Recomendations for strings: artificial harmonics on G
My daughter is preparing a piece for a performance that has some phrasing all played as artificial harmonics on the G-string. I listened to it and don't care for the way they ring (or rather do not ring). Her strings are Dominants and are close to the end of their expected life-span. I'm wondering if for this piece the sound will benefit from some other stirngs - I am getting her strings anyway, but want to know about going with something other than the Dominants. Any opinions from players ... or physicists on what the increase in string mass (e.g., something like Pirazzi Gold wound G) is likely to do to the quality of the harmonics? Her instrument is a Shar fiddle from the 1990's that is quite serviceable and has good projection but has nothing particularly remarkable about it's sound.
I have recently "discovered" Pirastro Perpetual Cadenza violin strings.
In general thinner (and maybe lighter) strings will produce and allow higher harmonics.
My kid likes Rondos her luthier uses. Can't speak to the specifics, but she has no problem with harmonics
To get those fingered harmonics to sound; play almost ponticello, and Loud. A soft touch won't work very well on the very short vibrating string length.
If the instrument doesn’t seem to be ringing very well at harmonics, it may be more of an adjustment issue. The sound post could be in the wrong spot or too tight. Have your luthier check it out. That being done, I would recommend using Rondos. They just seem to sound great on everything—to the point that the shop where I work has stopped ordering other string sets.
As Andrew puts it so well, different strings sound different on different instruments. I second the recommendation to see your luthier. S/he can hear the problem and suggest possible adjustments and maybe recommend strings that would work. Unfortunately, we cannot hear your instrument with the current strings, so it is difficult to make more than educated guesses. Rondos or Perpetual Cadenzas may work great for you, or maybe not. Good luck!
I can't help noticing that there's a tendency on this site to reach for a hardware solution to most problems. If a different brand of strings doesn't work, maybe the sound post has mysteriously shifted position?
Steve has a good point... Harmonics require a very exact placement of the finger, and fingered harmonics require two fingers to be placed in exactly the right position. Bowing is more difficult- usually a very fast, very light bow very close to the bridge. Dominants work fine for harmonics. Ask her teacher to play the passage on your daughter's violin- that's a good way to test it. Hope your daughter learns a good worker doesn't blame the tools; good life lesson.
I'm with Steve and Tom. I have found that ANYTHING involving something above the middle of the G string, whether the placement of the finger or the pitch (as in the case of a false harmonic) requires a LOT of tinkering with contact point. Non-pro-level violins are typically weak in that range. That doesn't mean you won't realize an improvement with different strings -- but the "hardware solution" is a crap shoot, and an expensive one. Getting a better sound (even if only marginally better) on the strings one already has -- that's a matter of grim determination and expert tutelage.
Paul is right about the "LOT" of tinkering. I found it can take what seems like forever to find just the right way to sound certain harmonics, then all of a sudden it pops out. It's also a 3D placement, since the finger must be on the right place for the note, and also the exact right pressure on the string. The intonation spot can be slightly different from the fingered note because of the angle. They are much quieter than fingered notes, so you have to listen carefully or you can miss it. Good thing is once you find it, it's pretty easy to repeat for some reason.
The reason why adjustment comes up as a suggestion so often when someone posts about issues with sound is that instruments are extremely sensitive to minute changes, so a small tap to the soundpost will change the way a violin performs vastly.
I wouldn’t change strings just for harmonics unless they were worn out, as the OP suggests.
continued- I read somewhere that the optimum point of contact for the bow hair is 1/9 of the vibrating string length from the bridge, for both harmonics and stopped notes. The construction of the string modifies that somewhat. Be closer to the bridge on the E string, farther from the bridge on the thick G-string.