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Thread: Loss of Volume

  1. #1
    Registered User rdodger99's Avatar
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    Default Loss of Volume

    2016 Pava Pro A style. In the last month I am perceiving that it has less volume than previously. I just did a string change, no difference (from GHS A270 to D'addario EXP74). Tom Ellis had a look at it in October and found it fine. Nothing seems loose to me, all joints are tight, bridge makes full contact. Made no changes to it at all in the last month, it just seems quieter than usual. Any troubleshooting tips??
    Rich
    2016 Blonde Pava Pro #197

  2. #2

    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Humidity change with change of seasons...need a truss adjustment?

  3. #3
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Same pick?

  4. #4
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Have you had your hearing checked? Just kidding

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Definitely could be humidity...

    Another thought....Are you playing it hard, every day? My Stiver, and an Ellis I owned, got “sleepy” and tight-sounding pretty quickly when not played regularly. Some mandolins are more susceptible to this...

    Play it hard... for an hour or so... for a few days. I’d also suggest loosening the strings and raising the bridge.... give each wheel a quarter to half-turn up. It’s a little change that can make a big difference, sometimes.

    Do you have a Bluechip? I don’t care what anyone says... $35 spent on a CT 55 is the cheapest volume and tone improvement you can make...

    Try some Monel strings or something with a different sound... might be more appealing to your ears...

    You might be unconsciously muffling the top or back with your posture or technique.... a tone-gard always helps...

    If it’s a Pava, I seriously doubt it’s a mandolin issue...

    Good luck!
    2015 Silverangel F
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  7. #6
    Registered User rdodger99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Thanks for all the suggestions, keep 'em coming
    Neck relief is the same, straight neck.
    Same pick Blue Chip TAD60.
    I do play fairly hard.
    Rich
    2016 Blonde Pava Pro #197

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    I find as my mandolin ages and gets warmer it is a little quieter, but the sound is so much better. It is warmer in the highs and more complex in the lows.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  9. #8

    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by rdodger99 View Post
    ... In the last month I am perceiving that it has less volume than previously. ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jstring View Post
    ... You might be unconsciously muffling the top or back with your posture or technique....
    Wearing winter sweaters maybe? November in Colorado, probably not lightweight t-shirt season? I've had bulky clothing interfere with instrument volume before...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jstring View Post
    ... a tone-gard always helps...
    Might be worth a try. I haven't personally had occasion to try a Tone-Gard, but people here are always saying good things about them. (NFI)

  10. #9
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    From emonortem - "Humidity change with change of seasons...". Spot on - & temp.changes as well. I get that every year when the temp.drops. No humidity problems in the UK,but temp. most certainly. My mandolins loose volume & sound 'tight' ie. a loss of sustain as the wood is colder & less able to resonate.

    It's something that we learn to live with - however,let your mandolin 'soak' for a few hours in a nice warm room,& try it again. I've been amazed at the difference that can make,along with a few other Cafe members who've experienced the same thing,
    Ivan
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I find as my mandolin ages and gets warmer it is a little quieter, but the sound is so much better. It is warmer in the highs and more complex in the lows.
    I think pops has got it. As the tone changes the apparent volume changes. Back off the mid highs in a PA with out changing volume and it appears to be not as loud

  12. #11
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Mandos are such small noise makers, even slight changes in the weather will affect their tone. Or anything else different that you're doing. When you changed your strings, it'll take some time for the bridge to resettle, especially if you moved it from its original position.

  13. #12
    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Check for top sinkage, that would have some effect if it's done so!
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


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  14. #13
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    If you raise or lower your action (bridge) that will change you intonation. If the weather changes more dry, more wet and the mandolin adjusts to that, it will change your intonation. I find also when intonation is a little out the mandolin is brighter, it is much warmer with proper intonation and if it seems bright, I check my bridge location. If it is out and brighter, it sounds louder. If it is in and warmer, it is a little quieter.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  15. #14

    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Just to be sure..Did the perceived drop in volume first occur prior to the string change? I find that my Pava Satin A model really loves the GHS A-270s.

    Scott

  16. #15
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Check the action at 12th fret. The recent colder drier weather made my mandolins drop their action by about 1/64th inch and I noticed less volume. A tiny tweek of the bridge height fixed things.

    I'll also mention that I've never seen much problem with intonation changes when I make a minor change in bridge height although others report lots of problems with this. I do check the intonation frequently, but it seldom seems to change on my mandolins unless the bridge has been moved or leaning. Guess I'm lucky.
    Phil

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  17. #16
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Have you had your hearing checked?
    I'm getting old, and my hearing is not what it used to be...


    stand close, facing the closed glass sliding door & you will hear the reflected sound output,
    of that F mandolin, better..
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  18. #17

    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    There is one thing that is rarely mentioned but can be a factor to those that notice the details of tone and volume... It is not just the effect of climate on the instrument that we are hearing (though that comes in to play as well). It is the way sound travels.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dry air does not transfer sound waves nearly as well as humid air.

    Now this is mostly at work above 2k kHz. The bulk of mandolin frequency is below that, but there is still plenty of stuff going on above 2k on a mando.

    A room's tone will change as well. Wooden walls, furniture, etc...

    Any one of these changes may not make a huge difference, but all combined can be noticeable.
    Robert Fear
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  20. #18
    Registered User fentonjames's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    It's getting colder. Perhaps you are wearing a thicker shirt which is muting it more against it's back???


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  21. #19

    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    Wearing winter sweaters maybe? ...

    Quote Originally Posted by fentonjames View Post
    It's getting colder. Perhaps you are wearing a thicker shirt which is muting it more against it's back???
    Great minds think alike...

  22. #20

    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    I have a Pava Pro; they are fantastic. Tone AND volume should be great. Check this (from the Ellis website):
    "Pay attention that the bridge top doesn’t tip forward as strings are constantly tightened over time, which it will. It causes the bridge base to not make full contact with the top and only touch at the front edge. With the mandolin at pitch, lay the mandolin on your lap with the tailpiece against your belly and firmly pull the bridge top toward you till it moves and/or squeaks. If you can’t budge it, loosen the strings some and try again. Keeping the bridge top straight will improve tone and intonation."

    Hope this solves your concern.

  23. #21
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Quote Originally Posted by rdodger99 View Post
    2016 Pava Pro A style. In the last month I am perceiving that it has less volume than previously. I just did a string change, no difference (from GHS A270 to D'addario EXP74). Tom Ellis had a look at it in October and found it fine. Nothing seems loose to me, all joints are tight, bridge makes full contact. Made no changes to it at all in the last month, it just seems quieter than usual. Any troubleshooting tips??
    I can tell you what to do and I think you will love the new sound of your Pava ! Try Mapes strings and order Phosphorus Bronze in the following "custom gauges" 11.5, 16, 26 and 40 !! Five dollar a set ! My Ellis A5 woke up completely on the D and G strings and it is a different and better voice ! Five dollar a set is a cheap fix !
    Last edited by yankees1; Dec-12-2017 at 2:26pm.
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain

  24. #22
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Lot's of good suggestions here.
    But a couple of thoughts:

    Colorado? Last couple of months? About the same time the heat came on and humidity went down?

    But I have played quite a few Pava's and they really seem to warm up after about two years. Since yours is a 2016 this would be about that time. It's not sudden though, and really not a loss of volume but rather an increased warmer, richer tone. When new they are a bit more trebly and jangly, so when that mitigates it does seem to have less punch and cut. I really like the played in tone better myself.

    You might also try a tone guard. It really made a difference with my Pava. Try playing it without touching the back and see if you don't get better projection.

  25. #23
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    I know when it gets cold up here in good ole PA, instruments, I play guitar and mando but mando is where I really notice the change!!mandolins dry out a bit and require some truss rod and or bridge adjustment, Normally have to raise the action a bit on bridge to get back your volume, and hopefully the neck relief stays the same so ya don't have to mess with the truss rod, if you do just do a quarter turn one day and if needed another the next, I did some serious turning on my rod on a rare vintage F-5 Gibson years ago and well no harm but there was creaking sounds I sure didn't like!

  26. #24
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    The mandolin's voice may just be changing because it is aging, humidity changes, etc., or:

    Check for loose seams and loose tone bars.

  27. #25
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Loss of Volume

    Try another set of strings. My instrument hated the EXPs. The chemistry between strings and instruments is complicated.
    1988 Reno mandolin, Trinity College mandola
    one viola, a couple of violins, a whole bunch of bows, various recorders, a flute, a guitar, and what is possibly the world's worst oboe

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