Octave violin tuning
I'm using a different viola tuning for traditionnal music, so I tune it like an octave violin (E4 A3 D3 G2).
I'm using standard viola strings for the moment, witch I undertune them to get the octave violin tuning (for exemple A4 to E4 etc...), but the strings become very low tension and it's may loose a lot of volume sound and projection...
I'm thinking to change these strings with Cello strings (set of ADG + E string). Do you think that it's a good solution?
I have a 16.5 viola.
I've done the same to be able to play viol consort music with myself. For E4 A3 and D3 I use standard viola D, G and C (they seem to cope OK with the extra tension) and for G2 I bought a set of 1/4 size cello strings. I tried tham all but I think it was the C that gave the best result.
I already try to overtune viola strings, but D overtune to E will always broke after few weeks...
If you're willing to tune to octave viola pitch instead of violin, Sensicore string sets are readily available. Why not do that?
I think the C2 string from a small cello worked fairly well tuned up to G2 on a viola (mine is 17") because of the trade-off between length, gauge and tension. For me it worked far better than tuning a viola C3 string down a fourth which felt like playing on a rubber band.
@Mark: Viola Octave strings don't have E4 string in the set, only A3 D3 G2 C2, and they cost very much than my option...
I have a viola set up as octave violin. I use the top 3 strings from the Octave viola set for the lowest 3 strings and a long scale viola D tune up to E. I guess you could just get the G from the octave set and the use normal long scale C, G and D strings tuned up for the top 3. I think cello strings will not be a very good solution. Most likely they are too thin. I can't remember the measurements, but I have compared the viola octave strings to my wifes cello strings and the viola set was much fatter.
Originally I had the chin cello set for viola but have generally found for an acoustic instrument that the ultra low strings are less than satisfying - you need amplification for small scale low strings. I also had it set up going down to B flat at one time. So I moved the G to the place it would be on the violin and used a D string for the E. When strings broke I decided this was a bit expensive and used some viola strings I had. I kept the G from the octave set (even when that broke I managed to knot it so that i could keep using it) and tuned the C to D, G to A and D to E. If I were to replace my strings I would just buy a sensicore viola octave G and replace the others as above. I like it, I always felt that viola didn't really go low enough and that there is a big gap between the viola and cello. Reading becomes easy for a violinist if you just put an octave down sign on treble clef.
@Pontoppidan much fatter maybe because of core string? the octave viola strings are from perlon?
For a shorter scale you need a fatter string to sound lower, so a cello string may not work for the same note. A cello C string may work for a G string etc... The other problems of using cello strings is that they are too fat at the peg end. The strings designed for the purpose are thinner at the end. I haven't tried it but I would imagine that you need to drill the peg hole bigger.
Yes - see above. The C string for a 1/4 size cello went through the hole OK. Of course you don't get much volume but it does work in certain contexts.
@Christopher: Yes you can overtune Cello C string to G, but the sound will be really poor and the string will be very difficult to play...
If you think about it, a cello C2 string produces G2 very satisfactorily when stopped 1/3 of the way along its length. So to take Mark's example, a C2 string for a 1/8 size cello (490 mm vibrating length) is actually slightly shorter than the ideal to produce G2 when played open on a viola (380 mm) while a 1/4 size cello string will be slightly longer than the ideal. Surely either one is worth a try!
I would calculate the tension of such a setup before attempting it in practice. The 1/8 and 1/4 size cellos I have seen are more solidly built than a viola. There is a risk that you apply to much pressure on the bridge and too much tension on the neck. Your viola may not like that....
I did set up my second viola with Octave strings and it sounded quite good - except for the C string. The small corpus of the viola would just not amplify those vibrations the way it did the higher strings.
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