Warchal Amber Viola D string buzzing

March 21, 2018, 2:40 PM · Today I received a set of Warchal Amber viola strings to replace a set of Evah Pirazzi Gold. The A string is nice and soft without the "trumpet" quality of the EPG. Also C and G strings work well on my viola. But the D string was extremely "gritty" sounding. And it varies on different notes. It sounds alsmost as if something is buzzing, but I could not find anything. I put the EPG back on and the buzz is gone. The Amber is slightly thicker than the EPG (0.8 vs 0.7 mm) so it is not a question of the groove in the bridge or nut being too wide.
Has anybody experienced something similar?
I will try to mount the string on another viola to see if it is something wrong with the string or if it is the combination of this string with this viola. I have tried a few other stings on this viola and never had the problem before.

Replies (15)

March 21, 2018, 8:07 PM · How about just letting it play in for a couple days? I once had a Karneol G string on my violin and it sounded like a duck for a day, and then settled in quite nicely.
March 23, 2018, 6:22 AM · Is the thicker Warchal D sticking in the grooves of the nut and bridge, causing damage to the windings as you tune up?
March 23, 2018, 2:46 PM · There is no visible damage to the string. I have tried a new Warchal Brilliant and it also has a similar effect although not as pronounced. And I tried a Pirastro Obligato that was mounted on another viola. With the obligato the buzzing is not barely noticeable.
The buzz is strongest around f sharp. I am starting to think it could be a wolf. But it does not sound like wolfs I have heard on other instruments.
The EPG and the obligato are silver wound. The two Warchals are aluminium. Can that be the reason?
March 23, 2018, 2:59 PM · There are multiple windings on a synthetic string: damage might be internal?

F/F# is a strong wood resonance on most violas. The sound spectrum of the Amber D, (or even its lower tension?) may set off something like loose glue or a loose screw more than the other D strings you mention..

March 23, 2018, 11:24 PM · Try another bow and see if it makes a difference.

On a separate note, how would you describe each of the Amber strings for Viola? i found them thick, hard under the fingers, not too easy to play compared to Karneol or Visions. Response isn't fantastic either. This is on a 400mm viola with VSL of 363mm.

Edited: March 24, 2018, 8:49 AM · Try tuning the D up, then down a semitone to see if it is the actual F# or rather the finger placing which buzzes.
March 26, 2018, 1:51 AM · I am aware that many violas have a F# wolf, but on other instruments I have tried that had that wolf it was much more pronounced when playing the F# on the G string. I don't get that at all on this viola. I will have to experiment some more. It seems like the A string affects it also - with the Amber D the buzzing is more pronounced when the A is an Amber also compared to EPG A.
I don't think it is damage to the string since the Brilliant D showed the same problem.
March 26, 2018, 6:40 AM · @Bo: There is a difference between silver and aluminium strings in general. The aluminium ones have more texture and what is beeing called "sizzle". It is the part of the overtones spectrum, that might be a bit annoying close to ones ear, but that help to carry the tone into the concert hall.

I like such textured sound a lot. However I have to admit, that for very bright sounding instruments silver string may be better alternative. We are going to make silver viola D string as well in the future. Mainly not because of the sound, but in order to comply with need of those eating a lot of salt (beacuse of much better corrosion resistance).

However, no any desctiption i have just wrote above describes the problem refered by you. I guess there is something wrong with the instrument or set-up if it manifests on one single tone only. It is really no easy to advice more whithout beeing able to check it in person I m sorry.

Edited: March 26, 2018, 7:09 AM · Hello Mr. Warchal: I'm the guy who was complaining about the bouncy Karneols. For reasons too lengthy to explain, I've ordered a set of Brilliant Vintage, which should be here soon.

Are Vintage Aluminum? I don't like a lot of "sizzle" under my ear, as I don't need to carry the tone into a concert hall.

if Vintage doesn't have too much sizzle, or too much much elasticity, and if they are easy on the fingers, I will consider ordering a set of Brilliant for my other fiddle, and see which set works better on which fiddle.

March 26, 2018, 7:02 AM · I am going to take the viola to the luthier and have him check it out. I will do it with the Amber strings mounted so the problem is as obvious as possible.
Edited: March 27, 2018, 6:34 PM · From my experience with violins and less with violas, some strings can bring out the weak spots of the instrument.... buzz means different thing to different ears and brains. From the world of guitar.... thinner gauge strings tend to hit the frets more than thick - you may want to make sure that there is enough clearance and that fingerboard is shaped properly.
March 28, 2018, 2:23 PM · equating guitar fret buzz with viola finger board seems like a bit of a stretch to me. I'm guessing Amber doesn't agree with the viola.
March 28, 2018, 2:31 PM · " equating guitar fret buzz with viola finger board seems like a bit of a stretch to me"

..unless the fingerboard is abit irregular?

March 28, 2018, 11:00 PM · I think the finger board would need to be more than a bit irregular. Bo said that with the Amber D the buzzing is more pronounced when the A is an Amber A, compared to an EPG A. a thinner gauge string should have enough clearance, unless the string height is way lower than it should be, and a poorly shaped finger board severe enough to cause this, would also prolly cause intonation problems.

I recently added an EPG silver G to my my existing EPG D & A. a wolf occured on the D string C note that was never there with any other G, and went away when I changed the EPG G out.

Hopefully the OP will get back to us about it.

March 30, 2018, 8:20 AM · I decided to give the Amber strings a chance to play in. And I tried to tame the wolf with a weight on the C string afterlength. That makes the problem a bit smaller with the F# but there is still a big difference in tone between the G and D string. The D string sounds thinner and very gritty. Today I took the Amber D off again and mounted a green Evah D - an old string from the "might-become-useful-one-day" string drawer. And the problem is gone! This viola already has some "sizzle" in its sound with the silver wound D strings and it is apparent that it does not want more of it.

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