The WTC-3 WOLF TERMINATOR is designed to eliminate the stuttering or warbling note often found in the D3 to G3 range when played on the cello. This problem often occurs on the G and C strings and may sometimes be found on the D and A strings as well. The Wolf Terminator, when tuned to the frequency of the wolf note, will enable the note to be played smoothly and with complete control. In addition, selective placement of the WOLF TERMINATOR on the cello top will produce effective suppression of the wolf with minimal effect on the overall tone.
1. Locate the wolf note
Play your cello on the G string to locate the precise position of the wolf note. It will probably occur somewhere between two notes rather than exactly on a single note. On most cellos this will be somewhere between E and F#, but yours could be anywhere between D and G. On your own cello you are no doubt familiar with the note(s) which are affected by the wolf, but since the goal is to eliminate the wolf, rather than simply moving it between two notes or making it less noticeable, locating the precise position is important.
2. Prepare the WOLF TERMINATOR for installation
Attach a small amount of the provided removable adhesive to the base (the plastic body) of the WOLF TERMINATOR. Pinch off a small amount and roll it between your fingers to warm it up and to shape it into a noodle. It should be about as long as the base. Press the noodle onto the base and save the unused portion for future use.
3. Install the WOLF TERMINATOR (temporary position)
The WOLF TERMINATOR should be placed about an inch away from the tailpiece and even with the upper end. For most instruments, this will be a temporary position which allows easier identification of the wolf and convenient access to the frequency adjusting screw. Press slowly but firmly onto the top of the cello, using a slight back and forth twisting motion. Hold the body of the WOLF TERMINATOR at the upper corners of the body and avoid touching the metal resonators.
4. Eliminate the wolf note
Play the wolf note (located in step 1) and listen for the severity of the wolf. Adjust the eliminator by using the supplied allen wrench. Insert the “ball end” of the wrench into the adjustment screw, taking care not to scratch the cello. Steady the body of the eliminator with one hand and turn the wrench with the other. Turn the screw a half turn at a time, testing for the wolf each half turn. Count the turns. If the wolf hasn’t changed after reaching the limits of adjustment (regardless of direction), return to the original position and adjust in the opposite direction. The wolf note will noticeably diminish and disappear when the eliminator is tuned to the exact frequency of the wolf.
Important: After every adjustment, be sure to confirm full contact (the firm twisting motion) between the Wolf Terminator and the top as described in step 3.
NOTE: The WOLF TERMINATOR has been shipped with the frequency adjuster preset at approximately F. When looking at the end of the frequency adjusting screw, observe that clockwise turns will lower the frequency toward D, and counterclockwise turns will raise the frequency toward G.
The rough adjustments can be done a half turn at a time. When you have localized the tuning, further adjustment can be done by a quarter turn at a time. Confirm your adjustments by playing passages in your normal style.
When the frequency adjuster is turned clockwise as far as it will go, the WOLF TERMINATOR will be tuned to the D range. When the adjusting screw is turned counterclockwise as far as it will go, the Wolf Terminator will be tuned to the G range. Most cellos will require tuning in the middle of the range at E to F#. Caution: do not force the adjusting screw beyond these limits as this may cause permanent damage!
You may find it easier to tune the WOLF TERMINATOR by playing the wolf note on the C string. Because the wolf note is much more pronounced on the C string and requires more critical tuning of the WOLF TERMINATOR, suppression of the wolf on the C string may produce more accurate results in less time. Recheck for the wolf note on the G string and readjust as necessary to achieve the best compromise between the two strings.
If you have a friend available to help, you can have your friend adjust the WOLF TERMINATOR while you continuously play the wolf note. You will hear the wolf note gradually diminish and disappear… all in less than a minute.
5. Move the WOLF TERMINATOR to its permanent position
Once you have achieved success with eliminating the wolf, you can move the WOLF TERMINATOR to a less noticeable position. You can also reduce the amount of suppression to the exact amount needed to counter the wolf and minimize the eliminator’s effect on the overall tone of the cello. This is accomplished by moving the eliminator toward the tailpiece. Remove the eliminator by lifting up slowly while twisting back and forth. Any pieces of the removable putty which remain on the cello can be removed by rolling a finger over the pieces until they form into a ball which can then be lifted off and pressed back onto the base of the eliminator.
Reattach the eliminator so that it is inline with the tailpiece body and even with the front edge. Move the Wolf Terminator toward the tailpiece about a half inch. The tuning of the eliminator may have to be adjusted slightly. Play the cello and adjust if necessary. In stages, try moving the eliminator slightly further toward the tailpiece, keeping it even with the front edge of the tailpiece. With each successive steop, listen for wolfs and readjust if necessary. Go back to the previous location if the wolf reappears. Because each cello will react differently to the Wolf Terminator, you may have to try several positions in order to find the best compromise between wolf suppression, visual appearance, and overall tone.
The photo above shows the Wolf Terminator positioned even with the front edge and even with the left side of the tailpiece. The goal in this step (and the next) is to place the Wolf Terminator in a less visible area of the cello. Placement of the Wolf Terminator closer to the tailpiece decreases the visibility as well as the amount of wolf note suppression. Every cello is different, so careful placement and testing for the wolf note will pay off!
The photo above shows the Wolf Terminator positioned beneath the tailpiece along the center line of the cello and flush with the front edge. If, when the Wolf Terminator is placed in this position, your wolf note is suppressed to your satisfaction, this position would be ideal in terms of minimal visibility.
Notes and Observations
Cello wolf notes may vary in frequency and intensity due to seasonal and weather changes. In addition, changes to the instrument due to maintenance and setup – including replacement or adjustments to the soundpost, bridge, strings and tailpiece- will also affect wolfs. Because the WOLF TERMINATOR is easily tuned, corrections can be quickly and effectively made without affecting the setup of the instrument. Occasionally check to see that the body of the eliminator has not loosened from the top. There are several small screws on the eliminator which are shop adjusted and permanently set. The only adjustment to be made by the player is the single (frequency) adjustment screw at the end of the device.
You may wish to “tether” the Wolf Terminator to the cello by using the thin nylon monofilament string included with the instructions. Tie the monofilament to the resonator blade in the space between the body and the adjusting screw. Tie the other end loosely to one of the string holes in the tailpiece.