Violin strings' fingering intervals are uneven?
The strings of my student's violin are uneven for fingering purposes--when he plays a 3 on E, for example, it's higher pitched than it should be based on his 3 on A. The higher the note on the E string, the lower, relatively, he has to play it as opposed to where it should be. The lower strings are the opposite; on G he has to play notes higher than they should need to be played.
We have tried having a luthier adjust the neck of the violin.. Changed strings. Checked bridge height. Luthier couldn't find anything wrong, but the finger placement is up to a half step off of where it should be by only third position!
Does anyone have any ideas as to what is wrong or how to fix it? I've tried all the teachers and luthiers I know...
This is very surprising: I find I have to reach further on the E string than on the others!
I have no idea what is going on here. However, if I were faced with the same problem I would make a device (similar to a guitar CAPO) that would be capable of stopping all the strings exactly the same distance along the neck positions and use that to test the disparities.
I have to place my fingers higher on my G string relative to the D. I don't know what causes it; my best guess is the difference in string height and elasticity of the strings causes the disparity. Maybe using one of those twisty Amber E strings (or just twisting your own E string around a twig or something) will solve the problem.
If the string is too high off the fingerboard, the distance that it needs to be pressed to the fingerboard will be too large causing a higher pitch.
Do you know the total vibrating string length, stop length, and neck length? If those are not in sync, you might have issues with intervals.
There are numerous things that can cause small difference in fingering locations among strings, but a half step off is extreme.
Could the bridge be improperly placed, or not perpendicular to the strings?
Odd. If the bridge is perpendicular to the strings, and not too high over the fingerboard, this should not happen. Measure the string length of the G and E. One early sign of worn, or faulty strings is to play perfect fifths. If a fingered perfect fifth is out of tune when the open strings are in tune, a string might be old, false.
Thanks so much all for your input! I'm 99% sure all the strings are steel, but will try putting a brand-new matching set on. I believe he has Dominants on right now, but he might have a Red Label or two. He is very prone to breaking his strings. :P
The octave harmonic should be independent of the fingerboard.
If the strings are cheap steel strings, the pressure of the bow stroke could cause the pitch to bend.
The bridge is probably not straight or bent. My school have some violins like that, it's impossible to play 5ths in tune. Sometimes the bridge is bent on one side because of the fine tuners.
People have a lot of good ideas already.