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Newbie having string troubles...
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MrBison
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January 21, 2012 - 2:12 pm
Member Since: January 4, 2012
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Hi guys,

So I got a used violin with used strings a month or so ago and have been having a lot of fun playing on it. When I got it I also bought a set of really cheap steel strings because I didn't know any better yet. I replaced the G and D strings because they were broken... I left the A and E strings alone. I played like this for a month or so with no problems until...

I replaced the A and E strings with the cheap steel strings I had bought. Now, the A and E strings squeal a LOT and sound really scratchy. It seems like the bow slides all over them too... I've experimented with different pressures both playing on the strings and with bow tension and nothing seems to work. I tried bowing faster and bowing slower. I put lots of rosin on the bow and that helped a little maybe, but didn't solve the problem.

Now another thing to know is that I just recently started playing on the A and E strings more. The last month or so I was mostly practicing natural notes on the G and D strings so maybe its been like this all along and I never noticed? I don't think that this is the case, but maybe...

The thing that bothers me is I don't have any problems with the G and D strings. I can get a pretty solid tone out of those, but the A and E strings sound TERRIBLE! What gives? Is this normal?

So, is the problem with my cheap strings or my poor skills? Both? Are the A and E strings just harder to play?

Sorry for the long rambling post, getting frustrated with this problem. Thanks!

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Oliver
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January 21, 2012 - 3:55 pm
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Just a guess ....... new strings generally have a "break-in" period until they stretch BUT, they also need some time to develop a rosin coating.

I can usually bring strings into condition in a few hours.  I would guess that the string windings might be a factor in holding rosin.  It always takes me longer to make friends with a bare "E".

coffee2

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

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MrBison
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January 21, 2012 - 5:10 pm
Member Since: January 4, 2012
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Oliver - I think maybe that could be it. I'm noticing that as I play on them longer and longer, it is starting to improve. The bow isn't sliding around on the strings as much and now its mostly just the E string. I didn't know this happened! Thanks a lot for letting me know it is normal.

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Oliver
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January 21, 2012 - 6:14 pm
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That's good news.  drummer

Also, if your rosin gets real light on the bow there may be a tendency to "skate" around on the strings.

coffee2

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 23, 2012 - 11:05 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Different strings have different tensions. Different tensions affect the pressure on the bridge differently. I have put strings on my violin that squeal easily due to the fact that they do not vibrate, or respond quick enough. What type of strings were on there before and what did you put on now?

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

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MrBison
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January 23, 2012 - 11:47 pm
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FM - Unfortunately, I don't know what strings came on the violin because I didn't ask the previous owner. They looked like they may have been some kind of synthetic when I compared them to the steel strings that I replaced them with (from the perspective of someone who doesn't really know much about violin strings...). The strings looked like they were old and the owner said that the violin had been sitting for a really long time so I decided new strings were in order.

Also Unfortunately, the strings that I replaced the original ones with were extremely cheap. I did not yet know any better I'm afraid (this is my only excuse). The package said something like "Fiddle strings" on the cover and I don't think that I paid more than $10 for the whole set at a music store. The brand was some no-name company I've already forgotten. The upside is I've already bought some Pro-Arte's from you and they are on their way! Now I can't decide if I should try and get some wear out of the cheap steel strings or if I should just change them out for the good ones when they get here.

P.S. Also, during my practice the other night I wiped off the A and E strings with my fingers and a lot of caked on rosin came off. After that I think the strings sounded much mess scratchy and the bow didn't skate around as much. Does this make sense at all or maybe it is totally unrelated... ???

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 24, 2012 - 8:03 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Here is a chart that you can use to identify the strings.
http://fiddlerman.com/wp-conte....._chart.pdf
If you still feel like the sound is squeaky you may want to try strings with a higher tension next time. Hopefully the Pro-Arte's should be perfect for you. smile

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

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MrBison
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January 24, 2012 - 7:48 pm
Member Since: January 4, 2012
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Wow cool chart! It looks like the originals were Preludes... By the way, by "higher tension" do you mean a different gauge?

Thank you

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Oliver
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January 24, 2012 - 8:00 pm
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Higher tension means the tension (lbs.) that a string must have in order to reach the desired note.

There are low tension, medium and high tension.  I believe that gauge and tension ratings go together.  I know I have tried "lights" and they were very thin.  (hurt my fingers)

It is probably best to stay with the medium strings which are more popular and in general use. 

coffee2

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 24, 2012 - 9:48 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
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Yes, higher tension strings have a thicker gauge, which in turn needs to be tighter to reach the same pitch.

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

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