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The "A" string.
Alias, "The String From Hell".
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 

July 2, 2020 - 8:51 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 3463
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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

Boca Raton, Florida

July 3, 2020 - 10:29 am
Member Since: July 8, 2018
Forum Posts: 693
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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):

Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor

July 3, 2020 - 10:59 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1771
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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):



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.



July 4, 2020 - 1:19 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 3463
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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

Fort Lauderdale
July 5, 2020 - 3:29 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15818

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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