What makes the G string on my violin not to respond readily well ?

November 26, 2013 at 05:52 PM · I have a Gliga Gem 1 and I upgraded to a Gliga Gama 1. Both fine tuned at A440. I played the same tune on both violins. The 4 strings of the Gem 1 played beautifully while on the Gama 1, only strings D, A and E played beautifully. String G did not respond readily well. I replaced strings and bought a carbon bow. The same problem persists. I have to dig more in the G string, either too much or not enough ! Did you come across a similar problem ? Thank you.

Replies (44)

November 26, 2013 at 07:01 PM · Sometimes, the problem is the placement of the soundpost. You should go to your luthier and have him/her take a look at the violin and rule out the soundpost as the problem.

November 26, 2013 at 07:42 PM · It is hard to get a good G string in the violin... many players will discover that when they start studying virtuosistic piece, few violins will sound good in the 7th position on the G string.

November 26, 2013 at 08:26 PM · Fascinating. I too play a Gliga Gama, and I often have the same problem with my G string. Sometimes I can hardly get it to sound at all - almost as if my bow has no rosin - but the other strings respond just fine. I changed strings a couple of weeks ago (Dominants again), but that didn't make any difference. My bow is a pernambuco Dörfler that I bought three years ago, and it's in good shape.

I suspect that I need to play with a bit more weight on the bow, but still, this problem puzzles me. I bought the instrument new nearly two years ago, and I haven't had any setup work done on it. Perhaps I should; the cheap violin I was playing before sounded like a whole new instrument when I replaced the (glued in!) sound post with a new one in the proper location.

November 26, 2013 at 08:33 PM · Set-up is critical. Soundpost placement, bridge thickness & placement -- come up next after strings (and, imo, before a new bow!)

November 26, 2013 at 10:35 PM · Has the instrument always been that way? If not and it recently developed the problem, then a sound post adjustment will likely fix it.

But if the instrument has always had that problem, then it could be the bass bar, or the instrument itself -- which would be a much bigger problem, maybe not even worth fixing. If possible, I would return the Gamma 1 or exchange it for another one.

November 27, 2013 at 02:07 AM · G string on my teacher own chinese factory violin (value about 200$)is very good. It doesn't break the sound even on higher positions and it responds to bow very well.

But he did his own setup. He cut three new soundpost until reasonable optimal balanced tone is achieved on all notes. Bridge also is cut by himself. He played that violins on all positions on about 5 months. He told me that violin needs to be played seriously (esp in high postition on low strings) to sound good. So if the setup is good, may be you just need to play violin for few months. I think it is difficult to predict if the problems are with setup or just serious playing on these positions are needed.

Setup adjustments are important. Cutting fews time for soundposts and bridges until getting a good sound is only achievable when luthier is patient and spend enough time. Each time after soundpost adjustment, he needs to play few days to observe the tone quality.

It seems good setup is expensive and lengthy process. One time setup done by luthier does not seem to work because normally he will just cuts and places in standard locations. Also, adjustment of string afterlength, optimizing the bridge, all combinations bridge, soundpost and tailpiece etc.. will not be done.

My violin (German trade violin about 700$ which I bough online from german website) sound a lot better after he adjusted the soundpost each weekly lesson for few weeks. Overall, my impression is that violins without luthier's great attention and patient are seriously in trouble. The true potential of instrument just cannot come out because of lengthy and costly setup. I think, decent workshop violins unfortunately fall into this group. Because it is true that they are decently made. But no experienced luthier is willing to really carefully fine-tune the instrument for obvious reason ie cost of luthier's time.

I am lucky that my teacher helped me adjust the setup so it sound decently. Otherwise, each time I visit local luthier, the quality of instrument or string is to be blamed. btw, same luthier helped me cut new bridge and soundpost on my violin. After new setup also, sound didn't improve. The tone is not smooth on all three lower string and sound is muted. Few visits to same luthier has made no difference. Again and again, quality of instrument and strings get blamed. I was almost depressed.

It is just to share my experience. I am adult beginner.

I think, it is important to have patient and willing good luthier or knowledgeable person to fine-tune the violin. Good luck with your violin setup.

November 27, 2013 at 03:27 AM · As others already mentioned, proper sound post positioning can help up to the point.

You can also experiments with different gauges of E string; heavier E string will put more pressure on treble side, lighter less. This in turn may affect the other side of the top plate, like a lever.

If neither of above helps, it is probably about the bass bar. I don't know about the price range of your instrument, but student level instrument typically suffer from poor G string, among the other issues.

If G or E are no good, sell the violin and buy another one.

November 27, 2013 at 02:45 PM · Among my violins are 2 that did not play well through the 2nd octave. I found two approaches that solved the problem.

1st - I put a set of Larsen Tzigane strings on each of the violins and the problem went away.

2nd - As an experiment I went back to previous ("regular") strings but put a Peter Infeld (PI) platinum E string on each of the violins - this solved the problem just as well.

Since I don't play these 2 instruments it doesn't matter much - but that's what I did - at least when I try them or keep them tuned up from time to time it is no longer discouraging.

Andy

November 27, 2013 at 04:43 PM · Thank you Guys for your posts.

Charlie Gibbs explains exactly the problem I am experiencing. I bought 2 Sound Post Setters, one with a clamp, and I have been moving the Sound Post mm by mm from the foot of the Bridge up to 10 mm away there from. No improvement ! I become really crazy when sometimes the Bow would not get a sound as if there is no rosin on the hair.

My Gliga Gem 1 (US$ 465.00) plays beautifully with a nice G string sound and my supposed upgraded Gliga Gama 1 (US% 1,100.00), it is simply no good when I have to dig into the G string, either too much or not enough !!!!!

I noticed that the Bass Bar is much deeper in height than my other violins, but I have no way to adjust or replace the Bass Bar if in case it could be the real problem. Smiley Hsu mentions the Bass Bar. Opening the violin to make the Bass Bar good is much like a surgical operation, cannot be undertaken on my Island.

I wonder why my cheaper Gliga Gem 1 is way much better than the upgraded Gliga Gama 1 !

If you find a way to solve this problem any time, please give me a shout. Thank you very much, Guys.

November 27, 2013 at 08:10 PM · Marjory, can you please expand on bridge thickness? My violin has a very thin bridge -- it was actually cut by the maker -- but I too would like to get a little more oomph out of my G string. (No snickering!)

November 27, 2013 at 11:18 PM · Judex,

Every violin is different. Just because you spend a bit more money, it doesn't mean you will get a better violin. Did you try the violin before you bought it? Do you have an option to trade it for another? It is very important to take a violin on trial for at least a few days before you buy. I have tried violins that are over $100,000 that sound like tin cans.

November 28, 2013 at 02:38 PM · Smiley Hsu,

Thank you.

I did not try the Gliga Gama 1 because I am far away on an island. My disappointment is mainly due to my upgrade from Gliga Gem 1 to Gliga Gama 1 from the same Maker. It cost 226% more that my cheaper Gliga Gem 1 that play well. I innocently (stupidly) believed that an upgrade must obviously be better.

I received a Certificate of Quality with the Gem 1. I was told that the Certificate of Quality will not be supplied for the Gama 1. I just thought that I would not mind if it got lost, but the violin must be good. Big Mistake !!!

I cannot sell my Gama 1 because there are not many who buy a violin at over US$ 1,000.00, on my island.

May I take this opportunity to ask : " Is there a precise rule about setting the Sound Post ? " Some say at 5 mm from the foot of the bridge while others have other opinions. So, far, I have tried from under the foot of the bridge up to 10 mm, moving it mm by mm.

Charlie Gibbs has the same problem with his Gliga Gama. So, is it an inherent problem in the Quality of the Gama ? !!!!

Thank you and Cheers !

November 29, 2013 at 02:07 AM · I am not an expert. Please correct me if i am wrong for the following sound adjustment.

-check length of string between bridge and saddle on the tailpiece. It should be 1/6 of string length between nut and bridge. Or the pitch of that portion of string should be D or below.

-Weight of tailpiece has strong effect on tone. My previous german violin come with heavy ebony french style tailpiece. It is very heavy. When I change it to English (Hill) style boxwood tailpiece, it improve both volume and tone. The feeling that the sound is being chocked goes away. Normally Hill style tailpiece is lighter than French style tailpiece.

-Position of tailpiece, it should be not too far away or too close to saddle. I read some people use 3/4 size tailpiece to get more room for adjustment.

-Soundpost length may be the issue. Longer soundpost (nearer to bassbar side) is said to make bass little strong. If the sound is smooth, likely the soundpost is in proper contact with plates, only wrong position (in both directions) of soundpost can be issue.

-experiment with strings

-thicknesses of bridge at top and bottom and its shape and mass etc. (so far i didnt play with this, as this requires lots of tools and skill)

With these tricks, I so far has manage to achieve some improvement in tone on my german trade violin, which local reparier says is intrinsic faults of instrument and suggests a new violin. But it took long time to discover and play with these tuning. But I am happy playing with these. People and previous posts on the forum has been very helpful.

I am also on an island.

November 29, 2013 at 04:50 PM · Judex, I know what you are talking about. My violin used to behave that way -- it was very hard to make the G string speak -- I had to really dig into the string, and when a friend played it, he could not even get a sound out of the string. I had the sound post adjusted several times, changed the strings, etc. to no avail. Then one day a bow expert (also a very good Jazz violinist) at my violin shop decided that my bow was too light for that string after playing it, so I traded in my beloved Iesta carbon fiber bow for a heavier pernambuco bow, and that fixed it... No long after, my violin went through a surgery to have its neck thinned, fingerboard narrowed, reshaped, and edges rounded, plus a new bridge, and I was able to use a lighter bow without the same problem... So it could be a lot of things. Sorry my post is not that helpful for you - I'm just sharing my experience, but perhaps you can start by trying a heavier bow.

November 29, 2013 at 06:36 PM · Thank you Joyce Lin and Richard Saw for your recent posts.

On my island, unfortunately there is no Luthier to undertake that kind of surgical operation on a violin !

I will further check the measurements as Richard suggests.

So, we keep in touch and thanks again.

Cheers !

November 29, 2013 at 06:40 PM · My suggestion for getting a better response on the G is to use a light ("Weich") gauge string. Dominant and Tonica both have them, but most other brands don't, unfortunately. I doubt that adjustment will change the response radically, which is why violins with great G strings are so expensive.

The other way is to play aggressively high on the G, which is something few beginners or intermediate players will ever do. It does work, though: I've had several new fiddles, and it took about a year of hard playing-in combined with a light Dominant G before I felt the G was responding properly enough to put on a medium gauge.

Then again, I've also owned older violins (18th C.) that could never take a medium gauge G. The extra bit of tension choked them up.

November 29, 2013 at 07:24 PM · I second Scott's suggestion...switching to a light gauge string really improved the response of my violin G, and is still plenty powerful enough for professional use.

November 30, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Thank you Scott and Andrew for your posts. I gather "Light" means Low tension, am I right ?

Actually I have the Dominant medium tension.

Do you suggest that I replace the whole set of strings to light or only the G string ?

Last night I accidentally drop the Sound Post off and I took quite some time to shake it out of the f hole, very stressful. I set it at 5 mm from the foot of the bridge. So, I will look around for the light strings.

Thanks again for your advice.

I forgot to mention that my Gliga Gem 1(US$ 465.00) has a great G string sound with the Dominant Medium tension. I upgraded to Gama 1, and felt disappointed and it cost me US$ 1,100.00 ! And both are from the same Maker !

November 30, 2013 at 03:59 PM · Judex,

I wouldn't recommend an entire set of light gauge strings unless absolutely necessary--then you'll really lose power. Just try the G first.

November 30, 2013 at 06:44 PM · I was having the same problem (bow sliding over G string). One thing I noticed was that contact was good so long as I played directly down over the bridge, that is, keeping the bow hair very close to the D string. No higher angle would work. Made me think maybe the problem was with the bridge slot. In any case, my local repairman thinned the bridge, filled and recut the slots, and adjusted the sound post position. Problem is now gone, though it's impossible to say which of these changes is responsible.

November 30, 2013 at 11:41 PM · I don't know if a low tension G will solve the problem, but you will find that lower tension strings will not take as much pressure as higher tension. Evahs are popular for soloist because they are higher tension and can take a lot of pressure before the sound cracks. Lower tension strings will crack with medium bow pressure -- just something to keep in mind.

December 1, 2013 at 02:07 AM · To a point, a thicker bridge can produce a more substantial sound. But it's not something you want to try yourself...set up is always best done by a professional. Certainly cutting and fitting a bridge should be!

December 1, 2013 at 05:08 AM · Its interesting because when I sent my violin to Potters to have gear pegs put in, the craftsman told me over the phone that he thought the bridge was too thin, but I was unsure so I did not ask him to cut me a new one. It didnt occur to me until later that the replacement is relatively easily reversed.

December 2, 2013 at 03:02 AM · Smiley, I don't agree that low tension strings will necessarily crack with "medium" bow pressure. They will crack more easily, probably, but that depends on the instrument, string, and player.

December 3, 2013 at 03:23 AM · Hi Andrew,

Perhaps medium-heavy bow pressure then. At any rate, low tension strings certainly will not stand up to heavy playing like high tension strings. For the most part, I find that for many people and many instruments, Dominants are a very good compromise. The tension is not too high, not too low. The sound is not too harsh, and not too warm. There is a reason Dominants are so popular. I have tried quite a few and I am back to using Dominants.

High tension strings like Evah Pirazzi are really hard on the finger tips. And low tension strings like gut crack when you push them hard (they are also a pain to keep in tune). Dominants are the perfect compromise.

December 3, 2013 at 03:44 AM · Hi Smiley,

I think certain strings might be prone to cracking irrespective of tension. For example, have you tried a light gauge Dominant string? I haven't found them prone to cracking as I have (as you have too, I believe) with some of Pirastro's lower tension strings.

December 5, 2013 at 07:49 AM · I have looked around in the very few Violin Shops on my Island, but they do not sell low tension G String. I was ready to try it if only it could solve the G String problem on my Gama 1.

I ordered the Sound Post Setter " VS-PRO 2 + ", a very good and easy tool to move the Sound Post. I have tried all the possibilities from 0 mm at the foot of the bridge up to 10 mm away from the bridge. Still no way to get that G String to respond satisfactorily !

What are the technical reasons that make the bow glide on the G String and practically no sound coming out, as if no rosin, while the other 3 strings have wonderful ringing sound ?

Do you Guys recommend a "Repair" or my Gama 1 ? Do you know of a reliable Luthier ? Is it really worthwhile to try a repair !

Thanks for all your posts and advice. It is amazing and wonderful to meet so may helpful People like you on Violinist.com ! Cheers !

December 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Violin strings are not necessarily advertised as low tension -- some have lower tension than others. See the following thread for discussions.

Low tension string thread

In particular, see the tension chart posted by David Burgess.

December 6, 2013 at 01:08 PM · Sometimes Miracles happen ! While trying to surf the net to learn more about the features of the G Strings of the various brands, so that I could try some, I incidentally got connected to a site selling G-Strings. They describe the G-String as follows :

" Disposable tanga women cotton underwear/G-string/Thong nonwoven fabric " !

Obviously not applicable for a Violin. By looking at the photos, I just thought that the G String on my violin may be faulty, cracked. So, I rushed to the City and bought the only one available : The D'Addario Prelude, J814 4/4M. It is solid Steel Core. I put it on my violin and immediately I could hear some sound. After one hour, the sound was better. I did not have that bow sliding and no sound as if there was no rosin on the hair.

So, it appears that the Gama may not like the synthetic G String and prefers the Steel Core.

Charlie Gibbs, you have same problem as I on your Gama violin. So, make a replacement as I did. I set the Sound Post at 8 mm from the foot of the bridge. It appears this is the best position I could achieve so far. Let me know how you manage it. I will order the Evah for another try.

Hope that playing more hours the D'Addario G will sound great and better.

Thanks to All again for your posts. Good to still hear from you for additional advice and suggestions. Cheers !

December 6, 2013 at 03:21 PM · Thank you for your post.

Andrew Holland, Do you mean that the winding of the G string might have loosened up ?

I was supplied the Gama 1 violin with Dominant Strings and a spare set of Dominant Strings. When the G String on my violin was not good, I replaced it by the G String from the spare set. Still no good. So, I wonder if both G Strings were faulty, supplied by the same Shop !

Now the trial of the D'Addario G String J814 4/4M Solid Steel Core is playing good.

I am curious and will order a Dominant G String from another Shop and check if the problem persists.

Thanks again and Cheers !

December 6, 2013 at 10:39 PM · Hi Judex - didn't mean to imply that.

December 6, 2013 at 10:42 PM · Congrats Judex. That was an easy fix; cheap too.

December 7, 2013 at 06:11 AM · Thanks Smiley Hsu.

Yes, that D'Addario G String J814 4/4M cost only Rs. 275.00 equivalent to approximately US$ 9.00.

So, Charlie Gibbs who has a Gama same as me, could replace his G String and he should solve his problem. Give us news.

One little Comment and Wish : Thanks to Violinist.com and its Members who share so much. If the whole World could be same, it would have been a " Wonderful World ".

Enjoy your weekend Guys, and Cheers from Mauritius.

December 7, 2013 at 09:19 AM · There's always the possibility you were dealing with counterfeit made in China Dominants, there are a lot of them floating around. If you bought the Gliga from somewhere in Asia its a good possibility.

December 7, 2013 at 01:59 PM · Hi Lyndon Taylor,

Thank you for your post.

I ordered the Gliga Gama 1 and a set of spare Dominants Strings from a Shop, in New York, USA.

It is now over 12 hours I am playing with the new G String from D'Addario. I am very pleased with the sound. Great ! My Gliga Gama 1 is a very good Violin !

Have a great weekend and keep bowing ! Cheers !

December 18, 2013 at 03:09 PM · Glad you got it fixed judex!

Now if anyone knows how to fox this problem on the viola I'm all ears...

December 18, 2013 at 04:34 PM · Ryan, I'm having this problem on a viola I'm trying out - high positions on the C sound awful, and I have to use so much pressure that the pitches are distorted. The viola is strung with Evahs, which I have used on other violas with no problem. I don't know whether it's strings, or weather, or just me, but this problem is making me much less likely to buy this viola.

I second Ryan's question - if anyone knows how to fix this on violas, please let us know.

December 18, 2013 at 05:07 PM · Karen,

If it's a brand-new viola, it may, like a new violin, simply need lots of playing in the high positions. Even with older instruments, if they were owned by amateurs or students they may never have gotten a workout up there.

I've broken in several violins, and they've all needed a good year of playing in the upper positions to speak clearly. Of course, some violins sound very clear from the start. But you have to weigh all of the other characteristics of the instrument before walking away. I'd try something besides Evas.

December 18, 2013 at 05:29 PM · Scott, thanks. It is a new viola, built this year and never owned by anyone. I don't know how much playing it's had.

I recently discovered Warchal strings and would be interested to see how those do, but I only have this viola on trial for a relatively short time. But if I do end up with this viola, the Evahs are coming off immediately.

December 18, 2013 at 06:35 PM · Idk if you saw my mass-free viola string thread, but if a different set would help make your decision easier, your welcome to it. I have like 15+ different sets. Just email me:)

December 18, 2013 at 06:37 PM · I was joking about my question haha, I just meant violas don't speak at all, anywhere!

Glad it raised a legit concern that might be solve able though. I'd recommend obligatos, dominants, vision solo, or passione. (I have those handy...guessing you wouldn't want a spiro core right now haha)

December 19, 2013 at 03:45 AM · Two or three times, over many years of playing, I've had this problem with a G string. In each case, the problem was fixed by replacing the string (even if all I had on hand was an old used one, this fixed it).

This happened with different brands, so I think that every once in a while a string just goes bad.

December 21, 2013 at 03:39 AM · People expect a perfect violin for a purchase price of only $900 ?

February 15, 2014 at 05:36 AM · Hi,

I am using Dominant, and after around 40 hours of usage, I am having the same problem (bow sliding over G string). The sliding happen when bowing around 2 cm from the bridge. Is it happen just to Dominant string?

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