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Help with awful sounding G string

Instruments: Help,my new violin has divine sounding D,A,& E, but the G sounds scratchy,muffled, and bad

From Gary Foote
Posted June 10, 2007 at 12:09 AM

I'm trying out a new violin right now which sounds absolutely divine on the D,A,& E strings but which has a scratchy and muffled sounding G, especially in the higher positions; is this common, I mean it's a really well made American violin; Robert Glier,so am actually very surprised at this; would trying a different G be a waste of time? I've never had a violin before where one string sounded awful and the tone of the others was to die for....Comments?

From Nate Robinson
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 12:51 AM
What kind of g-string is this?
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 01:09 AM
Is he the Cincinnati Glier? I remember D. Burgess saying something about setting up violins with the G string in mind. It wasn't about addressing the G string in particular, but rather using that string as sort of a guide. He suggested de-tuning the other strings, and paying attention to the effect on the G string. When you like it, then find a combination of string gauges that give approximately that same pressure on the top when they're in tune. That experiment would be cheaper than buying G strings. But changing G strings would be something to try too. First of all though, make sure it's really bad and not just unfamiliar.
From Rob Schnautz
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 02:30 AM
Not sure what sort of ugly noise you mean.

If it's a "vibrating" sort of noise, check both ends of the string for metal-on-wood...this would most likely occur if the fine tuner is screwed all the way in or if the end in the pegbox is not properly twisted so that it doesn't touch anything.

Edit: This will also occur while playing if there is a nail in the fingerboard that touches the string while fingering certain notes, and if you pluck the string while fingering where the fingerboard has dips (I have this problem with my violin when I pluck a G on the E string because the fingerboard is worn from at least a century of being played).

From Neil McTaggart
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 05:09 PM
I had a similar problem to what you described with the G string on my violin. I changed to another chin rest, and was amazed at the difference.

My old chin rest was one that attached the violin to the left of the tail piece. I changed to one that fitted either side of the tail piece, and this caused a significant improvement to the G string sound. It might be worth a try.

From Rob Schnautz
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 09:44 PM
I think it's more than that... the position of the chin rest wouldn't be what changed it, but rather, the structure or how it's attached. Wouldn't it?
From Neil McTaggart
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 09:54 PM
True! I was just surprised on how big an effect it had.
From Rob Schnautz
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 10:45 PM
I think I would be equally as surprised. Did you trace it to the chin rest before you replaced it or after? (I'm assuming that was probably the REASON you changed it)
From Michael Richwine
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 11:18 PM
Sometimes, just moving a chinrest a couple of millimeters will have a definite effect on the sound of an instrument. Tension also makes a difference.

Most good violins usually sound a little better with a side mounted rest, IME, but it still depends on the individual instrument. We put center mount rests on most new violins because they are less likely to damage the ribs, not necessarily because they sound better.

From Rob Schnautz
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 12:17 AM
That's interesting that you should place new chinrests on the center...most violinists I know use the left side. The only two people I know who play center are (a) my best friend, and (b) Joshua Bell. No, my best friend isn't Joshua Bell. Wishful thinking...
From Yixi Zhang
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 12:28 AM
I switched to the center-mounted chinrest a few months ago and I love it. I believe ASM uses this Flesch type of chinrest as well.
From Tom Holzman
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 01:25 PM
Gary - your question has provoked a fascinating discussion, but none of the people involved can see or hear your violin. You should go to a luthier, who will be able to hear and see your violin and give a diagnosis. You may just need a soundpost adjustment or you may have a lousy string or who knows? We can speculate, but a luthier can really help you.
From Rob Schnautz
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 04:53 PM
What he said.
From Jubin Matloubieh
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 01:33 AM
1) check string
2) check soundpost
3) check bridge
4) check tailpiece

the violin has so many small intricate parts that even the smallest change becomes a huge problem

From Sanford Barton
Posted on October 25, 2007 at 03:36 AM
So I found this post after experiencing a mushy G-string and trying to find a solution. I put Evahs on my instrument about a month ago. I've been loving how these strings sound and perform, but starting a couple of days ago the G string went all muffled and dull on me. It wouldn't resonate clearly unless I really dug into it. It's way too early for it to have gone false on me so I figured it had to be something else.

The solution was to loosen the chin rest hardware and retighten it. I'm guessing the wood adjusted with the recent change in temperature. Once I did this, everything sounded great again. I recommend only tightening the hardware slowly and only enough to secure the rest so it doesn't wiggle around with a couple of pounds of pressure.....just enough...no more.

Cheers,
Bart

From ev E
Posted on October 29, 2007 at 09:14 PM
wow - thanks Sanford for that posting b/c i had the same exact problem - i put evahs on my violin and they sounded wonderfully exquisite. then i opened up my violin several months later and for some reason anything played on the G string sounded abominable. i tried your solution and it worked. Northeast weather (i'm told by a luthier at C. Landon) wreaks havoc on violins. again, thanks for that obvious solution and saving me $ (i was about to buy a new G string)...
From Jenny Fischer
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 03:13 PM
Try a silver G string. If it doesn't work, go to a luthier.
From Peter Carter
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 04:53 PM
I wrote this on another post but I too had the same problem with the G string.I loosened the bass side of the chinrest clamp and there was an immediate improvement.I also moved the bridge a very slight bit more over the bass bar and this also added more depth.Good topic....
From Allan Speers
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 05:04 PM
Regarding the chinrest issue:

I would love to know if any of you, who hear differences in rest position & tightness, hear this difference when someone else plays the violin. Better yet, did you record various rests & positions, then listen to the results in a double-blind test?

I ask because when I did the above, I found very few instances where there was any perceptible change at all, and in the few cases where a difference was noted, it was so small as to be insignificant.

There was, however, a noticeable change to my ears when I actually played the violins. I attribute this to a change in the spectrum & amplitude of the frequencies that were physically coupling with my jawbone.

My tests were far from comprehensive, and not replicated, so I am very curious to know if there is some hard data out there on this, supporting the "change" theory.

From Peter Carter
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 10:07 PM
How the violin feels under your jaw is very important for control of dynamics.You feel connected with the instrument.I just got back from rehearsal and was VERY satisfied with the adjustments.
Of course the violin must sound good to the audience but the player needs to be satisfied also.I remember my teacher having sold the "Muntz"Strad because he said it was just too damn hard to play!(I wonder if he tried a chinrest adjustment???)
From Ethan Balakrishnan
Posted on October 13, 2013 at 12:31 AM
The sound is probably caused by vibration "leakage" going behind the bridge and bouncing back. Get a wolf note suppressor, and place it somewhere near the bridge. I did this, and the sound improved by about 10 times.
From Scott Cole
Posted on October 13, 2013 at 03:48 PM
this post is 6 years old--hopefully the adjustment has settled...
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