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Frustrated and Synthetic...

May 17, 2007 at 6:27 PM

I have a studio recital tommorrow night and I am in the midst of a string problem. I had domninants and a wondertone solo e on my violin for the last three weeks. This past Sunday my G started to sound a little off, but I chalked it up to the humidity (I live in Florida). I have not used dominants in about 8 years until this set and wasn't sure if it was having a moment or going false. Well on Tuesday my G and D strings are false and airy and sound like crap. With a recital on Friday, I knew I couldn't wait for dominants to settle so I bought a set of Zyex. I don't really like Zyex on my new violin, but they settle so quickly that I wanted to use them. Well, they sound like junk. I put the old dominants back on and like the way the old, false
strings sound better than the harsh bite of the zyex. I am irritated that perlon take so long to settle, and frustrated that I have to play on old strings.

I am playing either the allemande or sarabande from the d minor partita. This is my studio recital in front of 30 or so private students and probably 100 guests.

Anyone who reads this, what would you do? Would you play solo Bach on an old set of strings or on a new set of unsettled strings?

Comments please!! Thanks.

From Maura Gerety
Posted on May 17, 2007 at 9:56 PM
Well, if you like the sound of the old Dominants better than the new, unsettled Zyex, use the Dominants. The other advantage is you're used to them--trying to play Bach on synthetic strings is hard enough, but on NEW synthetic strings, on a new TYPE of synthetic strings, not to mention ones that you hate? Nah, use the Dominants. My 2 cents....
From Ben Clapton
Posted on May 17, 2007 at 10:46 PM
Possibly use a different brand of strings. I have found that the Thomastic Infeld Red or Blues settle in relatively quickly.
From Bilbo Prattle
Posted on May 17, 2007 at 11:04 PM
I'd put on a set of plain gut. They settle much more quickly than all the "experts" say--because the experts all want to sell the newest thing! And gut doesn't go false so easily. Unless you have a visible degradation you will not be false.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on May 18, 2007 at 1:35 AM
actually plain gut does take more time to settle than many of todays synthetics including vision, Dominat et al. Nothing to do with claiming to be an expert. Just realityty.The otehr reason for not chnaging to plain gut is taht you would have to change your bowing style over night. TViolinistic suicide,
From Nate Robinson
Posted on May 18, 2007 at 2:41 AM
I agree with Bill, you can't beat the sound of plain gut, they work in any climate. I would eventually change to them, but stick with your stretched Dominants for your concert. I recommend this setup: silver wound gut g (maybe Pirastro Gold Label or Dlugolecki), plain gut for d&a, and steel e (perhaps a thick gauge Goldbrokat). Don't buy a Ding under 21 gauge or an Aing under (16 1/2).
From Ray Randall
Posted on May 18, 2007 at 5:07 AM
Those Infelds settle in fairly quickly. Bow the heck out of them and they'll settle in even faster.
From Hope Paolotto
Posted on May 18, 2007 at 11:40 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I have the old dominants still on my violin, but they sound terrible. I have to see if one of the music stores near me has any infeld strings. I just don't know if only 10 hours or so will be enough to break them in. I think I will put them on my cheap violin to stretch and see how they are around 6:00pm.

I plan on trying the passione and the new visions. I would love to get plain gut but the humidity in Florida is terrible and I am afraid I will have to replace them more often than I can afford to.

Thanks again everyone!

From Hope Paolotto
Posted on May 18, 2007 at 11:47 AM
edit--Nate, I know that plain gut are supposed to work in any climate, but my experiences with oliv and eudoxa tell me to be weary.
From Maura Gerety
Posted on May 18, 2007 at 1:22 PM
I wasn't clear on just how bad the dominants sounded. If they're unbearable, go with what some other people on here have suggested and try Infelds or something.
From David Burgess
Posted on May 18, 2007 at 2:19 PM
For the future, you might consider keeping a junk violin around with a new set of strings installed and stretching.

David Burgess

From molly moriarty
Posted on May 18, 2007 at 2:08 PM
Hi there, May be to late for you, but I have excellent luck with Obligatos. They feel nice under the fingers, and settle in pretty quickly. I think they have a lush sound, and alot of us in the Omaha Symphony use them. And they seem to last a long time too. Good luck, if you decide to try them, I hope that you like them. Play well!! Molly
From Roelof Bijkerk
Posted on May 19, 2007 at 5:41 AM
The one other thing you could try (that I can think of) is asking a friend or one of your students with a good set of stretched string on their violin which you think would be better than your other two choices, whether you could buy them a new set of strings in trade for their old stretched strings for you to use in your recital.
From Roelof Bijkerk
Posted on May 19, 2007 at 5:44 AM
Well, I just noticed that it's May 19th which is two days after you started your post. Now you could try a time machine. But, then you could go back even farther and: this all sounds like a made for this time sort of "invention." I can't keep track of all the movies and TV shows which have time travel in them anymore.

Why you could even go back then and have Bach play, He told me he wants to make a CD.

Something about string theory probably.

From Bonny Buckley
Posted on May 19, 2007 at 2:42 PM
We all have those unexpected situations arise, usually close to an important event when we are already under pressure. It is a good question to be ready for because that could happen to any one of us. Pondering this in anticipation of such an event (and it has happened to students of mine in the past) I think I would call a close friend or colleague and see if I could borrow a violin.
From jennifer steinfeldt warren
Posted on May 20, 2007 at 2:41 PM
I wouldn't play on an unfamiliar instrument for a recital (did that once and it ended up being worse because I wasn't prepared for the violin's response and touch). But hte idea to find someone with a good set of already stretched strings and offer to buy them a new set in exchange...that sounds like your best bet.


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