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Bow hair
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RDP
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May 10, 2022 - 6:47 pm
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I'm working on Bach's Minuet No. 3 and it's got some 4th fingered E string action in it.  When I watch the videos for the piece it sounds great.  When I play the notes, they sound horrid.  My new D'Addario NS tuner says the notes are spot on, but they still sound like fingernails on a chalk board.

I'm also still messing around with Vivaldi's Spring. (I can trill!)  Same end result... fingernails on a chalk board even though I'm hitting the right fingering for the correct notes.  Faster bow speed and lighter pressure does make some change but it's still screechy.

My current bow is the replacement for the one that came with my violin which warped.  Both are the same level of bow - basic entry level carbon.  The description for the bow hair says "premium" Mongolian horse hair.  Meanwhile, I've noticed that the more expensive bows have hair which have multiple "A" ratings as a sign of "higher quality."

 

Am I correct in assuming that the multiple A rated hair would make a better quality sound in the higher registers?

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ABitRusty
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May 10, 2022 - 7:33 pm
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That E string can be a booger.  Still fighting it myself but I think its getting better.  Pretty sure its a normal thing when learning violin to have E string issues. 

 I hate to jump into the change string category here but that may be something to try.  Not the whole set just different E's.  The tzigane E seemed ok and the obligato gold is what ive settled on for the moment.

It also sounds like youre experimenting with different attacks, pressure, and speed so thats good.  Possibly going sideways with bow maybe?   not saying just a thought for something to check.

also rosin buildup and maybe too much on bow.. Im constantly wrestling with that.

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ELCBK
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May 10, 2022 - 8:53 pm
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Yep, try a new E string. 

Obviously, there's more than one good one available - I prefer Pirastro 'Gold Label'. 

Your bow is probably fine for where you are at, but "you get what you pay for". 

Check over the hairs - sometimes I find some 'mutant', knobby, hairs - just cut them out (don't pull).  

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Gordon Shumway
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May 11, 2022 - 4:09 am
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ABitRusty said
 It also sounds like youre experimenting with different attacks, pressure, and speed so thats good.  

And so it's possible that the OP is a beginner who hasn't developed their bowing technique yet. Don't buy new strings, practise.

Andrew

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RDP
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May 11, 2022 - 12:39 pm
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ABitRusty said
That E string can be a booger.  Still fighting it myself but I think its getting better.  Pretty sure its a normal thing when learning violin to have E string issues. 

 I hate to jump into the change string category here but that may be something to try.  Not the whole set just different E's.  The tzigane E seemed ok and the obligato gold is what ive settled on for the moment.

It also sounds like youre experimenting with different attacks, pressure, and speed so thats good.  Possibly going sideways with bow maybe?   not saying just a thought for something to check.

also rosin buildup and maybe too much on bow.. Im constantly wrestling with that.

  

Currently I'm using the full Larsen Tzigane set.  It's ok but not what it's advertised to be, which is "warmer."  I might have to go to full gut strings to get the tone qualities I want, but not right now.  Not next year either.  Or maybe even the year after that.

Re: Rosin buildup...

I saw a video by one of the major string makers who recommended taking a soft dry toothbrush to the bow hairs on a weekly basis.  I've been doing that and I believe it's to help keep the rosin from building up (the video didn't say why other than "general maintenance") on the hair.  It certainly makes the brush sticky and I can see a line of excess rosin from the hair about halfway up the bristles so it's doing something.

I also clean my strings after each session with a microfiber cloth and clean weekly with alcohol on a tissue.

 

I'm trying to get that smooth/even tone on the E string that's in all of the recordings of the pieces and not getting there.  I can only assume that the players are a lot more experienced and that's the reason they sound like they do.  Of course this is rebutted by the fact that there are recital videos out there of 6 year olds playing the same way so I have to take the hit and admit that it's me and my playing where the problem lies.

I'm just wondering if higher quality bow hair is part of the difference and if it's time to trade up.

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RDP
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May 11, 2022 - 12:55 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
And so it's possible that the OP is a beginner who hasn't developed their bowing technique yet. Don't buy new strings, practise. 

Admitted.

 

On the other hand, my F & G on the E string are very good tonally if I do my part and hit the correct fingering spots.  My A is weaker but the string still speaks moderately well if a bit quieter.  The B however, sounds like screeching even in recordings.  The tuner says I'm on the money for the note but the intonation isn't there.  It's not there in any of the even higher positions either.

 

Technique?  Or equipment?  Or both?

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stringy
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May 11, 2022 - 4:06 pm
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Its just practice, if you change strings I would try the ones I use pirastro tonicas , cheap and very good value for money, they are a bit bright though and wont give you a darker sound, but to be honest they may not make much difference, for yoir problem, keeping the bow absolutely straight, and not moving from the contact point is the best way to get a better sound, along with even pressure as you perform the stroke, the way you do that is standing in front of a mirror while you bow. There are hundreds of bowing exercises for a better sound on youtube, five mins every time you practice would do it.

Actually, just a thought but have you checked that your bridge isnt leaning either back or forward, if not try it, you do this with a credit card , on top of the fiddle at the back of the bridge, one side of the card on the body, the other end on the back of the bridge, there shouldnt be a gap of even a tenth of a millimetre, the bridge being out can have a massive impact on sound, before you try to move your bridge though look how the test is done o  yOu tube, I check mine is perfect every week, the bridge moves every time you tune even though you cant see it with the naked eye, and if it isnt checked will most likely eventuaĺly fall over, its easily checked and corrected though.

Whatever you do, dont try to move the bridge u til you have seen exactly how to do it and how to hold the bridge while you do it, 

Hope thats some use

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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SharonC
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May 11, 2022 - 10:36 pm
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@RDP  Just a guess, but maybe your bow is getting too close to the fingerboard and/or going crooked when you try to reach that B.  

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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RDP
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May 12, 2022 - 9:31 am
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@SharonC

I've watched a ton of videos on "how to get rid of the E string screech" and they all discuss moving up the contact point toward the bridge the higher you go on the string.

 

I'll probably replace my current bow with something better eventually.  At this point I'm leaning more toward a wooden bow but the carbon weave bows get good reviews.  It won't be immediate, but I'll probably upgrade within a year.  We shall see I guess.

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Gordon Shumway
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May 12, 2022 - 9:40 am
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It's possible you are using too much bow speed and not enough bow pressure. It's also possible that just before playing the string a stray lefthand finger is accidentally touching the E string and setting up a harmonic or simply preventing the string from vibrating properly.

Andrew

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RDP
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May 12, 2022 - 3:31 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
It's possible you are using too much bow speed and not enough bow pressure. It's also possible that just before playing the string a stray lefthand finger is accidentally touching the E string and setting up a harmonic or simply preventing the string from vibrating properly.

  

Anything is possible.  However, what if it isn't me?  Or partly me and partly the violin?

THAT is the question I have no answer for other than to say, based on several videos from self-professed luthiers on youboob, the measurements on my violin put my soundpost about 2mm further toward the centerline than the bass bar.

I won't mess with it.  Something like that is above my pay grade at this point in time.  Which means that for now I have to live with it until I can find a luthier who will return my messages.  There's a cello luthier in Santa Barbara I've hesitated to contact but her website does mention luthier services so... maybe.

 

At some point I will have to consider upgrading my bow.  A student bow will take me a long way, but eventually I will need something more capable of delivering better performance if I wish to continue to progress in my studies.  I have a long way to go before I get to that point, but I will eventually get there.  When I do I'd like to have enough knowledge to make a good choice.

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