E String - Help

Edited: January 6, 2018, 4:19 PM · Hello all... first post :)
I was recently handed down a "new" violin. It's of Chinese origin and was barely played before receiving it. I love the sound on the three lower strings, but the E is a bit shrill and harsh for my taste (and other's from their expression after playing it). I was curious if there are any tips or suggestions I can try to improve this at home? I realize having a luthier look at it and make some adjustments is ideal, and that is on the agenda, just not immediately happening. Is there anything I can try at home? I've tried a few e strings (Warchal Amber and a heavy Hill E with the latter being more to my taste). Anything else? Maybe move the bridge minding the soundpost? Different bowing? More or less rosin? Clean the strings?

Thank you

Replies (12)

January 6, 2018, 5:44 PM · Definitely crean the strings. You might want to search this site for string recommendation threads. They're plentiful. Also, what you use on the lower 3 strings can affect E string sound. Opinions on strings are really controversial. Plus, experimenting with strings costs lots of money and time.
January 6, 2018, 8:07 PM · I think you'll realize more adjustment in tone by a visit to your luthier than you will be changing out E strings. Also, neither your post nor your (vacant) profile describe your experience as a violinist. The brilliant, shrill sound of the E string is something that can be tamed by the player.
Edited: January 7, 2018, 8:31 AM · I guess you can blame your bowing, but I'd need to hear you play before I can say for sure. Also a note to other forum members that not everyone is comfortable posting a profile bio for privacy reasons. Please keep that in mind.
January 7, 2018, 8:30 AM · Moving the bridge is not a DIY project, especially for someone new to the violin. I would visit the luthier first and see if an adjustment can help before investing any more time and effort in string experiments.
January 7, 2018, 8:33 AM · Moving the bridge cause it's leaning is something you can learn to do yourself, but be very careful. Otherwise, ask a technician.
January 7, 2018, 11:08 AM · Thank you for all the responses:). As for my skill level, I'm still a beginner, so that could be a cause. But the E on my newer violin still, to my ears, sounds much more harsh than the E on two previous violins, both somewhat cheaper. My teacher also did not seem pleased with the new violin's E.
January 7, 2018, 11:12 AM · I think there is a difference between *straightening* the bridge (pulling it back to an upright position from a tilt) which I need to do on occasion, and *moving* the bridge, which involves the feet as well. I took the OP's statement to imply moving the bridge's position.
January 7, 2018, 12:12 PM · Understandable. Can be interpreted in two different ways. If you need to totally move the bridge, get a tech to do it if possible, unless you're really persistent. Be very, very careful.
January 8, 2018, 10:19 AM · If the strings are new, then the "tin" sound might lessen as you play more and break them in. It also might just be the violin. On a side note, I love TI strings and would highly recommend them. I have used them on 3 different violins and I always get a clear, rich, beautiful tone.
January 8, 2018, 10:52 AM · I think an open e string on any violin sounds shrill.
January 8, 2018, 2:38 PM · I also think that any E string sounds shrill whenever I play withouf ear plugs. After ten or fifteen minutes playing without plugs my ears become accustomed to the shrillness.
Edited: January 8, 2018, 4:25 PM · If the bridge is leaning forward (common), you can pull it upright again. The back of the bridge should be perpendicular to the belly. If it's leaning just a little, the correction can be accommodated mostly if not entirely by the flexibility of the bridge itself. If it's leaning a lot, then you have to be careful because bringing it back to upright may not be possible at one time without creating a gap between the belly and the front of the bridge feet. You don't want your bridge standing on its heels. That's not secure. And you've got the strength in your hands to snap your bridge, so be careful. Fitting a new one is a costly affair.

I agree with Hannah that you have to give new strings 2-3 days to settle in before judging their tone. Until then they can sound tinny, like you're playing your violin inside a coffee can.

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