I find the tone on the G string is just not quite there for me now, especially when playing up the fingerboard. I also find them (again, the G is particularly problematic) less than responsive - a fast piece of Bach will leave them struggling.
I also find, on occasion, they can sound a bit scratchy and harsh on my violin, which is a three-year-old instrument that is settling in.
So I thought I'd ask here if anyone has experienced anything similar, and if so, what strings you moved to as a less harsh, scratchy alternative?
First approach to that was to use an old,(clean and dry) toothbrush to separate the hairs and remove excess rosin.
I'm not ashamed to confess that my next step is often to clean the hair with alcohol. After using this approach for almost 50 years I finally found confirmation from British bow maker Andrew Bellis (google him! http://www.andrewbellis.com/ ). I use the "alcohol swabs" sold in drug stores (for preping skin for injections) to avoid dripping or splashing alcohol on sensitive surfaces.
Finally, I know some violins are very sensitive to the strings put on them (and some are not). Every violin I have had the past 30 years has sounded very good with a Peter Infeld Platinum E string and Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold A, D and G strings. That particular E string seemed critical to the instruments' overall sound, although it is not a good "plucking" string (in my opinion) compared to the Amber E.
I had found a Larsen Tzigane set good on a couple of violins that had problems up the G string.
Another possibility could be old strings. Depending on how old your Ambers are it could be time for a new set. Could also try a different rosin or even a new Cecilia (Andrea) solo cake.
As Mr. Harvey mentioned in his second option, I *think* something may have misaligned over time in the violin itself. The Ambers do not strike me as the sort to be harsh at all-though that depends on what one considers "harsh" to be. If anything, it should be a bit muddier/darker over time (the lack of clarity in the uppermost register tends to be common even with some otherwise good synthetic G strings.)
I would suggest a good gut core G, but I know my advice is likely not popular. :) Would suggest for Mr. Leatham to try other Gs to determine whether this harshness goes away. It may not be the Ambers. However, many "clear" synthetic Gs tend to be deemed "harsh" as well-especially new-so sadly we are limited in our recommendations, not knowing what level of harshness would be deemed acceptable (in general, my favorite Gs are not too dark, so you may also find them harsh-even the lovely and warm Eudoxa G is rather clear on the higher positions, despite all that "thick" richness... it should be definitely less harsh than an Amber, yet clear on top, therefore my earlier recommendation for this type of string-though your violin may disagree!)
Hope this problems gets sorted out for you!
I have now recalled that I once faced this situation before and it turned out to be an old block of rosin. When I look at my current block, I notice it has suddenly started flaking so I've ordered a new cake which should arrive tomorrow.
I also very much like Andrew's idea of cleaning the bow - I'll do that as soon as the new rosin cake is here.
If these two things don't restore my sound, then I'll make a pilgrimage to my favourite luthier and see what she says.
Thanks again everyone
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harsh and scratchy sounds like the problem I was having for a while until I switched from (too much?) Hill Dark to Guillaume. But you have far more experience than I do.