Dominants Lasting 5-6 Weeks
My dominant strings are not lasting as long as I thought they would. It seems like they last many others 8-10 weeks. The strings aren’t false, but they are unraveling and I’m not sure why. Should I change the brand of strings I’m using or is this a normal rate of deterioration? I play about 16 hours a week.
Maybe the grooves in the nut and/or the bridge are too narrow, so that the windings stick as the strings stretch or contact during installation and tuning.
Are all of your strings unraveling or just certain ones? If the A string is the main culprit (and maybe the D string, albeit at a slower rate), it is probably your body chemistry. I have acidic sweat, which not only corrodes my A string faster but also wears off some of the varnish next to my violin's neck. This is natural, since the Dominant A string has an aluminum core and is therefore susceptible to this kind of degradation.
The unraveling is not normal. Are your nails cut short (trimmed down to where almost no white is visible)? Are the grooves at nut and bridge smooth, and are you lubricating with graphite when you change the strings? Is the fingerboard properly planed?
Thanks for the responses everyone!
It’s mainly unraveled where D is, but there is unraveling happening from the first finger B up to the B at the next octave.
Nice posts by Evan and Lydia.
Where did you buy them? They could be fakes.
You might just be unlucky enough to have really corrosive sweat. I have historically destroyed E strings with tarnish pretty quickly, and have had better luck with some string coatings over others (for instance, platinum-plated E strings).
Visions could be a nice switch, but I'd warn that you might find them lacking in depth if your instrument is already on the brighter side, as is the case with my instrument. It sounds like sweat is the culprit here - I'm not familiar with many other causes of unraveling, and pressing is certainly not one of them. I realize that this probably isn't the answer you want to hear, but the reality is that some of us (myself included) just don't luck out when it comes to body chemistry. My strings last longer during the drier months of year (i.e. winter), but in the summer, I play so much that I'm lucky to have an A string that lasts a full month. Regular cleaning might help, but if your sweat is super acidic, there isn't much that can be done to extend the life of the string, since you play it so often. If you have the budget to allow for trying out other brands of string, it might not hurt. I know the most frustrating thing about changing Dominant A strings is having that metallic sound for the first few days. Best of luck!
Like @Lydia mentioned; my daughter has sweaty hands. If you combine that with a competitive practice schedule, effective expected life of a new set of strings are no longer than 6-8 weeks for us.
No respectable brand of string just snaps, especially a G string.
I agree with Scott on this. I have not had a string break on me since the early 1990s. String quality these days is almost uniformly excellent. Any quick deterioration is a flaw and the string manufacturer will usually replace for free.