Do strings need to be trimmed?

September 21, 2017, 12:57 PM · When putting on strings should the peg be able to accommodate the string length as it comes out of the package or is some trimming needed?

Replies (18)

September 21, 2017, 1:20 PM · As long as you dont buy pure gut double length strings they are not to be shortened.
September 21, 2017, 1:27 PM · Having more windings on the peg from an uncut string minimizes the tendency of the string to slip on the peg.
Edited: September 21, 2017, 2:05 PM · You're not supposed (or simply you don't need) to trim them, you should be able to put any kind of string in your violin without doing further modifications. May be some manufacturers make them so long you can wind them 5 times, others 3. Lydon is right, the more windings, the more grip you will have, but these windings must be equal, you shouldn't have a single loose wind. In other words, install correctly the string, that's it, hahahaha.

It can be a really tough task at the beginning to put strings 100% correctly. Indeed, I've seen even violin sellers that set up dozens of violins per year, if not hundreds, put them wrong, specially at the ball end. Even some of my violin teachers commit the same error. Mechanically (well, I'm a bit perfectionist about these things), there's just only a single correct position for the ball (I'm talking about fine tuners), and most musicians I've met don't do it correctly.

Then of course at the peg end I've seen many chaotic things.

Edited: September 21, 2017, 2:33 PM · Some violins just seem to have a little bit tighter pegbox than others. I always go to one side of the emerging string for one full turn, and then cross over to the other side to wind the rest. I find that gives me enough room to wind all the leader onto the peg.
Edited: September 21, 2017, 2:40 PM · "Some violins just seem to have a little bit tighter pegbox than others. I always go to one side of the emerging string for one full turn, and then cross over to the other side to wind the rest. I find that gives me enough room to wind all the leader onto the peg."

Paul, that's exactly how you are supposed to install the peg end of the string. It's the most professional way I've faced so far, unless someone illuminate me some day, thing that I doubt because there's not much room for a better way of doing it.

Edited: September 21, 2017, 3:01 PM · I have saved used strings and when inserting them into the peg holes it has sometimes been necessary to trim the end - with no adverse result. In the past 30 - 40 years I have done this mainly after a string broke or when giving away a set of slightly used strings to a student or colleague.

I always tuck the string end under one or two windings on the peg - so more or fewer turns are not going to affect slippage on my pegs. I don't know if this is the "right way" to do it but it's been my way since at least the 1950s.

I seem to recall hearing that twisting the E string, which would typically involve doing that just before installing the ball end can prevent whistling. I can't remember if that made any difference, but since I installed PI PtE strings I have no whistling, anyway!

As far as the ball end is concerned one way seems to fit the fine tuner more aesthetically, but installing at right angles to that works just as well.

September 21, 2017, 5:13 PM · What a great idea, twisting the E to help prevent whistling. Have never heard of that one. Andrew has a wealth of knowledge and his praise of PI Platinum E for so long has convinced me to try one but they are so expensive. I am going to order one for my Christmas gift unless Mr. Warchal comes out with a new Diamond E prior to the Holiday.
September 21, 2017, 7:02 PM · The most expensive E string is the best by definition.
September 22, 2017, 11:58 AM · The new Pirastro platinum E is cheaper than the thomastic. At least on this side of the pond....
September 22, 2017, 2:07 PM · I don't know how much it is actually done, but I understand at the highest levels of setup the strings are trimmed so that the peg heads all align in such a way as to give the most room and best leverage for tuning. That necessitates allowing the string to stretch out first, though.
September 22, 2017, 2:29 PM · Most mainstream violin strings will not require any trimming.

Don, aligning the peg heads can mostly be done by choosing how far the string is inserted into (or through) the hole in the peg, before winding.

September 22, 2017, 4:25 PM · With geared pegs (Pegheds, Knilling and Wittner) there is no need for "leverage" for tuning because the torque required is minimal.
September 22, 2017, 4:57 PM · I usually threaten to trim strings with my pocketknife if a student comes in with them installed incorrectly, with a big piece of string tail hanging out of the peg. :-D

But no, modern strings don’t require any trimming.

September 22, 2017, 5:22 PM · No
September 22, 2017, 7:34 PM · Perhaps no trimming, but shaving for sure.
September 22, 2017, 8:28 PM · September 22, 2017, 4:57 PM ·" I usually threaten to trim strings with my pocketknife if a student comes in with them installed incorrectly, with a big piece of string tail hanging out of the peg. :-D
But no, modern strings don’t require any trimming."

You have apparently not encountered any instruments set up by Ken Meyer...

September 22, 2017, 10:18 PM · "I seem to recall hearing that twisting the E string, which would typically involve doing that just before installing the ball end can prevent whistling."

You can buy E strings that are designed with a twist to eliminate whistles--they work, but the downside is that they are much less resonant.

September 25, 2017, 4:52 PM · It may depend on your violin. I trim a small amount, about 1cm, from the A string. I do this only for the Amati as the stop is a little shorter and the peg box is narrow.
On my other fiddles this is not necessary.

Cheers Carlo


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