Why does it take 5 years for my string to die

July 12, 2018, 5:28 PM · Hello again pros of Violinist.com.

I have an interesting aspect about my violin studying to share.

Recently (1 year ago) I changed my string set for the first time because the teacher was wondering why the 'A' string sounded dull. I told him that it's been on for 5 years.

He gasps and looks at me in horror. Now, he, like many of you, will advise us to change our strings every 6 months to 2 years for violin string changes. (I've only been learning violin for 6 so...)

However, even though I practice 1 hour to 2 hours a day (every day), my strings never seems to die. It's been one year since my first string change, and I wanted to know whether I should change it or not. I brought it to a luthier (to repair something too) to check on if the strings were okay. She thought it was fine. I brought it to a string advisor in group class. He thought it was fine. My teacher today also said my strings were fine.

It is a mystery to me because several of my fellow orchestra mates could get a dull sounding string within 7 months. Mine just don't die.

Any ideas?

Replies (8)

July 12, 2018, 7:01 PM · I think your strings do die but you do not realize that. What strings are you using now?
July 12, 2018, 7:20 PM · What kind of strings? Dominants can very slowly dull down, often without going false.
These other people who judge them as “fine” may do so because they lack a point of comparison for your violin. They’ve never heard it with new strings or don’t remember. Your violin may be so bright to begin with it doesn’t matter.
Edited: July 13, 2018, 6:38 AM · Slightly off topic, but last November, as a result of the old bridge breaking during a practice session on my #1 violin and a consequent overhaul by my luthier I asked for a setup with a new set of Chordas (I had been using Chordas for quite a while so am quite used to them), complete with a gut E.

I fully expected, in accordance with previous experience, to have to replace a gut E within 2 months. To my surprise that E lasted a full 6 months of busy orchestral rehearsals and concerts, retaining its tone and playability with next to no fraying. It finally died suddenly during a rehearsal when it started fraying rapidly along its whole length. I wasted no time in replacing it with a spare Obligato E (now changed to a Warchal Amber E).

Again slightly off-topic, some years ago I was playing cello in the pit band for a light opera series (Gilbert & Sullivan). I was talking to the elderly double bass player during a break and he told me he had been using the same set of steel strings for the last 30 years. Given the cost of double bass strings I can't say I was all that surprised!

July 13, 2018, 10:39 AM · If I were paying a luthier to check my violin I would opt for a new set to be safe whether I needed it or not. You might play it for a few more months and realize you should have had it done.

My luthier recommended I take the violin back to him every 4 months.It's been maybe two months and I already notice some slight deadening. I think he put Evah Pirazzi strings on the last time. I don't have a problem changing my own strings however I also think it is a good idea to have the violin looked over periodically.

If I go to the trouble to take it to him to look over I'm always getting the strings changed. I don't want to deal with an issue later that he could have solved. OTOH ultimately it's up to you if you like the sound and don't take the violin to a luthier for a checkup.

July 13, 2018, 11:59 AM · "Why does it take 5 years for my string to die?" I want the brand of strings he's having.
July 13, 2018, 1:36 PM · "Why does it take 5 years for my string to die?"
Quick answer: because you don't practice enough!

Seriously though,
strings with nylon/Perlon cores, (e.g. Dominant, Tonica,) mostly low tension, after a few days of screeching seem to deteriorate very slowly.
The newer "composites", mostly higher tension, amaze everyone for a few weeks before going off.

Planned obsolescence?

July 13, 2018, 2:10 PM · @Everyone

So the ones that took 5 years to die were indeed Dominants. They actually went through heavy abuse by my brother, but somehow lived. It wasn't until last year when the teachers started complaining. Currently, I use Thomastik Vision Titanium Solo, but from what friends have told me, the quality control on the Titaniums are kind of unsteady. As for the violin with Chromcor from Pirasto, those have died in 7 months even though they're steel.

July 17, 2018, 8:06 AM · With reference to long-lasting less expensive strings and top of the range expensive strings that last a very few months, there is an interesting comparison with the motor car industry. A recent newspaper article in the UK points out that the most reliable cars in the UK are made by the budget-friendly manufacturers (headed by Hyundai), and the more expensive cars tend to have more problems:


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