I was recently asked about new adjustable sound posts on the market, and I thought my reply would be a good post. Feel free to comment below, I’d love to know what you think!?!?
I think they’re a good idea for a travel bass…eventually, they get knocked over by TSA and being able to reset it at 11 pm on a Saturday night when you have a performance the next day is a good idea.
But I don’t know if they sound better because of the material…I think it’s just good coupling with the swivel feet and being able to adjust the tension on the fly that would give a “better” result…as well as the type of audiophile that would spend the $$ on it would play around with it enough to “find” the sweet spot for their instrument, just because they can.
There’s a “famous” story in our world. Back in the 30’s, a violinist went into Wurlitzer’s shop in NYC and asked Sacconi to put a new sound post in his violin, but to only use his finest spruce. Sacconi took the violin, headed to the back room, and grabbed a number 2 pencil, removing the paint and facets and fit it into the violin. The violinist declared that his violin never sounded better and left happy. Legend says many years later a luthier pulled out the post, signed by Sacconi, and discovered it was a pencil.
Did the graphite in the pencil make it better?
Was it just a superb fit?
Maybe Sacconi found the sweet spot?
Or is it psychoacoustics…we want it to sound better, so we trick ourselves into believing it to be true.
I hate black or white answers…too binary! I’m guessing its a combination of factors…maybe even all of them.
I think a good luthier with the skill and experience to pick a good piece of wood, sculpt it to the right size, fit the feet almost perfectly to the interior and place it in a technically correct spot with just the right amount of tension…and then be able to play the instrument a bit and knock the post around to a sweet spot, can get the same tonal results.
An adjustable sound post just eliminates the need for experience and skill and replaces them with quick trial and error (and hopefully not more of the second).