String Mysteriously Pops in the Night

July 27, 2018, 10:47 AM · So I was going downstairs to check on my violin. I had left the case open the whole night, and I found my e string on the other side of the room completely popped off and shot off of the instrument. There wasn't a dramatic temperature change or anything that could have caused this naturally, so please share your experiences and insight. My only thought is our cats, but one was outside and the other was probably sleeping in my mom's room throught the night. Or it could have been my siblings... But they all play instruments so I don't think they would do that.

Replies (18)

July 27, 2018, 10:52 AM · I have no idea, but I'm amazed that you leave your violin out with cats around. I can't do that for even a second or it would be toast! My cat Jonah is fascinated by it and that's never a good thing. ;)
July 27, 2018, 11:16 AM · In the winter with wide temperature swings inside my house my pegs loosen sometimes and my E string has broke several times at the loop end.
July 27, 2018, 12:13 PM · You haven't been playing with a ouji board have you? :)
Edited: July 27, 2018, 1:21 PM · Harrison, how old was the string, and where did it break? If the break was in the pegbox, which would cause most of the string to fly across the room, this suggests there was a kink in the string where it winds round the peg. This can easily happen if an old E string is re-used.

A kink in the E is a major source of weakness which will propagate and cause the string to break without warning. Which is why, if I carry a used E it is for emergency use only (perhaps for someone else in the orchestra section), and to be replaced with a new string ASAP.

July 27, 2018, 1:32 PM · Infestation of String Gremlins. Nasty little critters and almost impossible to eradicate.
July 27, 2018, 2:14 PM · You leave your case open all night, and you have cats?

Don’t do that.

July 27, 2018, 3:07 PM · It was a pretty new string, but it did break around the peg box or the nut. I am almost 100% sure that it wasn't any of our cats because one is strictly an outside cat, and the other is fat and lazy (sorry kitty it's true)
July 27, 2018, 11:31 PM · Your violin is under stress!
July 27, 2018, 11:37 PM · Every violin is under stress. That's why it sounds so good.
July 28, 2018, 2:22 PM · It doesn’t matter if this particular instance had nothing to do with the cats. Leaving your case open overnight, especially with pets, is unnecessary and unwise. Seriously, don’t do that.
July 28, 2018, 11:07 PM · Even if your house is air conditioned, there can be fluctuations in temperature and humidity between daylight hours and nighttime hours. Change in temperature and/or humidity can cause pegs to slip. It is safer to keep the instrument in a closed case (except in the case of extremely high humidity in areas that are prone to mold -- In those cases invest in a dehumidifier to cut down the chances of mold infestation).
Edited: August 3, 2018, 6:28 AM · "Leaving your case open overnight, especially with pets, is unnecessary and unwise."

My current profile picture is proof of that! :-)

July 29, 2018, 2:40 PM · "Leaving your case open overnight, especially with pets, is unnecessary and unwise."

This statement seems to imply that it's unwise without pets as well. Why?

I speculate that there is a problem if the lid is closed while the SR is on the violin. But in such cases I'd place the violin sideways in the case.

(My violin spends most time in a stand (with a safety lock)). I do keep an eye on the humidity.)

July 29, 2018, 3:20 PM · “This statement seems to imply that it's unwise without pets as well. Why?“

Your mileage may vary of course but I live in a 65+ year old house where despite our best efforts, insects and other typical urban pests occasionally get in. Plus, in the extremely unlikely event of an emergency, I would like to be able to grab the violin (case) and get out in a hurry.

Weighing against those concerns, the benefit of leaving a violin out overnight is....what?

Edited: July 29, 2018, 3:56 PM · For me the benefit is that the violin is always ready to grab for a brief practice session. Also I tend to be lazy with household duties, so without the stand, the violin would be spending a lot of time on chairs or in an open case on the floor where I can step on it or trip over it. (I bought a Hiscox case, so stepping on a closed case would not be a problem.)

My (rental) violin is not valuable enough to "grab in case of emergency" (I'd give priority to phone, wallet, laptop, and the hard disk with backups). Fortunately, wood-boring insects are not so common here - eh, knock on wood.

July 29, 2018, 4:43 PM · Leaving it out during the day is one thing (if you don't have pets or children or clumsy adults in the house). Leaving it out overnight is an unnecessary risk, in my opinion, although less worrisome if you live alone and in a well-climate-controlled home.
Edited: July 29, 2018, 6:42 PM · I leave mine out laying in the case but this is because the violin is in a room with a door which is closed to pets at night.

My two Yorkies are like mountain goats with regard to climbing. Neither plays the violin.One can almost vocalize so there may be some hidden latent vocal talent there.

If you use peg lubricant there may have been enough slippage for the peg to release suddenly. I had a similar issue with a cheap violin that had plastic pegs. You could spend more time tuning it than playing it.

Every now and then it would just go Fwwwwuuuuummmmmppp!!!!!! and the string would loosen. To come completely off you must have had a shorter string or maybe you clipped it too short.

Edited: August 2, 2018, 6:14 PM · Sue Violin says:
"Leaving your case open overnight, especially with pets, is unnecessary and unwise."

My current profile picture if proof of that! :-)

Oh, look at that - they're playing pizziCATo!

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