Question on switching to Passione strings

June 16, 2018, 1:33 PM · I am contemplating trying a set of Passione strings in medium but wondering if it will require me to enlarge the notches in my bridge and nut, as I realize that generally gut and wound gut string are larger in diameter than their medium synthetic counterparts, which is all I've ever used to this point.

If I do indeed have to enlarge my bridge and possibly nut notches, correspondingly I assume I will have to replace those items to switch back to synthetics due to the notches now being too deep, correct?

I would appreciate feedback from those with similar experience in this regard. Thank you

Replies (19)

Edited: June 16, 2018, 1:58 PM · I would not deepen the notches, just widen them.
For a return to thinner strings, a little plastic sleeve (from a disused cable?) should avoid buzzing.
June 16, 2018, 2:00 PM · You do not need to change anything. Passiones are a hybrid gut-composite string. They are much like Pirastro's composite-core strings in diameter and feel.

In feel, Passiones are far more similar to a composite string like Evah Pirazzi Gold than they are to a wound gut string like Olivs, in my opinion, and they bear almost no resemblance to a wound gut string like Eudoxas. I've used all the strings listed above and am a regular user of Passiones.

(By the way, this is the first summer I'm using Passiones, as I usually switch back to something else -- Warchal Brilliant Vintage or EP Gold -- during the summer. Big thumbs down in the humid Maryland summer, sufficiently so that I'm considering ditching them and trying a set of Perpetuals.)

Edited: June 16, 2018, 3:36 PM · Thank you Adrian and Lydia. I should have checked the the string diameters of the Passiones but I was assuming (insert cliche here) a larger diameter. Good to know not a significant difference. It's just that I'm particular of my setup, including maintaining a general ratio of string diameter and notch depth.

Lydia, fortunately I live in a fairly dry climate, so hopefully I won't have too much of a stability issue.

June 16, 2018, 7:18 PM · I use Passiones on my violin, coming from Evah Pirazzi. All of Lydia's characterizations are my experience too, including no need to change your set up to accommodate them. FWIW, of all the strings I've tried, the change to Passiones was the biggest favorable change for me. Folks frequently say it takes about a week for them to settle in. For me, it was 2-3 weeks. But not too much of a chore since my violin has Wittner tuners.
June 16, 2018, 9:01 PM · Thanks John. When you say settling in, I take it to mean tuning stability. If so, that would be the longest settling in period I've experienced so far, but not surprising. This is my first experience with any type of gut, even a hybrid such as the Passione's.

As an intermediate player, I don't expect I'll be able to draw the full capabilities of these strings out but I do look forward to experiencing them on my violin.

June 17, 2018, 1:44 AM · Notch depth in the bridge and the nut should surely depend on the desired clearance between string and fingerboard, not on the diameter of the string.

Edited: June 17, 2018, 7:08 AM · According to the luthiers I've dealt with and the luthier I worked for while in college, their process was to make the notches and average of 1/3 the string diameter and the bridge and nut height then adjusted for string height.

On two previous violins I've owned, the luthier adjusted the string height by raising the bridge in one case, and in the other case the upper nut was replaced because it had been cut too short (was causing a buzzing, notch depth was fine).

I've also read comments from professional players that deep notches tend to have a damping effect on tone, although I believe that to be opinion rather than fact. Nevertheless, me not being a luthier nor a seasoned player, I'll stick with the advice of those with more knowledge and experience than myself.

June 17, 2018, 7:05 AM · Fair enough, but I'm referring to adapting a good existing setup to thicker strings.
June 17, 2018, 10:44 AM · Sorry, I misunderstood. For me, if the diameter of the new strings is larger, I would feel the need to deepen the notches to maintain an approximate 1/3 of the string diameter, therefore changing my string height, which may or may not appreciably change action or cause problems associated with too low of string height.

I currently have a good setup and would want to maintain those current dimensions. The odds are that a small thickness change would probably not have an appreciable effect, but I hesitate to alter a setup that is working well for me.

Fortunately it appears that the diameters are similar, so it shouldn't be an issue.

Thanks for your input.

June 17, 2018, 1:25 PM · Even with thick, pure gut strings such as Tricolore, you may not need an adjustment at all unless you have a particular problem or are picky about specific measurements. If it plays well and sounds good, those are your main "measurements". The guidelines are always good, but what works, just does.

Passione are too similar to modern synthetics in appearance and width, so you have nothing to worry about. They are softer and easier to play vs many moderns, but the width won't be a problem, IMO.

June 17, 2018, 1:57 PM · @Skip - correct. I primarily mean tuning stability. Unlike Lydia, I haven't experienced any seasonal tuning annoyances, but that's most likely due to the fact I'm in the SF Bay Area.

Adalberto makes a good point - due to the tendonitis I've suffered nearly all my adult life (a big problem when I was playing guitar/mandolin/mandola semi-professionally in the late 80's), I nearly gave up violin. Fortunately I can play again without issue. Even if the Passiones didn't sound good on my violin but allowed me to play without pain, I'd probably use them. But I love the sound, so it's win-win for me. As always, YMMV.

June 17, 2018, 6:42 PM · I’m using Eudoxas right now. I find that you just get a lot better at tuning quickly after a few weeks of humidity fluctuations:)
June 17, 2018, 9:11 PM · Adalberto, thanks, that's good to know. And no, I'm not as concerned with the specific dimensions as I am the sound, which I fear might possibly be altered with those very dimensional changes. But as Adrian mentioned, if they had been thicker, just widening the notch would allow me to maintain string height while trying the strings but still allowing me to go back to synthetics if I so choose.

John, I'm in a similar situation, my climate being fairly stable as far a humidity is concerned. I have spoken with a couple of violinist in our local symphony that use gut and they apparently haven't experienced as much stability issues as I would have thought.

Jason, I had considered Eudoxas but being an intermediate student and this being my first experience with any form of gut string, I presumed the Passione's to be an easier introduction to gut. I'm getting enough tuning practice as it is right now since finally getting rid of my fine tuners, which seemed to have opened up my tone noticeably.

June 17, 2018, 9:46 PM · I am a beginner-intermediate and I am using Eudoxas. There is this meme that you have to be advanced to play gut, but I think that it's not true. Except for the tuning issue, I believe that beginners and intermediates benefit greatly from using gut. They encourage naturally better bowing, they are kind on the left hand fingers, they sound always beautifully and they last several times longer than synthetics (IME).
I think that there are two reasons for not using gut: The tuning stability during a long performance and the volume/projection (this one arguable, but it's more predictable to get volume from pressure). A beginner or intermediate does not usually have those needs.
June 17, 2018, 9:53 PM · I agree that gut forces better bow discipline. My violin is also bright so benefits from the warm gut tone, so it’s great except for the instability, which isn’t so bad after acclimation.
June 18, 2018, 7:02 AM · To be fair, Passione are a good introduction to gut, enough that it may tempt the player to try the more affordable options out there at the cost of the "stability technology" involved with them. Only thing is that they are more forgiving than Eudoxa, et al (or pure gut for that matter). But they remain a softer, easier string to play than even Dominant, even though the latter is not too tense.

While using Eudoxa, spend the first few minutes warming up the strings, especially the aluminum wound D, which is the most prone to pitch changes (if not using the wound gut A). Flesch 1-4 or whatever passage in sul D. These pitch alterations are not only confined to room temperature, but also finger and body warmth. Let the pitch go down, tune up. Eventually the process will even out and you won't have to retune for the playing or practice session (for the most part.) This sounds like a hassle but in practice you have spent a few minutes practicing scales and left hand/bow arm technique.

The way our brain works, we adapt quickly to intonation changes, so even in the event of not warming up the strings after initial tuning, the violin will be able to be played in tune regardless, as it should, with only open string passages presenting some trouble (and which is why I suggested warming up the strings to your body temperature, not just the room/stage lights in which you will be playing.)

The Oliv/Passione/Gold Label/Tricolore wound strings don't have too much (if any) of this "problem"-it's somewhat of an Eudoxa quirk. Though I have heard that it happens to many Oliv A users, it never was an issue with me. (Others similarly complain about the Eudoxa gut A.) The Eudoxa Aluminum D is among the most temperamental, but actually sounds good and is reliable once warmed up (I have only used the rigid version).

To Eudoxa users-the above is not an attack on the Eudoxa brand, as I even have them on my violin right now. Just trying to be real about issues that may come up. I actually feel too many people give up on gut without trying them, or after a week's use or less. Eudoxa and others are good strings, despite the bad press they get from many "younger" traditional teachers-some of which have never used them-and the marketing press.

(Do recommend your pegs are working well ! They do not go out of tune "all the time"-even less with Passione-but your life will be much simpler with properly working pegs.)

June 18, 2018, 8:34 AM · Passiones are sufficiently like synthetics that your bowing technique from synthetics should likely work just fine. I have no issues getting power from weight with the Passiones.

(Side note: The minor annoyance of having to retune is much exacerbated by the fact that my pegs have started to stick with the summer.)

June 20, 2018, 7:05 AM · Lydia, every time you change strings, slather a little of this on your pegs Basically it's a wax/graphite compound. Pretty much takes care of peg issues for me.

June 24, 2018, 11:45 AM · Does that peg paste perform differently than Hill peg compound?

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