New/Old way to string a viola?
So, I was browsing around my local violin shop yesterday, and came across Whistler's "From violin to Viola", and thumbed through it quickly. One page leapt out at me, as it talked about how violas had the strings arranged differently in the peg box. Same C G D A position on the fingerboard, but the C and G strings switching which pegs they go to in the peg box. It claimed that this was to overcome the sharp bend in the particularly thick C string. Here's the pic from Whistler, and my before and after on my own viola that I just switched around for kicks. Anybody else string their viola up this way?
That would drive me crazy trying to tune. No, thanks.
Right. But are you a violinist or a violist? Violists are already outcasts from society, so we may as well do everything a bit different, don't you think?
I know a folk fiddler, an engineer by profession, who got fed up with the process of replacing his violin A every few months - trying to persuade an A string into a dark hole in a black peg in the dark confined space at the far end of the peg box was a pain. I well understand this (thick fingers from a lifetime of cello playing), and my solution is to always have a pair of tweezers to hand in the violin case.
Since string tension is determined only by the vibrating portion of the string, then how would stringing that way affect the sound?
I don’t think it is purported to affect the sound.
I replace my E string more often than the A, so Trevors suggestion would not be useful. I have heard of violists stringing like you describe, but would not do it myself. Too high risk of accidently turning the wrong peg.
@Bo "Too high risk of accidently turning the wrong peg."
I did that when I installed OCTAVE strings in my 2nd viola. Just switched back to normal strings yesterday. It was too hard for me to read bass clef on a chin instrument (I'm a cellist before I'm a violist - and a violinist before that) and the C string response was too puny..
I used to do this when I was in college. If it is your only instrument, you get used to it quickly and there is no issue with turning the wrong peg. I did feel it improved the sound of the C string to some extent. But for some reason, I kept having issues with the G string breaking -- I'm not sure why. I could understand the extra-stretched C string breaking, but I don't know why the understretched G became problematic. In any case, my son mostly uses the viola now, and primarily plays violin, so I've switched it back to the normal configuration.
The problem is that I also play the violin and I don't want to restring the violin the same way.
It may give more punch to the C string, depending on the instrument.
Some bassists do that to avoid a sharp bend on the thickest string. Personally, I hate it when I get a bass like that- keep retuning the wrong string.