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I am aware that soundpost should be adjusted by a professional luthier when the violinist desires e.g. brighter sound. But as a beginner, I don't think it is relevant for me for now.

Does the fact that the soundpost is standing indicate that the soundpost does not require any extra adjustment (even after e.g. a fall or a bump)? Is it possible for the soundpost to become misaligned in some way after a while of playing/ a fall/ bump and hence requires adjustment?

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  • There is no way to tell other than by moving it and comparing sound quality. (Other than gross errors in placement, of course) Jan 11, 2022 at 15:17
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    The answers were fascinating but for a beginner I agree you don't need to give the sound post much thought yet -- unless a teacher or mentor notices something weird with your sound. Most beginners don't start out with a terribly high quality instrument. I think it would be a better use of your time at this point to occasionally attend a solo recital, make sure your strings are true and your bridge isn't too high or low, and check that your bow doesn't need rehairing. You might also enjoy using violin polish occasionally. When you're ready to spend some money, maybe splurge on a better bow! Jan 16, 2022 at 23:04

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Does the fact that the soundpost is standing indicate that the soundpost does not require any extra adjustment?

No. The soundpost basically transfers vibrations from the top plate to the bottom plate and how it does this depends on its position relative to the bass bar (internal piece of wood near the G string), the bridge and the strings. Changing the position of the soundpost changes how well or badly it transfers vibrations of different frequencies.

An experienced violinist (e.g. your teacher) may be able to have a look and give a meaningful opinion but if you want definitive advice take it to a luthier and ask. In any case any time you buy a new (to you) violin it is worth, after an initial playing in period to identify any concerns, taking it in to your luthier and asking for advice / help.

About 18 months ago I bought a new violin for about $3000 and after a few weeks when I wasn't happy with the way the D string was responding (a bit slow) I took it to my luthier. He changed the bridge and soundpost for about $150. I was so impressed with the improvement that a few weeks later I decided to take my old $500 student violin to him to see what he could do. Again, this time for less than $100, he made changes that resulted in night and day improvements.

If you are happy with your current sound it may not be worth it. However there is a bit of a catch-22. You may need to get a chance to try playing a much better violin to see if you really are satisfied :-). Ask your teacher, maybe, if you can have a quick play on their violin?

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  • Thank you for your answer. Do you have answer for another part of my question: Is it possible for the soundpost to become misaligned in some way after a while of playing/ a fall/ bump and hence requires adjustment? I think that soundpost should not be misaligned so easily but I am not sure.
    – Aqqqq
    Jan 9, 2022 at 21:18
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    @Aqqqq Yes, it’s not terribly likely, but not impossible. What also happens is that the changes in temperature and humidity from one season to another cause the post to be misadjusted just slightly. Most of the time, however, such adjustments not something that you have to take care of immediately, as an emergency, but more matters of slight personal preference. But it’s always worthwhile to take the instrument into a good luthier for a general “tune-up“ several times a year, just as you might have an auto mechanic check out your brakes and suspension. Jan 9, 2022 at 21:24
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    @Aqqqq Also, important: If the instrument has had a hard fall, it's far more likely that the bridge is out of alignment. Look at the bridge side-on; its back face should be perfectly perpendicular to the belly of the instrument. Look at it as a bird's-eye view: it should be perfectly perpendicular to the strings. If it's leaning, curved, or shifted, and if you haven't adjusted one before, take it to a luthier. You can make these adjustments yourself, but if you haven't done so before, it's easy to knock the bridge over, maybe scarring the instrument. Jan 10, 2022 at 14:19
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    @AndyBonner: I'm just wondering, whether this would not be worth to put as answer to a question of its own: "What to check after some substantial mechanical impact onto a violin?"
    – guidot
    Jan 10, 2022 at 14:54
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Chiming in because although Brian’s answer is good it spreads a for some reason rather common misconception about the soundpost. The purpose of the soundpost is not to transfer vibration to the backplate. In fact violin makers will put in the soundpost in such a way that the grain is perpendicular to the grain of the top to prevent vibration of the soundpost.

You can think of a violin a bit like a drum. You have got a frame with the top which act a bit like a membrane. Now what really moves the air is not the strings or the air within the corpus, but the vibration of this membrane.

The vibrations of the strings are transfered over the bridge onto the top, with two contact points (the feet of the bridge).

Now consider: If you have a string the bridge defines a fixed point where the string cannot move. This means that the closer to the bridge you are the less the string will be able to move. As lower frequencies require a bigger amplitude this means that the closer you play the string by the bridge the more high frequencies are favoured and thus the tone get’s brighter.

Similarly the soundpost acts as some sort of bridge for the top, that is a fixed point that prevents the top from vibrating at this point. Also similarly this means that the closer to the soundpost you agitate the top the more focus lies on high frequencies, the further you are away the more focus lies on low frequencies.

The combination of bridge and soundpost (and also the bass bar, which is another different matter) thus serves as some sort of eq that tries to favor high frequencies (giving brilliance, clarity and the ability to carry) for the high strings and lower frequencies for the low strings (giving body and fullness).

For this the soundpost is placed in such a way that it is slightly lower than the bridge under the highest string, somewhat shifted towards the second string. So ideally you get the shortest distance for the highest string, a rather short distance for the second and longer distances for the two low strings. Also there can be deadspots for certain frequencies.

Basically the soundpost can be moved in any direction and even small changes have a big effect on the sound and on the balance. It then requires a bit of skill and experience to tune it in a way so that it sounds good on each string over the whole range with a good balance while also matching what the musician wants.

So, backing what Brian said, the important thing is that the instrument and plays sounds good. If it sounds and plays worse than it did after a bump or fall it might be that the post as misaligned.

Also about that: A fresh soundpost sits very thightly and has the force of the strings pressing on it. As it is also very light it is very unlikely that it will be misaligned by some impulse. But over times soundposts tend to shrink a bit, which can make them a bit looser (especially when you take off the strings). This may then cause misalignments or even the soundpost falling over.

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    The way I interpret the design, the purpose of the sound post and bass bar are to couple the treble-side foot of the bridge to the back of the instrument, and the bass-side foot to the front. Since one draws the bow sideways across the instrument, most string vibrations will be in that direction, and will thus affect the balance of shift string pressure between the two feet. This will cause the front and back of the violin to move in opposite directions, thus making the instrument act a little like a bellows that opens and closes slightly hundreds of times per second.
    – supercat
    Jan 10, 2022 at 16:08
  • @supercat There is not really something like a preservation of direction for the vibrations. Also the soundpost does not sit directly under the bridge (which would be required to properly transfer the energy to the back) but slightly below the bridge. Else you’d try to agitate the top at a fixed point, which would result in nothing. Also as I said before the soundpost is put in in a way to prevent resonance as much as possible.
    – Lazy
    Jan 10, 2022 at 20:52
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    To your last statement -- remind folks never EVER remove more than one string at a time, so as to preserve both soundpost and bridge position. Jan 11, 2022 at 15:20

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