e string not as loud

Edited: May 29, 2018, 12:35 AM · Recently lucked into a high end 1930 EH Roth XI-R model Guarnerius, the G, D and a are well balanced and loud but the e string is not quite as loud, maybe 20% quieter.

Is it as simple as fitting a heavier gauge e string, does this work or is it more complicated than that, I've tried adjusting the soundpost, tightening it (moving it to the right) does not significantly increase the volume of the e string and really damps the output of the G string.

Replies (51)

May 29, 2018, 1:35 AM · May be a lighter E to let the wood vibrate more freely?
I have found that this can give less power but more projection on my own violin.
May 29, 2018, 1:38 AM · not when the e string is quieter to start with!!
May 29, 2018, 1:52 AM · I have little experience, but I can't use the famous Peter Infeld Platinum E for being too loud. It is difficult for me to calm and hush that string. Like a caffeinated kid on Christmas morning. If that one doesn't wake up your E, nothing will...
May 29, 2018, 1:59 AM · Lyndon, maybe you could do some work on the bridge or carve a different one?
Edited: May 29, 2018, 2:48 AM · thanks Carlos!!
May 29, 2018, 2:46 AM · No problem with the bridge, properly carved.
May 29, 2018, 2:47 AM · The problem is not that the e string is quiet, but rather that the G, d and a are so loud.
May 29, 2018, 4:41 AM · largely fixed the problem by moving the soundpost closer to the bridge, from 3mm away to 1.5 mm away
May 29, 2018, 6:54 AM · I have found a better balance on one of my violins by having a slightly longer (not looser) post in line with centre of the right foot of thb bridge, rather than its outer edge.
May 29, 2018, 7:32 AM · The soundpost is always supposed to be in line with the centre of the right bridge foot, as this one is. I'm taking about the distance behind the bridge foot, not side to side.
May 29, 2018, 10:47 AM · Beyond adjustment, I'd second Carlos's recommendation to try a Peter Infeld platinum E. Expensive fix, though.
May 29, 2018, 12:38 PM · Have you tried a harp tailpiece? I keep hearing that they boost the upper register, though I never tried one...
May 29, 2018, 12:55 PM · I have been using a platinum E string for a few months and rate it a great string but expensive
May 29, 2018, 1:20 PM · Adrian's unorthodox solution could well work.
May 29, 2018, 5:17 PM · Provided you're not a fumble-fingers like me! As far as I am concerned, internal adjustments and bridge installations are strictly for the trained luthier.
May 29, 2018, 5:26 PM · I'm a trained luthier, I have my own violin shop, click on my name!!
May 29, 2018, 10:38 PM · Nina's suggestion is a good one for these cases. I tried one harp tailpiece and removed it in a week precisely for the imbalance in volume they produce. That's because my instrument has no issues and I like to use whole strings sets, but one that is stronger in the lower strings or those who like to have string configuration and tone jump from GD to AE, could equalize them with an harp tail.
May 29, 2018, 11:51 PM · Not one person responded to what a heavier gauge e string would do, just a lot of wacky ideas.
May 29, 2018, 11:58 PM · Why don't you try it out and enlighten us with your findings? Trying all gauges of goldbrokat E is cheap.
May 30, 2018, 12:13 AM · As I said I already fixed the problem by moving the soundpost closer to the bridge.
May 30, 2018, 6:06 PM · I thought a few heavy gauge Es are quite loud on the violins I have, especially Westminster E (27.5). I personally prefer Eudoxa wound E heavy. Eudoxa wound E, unlike the majority of wound Es, is surprisingly bright and loud, and singing on my quietest violin (ironically a 1920s' John Juzek Master Art)
May 30, 2018, 9:58 PM · I second experimenting with setup and also e-string gauges - possibly lighter, but most likely heavier.
June 1, 2018, 3:03 AM · If a "trained luthier" asks for advice on v.com he/she will get a lot of "whacky ideas", some of which are the fruit of experience..
June 1, 2018, 3:28 AM · it just so happens I've never run into this problem before, and it seems the logical thing to do would be use a heavier gauge e string, if I hadn't been able to fix it by positioning the soundpost, I just thought someone might have experience trying it, evidently not!!
Edited: June 1, 2018, 4:00 AM · Hi,

Lyndon, in my experience both trying and observing, many Guarneri (and models) benefit from brighter Es. Two that I have found that work well are Goldbrokat (which Heifetz and Stern used) and Westminster (which I think Pinchas Zukerman is using at the moment). Both Heifetz and Stern used the medium gauge Goldbrokat, and I think at this moment Zukerman might be using the heavy gauge Westminster.

Hope this helps...


June 1, 2018, 4:12 AM · thank you!!
June 1, 2018, 7:41 AM · Have you tried moving the soundpost closer to the bridge?

Edited: June 1, 2018, 12:35 PM · you haven't even bothered to read the thread, have you????

Sorry but I've already mentioned twice in this thread that I solved the problem by moving the soundpost closer to the bridge (1.5mm)

June 1, 2018, 11:58 AM · Lyndon, have you asked on Maestronet?
June 1, 2018, 12:15 PM · I'm not on maestronet, me and the moderator don't get along!!
June 2, 2018, 5:58 AM · I wonder why :-)

But I confess to sometimes reading the OP, then scrolling down to answer, without checking everyone's whacky ideas!

Edited: June 2, 2018, 6:57 AM · For selling the instrument,if that is the case, I would say that an expensive e string might not be the best solution because that would obligate the buyer to buy such a string or else have a distorted idea of the violin.

I'm just speaking from the point of view of the customer...not expert. The solution would be better if it remained in the realm of the 'mainstream'. So best to try a bunch of cheaper e strings. I found that my violin was quite sensitive to the choice of the e strings.

I would also suggest that if one has to play too much with a setup, like position of sound post, to find something that kinda works, that'll also set the customer with the potential problem of discovering that sweet spot. Someone who is going to buy this instrument is probably not obsessive about setup and doesn't want to visit a luthier monthly. I think a good middle of the ground should be used to reflect the actual predicament of the violin and it's customer(the customer will not be let down after a while).

So given a decent setup- which I think you're more aware of than a few of us here given that you are a luthier-, try different regularly priced e's then if that doesn't work, a different set of g,d,à.

June 2, 2018, 7:58 AM · "Not one person responded to what a heavier gauge e string would do, just a lot of wacky ideas."

I've tried heavy gauge E strings and never found them good for anything.

June 2, 2018, 8:03 AM · no body buying a $10,000 instrument is going to fuss about a more expensive e string. As to set up that is done by the luthier, not up to the customer to adjust from week to week.
Edited: June 2, 2018, 10:20 AM · Lyndon, perhaps but I think I've read a few people here who probably have good probably more expensive instruments express hesitation about paying around 30 dollars for an e string.howver, ive also heard that their longevity is better.

But, if it works, would you suggest to the customer that they stick to this particular choice of string for that instrument to maintain the balance with the other strings?

I tried a bunch of e strings, some more expensive (but not the pi). Eventually the best for my violin was the pirastro gold label (with various combo of lower strings). Not the cheapest but not the most expensive. And it's not just about volume, also the beauty of tone. I loved the Hill too, but it was weaker on my volin and squeaked more. I would love to have a violin that suits the Hill E actually :)
Which is to say, try various e strings..you wouldn't know which one might be best for the violin. Many here spoke highly of Warchal E, on my violin it made all the other strings sound rather metallic and devoid of fullness. So..one would benefit from trying more than one.

My violin hated heavy E gauges. It was like strangling someone in their sleep when I recall the sound distortion

June 2, 2018, 10:21 AM · Have you tried using a heavier tension a and g and a lower tension e and d string?
Edited: June 2, 2018, 10:21 AM · Have you tried using a higher tension a and g and a lower tension e and d string?
June 2, 2018, 11:14 AM · talk about wacky ideas!!
June 2, 2018, 4:20 PM · Just to clarify...i was being sarcastic...i thought this thread needed some humour
Edited: June 3, 2018, 9:59 AM · Continue on my previous response, the best E for all my violins is Larsen Tzigane (stark), followed by Hill E (heavy). Both are affordable. Tzigane E, my go-to E string, besides loud, sounds stunningly beautiful yet quite beefy. Tension for both, even in heavy gauge, is indeed not that high thus still comfortable under fingers, given Larsen and Hill strings known to be overall low tension.
June 4, 2018, 7:41 AM · String costs are relative, and not necessarily related to the cost of the instrument. Even if I had a Strad, I'd still consider a $30 E string to be a ripoff.
June 9, 2018, 9:43 AM · Amber E (stark) is quite loud as well (and brilliant), and is a good choice to combo with Warchal Brilliants if you like Warchal Brilliants.
June 9, 2018, 3:10 PM · One comment. You remarked that the bridge is "properly carved." There are a number of variations in bridge wood, tapering, thicknesses, size of cutouts, etc. that can have a significant effect on the tone. The tone of a violin can be changed noticeably (for better or worse) by different bridges, even when all of them are correctly fitted within a normal range of variation.
June 9, 2018, 5:00 PM · That might be true on crappy violins, but on good violins I find fitting the bridge is pretty standard.
June 10, 2018, 2:17 AM · its my impression that amateurs that have trouble fitting a bridge properly are more likely to believe each instrument needs a specially customized type of bridge, the top expert I consult with says he intitially fits all violins bridges the same way and it is only if something is drastically wrong with the results he considers making changes to the bridge.
June 10, 2018, 6:47 AM · $30 IS a lot to pay for an E string, but I have the platinum-plated PI E strings on 4 violins and with the results they have given me it is a real BARGAIN!
Edited: June 10, 2018, 1:33 PM · Yes, you can increase a violin's volume by increasing the gauge of the strings. I use a 28g e-string, and it's increased the volume, increased the body of the tone, but slightly reduced the response. Since it's an e-string the decrease in response is negligible. It's already thin. You can make up for the decreased response by using a darker rosin.

Bottomline, thicker e-strings increase VOLUME and tone BODY. Thin strings give a lean and anemic sound.

June 12, 2018, 4:37 AM · Well my top player/teacher/customer came over and trialed the new Roth violin, she is quite familiar with the Roth brand but commented the sound was better than she was expecting, it had a very good tone from where I was sitting and she did not feel the e string was lacking, in fact she really liked its tone, so the instrument appears to be a real winner. YAY!!
Edited: June 12, 2018, 4:42 AM · I should point out that this is the Roth model XI-R, out of about 12 models they sell this is third from the top, the cheapest model, (the Stradivari 1700) is almost half the price, this one sells for 7700EU brand new and the ones from 1930 are worth significantly more than the new ones.
June 12, 2018, 5:32 AM · When I have had adjustments made to my instruments such as soundpist, bridge, or tailpiece, I have found that it takes days for the instrument to settle down and the change is not always for the better when things are moved around. There are many learned luthiers that disagree with me and say that when you move a soundpost the sound change is instantaneous and it just our ears that need time to get accustomed to the change. It seems to me Lyndon that maybe after moving the Roth soundpost around the result was not immediately perceived as better but after a while it did turn out to be the result you were seeking.
Edited: June 12, 2018, 5:55 AM · no it immediately improved the balance of the e string when I moved the soundpost closer to the bridge, i just hadn't had a professional player test it out till now

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