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String tension.... What difference?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
Byron Bay Australia

July 14, 2014 - 9:57 pm
Member Since: April 22, 2012
Forum Posts: 1575
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I just took my viola off the wall and started to tune it. 

Stupidly, I forgot what instrument I had in my hands and attempted to tune the D string to E....... Ping bunny-headbang

So I went to the Fiddlershop to see what was available. And I noticed that many came in a choice of string tensions, light, medium, and heavy.

i started to think, what difference it makes to sound and playability. 

I suppose that after playing for over 2 years I should know, but I don't.

So before I buy a new set of strings could someone help me out?


Pierre, your input would be welcome as to tension and maker

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

California, the place of my heart
July 15, 2014 - 1:07 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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Good question Ferret. I always buy medium.. and I have no idea why.. LOL   :)

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Honorary advisor

July 15, 2014 - 3:49 pm
Member Since: September 19, 2013
Forum Posts: 234
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Howdy ,

screeeech asked the same question back Oct. 8 th 2012 ...Pierre and cdennyb 's reply answers yer question well ...just click on ether one's names to find their posting ...violin-1267

Fort Lauderdale
July 15, 2014 - 6:57 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15484

Great question John,

In general, medium tension will work the best for 95% of all instruments. The instrument is designed for that amount of pressure, even though the pressure differs from one brand to another slightly.

If you feel like you need more power, you can try with higher tension strings though an adjustment of the soundpost would give a similar response. Problem is that a short soundpost can not be made to increase the pressure without changing position which means that you may need a longer post to achieve this. Higher tension is a trade off and means slower action time and more bow pressure needed.

If you feel as though your instrument is too powerful but hard to play, you may try with lower tension strings, though I tend to prefer reducing the soundpost pressure instead.

Moving the soundpost out or in to change the pressure also changes the tone a bit. More towards the E string is brighter and more towards the G is darker.

Lots to think about. I would stick to medium tension. :)

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

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