Best Oliv A string substitute?

May 11, 2018, 10:17 PM · Hi All,

About a year ago, I switched from Peter Infeld to High tension Olivs, and have never looked back. However, although I adore the entire Oliv set, the A string has proven to be especially annoying. It's not even about the tuning problems or the tone quality, those I can deal with, but the longevity of it. In a matter of half a year, I went through about three Oliv As due to the winding unraveling; the last one of which unraveled even before tone started to stabilize.

I don't think it has anything to do with the set up of the violin, as no other string I have used behaved like this.

I have tried to use other strings with mixed success, like the Eudoxa A and even the Tricolore A, which I liked quite a lot, but did not mix well with the rest of the Olivs.
I have the Eudoxa A on at the moment, but really don't like the tone of it...

Any recommendation would be appreciated!

Replies (9)

May 11, 2018, 10:23 PM · ...just a quick question. when you say 'high tension Olivs, do you mean heavy gauge as opposed to medium?
May 11, 2018, 10:27 PM · Yes, I mean the heavy gauge. Since I came from synthetics like most players, I'm not quite used to the gauges of gut strings...
May 11, 2018, 11:55 PM · I've had the same problem with the Oliv A string unwinding - it's even happened straight out of the envelope. Never had that problem with any other A string (and I happen to like the sound of the Oliv A, but what's the point?). One substitute is the Passione A. That should work, but I wish they would solve the Oliv A problem...
May 12, 2018, 12:31 AM · Where does the string start to unravel?
May 12, 2018, 12:34 AM · I currently use Passione Solo A with Oliv silver D and rigid G. That works for me. Non-gut alternatives are Aricore-Eudoxa and Warchal Amber. I have the same experience you did with the Oliv A. Good sound, but never became stable like the D and G before unraveling.
May 12, 2018, 3:29 AM · I used Olives for a while and tho7ght they were the best strings for my instrument but the A was frustrating and eventually I moved on. At that time the idea to try a separate A string had never occurred to me . I have been considering trying. Olive G and D again with one of the Warchal steel A strings but now they are so expensive.
May 12, 2018, 9:05 AM · After all the negative reviews I've read, I've so far avoided the Oliv A. I have used Oliv stiff D-G more than once on my 1883 instrument -- plus Eudoxa A, which OP currently uses.

Though I've always liked the tone of this A, I had a problem similar to what he described: It didn't mix well with the neighboring Oliv stiff D -- at least on this particular fiddle. In playing double-stops on A-D, I found that the Oliv stiff D consistently took hold right away, while the Eudoxa A sometimes delayed sounding. I noticed the problem more in ascending passages -- G-D-A -- than descending. Very annoying. I suspect string-tension difference was a factor. Both strings were medium gauge.

The only Passione I've tried is so far is regular A. I have it teamed now with Eudoxa stiff D-G on this same instrument. The response is fine -- no disconnect -- but the Passione tension is greater than the Eudoxa tension. This fiddle seems to prefer lower tension overall than what this combo yields. So I'm now leaning toward a full Eudoxa set at next string change -- I've had good results from it before on this instrument.

Edited: May 12, 2018, 9:13 AM · Chao, what if you try bringing the Oliv A up to pitch very slowly when installing it - maybe even over a few hours? I wonder if that might help to preserve the winding.
May 12, 2018, 9:22 AM · Hey Martin, it has unwound at the nut (right out of the envelope) and, over a week or so, it will start at the bridge. I really don't think there was a problem at the nut - in fact, I had a very well regarded luthier install a brand new Oliv A for me to see what would happen and if he could figure it out. It unwound, and he couldn't say it was the nut's fault. Nutty, right?

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