Wolf Tones

Wolf tones are hyper-resonances that often occur with cellos. On some instruments they present no problem, but on others they make certain pitches difficult to play well. They typically occur in the area of Eb-F# in 4th position on the G string (as well as the same pitches higher on the C string). If you are looking for a cello to buy or rent that has wolfs on the D or A string, just move on, this is not worth it.

With most wolf tones, it is possible to treat the wolf such that it is quite manageable. Recently there have been some new developments in this area.

The most common sort of wolf eliminator fits onto the string between the bridge and the tailpiece. In using these, first try it on the C string and tune it to the pitch a 5th above your wolf tone. You tune it by bowing the string between the bridge and the wolf eliminator. If that does not work, then try a 4th. If that does not work, try the note itself. The further away from the bridge you get, the fewer overtones you kill, which is why it is better on the C than the G. (There are 3 octaves of pitches on the other side of the bridge, BTW). If this is not effective enough, then try the G string.

Many people find the new Krentz eliminator much more effective and less problematic for the sound. Some people have reported that it can actually improve the sound of the cello.

Krenz Wolf Eliminator

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1 Response to Wolf Tones

  1. Wolf notes drive me mad. Every time a student comes to me with a cello he wants to buy the first thing I do is check the wolf notes, and if there is one on the D string I tell him to get another cello.
    My own cello has a wolf that travels to odd places, apparently depending on the weather and humidity. Sometimes on the harmonic G, occasionally on harmonic C, as well as on the typical F #. I solve the problem by checking the wolf before a performance and adjusting the eliminator for the needs of the moment.
    I have never heard the idea of tuning the eliminator to the 5th above the wolf. If the wolf is on the F#, for instance, I put the eliminator on the various F# locations on the C or G afterlength( there are Three F# locations on the G string and two on the C) and one of them fixes the wolf, just gotta find the best one.
    I will also try your suggestion of using a fifth. The goal is to fix the wolf with a minimum of lost resonance, so this may be helpful.
    Thank you, Clay!

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