Gut string experts please help!
I want to use plain gut A and D, but I have massive problems with the sharpening of intonation. Both Damian Dlugolecki and Dan Larson have told me that sharpening is reduced by increasing twist. The gimped strings have more twist, but it is too much and the sound is not good.
So I tried slightly twisting the strings myself before putting them into the pegbox, but it didn't seem to do anything... Is it possible for me to moisten the string, twist it, and then let it dry, all without ruining the string?
You can soak a string, twist it, then hang taught to dry, but that's kind of ruining it unless you have a polishing machine. If you want a higher twist, order higher gague strings or ask for a custom set.
I'm not sure if it was placebo, but yes the sound was slightly brighter. Intonation was also placebo improved by about 5-10%. Anyway I just twisted it while dry which probably increased the twist angle by less than 1 degree...
Or not at all. Even wet, it's hard to change the original twist.
I see. So what did my dry twisting do to the string if it didn't change the original twist? Did it just change the texture of the string?
What does "the sharpening of intonation" mean?
By sharpening of intonation, I mean that after the initial use period (1 week or less), when I put my finger down, the string plays at a sharper intonation than what it normally does when brand new. This is due to the string becoming stiff. My plain gut E and wound gut G are not affected by this phenomenon but my plain gut A and D are, which can make double stops a nightmare.
Well, if you have no issues with E, then I would suspect the string clearance / shape of the fingerboard. Also, any misalignment between the nut ant the bridge, or even the grooves on the nut. String can not be sharp - the player is supposed to correct the intonation, but if you can not play clear fifths, this sounds like a hardware / setup issue. You can also use a very small amount of pure almond oil to hydrate your strings.
That's really interesting, my experience is old gut strings "sink" instead of going sharp. I'm sorry I don't know what is the solution for either problem. Many baroque soloists I've talked to experience this problem which drives them nuts as well, and they often change the adjacent strings, even if it's still fully functional, so that they can play fifths without extreme contortions to accommodate faulty old strings.