Curse of the cheap violin?

June 12, 2018, 5:26 PM · One of the violins that use is a relatively cheap Chinese-made Stainer copies.(My luthier said it was fairly well made despite what I paid for it) Tonight while practicing I noticed it fighting me on changing pitches. Specifically I was working on one of the octave studies near the end of Wolfhart bk.2. Is this a problem due to anything in particular? I continued experimenting and found that it was fine on m2, M2, m3, M3 intervals, but anything else other than octave I had to fight to get the pitch out, especially on P4. In all fairness I just picked up the instrument to play, and the strings were in tune with each other when tested through double stop 5ths. This was after a signicant warm-up of scales, double-stop 3rds, 6ths, and 4th. I have not really noticed this responsiveness issue before, then again my skills are get better than they once were. Anything thoughts?

Replies (10)

June 12, 2018, 6:00 PM · check the neck stop: body stop ratio
proper ratio is 2:3
which on most violin translates into: 130:195mm


If the ratio is off, trouble starts in 4th position and continues up the fingerboard.

Edited: June 12, 2018, 7:08 PM · double post
June 13, 2018, 8:41 AM · "Tonight while practicing I noticed it fighting me on changing pitches"

"it was fine on m2, M2, m3, M3 intervals, but anything else other than octave I had to fight to get the pitch out, especially on P4"

It's not exactly clear what you mean. It sounds more like an adjustment/humidity/temperature issue that has changed the response in general.

June 13, 2018, 9:00 AM · For others who like me have no idea what "stop lengths" are I offer this:
June 13, 2018, 11:30 AM · Long story short, the strings were in tune with each other, but the instrument was about 12 cents flat. I did not think it was going to matter that much, but apparently it does.
@Scott- open D through F# was fine, but the G on was problematic.

Apologies, and thank you.

June 13, 2018, 1:14 PM · An instrument that is significantly off of A=440 can really mess with your sense of intonation.
June 13, 2018, 3:06 PM · 12 cents is like 3Hz in this case if I did the math right.
Edited: June 13, 2018, 9:42 PM · How old are your strings? Strings will go "false" when they begin to wear out, and will no longer vibrate consistently to a pitch. You can often tell that strings are false when you're tuning with a sensitive digital tuner, and you might notice that the pitch is jumping around the target pitch for no other apparent reason. That will make it very difficult to play in tune.

Strings can also seem false when they have a buildup of rosin in the bowing area, so they have an uneven distribution of mass along their length.

June 14, 2018, 6:14 AM · Steel strings seem especially prone to going false.
Edited: June 14, 2018, 2:08 PM · The real culprit is none other than rosin. The vibrating strings cast off rosin dust which condenses back on everything due to electrostatic effects.
Change rosin before its too late.

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