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Eliminating wolf tones?
Author
Post
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 452
If my understanding of the so called "wolf tones" then they would be notes that bark louder than the other notes. Or they ring in a funky way. Yes? For example, when I first strung up my #1, the G string (huh huh...he said G string) was much louder than the others when played alone. Also, it had a sort of sitar effect going on. It faded slowly after a couple of hours of playing and was completely gone after a week or so.
I had attached the bridge using the StewMac bridge bolts because I could not wait any longer to hear my beautiful creation sing. Thus, the bridge was not glued down and the reality is, I was not hearing the guitar's full potential. Anyway, to finally get to my question, for all of you folks who have completed guitars and had these wolf tones, what did you do to eliminate them? I am thinking that you might have to reach into the box and sand the braces a tad to alter how the top vibrates. Is this correct or were other methods utilized to calm the angry wolf?
I would like to garner as much info as possible about this in the event that one of my two babies has any problem like this I will be prepared to tackle the issue head on.
Thanks in advance for your help!

Mar 31, 10 | 7:31 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Roger Siminoff discusses wolf tones in his book on tap tuning and from my notes from the GAL conference about Michael Cone's presentation

Cone is both a builder of classical guitars and an engineer. When approached by a world famous classical player to duplicate a guitar he had built 30 years ago, Cone set out to study its acoustic properties. Using a variety of transducers and acoustic software he mapped the resonances of the soundboard and constructed a second guitar with similar characteristics (and made some modifications to eliminate an A440 wolf note.

The little bit that I know about them says that they aren't a huge problem with plucked instruments like guitars because of the sharp attack and decay of the plucked not but they can be a huge problem with bowed instruments like a violin. I would google the term in conjunction with "violin" and I'm sure you will get lots of scholarly hits. I'm also going suggest going thru the archives at MIMF and the GAL Red Books.

Mar 31, 10 | 1:52 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Also to add, according to Siminoff, the main resonance (Helmholtz) of most dreads is a G note which is one reason those big cowboy G chords seem to just jump out at a bluegrass jam. Was your #1 a dread by any chance?

Mar 31, 10 | 1:54 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
The customary overview:

Wolf tones are usually only noticed on bowed instruments, most notably the cello and surrounding violin family, since the tones produced are played for much longer periods, and thus are easier to hear. Frequently, the wolf is present on or in between the pitches E and F♯.

A wolf can be eliminated with a piece of equipment called a wolf tone eliminator. This is a metal tube and mounting screw with an interior rubber sleeve that fits around the offending string below the bridge. Different placements of this tube along the string influences or eliminates the frequency at which the wolf occurs. It is essentially an attenuator that cuts down on reverberation -- don't think this is agood idea for a guitar.

In my opinion not one"Zs" worth of sleep should be wasted over this issue. Perhaps and electric guitar has long enough sustain for it to be noticable?

Look up "nut compensation" if you really want a better sounding instrument. I am just now getting into this and indeed much improvment can be made. Also a wider saddle, a strobe can result in more precise intonation.

Don Teeter has much intonation info in his publications.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978






Mar 31, 10 | 2:50 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Thanks Ken and Freeman. I will no longer be concerned with the issue.

Mar 31, 10 | 3:02 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
I don't think guitars have a classic "wolf note" like sometimes appears in the violin family.......but they can experience a problem in some ways similar. I'll try describing what I've read in posts from Al Carruth and hope I don't mess anything up.

Most folks don't thin their back enough for this to happen but if you thin the back and back bracing where the main pitch frequency drops as low as the top, that note will attack strong and decay very quick as the two surfaces rob each others energy. Some folks refer to this as a "wolf note" since it won't ring out like the other notes. AS the top plays-in with time, the resonant frequency usually drops a half step and the affect can go away. Al and some other folks like ther back plate tuned a little above top plate (1/2 - 1 1/2 steps higher) as they believe it helps the top and back couple together giving a stronger bass response over a broader range.

It's possible you had something like this going on Tony.


Apr 07, 10 | 2:59 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Above, I meant to say that the resonant frequency of the TOP usually drops half a step as the guitar is played in.

Apr 07, 10 | 3:01 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Uhhh...What?
LOL
Damn Adaboy! Now I am getting worried again!! Thanks!!

Just kidding. Thanks for the info. That might be the case indeed!

Apr 07, 10 | 3:08 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Woof woof.
It seems that these alleged "wof tones" may not be of any concern to me. Unless I decide to play my guitar with a bow. But that would look silly.

Apr 07, 10 | 7:12 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Jimmy Page got away with it......;)

Apr 08, 10 | 12:36 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
But Ken Hundley, I am not an aging rock god who now looks like an old British woman. It would never work for me. Especially not with an acoustic guitar! ;-)

Apr 09, 10 | 4:45 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
You just ruined how I imagined you....!

Apr 09, 10 | 11:31 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
LMAO.
I am aging slowly Ken. I'll be an aging rock god one day. Minus the rock god.

Apr 09, 10 | 3:28 pm



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