General Equipment Questions

April 5, 2006 at 07:19 AM · Hey guys,

I have been playing the violin for over 9 years now, and progressed to the point of concert master in both middle school and high school. Although I've played so long, I've been only playing on Dominant's all my life -- besides the one time I had temporarily installed an Obligato E string after having mine break. Another string changing is coming up, and I would appreciate any recommendations from the more experienced.

I have read all the threads and reviews of a variety of strings, but it still can't help me decide what I need. The violin I plan to install it on is fairly new, so it seems like Eudoxa's are not the way to go. And since I don't play in a regular orchestra, nor plan to solo anytime soon, I don't need expensive strings that wear out quickly, yet sound is still important to me. I've heard good things of Corelli's Alliance, Pirastro's Evah Pirazzis, and the Pirastro Eudoxas (although it is gut). Dominant has been sounding awfully shrill lately. A rich full sound is desired. Any recommendations?

Also, how much would a new bridge/soundpost alter the sound of my violin? Anything to help the overall sound quality of my playing.

And lastly, my form really sucks. I was concert master, but that's not saying much for terrible orchestras. Would a rigid shoulder pad like the Bon Musica help with poster? Currently, I use the Kun shoulder pad and I have a tendency to rest the shoulder pad on my chest that give the violin an angle downwards and elbow in my side, which is BAD.

Thanks guys,

Dan

Replies (7)

April 5, 2006 at 12:40 PM · Reading all the previous string threads can be a bit confusing. No real consensus as to which string is the best. As many suggest, try a Jagar E or a Pirastro Gold E with a set of Dominant. This may improve the overall sound. A set of Evah's may brighten and strengthen the sound also.

If the soundpost is too loose or out of place, an adjustment can make a great difference.

Anyway, good luck, though I think most people will just tell you to check the archives!

Regards

Michael.

April 5, 2006 at 02:21 PM · Changing your bridge and soundpost will change the sound quite a bit. Try having a luthier adjust the post. Tell him/her what you want out of the violin, and he/she can make adjustments accordingly. Have someone check your violin for open seams, because that can help with sound a lot. Also, check to see if your bridge is leaning forward (for most people, it usually is). I believe the back of the bridge (when you look at it from the g-string side) should be at a 90 degree angle with the top of the violin (luthiers correct me if I'm wrong . This could also help with sound.

If you don't like dominants, maybe try the infeld blue or red series (blue is a bright string and red is darker). Evah's will make any violin sound more powerful, but in my experience they don't last more than a month. Obligatos have a nice warm sound, but the strings have too much give, which makes playing quickly a bit difficult. Have you tried the dominant A D G Jargar forte e combination? It really all depends upon what kind of sound your violin produces on its own, and what you want from it. Talk to your luthier, they can help you the most with this.

As for posture, I don't recommend the bon musica. It really locks your shoulder in place, and it sounds like you need more freedom. Maybe something like the play-on-air would be good for you. Talk to your teacher, he/she can help you with that.

Hope that helped, good luck with everything!

April 5, 2006 at 02:44 PM · Artificial core strings (that includes dominant) do not hold their sound very long. The string may still be intact, but the sound no good. Gut (and gut core) strings tend to keep their sound right up until they break--and that can be a long time.

There is no reason to think that because you have a "new" violin you should not use Eudoxa. There is no relationship between newness of instrument and the suitability of gut.

April 5, 2006 at 02:51 PM · you could try something like the Wolf shoulder rests - extending the support closest to the e-string to maximum and having the one closest to the g string at minimum. That should get hte violin more "flat" - you can then play around with the levels until you are comfortable.

April 5, 2006 at 02:58 PM · Hi,

I have done a lot of testing of strings. It has become my recent conclusion that it depends on the instrument. There is no perfect string. Each fiddle reacts differently, some more, some less.

That said - strings fall into five categories: plain gut (used mostly by baroque players), wound gut like Eudoxa and Oliv, steel, synthetics which can be divided into the perlon (like Dominants) and new core type strings (like Obligato, Alliance Vivace, Evah Pirazzi).

As a general thing, I find that Del G├ęsu model violins, or large patterns with flat arching can handle the pressure of the new core types better than other models, which tend to get choked by them. Some of the former even sound better with these kinds of strings.

The only way to know though, is to try them. Some shops will let you do that, though I like to test strings for more than a few moments.

I agree with above that a properly adjusted violin with a good soundpost and bridge is the most important. No string can compensate for that.

On the subject of Shoulder Rests, it is an individual matter, but if you are experience posture problems you may be using the shoulder rest incorrectly. The fault is often in the usage more than the rest itself. That said, if you do use an SR it works in combination with the chinrest. You have to find two that work and work together for you. I am opposed as a teacher to SR's that lock one in place. You should have mobility. The SR is a tool.

Hope this helps...

Cheers!

April 5, 2006 at 03:00 PM · Concerning the posture issue: Hold your arms out at about a 45 degree angle in front of you and imagine you are holding a beach ball about 6 ft. in diameter. Then play the violin with the same posture. You will notice that it is not possible to support the imaginary beachball with your left elbow against your rib cage. You will also notice that when holding the imaginary beachball your shoulders are supported and not hunched forward and your chest will open.

Concerning soundpost, bridge and strings, ask your violin repairperson.

April 6, 2006 at 10:57 AM · Wow, I did not realize that doing all these repairs to my violin would cost so much! I had my violin taken to a luthier, and he said I may need a new soundpost (may?!?!), and that my end button is bad. All in all, it may cost to $150, and that somehow doesn't seem right to me, especially paying $80 for a new sound post.

Thanks for all your recommendations when it comes to strings, and I've done all the research to know that you have to consider the vioiln and what type of strings you want, but I suppose I cannot give an accurate assessment of the weather conditions of Seattle. I've already ordered something from Shar, and so far bought something reasonably priced. I have an audition Wednesday for a community orchestra, and it'd be a shame to buy nice strings to not use them. I actually bought a whole set of Tonicas along with this, do you think I should use them?

G - Pirastro Olive

D - Pirastro Tonica

A - Pirastro Eudoxa

E - Lenzner Goldbrokot E

Is that setup not desirable?

Thanks,

Dan H

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