Tarnished NEW string?

Edited: April 3, 2019, 11:02 AM · About 4 weeks ago I changed my Dominant E for a Piastro Gold E (LOVE the change) I practice roughly 1 hour a day, (a bit more on weekends) so 7-9 hours a week on average. At my level it certainly has not been 36 hours of uninterrupted practice over the last 4 weeks. I wash my hands before playing, and wipe down strings, fingerboard, violin, and bow stick with a piece of old t-shirt when I'm done for the day. My nails are quite short.

This week I've noticed that my new E string is tarnished at E1 (only), it doesn't wipe off. My teacher said it wasn't a problem, so I'm not worried. I'm seeking to understand why this is happening to a new string. I've read on the archives here and on other sites that this happens to older strings, but it's new.

What might be going on here - combination of my sweat and the string? Pressing too hard - don't know why that would create tarnish? Not using rosin from the horn of a unicorn from Tigana? Worth trying to remove it?

Replies (4)

April 3, 2019, 11:14 AM · Haven't had that happen since I used to live in a very humid climate. Even then, it wasn't that common. It may be just normal usage, perspiration, or high humidity.

(The gold plating going away from Oliv Es et.al. is usually due to similar reasons. It rarely happens to me, but can happen to other players.)

The good news is that Es are generally affordable, and more than one player refreshes their Es a number of times before they retire their GDA strings (some do the same with As, depending on what the strings are.) Gold Label Es, Hill Es, and Goldbrokat Es won't break the bank in the way say, a Pi Infeld Platinum E, would.

April 3, 2019, 11:45 AM · This is why I buy stainless guitar singles for my violin.
9 to 11 thou all work very well. And they're dirt cheap. Not like violin E strings, which are marked up about 3000%.
April 3, 2019, 9:05 PM · I don't know the gold alloy that is used to make gold-plated E strings but gold alloys in general such as "14K" gold can discolor. You might also be rubbing the gold off.

After trying a variety of E strings (including a couple of gold-plated ones) I decided that the simple Goldbrokat E strings are just fine and I can change them more frequently than my other strings because they're rather inexpensive.

April 4, 2019, 4:54 AM · Thanks - I've not noted an impact on sound, and I can't feel a difference so will wait to change it when my teacher says it's time. I've looked at the Piastro website and unless I'm reading it incorrectly, it looks like that Piastro Gold E is actually tin plated steel. This may just be discoloration that isn't harming anything/

It's helpful to know that E strings just need to be changed more frequently than the others - I DO like this string and it isn't THAT expensive - even at $5 I have to wonder how much markup there is in that tiny string). Crossing my finger it's just discoloration.


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