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Octave Violin Strings
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newbie-Ron
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December 22, 2017 - 2:00 pm
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Hi -- Has anyone tried either the Helicore or Sensicore octave violin strings?

Right now, I only have one violin, so obviously don't want to mess with that one, but in the event that I pick up another violin, I'd like to try converting it to an octave.

It seems like depending on your violin, the holes in the pegs for the strings, and the nut slots might need to be enlarged a little. 

Here are two interesting videos I found:

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damfino
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December 22, 2017 - 2:32 pm
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I have a set of the Helicore ones on my Concert Fiddle now. It was a little tricky getting the G string in the tailpiece, but once in, no issues anywhere else. I've read that you might want a viola bow if you plan on keeping a fiddle strung that way to make it easier to play, it is a bit of work playing them with my regular bow. They really are neat how they sound, though. 

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
December 22, 2017 - 3:56 pm
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newbie-Ron said
Hi -- Has anyone tried either the Helicore or Sensicore octave violin strings?

Right now, I only have one violin, so obviously don't want to mess with that one, but in the event that I pick up another violin, I'd like to try converting it to an octave.

It seems like depending on your violin, the holes in the pegs for the strings, and the nut slots might need to be enlarged a little. 

  Hia @newbie-Ron - quick answer is - no, I have never tried them ( yet, LOL )

  But - just a little bit more info to share - the octave strings will NOT get you to the range of a cello, they will drop the fiddle tuning a full octave - to sound like a cello, (well, it will never "sound" like a cello, but to get the range of the cello) you need the low, low C....  which you will NOT get from an octave 4-string set

  I luckily have several fiddles, mostly 4/4 size apart from one 3/4 - that's not important, just saying - and on one of the 4/4 fiddles I restrung her as a viola using a C string intended for a 5-string violin ( and NOT a C string intended for a viola.   I initially did get a viola C, and although it worked - its response was SO different from the rest of the strings I had to very specifically pay GREAT attention to bowing harder on any transition to that string to get it to respond quickly enough )

  What I did was to re-string this 4/4 fiddle as C, G, D, A, and discarding the E

  Now - THAT happens to be one full octave ABOVE a cello.    But, it has the full range, clearly !   LOL

  I just happen to have some "hardware" kicking around which happens to be a guitar effects box, a "Boss ME80" - which has a live-in-line real-time FX octave dropper processor....   THEN my viola-strung 4/4 fiddle REALLY is in the range of a cello.....

  Just so many different ways of achieving this.....

   In spite of what I have said here ( one way around it ) - YESSSSS - trust me - I WANTTTTT a set of octave strings on my 4/4 just to see what they feel and sound like.   I can well expect them to behave just as Mandy @damfino says "It can be a bit of work on the bow" to get them going  ( like what I found with a viola C before I changed it to a C specifically designed for a 4/4 violin )

  In closing - yes - you WILL have to possibly pay some attention to both the nut and bridge slots for what will inevitably be thicker strings.....  but you'll soon discover if you need to file them out.      Very quick stroy - one of my fiddles is a REAL cheap electric.  It came with "cheesewire strings" - which even on the EV with an FX box, sounded yukkkkk... so I stuck with steels ( it IS an EV after all ) and fitted Preludes - both the E and A "popped out of the bridge when being played "hard".....   Quick, very light filing sorted it...   but yes, not difficult, if you do swap to different stings, especially those an octave down, yo may well want to re-assess both the nut and bridge cutting depths... ( if for no other reason than to keep the darned strings in place on FFF playing )

 

   Good luck with your quest and your investigations - AWESOME !!!  Keep us informed  drummerdrummerdrummer

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newbie-Ron
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December 23, 2017 - 12:08 pm
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Hi Mandy — Glad you were able to get the strings installed without many issues.  Hope to see a video sometime (I watched many of your nice videos, but don’t remember one with octave strings yet).

Hi Billy — Sounds like you’re having lots of fun with experimentation. So many interesting possibilities.

Now I wish I had kept that extra violin.  It just seemed that when I upgraded, the old fiddle wasn’t getting used much, and I didn’t know about the creative options yet.

Thanks for inspiration on ways to put a second fiddle to use.

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
March 28, 2019 - 7:00 am
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Well, it's over a year later.  I finally got a set of D'Addario Helicore Octaves probably about 6 months ago.  Fitted them, but the very next day had to put the originals back because I had to take that particular fiddle with me to a small local get-together....  But FINALLY a couple of weeks back, I got back round to this, and although life has been busy here, I've had quite a bit of opportunity to work with them.

For solo playing, well depending on type of music, I wouldn't rate it highly (putting octaves on a violin) - but - without any doubt, if you're in to experimentation, playing in a multi-player scenario, or just looking for a new sound canvas for your own mixing, absolutely fine.

So - here's a version of Dixie -played in C, and an octave down - 

It takes quite a bit of concentration on bow pressure (and "action" in general) to ensure proper and continued engagement between the hair and the strings - and best listened to on headphones rather than a squeaky little laptop or phone speaker.... LOL

feature=youtu.be

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Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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mookje
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March 28, 2019 - 7:41 am
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Sounds beautiful @BillyG Never heard of octave strings before 😃

 Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain!!

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
March 28, 2019 - 8:37 am
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 @mookje - Yes, the G string is tuned to G2, and just like a normally tuned violin, they go up in 5ths, whereas, the normal violin tuning is from G3, going up in 5ths

So, it's missing the low C2 - i.e. it's not quite into cello range ( which is strung C2, G2, D3, A3 )

Of course, although you'll get the note frequencies, you'll never get the real live, full on richness and timbre of a larger bodied instrument - but it sure is a whole lot of fun to work with !  

Glad you liked it 🙂  Thanks !

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GregW
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March 28, 2019 - 8:49 am
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Nice! Especially the double stops at the end.

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
March 28, 2019 - 9:27 am
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🙂  Thank you @GregW - it's such great fun to mess around with these things....  gives no end of pleasure - and opens the door to different mix-down arrangements with other parts...  cool !

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Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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GregW
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March 28, 2019 - 9:34 am
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Any worries about string tension on the bridge or how the strings fit in the tuners or tailpiece? 

I can see them really being great for playing double stops or drones behind a lead melody.  

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
March 28, 2019 - 10:28 am
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@GregW - no the tension is not an issue at all - here's normal medium tension Zyex - and below it is the chart for the octaves - nothing to worry about in that respect.

zyex-normal.JPGImage Enlargeroctave-tension.JPGImage Enlarger

Also, the design of these strings makes them not quite as thick as some other brands.  I looked at the seating at bridge and nut closely, and really, yes, I *could* have opened them out slightly, but decided against it.   I have played quite hard on these strings already, and, well they have stayed in place.   I did graphite both the bridge and nut grooves quite well before fitting.

Yes, exactly - what you say - against another part as DS, drones, or just a simple improvised bass line - will add interest to a mix...

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I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

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