New strings that will soften the sound of my cheap violin?
Hi! I’m a beginner/early intermediate (about 2 years) with a $320 usd violin. It’s the stentor conservatoire. I am looking for some strings that will soften or even “mute” the sound a little bit, maybe make it mellower. I don’t know if it’s just me, but my violin sounds really loud and it seems like it doesn’t need to be that loud. Anybody have experience with the stentor conservatoire? I’d like to hear your opinions.
Anyways, I put a rubber mute over the bridge and the sound is much more appealing. It’s much quieter, and it’s a little more muffled. When the mute is on, I feel free to move the bow a lot. I feel much more “alive” on the the violin with the mute on. I am guessing this is because it’s quieter with the mute? Or is the sound of my violin excessively loud and bright? I feel like I shouldn’t play with the mute on all the time. What could I do to help with the sound? Or am I crazy? I was thinking of trying the D’addario Pro Arte strings with the wound E (they claim to be very mellow), or the Fiddlerman strings maybe. People say they sound like the Dominants. Your opinions?
Thanks in advance.
Edit: I forgot to mention that I watched a video on YouTube about this guy who put paper clips on his violin’s bridge to soften the sound to make it more mellow. It works a little, but it still seems loud when playing.
I think the Pro-Arte strings might work very well for the situation that you describe. They are also reasonably responsive and powerful (while remaining mellow - some might say dull), as well as inexpensive.
I would go with Pirastro Tonica, they're nylon core which will be mellower than steel core strings your violin probably came with. You don't want a steel core string, they're brighter. As for using a mute, that's your business, if you like it better that way I don't see any problem unless you're trying to play publically. Tonica are going to be better than those other two options mentioned and they're no any more expensive, about $35/set
I haven't tried the Pro Arte but I think they will accomplish what you want. You didn't say what strings you are using, but if they are steel, as Lyndon states, almost any synthetic string will be mellower.
My Conservatoire II came supplied with Tonicas.
I own an €400 Yamaha violin, which has the same problem. The strings that have tamed it best are the Pirastro Violino (which I’m currently using). The best sounding strings I’ve tried in this violin are the Larsen Tzigane with a difference. But they were excessively loud in this instrument.
Thank you all for your responses.
I doubt that your violin bow is heavy. The typical violin bow weighs between 2.1 and 2.2 ounces. No way is that heavy. What makes a bow feel heavier or lighter is usually the balance: bows with more tip weight feel heavier, bows with less tip weight (i.e., more weight at the frog) feel lighter even though there is actually more mass in the hand.
One of my students has a Conservatoire, I gave her a set of Obligatos and the violin sounds very nice. The best use for them is precisely this case.
@andrew Victor, I am 17 and have young ears so that’s probably why it sounds loud to me. But it’s not just the volume. With the mute, it’s almost like the strings feel softer under the bow and under my left hand fingers. The strings seem more pleasant to play in general. It’s a weird thing. Unfortunately. I don’t have a teacher. I would definitely have one if I could but where I live there are none.
Do try Corelli crystals. Also try to notice whether any of the strings is the problematic one irrespective of the sets you try and replace accordingly :-)