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Gut Strings (E string breakage)
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Captain Crunch
Toledo, Ohio
January 18, 2012 - 8:37 pm
Member Since: January 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 7
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I  am the type of person who likes to figure out how things work and how to make them better. So naturally when I started learning the fiddle a few weeks ago I did a lot of research on the internet for setup and maintenance of the violin. One of the things I stumbled on is a box full of old violin parts, which included a total of about 40 new/old stock D and E gut strings. (also about 20 silk strings) The gut strings are "old" brand names like Gretsch, ED Gerlach, Supertone, John F Stratton, Invincible, and Mazzoni. First thing I did was get on Youtube and watch some instructional videos on how to correctly make the end loop, then I replaced my tailpiece with one which will accept both ball and loop ends. The first three which I tried tuning snapped at the end of the loop when the tension got to about two whole steps below E. But that didn't stop me. I made a  loop and put a ball in the loop. It snapped at the bridge. Tried putting a touch of vasoline on the bridge where the string makes contact..still snapped. With that I quit and figured I'd ask someone wiser than me.

A couple of questions....are gut strings suppose to tuned an octive lower by chance?Question two, do gut strings deteriate and grow weaker with age? Those are the only answers I can come up with for this problem. Thanks for helping (schooling) me with this.

Fort Lauderdale
January 19, 2012 - 6:07 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13281

Gut strings do grow weaker with age. They become dry and brittle. I don't know of anyone who uses gut string E's It's about the only gut string you don't use. Not saying it doesn't exist just that the high tension makes it tough. And no you don't tune it down an octave.
Instead of Vaseline use graphite. Most use sharp pencils.

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

January 19, 2012 - 6:46 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
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Dry and brittle ........... Indeed.   Some sites suggesting soaking in baby oil to rejuvenate but I wonder how to get it off later on smile



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

Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa

January 19, 2012 - 8:09 pm
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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I also have a box of old gut strings. some are so brittle you can't bend them.

Captain Crunch
Toledo, Ohio
January 20, 2012 - 1:01 pm
Member Since: January 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 7
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OK, Thanks for the replys on this. Its a learning experience. Maybe I can use these gut strings as wireties or something else unconventional. 🙂

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