Violin strings

May 31, 2018, 1:32 PM · As a general rule how often should violin strings be replaced? The bow is slipping on all strings, mainly the A. I have played on present ones for 18 mo and at least 500+ hours. I clean them with denatured alcohol about every 2 weeks (the strings, not the bow. Generally I use resin sparingly, otherwise they slip because of too much resin.
I only clean the bow hair occasionally with a used tooth brush. I use Tonica strings.
Some of you will recognize a similar question several months ago.
Is there a technical way to check the strings? I took engineering at university so o am quite interested in technical things!

Replies (16)

May 31, 2018, 1:37 PM · I basically wait until the strings aren't functioning optimally.
May 31, 2018, 1:39 PM · Depends on the string brand. As a general rule of thumb, at least once a year. For most brands, at least once every 6 months.

Modern composite cores tend to just wear out under tension, even if you're not playing a lot. Modern strings tend not to break or go false as much, but the sound deteriorates, and you should always replace them when you don't like the way they sound or respond. This is pretty much a matter of taste, but given all the time people spend obsessing about their violin and its set-up and buying just the right strings, if you really want to keep optimal sound you'll change more frequently.

May 31, 2018, 6:57 PM · It would be great to find an answer to your question of a technical way to check. Really technical and objective to be certain that something is wrong in the string and not that you are having a bad day/week. And the opposite. Sometimes you find that you play worse and worse and a change of strings brings your musica back.

In my case the string that dies first is always the A. And with time I discovered why: It's the aluminum winding. I usually play with D and G in silver winding, and steel E.
The "sickness" of the A can be seen with a magnifier. The corrosion spreads and in few weeks (sometimes days), the weakness of the winding with the fingering and playing brings unhealthy sounds from the string.

Point is, you should be able to see some problems with a magnifier. Other than that, I'm eager to read more advanced answers...

May 31, 2018, 7:01 PM · You can see problems with the winding using a magnifier, but you can't see the way that the winding and the core have separated.
May 31, 2018, 9:18 PM · I’m puzzled that you skip more because of rosin. Rosin is supposed to provide grip.

String age and slip probably don’t correlate much. Core stretching and winding flattening are more probable. I change every six months and I play an hour a day.

June 1, 2018, 3:38 PM · I believe that too much resin can “cake” making a flat surface by filling the scales. My bow slips no matter how much or how resin is on it. By the way the bow was rehaired 3 months ago
June 1, 2018, 4:45 PM · This.

June 1, 2018, 5:59 PM · Said URL can’t be found??
June 2, 2018, 5:10 AM · Please try again. It works when I try it.
Edited: June 2, 2018, 10:25 AM · In the past I've used the Eudoxa A, but the tone started to go south after three months or so - not so much with the Eudoxa D and G, interestingly. I get better results, both tonally and in terms of playing life, with the plain gut Chorda A, which is now my A of choice.

I am well aware that there are other excellent gut A's available, but the Chorda is much more convenient to get hold of where I live.

June 2, 2018, 10:22 AM · My luthier's rule of thumb is to change strings after 120 hours. That works fine for me, and I do not have to worry about trying to determine where they are in their decline.
June 2, 2018, 4:11 PM · Terry, if the url still doesn't work, go to the warchalk website. Click on 'faq", then click on "lifespan of strings". Very interesting.
June 3, 2018, 12:10 AM · Warchal very scientifically proves just how bad it is to clean strings with alcohol or other solvents.
Edited: June 8, 2018, 9:41 PM · Leon. I finally got the original. It is very good indeed. Thank you for telling me
June 8, 2018, 9:45 PM · Thank you Leon. Very good indeed!
June 8, 2018, 9:45 PM · Thank you Leon. Very good indeed!

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