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I put new strings on about 1 month ago. They are great except that for some reason the A string is especially scratchy. It gets scratchier the further up the string I go too (so D on the A string is really whispery/ scratchy while B on the A string is not too bad). It has done this ever since I put the new set of strings on. I don't have this problem on any of the other strings. No amount of experimentation with rosin, pressure, bow stroke, distance between bridge and end of fingerboard, etc. seems to help much. Is it possible to just get "bad" strings out of the package sometimes? Are some strings just harder to play than others maybe? I've been playing for about 4 months now and can play lots of simple tunes and I know what a clear note sounds like. Why can't I get D or E on the A string to ring clear? It's incredibly frustrating.
Maybe you should just get the strings you used previously or could be the way you changed the strings... as did your bridge get a little crooked or maybe your neck is getting a little warped...What type of strings? I know steel strings can get mighty rusty quick with acidy fingers and nylon can start stretching. Hows the action on your violin, that can tell you what's going on.
The action of any stringed instrument is the distance between the strings and the fingerboard (or fretboard). Instruments with a "low" action have a very small distance to push the strings before they make contact with the fingerboard (again, or fretboard). A "high" action instrument would have a very large gap between the strings and the finger/fret board. These type of instruments can be very difficult to play. Action changes as the instrument becomes bowed (action increases as the neck bends towards the body) or if changes are made to the nut or the bridge. The nut on my violin appears to have been reduced to lower the action. The bridge has been heavily sanded down too, which also lowers the action. Hope this helps.
The strings are Perlon core Pro-Artes. I don't know what was used before this because I got the fiddle from someone else and it came with very worn-out mystery strings. I changed them out before I knew about how to ID strings. Unfortunately, I'll never know for sure what they were. The bridge sets flat on its feet and is straight upright. I keep it in place by gently pulling it back when it starts to lean forward. I have noticed that the strings are really digging into the bridge. I don't know if this could cause any problems or not.
As I mentioned, the nut appears to have been lowered and the bridge (a 4/4) has been sanded down to about a 3/4 size. This being said, the action at the end of the fingerboard (near the bridge) looks pretty high to me. I don't have a lot of experience with violins though so maybe its normal. Could a bowed neck cause this problem maybe? Should I try fitting a new bridge? Something else maybe?
You can get "bad" strings right out of the package, but your fiddle may just not like the A string you put on it. My cheap Chinese fiddle had the very same problem (not only scratchy, but dull and lifeless, too) with all the strings I tried except Helicore mediums - the change in sound quality was immediate and drastic.
If the neck is "falling" that's a much larger issue and will have to be attended to by a luthier.
Thanks for the detailed reply and your input. As for this question:
How would you know the difference between a 4/4 and 3/4 bridge? By the height? A 3/4 viloin using synthetic core strings still needs more clearance from the fingerboard than a 4/4 does using steel core strings…so that observation is flawed.
I know the difference between the 3/4 and the 4/4 because I compared my bridge to 3/4 and a 4/4 bridges in a music shop. 4/4 bridges have larger feet than do 3/4 bridges. Mine is a 4/4 that has been "fitted".
Thanks for your story. Maybe I just need to experiment a bit with string types. Sounds like you had the same problem I'm having. I'll see if I can get some pics up too.
You may want to check your finger board. From the tailpiece end, sight down the fingerboard, it should be a slight bit concaved in the middle. Between the nut and the bridge end of the finger board should be a fraction lower. You can check this with a short straight edge, check the G string side and the E string side, then the center.
Your strings should be 1/3 the diameter of the string into the bridge, your E string should have a sleeve to slide up so the string will rest on the bridge passing through the sleeve. On my violin, the bridge has a clear plastic cap over the bridge that the E string lays in. A luthier put mine on when he reworked the fingerboard.
Also,,,,,, you may think I looney, but make sure that you don't have the A string where the D string goes and D where the A goes. I got mine mixed up and had to use a micrometer to see the difference, it's hard to feel the difference in thickness.
I hope you get this thing going soon.
I have to take issue with the center being concave in the lengthwise direction...
Actually, on the very finest violins the fingerboard really is concave along it's length - 0.5mm under the E string to 0.7mm under the G string. This is to provide clearance for the vibrating string, according to Strobel.
The dimensions can be found in many books about violin building and many, many sources on the 'net.
Personally, I think you can make yourself crazy trying to build to such tight tolerances, but I've always been a little fast and loose with rules
THANKS for the info Cat!!!! How high should the fingerboard be on the bridge end in the worst case.
Not quite sure what you're asking, Springer...If you lay a straight edge on the fingerboard, it should measure 27mm from the belly of the fiddle at the bridge position. Southwest Strings has some info that you may find useful here. Many fiddles vary from this measurement with no ill effects. Pictures?
I thought I already made it clear re: the concave fingerboard, but I was corrected. Lay a straight edge from the nut to the bridge end of the fingerboard, you should see daylight in the middle between the fingerboard and the straight edge. The fingerboard is lower in the center to allow for the vibration of the strings. I will not produce any buzzing due to contact with the fingerboard, because there is too much space between the end of the fingerboard and the string at that point.
If the board were convex, then you would possibly get a buzzing sound. Especially while playing notes from the center of the fingerboard back to the nut, due to the curveture of the fingerboard.
Also, MrBison.... are you sure you are pressing the strinig down firmly to the fingerboard, if the string is not in complete contact with the board, you will get a buzzing / unclear note. Happens to me alot.
@springer...... you probably want to take it in to a luthier and have the fingerboard properly shaped. It's not a job for an amature. I know this for a fact, there is less of a gap under the E string than under the A string, because of the different thickness's of the strings and how they vibrate
My luthier charged me 45 or 50 dollars to shape mine. Three months ago.
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