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Experimenting for a stronger A string
Can I get better balance by mixing strings?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
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Strabo
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January 14, 2023 - 7:30 am
Member Since: October 4, 2021
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I am aware that many violinists mix the strings on their instruments to get better tone or balance. I’d like to strengthen the A string on my fiddle but I don’t know much about the characteristics of different strings. Of course there are many. many choices of strings available. Perhaps I can get some guidance here that might help me. 

I use Helicore strings, medium tension. In general, I like them.

A simple first step would be to test an A string in heavier or lighter tension, or in different winding. Helicore has both available. I have done some research and I understand that heavier tension is likely to produce stronger tone but slower response. Helicore A strings are also available in aluminum or titanium windings but I don’t know to expect from them.

I could also test a different type or brand of string, but it seems simpler to start with different varieties of Helicore.

I also understand that I could fool around with the sound post or bridge, but trying a different strings seems like a simpler first step.

Thoughts?

Strabo 

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ABitRusty
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January 14, 2023 - 8:36 am
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Helicores arent my favorite but I have a fiddle that i keep heavys on.  I think they sound pretty good good on it.  Someone also suggested trying spirocores once as an alternative.  I dont feel like I noticed the heavys being less responsive compared to mediums.   I did like the sound better.

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ELCBK
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January 14, 2023 - 10:45 pm
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@Strabo -

If you mean 'stronger' as 'louder' - the 'brighter' & more 'focused' strings can give you that impression.  I think perception is weird, because complex/fuller sounding strings, that produce more overtones might also be perceived as 'stronger'.   Brighter/more focused strings can also sound more 'harsh' (to me), so maybe just start your search in the 'Bright/Focused' quadrant of different string charts.

When comparing strings, 'gauge' and 'tension' are 2 different things that effect string use (feel) AND Timbre.  There are other factors at play, much to do with the sound-producing characteristics of your violin.  Both gauge & tension can depend a lot on the material used.  That said, I have found most strings wrapped in chrome or something other than aluminum, will sound 'brighter'.  Lighter tension may possibly let your fiddle ring out more fully, but warmer/more focused - may also be perceived similar.

Also, I think people forget that EACH string has a best way to play it - depending where on the string you play (near bridge or fingerboard), pressure, attack & maybe even amount of bow hair used.  You may just need to bow closer to the bridge when playing your 'A' string.

Now, if you are normally happy when you first install a new Helicore A string, you may need to change it out more frequently than your other strings. 

I've struggled with the A string, like many others here - to find a combination of strings that work best for my 5-string Violin.  The only FULL set of strings I've ever liked are Rondos - and they are on my VIOLA (only 4 of my 5 strings - they don't make a Viola 'E'). 

If you don't care for the Helicore Titanium 'A' - you may find this string worth trying: Pirastro Perpetual Violin A String - Fiddlershop - available in Chrome wound Steel.  You won't find it on most charts.  I have personally tried this A string - it was way TOO 'powerful' for my Violin & so didn't match my other strings. 

 

 

'A' String Tension Chart (Violin String Review)

https://www.violinstringreview.com/uploads/1/5/0/1/15014224/tension_a_201409.pngImage Enlarger

 

Related Threads:

String Gauge / Size Thread - Talking about Helicore.

Fiddlershop Violin String Chart - does NOT show Pirastro Perpetual Strings.  They should be located within the 'Bright/Focused' quadrant. 

How often should you change your strings? Thread

Frustrated with playing? Check your strings? Thread

 

...at this point I will mention I'm not a fan of Helicores - but I have tried them.  As always, these are only my opinions & experiences. 😊

- Emily

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