How to Install a Violin Sound Post

Written by athena murphy
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How to Install a Violin Sound Post
The sound post channels the resonance from the top of the violin to the back plate. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

"Much harm has been done by well-meaning musicians and amateur makers attempting to adjust the sound post," say famed luthiers Joseph Curtin and Gregg Alf. Installing the sound post is a critical step in getting the violin to resonate with its fullest beauty. The placement of the sound post in the violin is so important that it should be approached incrementally, according to the luthiers, allowing the instrument to rest between each move. Learning the small sound post adjustments that allow the violin its best resonance can take years of playing and listening.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Violin
  • Sound post
  • Sound post setter
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Measure 1 centimetre down from the top of the sound post. Place the point of the sound post setter gently against the sound post. Insert the point end of the sound post setter carefully into the post, approximately 2 millimetres deep. Keep the sound post setter in your hand.

  2. 2

    Look down into the violin's right f-hole. Select a spot 1 centimetre below the right bridge foot as the final placement of the sound post.

  3. 3

    Lower the sound post down through the right f-hole using the sound post setter. Place the sound post slightly to the left of the final placement spot. Align the sound post vertically between the top and back plates.

  4. 4

    Slide the sound post setter to the right gently. Pull the sound post into place at the final placement spot you selected below the right bridge foot.

  5. 5

    Rotate the sound post in the appropriate direction to make the wood grain of the sound post perpendicular to the wood grain of the violin top.

  6. 6

    Remove the sound post setter point carefully from the sound post. Lift the sound post setter up through the right f-hole.

Tips and warnings

  • Relax the string tension of the violin before working with the sound post measurement or placement.
  • Practice inserting and removing the sound post setter point from a spare sound post before attempting to place your sound post in the violin.
  • Measure, cut and file the sound post to the correct size before installing it in the instrument.
  • If you have never measured a sound post before, use a sound post gauge for this task. Practice measuring and filing with a few sound posts before attempting to install one in your instrument.
  • The most important element of the final placement of the sound post is the perpendicular wood grain. The instrument will not resonate fully and will sound dull if the wood grains are not perpendicular.
  • If you have any doubt about your ability to place the sound post correctly, hire a professional luthier to do the job. Do not risk harming your instrument.

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