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G and D strings sound terrible.
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Quirk
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June 14, 2012 - 11:37 am
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Hey guys,

Me again.

any reason why G and D strings sound like crap, a raspy thrum instead of an even whine?

I swapped the crappy original cecilio strings for slightly less crappy el cheapo D'Addario strings and nothing has changed they still sound bad.

Any ideas to what brand/type is best for G and D? I have found myself staying away from songs with those notes in them and since I want to try and convert modern songs into violin tunes.

Like Depeche Mode's Wrong would sound cool on violin I think.\"yell\"

 So I need all round good strings.

Oh yes, When I say all this, I mean what is the cheapest strings that don't sound horrible?

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NoirVelours
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June 14, 2012 - 12:11 pm
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I know that when my fingers are not placed correctly the sound is terrible no matter if it's a quality string or not. Sometimes it's just like a super tiny nudge more up or down the fingerboard and the note is suddenly smooth instead or raspy like you say. I went with Zyex  silver G and D because my violin seemed like he was disliking those strings a lot but realized it improved very little.

The one thing that made my strings sound better was... playing them often! When I started playing more on G and D it's like they matured or something? Anyone else experienced that?

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Sofia Leo
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June 14, 2012 - 12:13 pm
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It might not be the strings, could be a number of other things - soundpost needs to be moved a tiny bit, bridge too thick or thin, bridge feet not fitting totally flush to the face of the violin, bass bar loose, etc.

OTOH, better strings can make a world of difference, and many fiddles like a specific string. Mine likes the Zyex medium, which FM sells for less than $35.00. You may have to experiment a bit to find the perfect strings for your fiddle, but it's well worth it! My cheap Chinese fiddle sounded like ass until I put a set of Helicores on it - the difference was night and day from the first stroke of the bow.

Good luck in your search!

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cpiasminc
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June 14, 2012 - 12:36 pm
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I also have seen what NV mentioned as far as the play-in time. Fresh strings are generally a little more tense and it takes some working to kind of "settle" them into a newly drawn tension. It's generally a longer process if you bought gut, but I doubt that's the case. Steel core doesn't take that long to play in and kind of relax into the tensions you've set for it.

Of course, I currently have different issues with the sound, and they are the sort that are not really related to the strings per se. Mine, I currently get a really empty hollow sound that comes with any fingering position on the board (it's there, but not so noticeable on open strings)... and it happens on the A & E strings, but not so much at all on the G & D strings... and this, in my case turned out to be a chip on the right foot of my bridge that makes it not quite sit flush with the top. In fact, very little of the right root actually touches the top of the body at all. The left side was fine, and hence the G&D strings were sounding mostly okay. For now, though, I'm just living with it and my horrifyingly poor strings because I am basically broke for the next year or so (putting a full down payment on a house can really kill you, but I didn't want to waste money on PMI), and I will anyway be traveling for work since I'll be presenting some papers at a few conferences, so I can't afford to spend another dime on my violin.

A mistake I often made when I was younger that also caused a raspy sound like you mention was too much rosin... I tended to get a much better sound with a lighter application, even if I was using a not-so-great rosin. Cheaper brands like Cecilio can give you a lot of stuff for the money, but because they still have to make money at that price, they can be lax on QC and give you poorly set sound posts and misaligned bridges and so on. I don't know how likely any of that is, but the only real point it's not necessarily just the strings if better strings don't give you that much of a change.

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Sofia Leo
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June 14, 2012 - 1:09 pm
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cpiasminc said
I also have seen what NV mentioned as far as the play-in time. Fresh strings are generally a little more tense and it takes some working to kind of "settle" them into a newly drawn tension.

The difference for my fiddles was instant, and they only sounded even better after a few hours of playing. If you find the right strings, you will likely see an improvement even before they are fully played in, IME.

...and this, in my case turned out to be a chip on the right foot of my bridge that makes it not quite sit flush with the top. In fact, very little of the right root actually touches the top of the body at all. The left side was fine, and hence the G&D strings were sounding mostly okay. For now, though, I'm just living with it and my horrifyingly poor strings because I am basically broke for the next year or so (putting a full down payment on a house can really kill you, but I didn't want to waste money on PMI), and I will anyway be traveling for work since I'll be presenting some papers at a few conferences, so I can't afford to spend another dime on my violin.

If you have some fairly fine sandpaper laying around the house, you can take the strings off, lay the sandpaper on the face of the fiddle where the bridge goes and gently sand the bridge feet down until they exactly match the contour of the belly - total cost: less than an hour of your time. If the bridge fit is really that bad, it's worth a try to get a better sound.

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HeadCheese
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June 14, 2012 - 1:16 pm
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Quirk said
Hey guys,

Me again.

any reason why G and D strings sound like crap, a raspy thrum instead of an even whine?

I swapped the crappy original cecilio strings for slightly less crappy el cheapo D'Addario strings and nothing has changed they still sound bad. <SNIP>

 

Perhaps a video of you playing the strings might be helpful in getting to the root of the problem. Members capable of discerning the difference between technique, setup or equipment might be able to diagnose the source of the unpleasant tone.

devil-violin

(maybe...)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 14, 2012 - 8:18 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Quirk said
Hey guys,

Me again.

any reason why G and D strings sound like crap, a raspy thrum instead of an even whine?

I swapped the crappy original cecilio strings for slightly less crappy el cheapo D'Addario strings and nothing has changed they still sound bad.

Any ideas to what brand/type is best for G and D? I have found myself staying away from songs with those notes in them and since I want to try and convert modern songs into violin tunes.

Like Depeche Mode's Wrong would sound cool on violin I think.\"yell\"

 So I need all round good strings.

Oh yes, When I say all this, I mean what is the cheapest strings that don't sound horrible?

CatMcCall said most of the things that I thought about but when you say that you put cheap DAddario strings on are you referring to Prelude? Prelude strings are better solid steel core strings which are not that much different to what you had before. Shoot for synthetic core strings for a difference. Also the string tension could be too low or too high. A violin with a soundpost that is long and tight may not respond so well to high tension strings. A loose soundpost might benefit greatly by having high tension strings. If the soundpost is slightly more to the E string side you get a stronger high register and if it is slightly more towards the low side you get more power on the bottom.

There is a lot to consider.dazed

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

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springer
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June 14, 2012 - 8:47 pm
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I too vote probably not the strings. Like the others have said check the bridge and sound post plus the other parts on the violin to make sure something is'ent amiss.

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Hman
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June 14, 2012 - 9:38 pm
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NoirVelours said
When I started playing more on G and D it's like they matured or something? Anyone else experienced that?

Perhaps it is you and your playing that matured dunno clap  facepalm

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coolpinkone
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June 14, 2012 - 10:44 pm
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I know that 5 months of playing...and not a huge amount of progress made a lot of difference... my pink violin (cheap as heck) ... I can even make it sound decent now with the ick strings on it... not it doesn't sound like my Hoffman....but the experience in my playing has made a difference.  I think the first month or two I could have had everything perfect and still sounded like "ass"  .... I like that I sound less like A now.  woot woot. 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Quirk
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June 18, 2012 - 9:53 am
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Hmmm, Lots of things I didn't understand.

Yes the strings are D'Addario prelude. Maybe I will spring for fancy ones.

I can't do the video, but I can upload some audio of me in action if that would help. Though according to my computer I don't have a built in microphone and yet I can use Tell Me More to speak german into it. And Audacity records just fine. ERRR. I mean when you record violin it makes the player sound crap.

I will try playing heaps on those strings and altering my finger positions and if that doesn't work I will look up wikipedia and try to understand all the things that have been said here.

I should also mention I don't really aim for a note, I kinda crash my fingers down and guess that I am about right. I should really stick one of those charts to the fingerboard to get the right positions.

Oh yes and I can't go to a luthier as they don't seem to exist in country Victoria and I am likely to get stabbed in Melbourne.

Thanks for all the help.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 18, 2012 - 12:46 pm
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We look forward to hearing about how you resolve your issues.

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

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cdennyb
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June 18, 2012 - 6:20 pm
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dont waste your time so much with wiki-pedia, just ask us... seemingly dumb questions are much easier to answer than dumb mistakes are to fix. lol

A sound recording would help but wont do much for us giving observation advice on technique. You understand.

Using the finger guide initially to help locate the proper spot for your finger(s) to hit the appropriate notes would solve much of the possible issues on intonenation and such, and although the physical items mentioned are possible sources, don't overlook the rosin, the pressure and bow techniqe and other (player) oriented problems that cause the lack of quallity sound. Kevin (a member here) posted a really neat fingerposition chart (.pdf) to attach with some tape to your violin neck that's easily printed out at home and cut out with scissors, price... free.

Can I ask what violin you have? Is it a student Chinese version or something of better quality?

After you have learned more of the names of parts and where they're located on your instrument, we can go into looking at the soundpost abgle and maybe it has moved or tilted from where it should be and on this forum is lots of info on what it SHOULD be and where it should be. At least it doesn't cost anything to ask.thumbs-up

 

One last thing... are you sure the strings in the G and D positions are the correct ones? The A string isn't in the D position is it? Or they might be swapped, or ??

"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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Quirk
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July 1, 2012 - 4:28 am
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Sorry for late reply, my internet doesn't like me sometimes.

Anyway i have a cecilio something, cevn maybe? I got the one that is shaped like a proper violin, but with holes.

I got the finger guide, thanks Kevin. And all though the strings hitting the paper was a bit off putting I think my fingers are in the right place. Thankfully early on I had a proper violin player tell me where to put my fingers. Though that is all the teaching I have gotten so far and probably the last.

 

I have been drawing the bow over the G and D strings and not playing anything, sometimes I use my finger to lightly touch the strings just to see what weird noises I can make.

I think the best thing for me to do is to just get some half decent strings for G and D and if I still have problems I will post a video (somehow).

So can someone tell me what strings to buy for each? Brand and type would be nice.

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eoj02
mooresvill, in
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July 1, 2012 - 9:11 am
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I also avoid my G string.  I've used a tuner to make sure i was hitting the correct note and even when hitting the note, the sound doesn't quite fit with the rest of the violin.  It does seem to even out a bit when i pull a little quicker on the bow.  But still odd. 

 

I feel like it must be mostly technique due to the fact that the more I play, the better it sounds.  Or maybe my ear just stops listening. 

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