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Changing to steel core strings
soundpost adjustment?
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zpilot
Kansas City, Mo.
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November 8, 2017 - 10:36 pm
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I have Warchal synthetic core strings on my fiddle right now.  That is what it came with.  They have a nice full tone.  When it comes time to change them I will probably try Helicore steel core strings since they seem to be very popular with fiddlers and may have a tone more suited to the style I aspire to play.  So when I change to them is it normal for the fiddle to need a soundpost adjustment?

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Ferenc Simon
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November 9, 2017 - 5:50 am
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Imo you only have to adjust it if you're really not getting what you want from the sound or if you run into some kind of a problem (like the E string being really muted, etc) 

Moving it closer to the bridge and a bit more to the right (you might have to shave off a bit if you wanna do that so it doesn't put too much pressure) will give you a louder, brighter sound on the E side.

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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November 9, 2017 - 8:53 am
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Nope, you shouldn't need to do anything different just for the strings. I went from Larsen Virtuoso to Helicore and didn't need to make any changes. I don't use the Helicore E, though, I always use the Kaplan non-whistling E string. 

If you are looking for a slightly different sound from your fiddle that a bridge or soundpost adjustment could help along, you could consult a luthier to see what they would recommend doing.

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Charles
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November 9, 2017 - 11:21 am
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No, adjusting the soundpost is a once in a blue moon type activity, for the reasons Ferenc mentioned. Normally, you get it right, and leave it there. (And if you bought it from a reputable violin shop, it should already have had that adjustment made by an expert.)

Here are the important things to remember when changing violin strings, more or less in order:

  1. Change the strings one at a time. There should always be at least 50% of the normal tension on the bridge.
  2. Sneak up on the note from below - most broken strings come from tuning them too high.
  3. Violins are a PITA to tune, especially with new strings. Expect to have to go back over each string several times. As you change the tuning on one, it throws out all the others. I recommend a tone generator (the one I use is called "TuningTone" - it's designed for violin), as opposed to a tuner. There are only a few tuners that deal well with violins. (Snark is one brand that does ok, and isn't too expensive.)

You'll have to tune the violin again after a day or so, and then a couple of days, then 3 or 4, etc, as the strings stretch. (This is after tuning them 4 or 5 times right after putting them on.)  After a week or two, they'll settle down and hold their tuning well.

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zpilot
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November 9, 2017 - 6:13 pm
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damfino said
Nope, you shouldn't need to do anything different just for the strings. I went from Larsen Virtuoso to Helicore and didn't need to make any changes. I don't use the Helicore E, though, I always use the Kaplan non-whistling E string. 

If you are looking for a slightly different sound from your fiddle that a bridge or soundpost adjustment could help along, you could consult a luthier to see what they would recommend doing.  

What kind of "mileage" do you get with those Kaplan E strings?  I've read from reviews that they are short-lived.  Your help with this is appreciated.

I understand the thing with soundpost positioning.  Being a guitar luthier I'm not hesitant to start adjusting and eventually making my own.  I think it's probably something that most players should be able to do.  It always amazed me that people would pay me to do SIMPLE adjustments on their guitars.  I've got some soundpost tools on the way.

Here's something to consider.  After a person gets some basic playing skills, nobody knows your instrument as well as you do.  You can take the time required to set it up to your touch and to your ear.  A luthier may not be able to take the time to do that for you, no matter how good they are at the trade.  Or you may not have convenient access to a good one.    

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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November 9, 2017 - 6:25 pm
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I change my E string maybe every 4 months, that's usually the point where I can't take the sound of them anymore. 

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Charles
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November 10, 2017 - 11:58 am
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I use Helicore strings on both of mine, and I use the Helicore E. I'm not sure I've ever experienced the "whistling" E many people speak of.

Anybody know what causes that? I don't think I've ever heard the reason. (In my case, I might not be hearing it because I'm hard of hearing, especially for high pitches.)

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damfino
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November 10, 2017 - 1:20 pm
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I don't think I have ever had the whistling problem, but I just like the tone and feel of the Kaplan. But the whistling usually happens when crossing over to the E, I think it might be just the initial contact not being enough pressure and speed, causing kind of a fingernails on a chalkboard kind of squeak.

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Ferenc Simon
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November 10, 2017 - 1:47 pm
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Charles said
I use Helicore strings on both of mine, and I use the Helicore E. I'm not sure I've ever experienced the "whistling" E many people speak of.

Anybody know what causes that? I don't think I've ever heard the reason. (In my case, I might not be hearing it because I'm hard of hearing, especially for high pitches.)  

I think I 'know' the reason.. even though I haven't heard about it either.. simply speculating here based on what the whistling sound actually sounds like 🙂

Based on the sound I think it's a harmonic.. and it happens when you string-cross on to a specific spot, with just enough minimal bow-bounce to get the 'touching' effect and get the vibrations going, then it simply stays that way for the rest of the bow-stroke.

Despite no one actually saying the cause for certain I did see some videos, most notably by professor V, who has a nice trick on eliminating it and it's done by starting with a crooked bow-angle as soon as you string-cross over to the E, then instantly straightening it out.. 

Now, if the above method actually works... it kinda supports my speculation of a harmonic as well, since going crooked increases the string-length covered by the bow hair and would probably stop the harmonic vibrations, due to falling outside of the trigger-point.. 

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Charles
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November 10, 2017 - 3:36 pm
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I can possibly see it being a harmonic for a split second, although if the bow is barely touching the string, what moves the string?

But a harmonic would stop as soon as you put more pressure on. (I experimented, and couldn't get a harmonic with just the bow, much less continue one.)

I'd be interested in knowing which soundpoint the people with the whistling E are bowing at. If it's relatively near the bridge, it would mean they were using too much speed and/or not enough pressure. (Which is basically what Mandy said.)

I've never heard a chalkboard squeak come out of mine. (And I'll pass, if you don't mind - not one of my favorites sounds.)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 10, 2017 - 5:26 pm
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Changing the strings in general won't warrant a sound-post adjustment but over time wood and tension changes based on temperature changes, humidity and such, and can cause the need for an adjustment. New instruments in particular go through more changes than old ones. Chances are that you do not need an adjustment but if you are ever in Fort Lauderdale, we would be happy to adjust it for free. 🙂

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