ways to set the sound-post, perhaps before gluing the front and back on, but I suppose the traditional ways are best.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1912 posts in 2922 days


#2 posted 04-01-2020 12:50 PM


It’s a good looking fiddle, I think. My brain wants to think up other ways to set the sound-post, perhaps before gluing the front and back on, but I suppose the traditional ways are best.

- Dave Polaschek

The problem is that the soundpost doesn’t get glued in. It sits there from friction and the pressure of the strings on the bridge. Also, the relative position of the soundpost changes the quality of the sound of the instrument, so it needs to be moveable/adjustable.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

5164 posts in 1316 days


#3 posted 04-01-2020 03:35 PM

Ahh! I thought it was glued, at least on one end.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1912 posts in 2922 days


#4 posted 04-01-2020 04:09 PM



Ahh! I thought it was glued, at least on one end.

- Dave Polaschek

Some have been glued, but they’re not supposed to be. I saw one in a homemade violin that was glued and
was about 21/2 inch in diameter. They arte typically 1/4 inch in diameter or less because they have to pass through the F hole.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2932 posts in 2924 days


#5 posted 04-01-2020 06:24 PM

OK, so I was going to ask about gluing the sound post, but that’s been answered, so:
1. If friction fit, how do you measure the length needed after assembly?,
2. Why don’t these continually fall out with handling & transport?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1912 posts in 2922 days


#6 posted 04-01-2020 07:11 PM



OK, so I was going to ask about gluing the sound post, but that s been answered, so:
1. If friction fit, how do you measure the length needed after assembly?,
2. Why don t these continually fall out with handling & transport?

- Oldtool

1. There is a handy little gauge or caliper that is inserted through the F hole and reaches in with little arms to the spot where the sound post should go. (See pic below)

2. As long as the strings are under some tension the pressure on the bridge will keep the post in place if it was properly fitted. That said, if the instrument is struck, particularly on the bass side, that can knock it loose. Also, as some instruments age or through changes in humidity they can deform a bit and require a slightly longer post to be made. We here all know that wood moves.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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