cutted string

December 20, 2018, 5:18 PM · I would like to use 4/4 cello strings on my 16.5 viola (for octave viola tuning), but I have to cut it to install it.

What will happen to string caracteristics if I cut them?

(I dont want to buy an octave viola set)

Replies (9)

December 20, 2018, 5:27 PM · That’s not going to work like you think it will.
December 21, 2018, 12:14 AM · Ummmm the first thing you have to worry about is the MASSIVE tension it's going g to put on your viola.
December 21, 2018, 2:32 AM · A cello has a vibrating string length of 70 cm, your viola probably 38 cm. At the same tension (32 lbs), the cello strings will be almost an octave higher than a cello, which is a standard viola tuning. You'd have to reduce the tension by a factor 4 (8 lbs), which is rather low compared to 13 lbs for viola strings.

You could consider double bass strings, but the strings will probably be way too thick to fit.

December 21, 2018, 2:47 AM · Strings have "silking," which is that colored thread wrapping at each end. If you cut that away the string will unravel and fall apart.
December 21, 2018, 4:22 AM · In conclusion: the strings won't be dommaged?
Edited: December 21, 2018, 6:43 AM · The way the pitch produced by a vibrating string works is:

the shorter the string, the higher the frequency of the fundamental
the higher the tension, the higher the frequency of the fundamental
the lighter the string, the higher the frequency of the fundamental

If you take the lowest cello string, C, for example and cut it in half (or use half it's length some other way) and bring it to the same tension as it would have on a cello, its pitch will be the same as that string on a roughly 14-inch viola. If instead you use low enough tension to produce a cello C-string sound, it will just flop around like a rubber band.

But what is worse, if you cut a wire-wound string, the wire remaining on the string will unwind unless you find some way to fix (or attach) it at the cut end before you cut it.

My own experience with OCTAVE strings has been that the corpus of a 16-inch viola supports the sound of the A, D, and G strings well, but not the lower pitches of the C string - came out more as a whisper. (Of course, that could just be that viola, but I doubt it.)

Simply a bad idea.

Edited: December 21, 2018, 7:04 AM · Wrapping the cut ends around the pegs may stop them from unravelling, but are cello strings not too thick for a viola's pegbox?

Elsewhere I was asked if I'd be interested in an octave violin. No, I'd rather play a viola. And I'd rather play a cello than an octave viola. But some people like to experiment. I understand that. I've done similar on ukes. It always seems to be unsatisfactory in the long run. Because the instruments aren't built for it, as Andrew says.

December 21, 2018, 11:29 AM · @Andrew: What about the same question without using Cello C strings? I will add E cello string and delete C string...
December 21, 2018, 11:57 AM · Amine doesn't believe me but the C-string from a 1/4 size cello actually works quite well when cut down. It's about the right gauge and tension. Characteristics? What characteristics? Why not venture few quid and find out?

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