The under rated "D" string.
For mysterious reasons I've been swapping D strings just to hear what happens. These would be standard D's BUT only the "heavy" versions.
I wound up using Obligato, Tonica, Helicor and Dominant strings but the Dominant (3) were the constant or base set.
The first thing I noticed while installing the Tonica was that the other strings went limp! This is a major find for me. Changing strings is much more than just changing pitch.
(Tonica became my "go to" string)
With this Tonica Hvy, it was much quieter under the chin. AND iI had a very welcome boost in bass.
The Tonica version was clearly a better sounding violin. (No, not yet a Strad !!!! )
Is anyone else"playing with strings except for "E" ?
I'm all for playing with strings.
I have pretty much "played" with strings except for "E" for 50 years.
Until you have tried a nice thick uncovered gut D you have not lived.
The D on most violins is the weakest string, and difficult to achieve clarity. After much experimentation I've settled on the regular aluminum Dominant.
I remember a blog post by Ray Chen where he wrote that the D-string is actually the least important string!
Violin D string is really not easy to design and balance from the stringmaker point of view. You can either make aluminium one, which is a bit thicker A string in fact. Or you can make silver version, that is more or less a thinner G string. If we give a choice to (almost) any player or dealer, they usually choose silver D. We charge the same price for them, so having more precious version seems to be a bargain for them.
Long time Warchal string fan here and so enjoy reading all of the information Mr. Bohdan puts out there for us to read and learn from. Have tried almost all of Warchal strings except for the Ambers which is on deck to be used next string change. I do like the sound of Brilliants versus Vintage better on my instrument but not really sure of whether it is the tension that I prefer or maybe learning now it is the use of silver versus aluminum D string.
I'm not sure if this thread is about strings or about the violins they are on.
I love Warchal Amber strings. When is that new D to be included in the Amber set?
Aluminum D’s FTW!! I find they have better response to the bow and, as Bohdan said, more texture (at the expense dealing with some under ear fizz).
"The D on most violins is the weakest string, and difficult to achieve clarity."
Bohdan Warchal: I tried a set of Karneol's a few years back. took them off after about an hour and haven't tried any Warchol's since. Waaay too bouncy for me. another guy on another site described them as 'like rubber bands'
Dave: thank you for your feedback. The negative one (especially if someone is able to describe what he/she minds precisely) is much more important for us than the laudatory ones, we receive daily.
What Dave wrote, perhaps he means that the strings are low tension?
Bohdan - your Web site shows availability of the amber D in two versions; silver wound and silver/hydronalium. But only one set. Which D is in the set? And the vintage is shown as wound with hydronalium only. Silver is not mentioned.
Mr. Warchol: thank you for responding, I will try and be more specific. I'm not talking about sound, I'm talking about feel and response. and yes, as jean dubuisson has said, perhaps they are low tension. too much elasticity... elasticity like a rubber band. I do not mean too loud or too bright. They caused the bow to 'bounce' too much. I could not control the bow, as compared to any other string I've ever tried.
Dave: Thanks for more details.
I do not want to confuse the issue so I'll keep it short. I think that a string is both pitch and tension and tension may be more important in some cases. Here is a mental exercise I contemplate:
I personally love the feel of "loose" strings, whether they be gut or low tension synthetics. I like that Mr. Warchal has these alternatives for players, even when their brand is not as well-known as Pirastro, et. al. I did not feel this "bounciness" (looseness?) when I used the Brilliant Vintage Set, of which I have been very fond of despite my inclination towards gut. Some violins also LOVE this low tension, but I can understand it's a whole new world when you are used to many "modern" synthetics.
@ John Birchall (of Mar 2), I have been using "a nice thick uncovered gut D" (Pirastro Chorda) on my old orchestral violin for at least three years - for the avoidance of doubt, not the same string over that period (I do change it every year when I think of it!) - and enjoy it. Not surprisingly, it works well with its Chorda gut brothers the A and G, but for pragmatic orchestral reasons I use a Pirastro steel E. Occasionally I might use a steel A, but not for long - I soon revert to gut. Incidentally, I find the plain gut A more effective than a covered gut A such as the Eudoxa.
I just wanted to say... I agree completely with Darlene Roth on the tension issue.
Thank you Dave!
Not to derail this thread further (something I tend to loathe, so I'm loathe to do it but...)
Changing the D to a markedly different tension from the other strings is going to complicate our bowing somewhat, since the contact point changes.
Agree with Trevor and John B.-The plain gut string can last a very long time, if it is not damaged. The "gut" is a high sulfur protein collagen polymer. In addition to the strong electrical bonds between the amino acids there are weak bonds that pull the strand into a three-dimensional structure that acts like a spring. In the body the metabolic turnover of the protein is very slow, that's one reason why actual injuries to the joints, tendons, ligaments heal very slowly. If not damaged or hyper- extended, tendons and ligaments will last a lifetime.
Someone described the D as like "playing on wet cardboard", but I don't think a higher tension is the answer. I have rediscovered the pleasures of lower tension strings: less volume under the ear, but more colour and "projection". The "rubber band" comment is simply due to inadequate bowing i.e. too far from the bridge, too stiff & heavy, etc.
Adrian: I stand by the rubber band comment. I do not bow too far from the bridge, and although I have a firm bow hand, I don't think it could be described as stiff and heavy.
Warchal publish tensions on their website
Dave, OK I haven't (yet) tried Warchal strings: I play on medium tension Tonicas at the moment, on both violin and viola.
Brilliant Vintage feel "normal" under both fingers and bow, but it has been some years since I last used them. They are not as pliable as gut, but compared to many popular synthetics on "medium" tension, are easy to play on. I did like them a lot back then, and are relatively affordable (plus you lose nothing by paying less-they are not "cheapo".)
Low tension strings for the win. Someone here said in conservatory their teacher insisted they use Eudoxas so the low tension would force more precise bow control. I found this to be a great idea, and it’s another reason i’ve switched to low tension strings, besides the superior sound of gut.
Adalberto: your comments on Vintage are encouraging. Thank you.
...just had a thought. speaking of liking lower tension, how 'bout Vision titanium Orchestra. I believe they have fairly significantly lower tension than all the other visions. I've tried them but didn't work very well on the fiddle I had at the time. thought they sounded pretty nice tho.
I have only used Titanium Solo, and despite the above average tension, they worked well enough, and do not require that much pressure to play or get the sound going. Depends on your violin and preferences. The only thing is that they woke my violin's lone wolf on G's high C, which is not an uncommon place to play on-I can always work around it (I usually have to when I use synthetics), but would prefer it wasn't there. It's more likely you won't have too many trouble with Titanium Orchestra tension at all if you liked the Solos, but perhaps you don't "need" the orchestra version. Maybe try them at some point. The Titanium Solo is the one set I like a lot from Thomastik, in addition to the old "reference" Dominant (which indeed I haven't played on for many, many years.)
Incidentally, sometimes for amusement, I intentionally tune a few cents flat and the sound can sometimes be really good (but not for ensembles!!) . Sometimes better than pitch.
In my pocket music dictionary* there is a table of tuning pitches from the late 13th century to the present day. The oldest tunings are usually from existing church organs that retain their original pipes. Tunings for A in this table vary wildly between 506 and 377, and seem to be based on the tunings of local churches. The current A440 was set at an international conference in 1939, but in some places it has since tended to drift higher.
Adalberto: interesting that you should mention a woken wolf. The EPG G that I recently put on (the G that allegedly contributed to my wrist sprain) woke a wolf on C# note on D string. it was never there with any other string, and went away when I replaced the G.
~Darlene,-- If your D-string works better tuned a little flat, then that string is a candidate for the low-tension version. "Sounding-point" is probably a synonym for Carl Flesch' "point of contact" The ideal, best, sounding spot to set the bow hair varies with both the length and thickness of the string. Among experienced players it becomes instinctive. Tone production is difficult because we have to find a balance of three independent variables; bow speed, weight, and point of contact. ~jq
I'm not sure how relevant this is, but I read somewhere, or was told, that the "sweet spot" on a piano string where the hammer is designed to strike is 1/9th of the distance along the string from one end of the string.
I also read about that 1/9 number. That top of the f-hole spot is probably right for the open G-string. For the open E, it is closer to the bridge. Adding extra weight or leverage moves the sweet spot closer to the bridge. Too much weight over the fingerboard cracks the sound. Too little pressure near the bridge gets into ponticello, and so on.
1/9 is the position of the 9th harmonic (the open string is the 1st harmonic, for the avoidance of doubt), which is 3 octaves + 1 whole tone above the open string. So, on the E string it will be an F# that is beyond the top note on the piano.
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