January 14, 2011 – Wolf Tones

In September, I got a cello so that I could get better at cello and teach students to play. After having a new bridge fitted and better strings put on my cello, there is a very pronounced wolf tone on the F# on the D string and on the F# on the G string.

Until having this problem on my own, I had never really even known what a wolf tone sounded like. It is a very shrill beating in the sound. On my particular instrument, it makes the bow bounce as I am playing the note. If you’re not familiar with the sound, click here for an audio sample.

There are a few options for fixing wolf tones. The cheapest way is to squeeze the cello with your knees to reduce the resonance during that particular tone. Unfortunately, if the note is played too quickly, you may forget to squeeze. I guess it would eventually become a technique that would become natural.

Another option is to get a wolf tone eliminator. Unfortunately, many of them simply mute the sound of the instrument. This seems undesirable, however, the tone is so bad that I would like to investigate a wolf tone eliminator because the sound is very harsh on the ears. I will keep you posted about what I find.

 

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