Have you ever wondered how to get the best sound out of your instrument without having to do an entire upgrade?
If your instrument isn’t sounding as good as it used to or you just aren’t ready to make the plunge for an upgrade yet, there is hope!
Here are 10 tweaks you can make to improve the sound quality of your instrument:
- Soundpost adjustment: The soundpost is a wooden post on the inside of the instrument that transfers vibrations from the top plate to the back plate. If it doesn’t fit the plates perfectly or is not in the correct place, this will hinder the transfer of vibrations. The soundpost can also be adjusted for a slightly different “flavor” of sound.
- Tension adjustment: There are multiple fine details and measurements that must be correct for the instrument to resonate freely. Luthiers can make adjustments to these tensions by adjusting the tailgut, soundpost and placement of the bridge.
- New bridge: The bridge is an intricate part of how the instrument produces sound as it carries the vibrations from the strings to the body where it is amplified. The bridge should be hand-carved and -fitted to each individual instrument. This is a well-thought out process as the instrument’s sound can be altered by just milligrams of wood taken away.
- New strings: Strings go dead over time and lose their resonance and power. A new set can bring the instrument alive again. Violins & violas need new strings every 6-8 months, cellos every 10-16 months, and basses 18-24 months.
- Different strings: If you are looking for a different sound “flavor” out of your instrument, you might try a different kind of string. Some instruments can also do better with a higher tension string and others with a lower tension string.
- Upgrade bow: Many people don’t realize that the bow is nearly as important as the instrument. The quality of materials (carbon fiber or wood) and skills of the bow maker play a large part in how it can enhance (or hinder) the sound of the instrument.
- Change tailpiece: Heavy, metal fine tuners or thick, clunky tailpieces put a damper on the sound of the instrument. High quality carbon fiber and ebony tailpieces free the instrument’s vibrations and allow it to resonate more fully.
- Rehair: Bow hair gets worn out, dirty, stretched and can lose hairs over time. This will prevent it from grabbing the string correctly and holding rosin. A rehair can give new life to the bow and your instrument.
- Recamber: Bows can warp and lose some of their camber (curvature) over time. This affects weight distribution from the hair to the strings, making it difficult to play and get a full, resonant sound.
- Change rosin: One of the most affordable changes can be a quality rosin. Cheap rosins are cut with many different resins, make a lot of dust and produce a gritty sound. A pure rosin will give a clean tone and quick response.