Pregnancy/Nursing and String Longevity Questions/Discussion

October 9, 2018, 5:41 PM · Hi, all!

This is a topic I've not seen ever come up here, or anywhere else online.

As a player, I've always been a person whose skin was "acidic" (or whatever you would like to call it) and I tend to go through strings a little faster than others.

However, when I was pregnant with and for numerous nursing months after having my now-toddler, I went through strings WAY faster. I play as a professional player for musical theatre in a pit for the past few years, so being able to have quick responding, accurate strings for finger placement is a must in a loud pit where I essentially (as all players do for these smaller, regional theatres) function as a soloist for many of the melody lines I play.

I was curious if:
-other women had run into this?
-what techniques for violin and string care did you try or add to your routine to deal with it and extend the life of your strings?
- if there were certain types of strings that you found helped mitigate this? (for example, certain metals, as I have read via Shar that there are some that are far less likely to corrode - which is a newer thought to me, that I am looking into, now).

-and while we're at it, talk about bow hair, too. I heard from one violin shop nearby that this can also degrade faster for some women in this extra hormonally-ridden phase of life and felt that was likely the case (and then went away once nursing ended).

FYI, Men - you can comment too, for your wives, daughters, and what you've seen with students!

Let's see if we can make life easier for pregnant and nursing violinists everywhere.

Replies (8)

October 9, 2018, 5:53 PM · No clue as far as the pregnancy differences. But, at a string company event, I remember the company rep talking about how one of the things they worked on was putting barriers in the string to help stop with the corrosion. I think it was Thomastick but not sure. It may have been D'addario. So, maybe try strings that are newer to the market.
October 9, 2018, 6:18 PM · Hmmm...three pregnancies and an extended time of nursing with each child but I never noticed any difference, though to be fair, I don't have corrosive perspiration anyway. Sorry not to be of more help.
October 9, 2018, 7:05 PM · I have a long history full of posts about just this. Maybe not an enticing solution for a busy mom, but I found intense exercise daily or semi-daily helps a lot. Also, less sugary foods; a healthy diet in general. And baking soda!
October 9, 2018, 7:47 PM · I have corrosive perspiration which destroys E strings especially. It may have an effect on other strings too, but i'm less certain about that. Violin shop just advised me to change every 2 to 3 weeks if need be, since E strings are generally cheap, but I switched to the Warchal Amber E and it has excellent longevity for me.

I get good longevity out of Warchal strings in general.

Edited: October 9, 2018, 9:06 PM · As a husband.
What I noticed it's that my wife's senses were a lot more acute during her pregnancy and nursing. So I would add the possibility that the strings are not deteriorating faster, but that you are more sensitive to their change. Or both happening at the same time.
October 10, 2018, 12:59 AM · Lydia - E strings, especially? Interesting!

Carlos - It is DEFINITELY faster during both. It's noticeable from a "mistakes made" perspective, not just a tonal difference. I notice the tonal difference days before it starts actually affecting my play.

Cotton - which posts? on corrosive perspiration, or the link with hormones with pregnancy/nursing? (because those didn't come up in a search, if the latter)

October 10, 2018, 3:42 AM · Valerie, a few diagnostic questions:
Which brand of strings, of which materials have been giving you problems? Does one of the strings in the set go downhill more quickly than the others? Do you ever play them to the point where the outside winding frays, or do you notice any other visible differences, or is the sound deteriorating without any visible change in the string?
Edited: October 10, 2018, 4:34 AM · What happens if a violinist puts talc on their left-hand fingertips? Or is that what Cotton Mather is saying?


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