G string Woes
One time I tried the Evah Pirazzi Gold violin strings. I loved them but there was a problem with them. The G string lacked clarity and gave my violin a wolf in the high positions (I was playing Lalo 1st movement at the time). The D and A strings were great though and the E was okay on my violin. I really loved the warm sound of the strings until I tried to play the G string in higher positions.
So I thought that maybe it was because the G string was too high tension for my violin. So I tried tonicas and that fixed the problem so that I could play Lalo for my jury. However I didn't like the sound of the G as much as I liked the EPG G. But just now a year later after doing more research I found that the tonica G is higher tension than the EPG G according to the pirastro site. The tonica G is 4.9 kp (10.8lbs) and the EPG is 4.8 kp (10.58lbs but rounds to 10.6).
All this time I thought I needed lower tension strings so I kept trying lower tension strings. I tried dominants and those worked better than the tonicas in terms of sound. I also tried kaplan vivo even though they aren't low tension and they were better than the EPG G. Now I'm in the middle of trying the Warchal Amber. I'd heard that the G string can be weak in high registers. It wasn't at first, but now it is starting to be weaker. I was practicing the solos of the 1st orchestra 2nd violin part of the Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis and I was having trouble with clarity on the G string when I hit A4 to C5.
So now I'm not even sure what my violin needs in terms of tension
To wrap up the strings:
Evah Pirazzi gold:
Great, but the G string was unresponsive in high registers
Fixed the G problem, but the G is higher tension and the sound wasn't what I was looking for in terms of warmth
Better than the EPG G, but still a little unresponsive. Also not much lower in tension (10.5 lbs)
Worked really well on the G. I also preferred the sound to the tonica. The G string is also lower tension (9.9 lbs)
Also worked, but the G isn't so much as unresponsive, but instead rather weak. The G string is the lowest tension of all of them (43.05 N or 9.68 lbs which rounds to 9.7 lbs)
Basically I have no idea what to think anymore. I thought I needed lower tension strings (mainly the G) so that the G string would speak in higher registers. I thought the tonica were low tension at the time so tried those, but have now come to realize that the G string is higher tension than the EPG G string.
Anyone have any insight on what is going on?
You tried a lot of G-strings; that's expensive. Have you tried a Gut-core G ? The Pirastro Gold Label might be the least expensive of the options. On three of my 4 violins I use the gut G next to a synthetic core D. Gut can last a very long time. It is the same kind of complex high-sulfur protein polymer that is in your tendons and ligaments, which can last a lifetime if not abused.
The last time I tried Evah Pirazzi Golds, the G string was riddled with wolf tones in higher registers.
EPG sets topped with PI-Pt E strings (instead of the EPG sets' E strings) have worked well on my 4 differently voiced violins. HOWEVER, for two of those violins (which do not have wolf tones) I found much improved upper G string sound and response by using a Krentz wolf eliminator just for its tone-modification abilities. The other 2 violins were not improved at all by the Krentz - in fact, just slightly the reverse. My working hypothesis is that the Krentz acts a bit like adjustable/reversible regraduation of the upper plate (not substantial enough to call it a "theory").
Joel yes I have tried quite a lot of strings and it was indeed expensive. But I was also eye opening in terms of what strings do and don’t work on my violin. No I haven’t tried gut but I have been considering it especially the eudoxas. However after having found out about the tonics g I don’t know whether I need lower or higher tension now.
Andrew do you think it could be the e string in the evah golds? It is quite a heavy string in terms of tension. But I’ve used other e earrings that are pretty tense and they didn’t have much of a problem.
continued-- Besides the trick of raising or lowering a string by a 1/2 step, for the E string a cheap experiment is to try all 3 gauges of the Goldbrokat. And then there is the quality of the instrument. Unless your Violin is a very expensive, high level instrument, that Tonica or Dominant G might be good enough for your budget.
Christian - do you have a luthier? If so, go to your luthier, tell him/her what you have told us and ask for advice. S/he will be in a much better position to advise you since s/he can see and hear you violin, examine it in detail, and try to figure out what might work. You have received a lot of good well-meaning advice, but the best advice will come from an expert who can see and hear your instrument. Good luck!
Try a gut G. If you can, get one without a silk underlayer. The silk layer makes the tone softer and less gritty, but I think it's too mushy. A gut G with no silk wrap has a very clear sound, with lots of texture.
Multiple sets of strings are an awfully expensive solution to a relatively simple adjustment problem that should take about 30 seconds for a good adjuster!
Sounds like an adjustment issue more than a string issue. Or just a violin that's not great on the upper G string. Lots of inexpensive violins have issues in the upper reaches of the fingerboard.
My first inclination was indeed to go get my violin adjusted. I haven’t been able to find a luthier around where I am. I’m a student at University of North Texas. I had one back home where I’m from but I’m still in the Dfw area. I did try one luthier here and we tried adjusting it while the evah golds were still on there and it helped a little, but it was still a little wolf sounding up there just not nearly as bad. That’s why I starting trying different sets. It sounds expensive but it was really only when I needed to change sets unless the set was that bad like the vivo. The vivos sound great on my other violin though that needs a brighter string in order to not sound muffled.
"I have considered going back to dominants since that’s what was on my violin when I got it."
Paul I was just saying that since they were on there when I got the violin and I liked the violin then, maybe I should just stick to dominants and experiment with E strings and get the violin adjusted to work really well with dominants. Most shops I go to don't have the same strings on the majority of their violins either.
Violins with any brand of string will sound different with different E strings. That's why it's very common to experiment with E strings first, and to keep the E static while changing the choices on the lower strings.
Wow I've never considered keeping the E string and changing the lower strings. I've always done the opposite.
--Cotton M. Do you know which gut G strings do not have that silk layer ? I was not aware of that.
Pirastro's Baroque Chorda G, a gut-cored wire-wound string , as opposed to flat-wound, has an intermediate layer between gut and winding, which I confirmed by dissecting an old one, but I don't know if it is silk. However, there may be other Baroque G's that do not have such intermediate layer. Worth looking at the specialist Baroque/Early Music gut string makers.
Joel, the wound gut strings made by Savarez for early period instruments don't have what you call a silk layer (actually it's either nylon or polyamid). These gut strings come in two flavours: wound with copper or wound with silver plated copper for a different character of tone. I use them for G and D on two different violins, both with modern tuning (A = 440 Hz) since several years. For my instruments they don't have cons that I could mention. Very full and good sounding strings with a long lifetime compared to a string with synthetic core. Savarez offers these strings in a wide variety of gauge.
Gamut's Academie G string has an option to have the silk layer removed, and Aquila probably doesn't put silk on their G strings at all.
I used gut-core strings on the single (1951) violin I owned until around 1974. I used Pirastro Eudoxa and later Olive - Pirastro's Gold Label never was right on it. When Thomastik introduced Dominants around 1970 they clearly were not as good on it, but a few years later Pirastro introduced Tonica strings, which were a worthy replacement for the climate-sensitive guts on that violin (I've retried the Pirastro gut-sore strings thrice since). I have recently learned that this violin is pretty weak under Tricolore strings with a Goldbrokat E. It seems very nice these days with Warchal Timbres, but it's all-time favorite combo seems to be Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold strings topped with a Peter Infeld Platinum-plated E which were on it just previously - and may be next again.
Hang on - the Pirazzi golds sets have two alternative G strings: the regular (expensive) and the actually gold-wrapped (veery expensive). Which of the two did you have problems with, if not both. If one you could try the other....
I've been using the gold-gold and have not had any of the problems you describe on my fiddle - interestingly, I'm about to try the silver, lets see if I see a difference.
The EPG gold G was terrible on the violin I tried it on. Warm but really fuzzy and sluggish. The silver G worked fine on that violin though.
Nate I've never actually tried the regular Evah Pirazzi. After hearing about their short lifespan and not particularly liking brighter strings I've just stayed away from them. Maybe it's time to give them a shot. I haven't tried Vision Solo either, but I have used titanium solo. Also when I got my instrument checked the first time this was happening nothing was wrong with it. I even got my bridge shaped (there was a lot of extra material) and a new sound post.
It just occurred to me that I haven't tried Evah Golds since I got my new sound post. When I tried them it was about February last year and I got my new sound post in December. At the time I was using tonicas and Kaplan Vivos. The new one is longer than my last one to accommodate the humidity where I live. Maybe the Evah Gold G will work now? I took them off pretty quick after I had problems with the G so I might still have the set somewhere.
Update: I tried putting the Evah Gold G back on my violin with the new sound post and the wolf is still there. I put the Warchal String back on and the wolf disappeared, but was still a little weak up the g string. The dominant string didn't have a wolf at all and wasn't weak.
Christian, from what you are saying, the dominant strings do the trick. Like you -and other people- said, experiment with various E strings and the TI Dominant ADG. Also, consider that there are two Dominant D options, silver wound and aluminium wound I think, maybe you can try both and see what happens. I really like them, in fact I am currently using them with a medium Eudoxa steel E.
Hermes I believe you're right. I have a full set of dominants (besides the e) that aren't too old that I can use until I get another set. I'll likely keep the Amber E on to see how it works with the dominants since I really like the warm sound I get from it. The non-whistling is a nice bonus as well.
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