Whistling E strings

April 14, 2013 at 08:29 PM · Why open E whistles when coming off the A string? This seems to occur more with Stark E strings. Anyone know of a Stark E that does not have this tendency? Jargar Stark seems to do this more than the other strings I have tried.

Replies (27)

April 14, 2013 at 09:58 PM · http://daddariobowed.blogspot.com/2011/05/violin-open-e-string-whistling-problem.html


April 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM · I am no expert on this subject but for me, it happens when I begin playing the E string while my elbow is still lowering, hence changing the angle of the bow relative to the string. As the string begins to vibrate in one direction, the changing angle of the bow cancels out the initial vibration. Hence, when crossing from A to E, I always have to make a conscious effort to first lower my elbow and stop BEFORE I draw the bow. Some strings are more "resilient" than others, but with poor technique (contrary to what the articles above suggests and which I too often have!), they all do that. Never happens to my teacher playing my instrument, and never happens with proper string crossing.

April 15, 2013 at 12:55 AM · This is a little speculative, but I would think that if you don't have enough force going into the string, then the sideways force as the bow makes contact and pulls the string could start the torsional mode of vibration. My speculation is that you need more weight to your bow during string crossings. If you can keep the bow from gliding with some more weight, it should favor the normal vibrational mode. This is all based more on my knowledge of physics than of violin playing. It could be more of a setup issue.

April 15, 2013 at 02:58 AM · My teacher always says that it is a finger in my left hand barely touching the string, affecting its ability to vibrate properly. However, I'm still not convinced. This has also been a problem for me when I do chords with open E string at the top, like in Introduction and Tarentella by Sarasate... there a million of them :P lol

April 15, 2013 at 07:51 PM · Another reason:

When another string is still sounding (e.g. slurring from A to open E) the whole violin is vibtrating, including the bridge - and the E-string! So the bow has difficulty "grabbing" the string. Fingered notes on the E-string will be slightly damped by the fingertip.

And again:

Gold plating may have such a smooth surface that the bow "skids" on it ?

April 15, 2013 at 08:40 PM · I think all violinists encounter this problem, whatever its cause. To solve it you could try a Tonica aluminum-wound steel E-string. It has a rather silky sound, projects well, and for its non-whistling quality is much in demand among fiddlers (who tend to do a lot of string crossings onto open e). Premium strings I find don't always provide relief -- the Obligato gold-plated E-string, for example, is inclined to whistle much too readily. ( Of course, first check that the pad of your left forefinger isn't touching the string, and be sure that your bowing is absolutely straight during the string crossings.)

February 5, 2017 at 02:38 AM · I used to use a wound E string until I saw a utube video featuring the Warchal Amber "crimped" steel E. After having a some limited success at putting a crimp into steel E strings I had spare from old sets I tried the thick Warchal E with a set of Strong Evah Pirazzis and it sounded great as well stopping the whistle as reliably as the wound strings I'd been using.

I'd say that they're well worth a try, particularly as it's the classy sounding thick E strings that tend to whistle the most...

February 13, 2017 at 05:21 AM · Used an Amber E this past year on my 120 yr-old dark sounding German violin and loved it! I've stocked up. I play orchestral and chamber as an amateur.

February 13, 2017 at 01:47 PM · I'm now, since my original post, totally converted to the Warchal Amber E. Like Edward, I have stocked up -- they're not so easy to find in Canada at the present time.

February 13, 2017 at 04:31 PM · I put a tiny square of thin black leather (cut from an old glove) in the E-string groove of the nut, very slighlty overlapping the fingerboard. This damps the open steel string a little and makes it sound a little more like a fingered note.

I did tha same when trying a "Russian" style wound steel A (Chromcor-Eudoxa) which was thinner than a synthetic, and tended to buzz in its groove.

February 13, 2017 at 07:37 PM · I definitely go for Amber E as well. It minimizes whistling while still providing the power and ring needed!

February 13, 2017 at 07:37 PM · I definitely go for Amber E as well. It minimizes whistling while still providing the power and ring needed!

February 13, 2017 at 09:40 PM · Amber E is addictive. It's hard to switch out of them whence you're used to it.

February 13, 2017 at 09:52 PM · I've not had a trace of whistling since I started using the Peter Infeld Platinum E.

February 13, 2017 at 10:10 PM · By contrast, I had problems with the platinum PI E whistling. :-)

The Amber E is really a beautiful string and it is supremely whistle-resistant.

February 13, 2017 at 11:02 PM · How is the Amber E's power and clarity in the highest register? Since whistling is generally no trouble for me, I wouldn't like to sacrifice what I currently use for merely a non-whistling string-it has to have its own charm. The Kaplan non-whistling string was such a disappointment some time ago (no offense to D'Addario or their users, to each their own) that I am wary of any such claims.

I actually believe Mr. Victor AND Ms. Leong-whistling seems to be such an individual and violin dependent issue. I have the now "old school" Oliv E, and it rarely whistles-when it does, I can tell it was on me as it doesn't happen again. I have spent hours and hours on it and whistling is not any more common than with other "regular" steel Es, which also occasionally whistle (not including Amber and the Wound Es.)

For what it's worth, I believe that the E should be strong (not necessarily thick tension,though), rich (not too brittle a tone), clear, and not lose too much power in its highest reaches.

February 14, 2017 at 03:33 AM · The easest way to not whistle the E (esp in chords) is to press into it slightly right before bowing on it.

Because the cause of the whistle (with perfect bowing also) is the clashing vibrations of the A string played right before, this helps when certain chords always whistle on a particular violin.

Playing on a gut E means my bow arm is never lazy when playing seriously (on a steel E), so I know bowing is not the problem.

The better way, though, is to just use a gut E to teach your arm better bowing (AND get a beautiful sound from the string) for free... :D

February 14, 2017 at 03:40 AM · The top register of my violin pretty much doesn't need any help. The E sounds with plenty of power and resonance, right to the top of the fingerboard. If anything, an E string like the PI platinum E is overdrive on this instrument. So the Amber E, with its clarity and warmth, is a great match.

February 14, 2017 at 04:23 AM · Likewise!

February 14, 2017 at 04:55 AM · Thanks for your experience.

February 27, 2017 at 10:16 PM · Btw For budget violinists, I've found a good E string that works well with the "Amber mod" in the King Lion set. Its a dark steel maybe tungsten alloy, around £1.50 for a steel set (same E as in nylon set, shame you can't get it on its own); wrap it 8/9 times around a cocktail stick - It's the best cheap match I've found so far for Tonica or Correli Crystal set...

March 1, 2017 at 11:15 PM · I've been struggling with this with the violin I just bought over the weekend. I would think the dominant strings are new I'm guessing since I bought this from a shop.

I had the same problem with my student grade violin (also doms).

I even tried moving the bows across all strings in one down stroke. No matter how I held the bow (flat, tilted)....my E screeched. I tried different pressures. Even all 3 bows I own.

I also wiped off my strings w soft cloth.

Does this e string just not work for my violin? It's not the fingers hitting as when I played opens my palm was open.

March 2, 2017 at 12:09 AM · If it is happening on both instruments, the problem is you, not the violins, I imagine.

March 2, 2017 at 12:21 AM · That's what I can't figure out. I've tried adjust arm, pressure, angle, bows, bow tilt. I've played my newly purchased violin since saturday with no whistling problems. But today no matter how I played, it whistled. Every time. Even after adjusting things.

I've been playing regularly since 2009 (20 some yrs ago before that). I didn't have this problem with the first violin I played but have had it with the prior one. Do the strings need cleaned with more than soft cloth?

March 2, 2017 at 12:57 AM · Some violins just whistle on the E. Even high-level soloists have whistled on occasion when playing their E. But to have it whistle EVERY TIME you play it is not normal.

Probably something is wrong with the string itself.

Or your setup..... do you have a bridge protector to prevent the E from digging into the bridge?

March 2, 2017 at 02:37 AM · Try a thicker E, a too-light string can lead to insrability when bowing (because it doesn't suit the violin).

March 3, 2017 at 04:23 AM · My E has a protector.

I think my problem was rosin. Namely....too much.

The violin I bought last weekend sounded fine in store. I bought a new bow. So I put rosin on it. Then yesterday I got a new rosin I wanted to try....so I rosined without thinking about it. Then I had screeching yesterday where before I had none.

Today I cleaned with string cleaner and wiped my bow a bit with soft cloth. It was better. It still did some on E (only on open E). I may still have too much rosin but I feel this may have been it. Explains why in the store I was ok (played 30 some violins over 2 hrs) but had problems when I rosined twice in short time of playing.

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