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E string sounds terrible
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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wendym
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May 25, 2014 - 11:32 am
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So I just got my first violin. I have never even touched one before but it is something i always wanted to learn. I bought a Ricard Bunnel G2 because it was supposed to be set up professionally before shipped.well mine got pretty rattled during shipment, but I don't see any damage, the bridge did fall, but sound post is still intact. I have spent 2 days learning to tune, and it sounds pretty good, except for the e. It has prelude strings, and the e makes a sound that is a cross between scratchy, buzzy, teeth on a chalk board. I've checked bridge, no light can be seen underneath, changed bow speed, pressure and position. I can't figure it out. It doesn't make the same sound when I pluck it that I see in Fiddlermans videos. Any suggestions will greatly be appreciated. And before anyone asks I am not comfortable with my technique so please don't ask me to upload a video of me playing!

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Uzi
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May 25, 2014 - 11:51 am
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Welcome to the forum and welcome to your first step in the seemingly never ending quest for an E-string that was not manufactured by the knights who say "Screeeee." Some claim that the quest can be accomplished by using the Kaplan "non-whistling" E string, but others disagree.  Good luck in your quest. Luckily, the Dominant E string is the only Dominant string that doesn't sound good.  The E has a tendency to go "screee" because it's a solid steel string and not wound like  the others, so the bow hair doesn't grab it the same way it does the wound strings. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Oliver
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May 25, 2014 - 12:49 pm
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Odd to find this post.

I have just been thinking that I've NEVER owned a violin having the full original set of strings.  I've always changed something except for the well-behaved G.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Panzón
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May 25, 2014 - 1:06 pm
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Hi Wendy, welcome from a fellow Texan who is also an absolute, rank beginner. Just got my first violin 5 days ago. Good luck with your E-string problem, I'm afraid I don't know enough yet to offer any advice.

 

Mike

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BillyG
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May 25, 2014 - 1:45 pm
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Welcome, wendym !

As a beginner myself, let me share this.

To start with, about 4 years back I "messed" with the violin for a few months, and gave up due to other pressures - but - even then - I realized the limitations of the very basic beginner's instrument I had.  The strings on it were probably the cheapest possible, fitted by the manufacturer.  E squealed like a stuck-pig.  Not nice at all - but- by "adapting" bowing technique (ensuring I presented the bow-hair 'flat' and not on-edge or slanted to the string) and applying more pressure - I could play that instrument. ("Play" maybe too strong a word - but - recognizable tunes ).  I still have it, and I call it "Hermano del Diablo" (Brother of the Devil)

Recently, a few months ago, I decided to get involved with the violin again. One of the issues with Herman, was that it drifted with alarming regularity - any temperature / environmental change de-tuned it - and- I was continually "correcting" my fingering to make it "sound right" - which just played havoc with finger-muscle-memory.   So, I got myself a solid-body (still a cheapo) EV / VSO.

The strings that came fitted on the new EV, still squealed on top E, although, I could "make it work" by being very, very specific about my bowing.....  so, a bit like my old acoustic, they were also probably the cheapest possible the manufacturer could supply - cheese-wire comes to mind.

As soon as I fitted D'add Prelude (which you have) - and I should add that the D'Addario Prelude E was just as "heavy" ( visible thickness ) as the OEM string-set A, (I am not joking) my problem went away - although - with my previous "background" with squealing E - I have maybe subconsciously adapted to bowing differently on the E anyway....

I have just recently ( and it is quite different from you - this is on an EV ) swapped the top E for a non-whistling E - now - that is NOT because I had whistle/screeching problems - I wanted to do that for tonality purposes.

I'm just wondering, I found the D'Add Prelude a fine set of strings, but, to my ear, on this violin, the E was "too bright compared to the other stings, or, more specifically, to the A" - and I also found that, in general  on any set of steel, or steel-wound, the E itself is a plain steel, it does not have a wound finish, it catches, or is caught, by the bow hair, slightly differently, and probably demands a slightly different bowing approach (which, over time, becomes subconscious - I guess )

I would suggest -

(1) being new to the instrument - work with it for a while - you may adapt.

(2) You mentioned other things besides that - "scratchy, buzzy, teeth on a chalkboard" - the scratchy and teeth may be just playing on plain steel - and you'll adapt - the "buzzy" is a bit more interesting - buzzing sounds can come from many places, especially on an acoustic - check there is nothing "loose" - like string ends in the peg box vibrating while you play, check (if you have one) the fine-tuner on the E (and other stings if fitted), check the tailpiece - has it shifted - check the chinrest - i.e. do a very very close inspection of "loose-ish" parts that may just be in un-intentional contact" with each other.

(3) If the instrument suffered sufficient impact during transport to dislodge the bridge, I would very, very carefully inspect the whole thing just in case there is a minor crack, or something else that has come apart, and is just resonating at some of these frequencies on the E.

You don't have to post a vid - just launch a recording onto soundcloud or whatever and let us hear it.  There are lots of folks here with MUCH better ideas than me on these issues - if we hear it we can maybe be a bit more objective !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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RosinedUp
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May 25, 2014 - 3:09 pm
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I think Uzi and Bill are putting you on the right track regarding the hair gripping the string.  Make sure you have plenty of rosin on the hair.  Apply rosin until you see dust falling off when you bow.

Also check that the string has clearance from the fingerboard.  It should be at least 2.5 mm above the bridge end of the fingerboard.  See that you can slip a sheet of paper under the string and touch it to the nut.  Check the "scoop" under the E string.  You should be able to see light under a straightedge placed against the fingerboard.  See that the E string is not digging into the top edge of the bridge.

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wendym
Texas
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May 25, 2014 - 3:14 pm
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When it arrived the tailpiece was kinked to one side, and the e string was under the finger board. I emailed the guys at Kennedy violins and they are sending me string upgrades for free, but I didn't know about the buzz yet, mainly because it took me so long to tune it (I was scared). My other strings sound good, but that e is so bad I don't want to play. Now I know why rock and roll stars bang their guitar on the ground after playing! As a matter of fact, I think I just heard my dog go into the garage, shut the door and start the car. It is so frustrating to do all the research to find a decent beginner instrument, wait for it to arrive, discover that fed ex drug it behind their truck and now I am left with something that sounds like a tornado siren. Maybe it is my tailpiece. Unfortunately, I live in a small town and I think the closest shop is in Dallas. On the other hand, look at all the experience I am gaining.

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Uzi
Georgia
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May 25, 2014 - 3:18 pm
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I'm sorry Wendy, I don't know where I got the idea that you had Dominant strings on your fiddle, because I see you said Prelude.  Well, be that as it may, since the E string is an unwound string it's going to sound different from the others, but don't be alarmed, it will sound better, most likely, over time as you learn to bow straighter and more smoothly than you are likely to at the beginning.  Also don't forget that the sound you hear when the violin is under your ear is not exactly the same sound people hear when they are several feet away. 

Oh, and as far as being uncomfortable with your technique, I think there are a whole lot more of us that are uncomfortable with our technique on this forum, than those who are comfortable. That's why we're here: to learn from each other and to help each other develop new skills and improve whatever skill we might already possess. There's no need to be shy.   

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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wendym
Texas
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May 25, 2014 - 4:00 pm
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Thank you all sooooo much! I think after reading all your suggestions I was able to calm down, and look everything over really closely like madbill suggested and after rosinedups suggestion, I was looking at spacing of e at the nut. That's when I noticed the e, while it was in the groove on the nut, seemed to be closer to the a than all the other strings. So I moved it towards outer edge a hair and when I played an open e no more buzz! Thank you all so much! I have honestly lost sleep over this! I already changed that string, ordered a different one last night, bought better rosin, cleaned the string and nothing was working! It blows my mind that that was the problem. I don't know if it was in the wrong spot or if groove is too deep, but it sounds better!

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wendym
Texas
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May 25, 2014 - 4:12 pm
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Uzi, you are right about that scree sound! I am just happy that is the only sound I'm getting now! This process has jump started my hunt for the perfect e string. I have 2 different ones coming in the mail now, plus the free string upgrade Kennedy is sending. Surely one of those will be a decent one! Now I can practice my technique!

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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May 26, 2014 - 2:29 am
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Glad to hear you're on the road again !  thumbs-up

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 26, 2014 - 10:42 am
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Welcome to the forum wendym.

It seems you received plenty of tips already and you may have resolved your issue but I would like to add that just because the soundpost was till standing when you received the violin doesn't mean that it didn't move. It's quite common for a sound-post to move during shipping if the bridge has fallen or the strings are loose. This is the reason we always ship our own violins with pressure on the strings and an insert to keep the bridge from falling.

Hope you enjoy your new journey and we'll do all we can here to keep you motivated. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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RosinedUp
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May 26, 2014 - 6:30 pm
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Fiddlerman said
It's quite common for a sound-post to move during shipping if the bridge has fallen or the strings are loose. This is the reason we always ship our own violins with pressure on the strings and an insert to keep the bridge from falling.

It's silly that so many violin sellers don't seem to know how to make Pierre's awesome kind of bridge brace for shipping. 1st-place Or maybe you've patented it, Pierre?  smile

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 28, 2014 - 7:50 am
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I actually did come up with that myself. Never have I seen it done by anyone else. :)
Also, we don't use tape anymore, rather a thin wooden splint (like a toothpick) right under the strings going right through the cardboard. It holds it down and is easy to remove.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Uzi
Georgia
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May 28, 2014 - 11:10 am
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Patent it. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 29, 2014 - 8:33 am
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I can't see the money in it though. bunny-headbang

I'm fine with giving my ideas up for free. thumbs-up

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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