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The "A" string.
Alias, "The String From Hell".
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ELCB
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July 2, 2020 - 8:51 pm
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I considered discussing this earlier in the Glasser Composite thread, but started noticing other people's comments about their "A".

Now I'm on a quest to try a different "C" string (other than the original Helicore) so I wanted to address the "A" 1st.

Upon the arrival of my new Glasser AEX (5-string ordered thru Fiddler Shop) I noticed my "A" sounded dead compared to the other strings (came outfitted with Larsens). 

I didn't think too much of it at that time because I was a beginner & had read how violinists, in search of the best sound from their instrument, might include different strings, bow, etc...

Testing began 6 mos later... G,D & E were easy - Virtuoso G & D and Pirastro Gold Label E were all fabulous & I wasn't playing enough on the "C" to worry about that, yet.

EVERY "A" I tried sounded dead compared to the other strings until - 🤩 - Obligato Chrome "A".  Probably should mention I have a preconceived dislike of Aluminum & I haven't found any aluminum or aluminum alloy to change my mind.

Next time to change strings, no problem, right?  WRONG!  New Obligato Chrome "A" sounded dead!  Back to square 1!  More I tried either didn't resonate like the rest of violin or didn't sound like it "belonged in the family".

Clare, at Fiddler Shop sent me a replacement Obligato Chrome "A" - it didn't resonate as well as the good one I had taken off, but still MUCH better than any other I'd tried (even dbl ck'd against the good string again).

Conclusion: Don't think there was a problem with my Glasser AEX (a great "A" had existed), but since my great "A" might have been a fluke my question is "anyone else finding inconsistencies within a brand/type string?". 

Or, just freaky properties of the "A" string, period?

 

- Emily

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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July 3, 2020 - 10:29 am
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Yup, so I've heard from several fiddle buddies, A strings, in general, can be a pain.

This is what Bohdan Warchal has to say about it (and has done about it):
https://www.warchal.com/techni.....lin_a.html

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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July 3, 2020 - 10:59 am
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bocaholly said
Yup, so I've heard from several fiddle buddies, A strings, in general, can be a pain.

This is what Bohdan Warchal has to say about it (and has done about it):

https://www.warchal.com/techni.....lin_a.html

  

Well, Emily talks of her C string, so I guess she's talking about the viola (rather than the cello). But perhaps a viola A string is almost identical to a violin A string. Ah, 5-string fiddle, now I get it!

I post somewhere else that each string has a different feel, and the A string was the last one I learnt to play well (by slowing my bow down and using more attack), and it's an ongoing process. The order in which my strings "came in" was EGDA.

Andrew

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ELCB
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July 4, 2020 - 1:19 am
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bocaholly - Thank you!

I did read about Warchal's Russian A - didn't try one, yet.  If I keep having consistency problems w/new Obligato Chomes, it may be next on my list.

I couldn't find info on the actual metal the Russian A's made of... but I haven't been happy with other metal core A's - too much like an E string.  Ashamed to say I even forked out the $ for a Pirastro Perpetual Steel/Chrome A - just didn't sound like it belonged.

Gordon Shumway - Thanks!

I think I read your other post.

I thought maybe I was just in the habit of trying to coax the best out of my A because of learning on the string that came with my violin - which sounded very dead to me.

Sorry, should've mentioned my AEX is Glasser's least expensive Carbon Composite 5-string Violin.  It IS heavy, but I'm in 💖 with it & the idea I can take it out anywhere (when I'm more ambulatory)!  Violin body with a wider fingerboard, I think - definite challenge to coax good sound/response from the C string.

Was thinking of trying a Zyex "short scale" Viola C.

I understand my violin is supposed to sound much better when plugged in, but I haven't tried this, yet - because I was afraid I'd get spoiled & not work on good basic technique.

I don't understand if I'm asking too much to have each of my "open" strings resonate approx the same length of time.  I certainly don't want "ring", "ring", "ring", "thud", then "ring"!

A "good" Obligato Chrome A sounds perfect on my violin - midway between my Virtuoso D (silver wound) and my Pirastro E (gold label) - not really leaning toward one or the other.

It just never occurred to me to have to watch for such inconsistencies... but then again, they are hand made - aren't they?

I'm trying not to go crazy here - don't want to buy/try so many strings I feel I could have spent my $ better elsewhere (like a better violin).

Appreciate all comments!

 

- Emily

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 5, 2020 - 3:29 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15154

Very interesting Emily.
Back in the day, with my Jan Larsson violin when I played professionally, I used a steel A string to facilitate the transition from the steel E and the synthetic core D. I realize that there is still a transition from the A to the D but funny enough, it wasn't as noticeable and since A strings seem to be that much duller, I guess because of their pitch with reference to the core, they might need that extra solid core.
I don't even know if we have them in stock (funny enough) but I used a Gold label E, Piranito A, and synthetic core D and G (the brand differed from year to year). I have more knowledge about strings today and might have chosen a Westminster E, or Goldbrokat, and probably PI100 D and G.
As for your C string, your guess is as good as mine but the zyex idea sounds great. If C is the weakest string, perhaps helicore.

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

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