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Squeeeeeeak
Having an issue with the 'A' string
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Fenderbridge
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April 2, 2015 - 7:13 pm
Member Since: April 2, 2015
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Hey guys!  First post of many here, I'm sure ;)

 

I have a bit of an issue with my A string.  when I go to play any fingered notes on the A string, I can't get it to sound quite right, it makes quite an awful squeak that isn't generally what I am wanting to get.  I made sure the bow was properly rosined, the A was in tune.

It doesn't matter whether I am drawing the bow fast or slow, hard or light, I get an awful squeak.  Any ideas?

 

Thanks!

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cdennyb
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April 2, 2015 - 7:24 pm
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Well first, Welcome to the family of fiddlers here. You're going to love it here as many have been down the same road you're on right now! We've all been there and had to fight with squeeks, squacks, and broken strings from improper tuning.

The first thing that comes to mind is where are you placing the bow hair to get that horrible sound? I'm long shot guessing but I bet it's close to the bridge.

Some A strings actually come with a tiny nylon sleeve that goes under the string and helps hold it up on the bridge so it doesn't dig into the wood, just like the E string.

Not that any of that is your issue but you will find that "play it like you stole it" is a good thing to keep in mind, as many of us beginners seem to pull the bow slowly and daintily across the strings when what it needs is some aggression. Don't be scared and put a bit of pressure on it and get the bow speed up. My violins all tend to do exactly what you described on various strings and it's always been due to not enough pressure or speed or both.

Hope this helps, maybe drop in a video of your playing and we can all get a better feel for the reason.

hats_off

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Fenderbridge
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April 2, 2015 - 7:42 pm
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cdennyb, thank you for the swift response!

 

I have no nylon string on the bridge, so the string makes direct contact with the bridge.  I /just/ bought this violin from a friend, it belonged to his grandmother, and was quite dated, had one 'G' string.  I took it to the local luthier who told me its' worth, and fixed it up, rehaired the bow, and added 4 fine tuners (at my request).

 

When I draw the bow, I do my best to make sure to have enough pressure, speed, and keep the bow between the bridge and the end of the fretboard.  It could just be a matter of 'someone-needs-to-practice-itis', or maybe it's just a bad string, even though it was just replaced last week.  I tried putting the bow at different places on the length of the string, but it didn't seem to matter.  The E didn't seem to have any issues, and I am sounding better on the G and D strings, it seems to only be an issue with the A string.

 

Another question I have is, should I ever wipe the rosin off the strings at the bridge?  And should I wipe off the bow after use?

 

Too many questions ;)  Thanks again!

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cdennyb
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April 2, 2015 - 10:00 pm
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Personally I don't wipe my strings except about once a week or two, and my bow gets a very good cleaning once a month or two, using alcohol to strip all the rosin from the hair without harming it. If you have a wood bow or violin, don't get alcohol on the finish or it'll mess it up, think thinner on a painted surface. I use a few strokes of rosin before every practice session.

I doubt it's a bad string being as new as they are but it is a possibility, although I've never gotten a bad string in any I've bought. I suggest just go forward and do the best you can to get things rolling. It might resolve itself as the issue may be you and not it. The noise you hear may also be due to the soundpost being a little 'off' of perfect placement but that's something you wouldn't want to mess with unless you have the skills and tool to reset it.

Since your Luthier set it up and did a rehair job, make sure that bow has a good amount of rosin on it from the start. It takes about 20-30 strokes of that rosin to get enough initially on the hair to make it 'grab' properly. After the initial application it only takes a few strokes to keep it up to snuff.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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risk
littleton, Colorado
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April 3, 2015 - 12:34 am
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All good advice so far, you might also make sure that you are pulling your bow parallel to the bridge, if you pull it at an angle it can do that.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 4, 2015 - 11:22 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

If it's just the A, you may need to change it. Old strings can be unresponsive and slow which could cause a squeak.

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