Does the afterlength rule apply to gut strings?
Generally, the afterlength on a violin is set to 1/6th the playing length or adjusted until the afterlength on the D string rings in A. I set my violin up this way with synthetics (both 1/6th and the D afterlength tuned to A), but it's obviously all out of whack now with plain guts.
Should I keep it the same or tune the afterlength for this specific kind of gut string?
I would just sit down and experiment, but I don't want to fray my strings. Their life is hard enough as it is.
I prefer changing it according to the instrumet and the player, if the player wants the instrument more aggressive, I'll use a long string afterlength, if the player wants to calm down the instrument I will do the opposite .
Cotton, I originally tuned all my instruments by the same D/A rule as you. Actually, since the silk windings on all metal-would strings affect the afterlength tone (ring) I will accept the pitch match for either of the two lower strings. However I have not checked nor reset the afterlength when changing to different brands.
Nowadays I take a fairly pragmatic approach to the 1/6 playing length theory, leaving it to my luthier to set things up as he sees and hears fit. Gives me more time to play the violin. The problem with 1/6 playing length is that it is a mathematical concept that "works" fine with mathematically ideal strings (which don't exist in the real world), bridges which don't distort, move or vibrate (again which don't exist), and tailpieces that aren't mathematically perfect.
Those are, in fact, the only strigs when one can have a 100% proper after-length. There is no winding to affect the distance.
That was very kind of LUIS CLAUDIO MANFIO, a Luthier, to provide useful and informative information.
Mr. Manfios violas are beauties and anyone that wants to see pictures of them can go to Maestronet.com and search for Manfios Bench.
In my experience, there can be many different afterlengths which enhance the tone and playability of an instrument. The various major "sweet spots" tend to be about two millimeters apart, and all give slightly different outcomes.
I adjusted mine today to 55-ish mm and I hated the sound. I went back to 52-53mm, which was a sweeter sound. As David and Luis said, it’s instrument and player specific.
1/6th rule to make the after length especially resonate with the played length is fine if you are just playing open strings. As soon as you drop a finger on the string the after length ceases to be 1/6th the playing length and all your careful setup ceases to cause any special ringing.
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