Competition soon, A string little unwound, what to do?

October 26, 2017, 5:02 PM · I have a competition this upcoming Saturday, and my A string became slightly unwound as I was practicing. Would you replace the string immediately or right after the competition?

Replies (12)

October 26, 2017, 5:14 PM · Might be a bit too late to replace it and have a tuning stable string on Saturday, if the unreaveling is at the nut or the bridge, I would think you can get by, how does it sound, if the sound is effected then replace it immendiately.
October 26, 2017, 5:14 PM · If you have a used A string that is in not too bad of shape that might be an option since it will come into stable tune faster.
October 26, 2017, 5:17 PM · I think the sooner you replace it the better. It will need a little time to settle in to hold tune. The unravelling part could buzz or catch your finger if left as is.
October 26, 2017, 5:25 PM · Change it immediately. You don't want it to break.
October 26, 2017, 6:08 PM · Fix it now.
October 26, 2017, 8:58 PM · OK, I dictated my previous comment while walking to the green room during a rehearsal break. Let me expand on it a bit:

Aside from the very real danger of the string breaking, "a little unwound" means it is only going to get more unwound as you play. Worrying about lacerating your finger is going to change how you shift, and not for the better. You'll play better with a new string. I wouldn't change any of the others at this point, just the one that is compromised.

If you have a competition on Saturday, you're likely going to be practicing enough tomorrow (Friday) to give the string a chance to stabilize.

BTW if you're in Texas and you're referring to the All-State taping on Saturday, best wishes to you for much success, and I hope you got the memo about the Hindemith. (If you are in Texas and you did not get the memo, I posted the relevant part on the Hindemith thread.)

Edited: October 27, 2017, 3:14 AM · There is also the real possibility that the tone may disappear suddenly if the outer winding separates from the core. I had that happen once to a cello Dominant D during the last page of a symphony in a concert. It felt like I was playing on wet string. There was no prior warning in that case, and that was the last time I used Dominants.

[Edit 27/10/2017 Quite irrelevant, but talking of things disappearing reminds me that page #648 (the mysterious “invisible” thread) has now been taken down.]

October 27, 2017, 4:28 AM · Quite intriguing that invisible thread. I was not able to open it to read, but still people seemed to be able to respond. Makes you curious what was discussed....

On the original question - unless you are playing on gut core I would change it if you have more than one day to stretch it. The A string is the one most likely to break like that in my opinion, and I keep an Avantgarde by Warchal in my case as an emergency A string. It is stable almost instantly and much nicer to play on than other steel strings.

Edited: October 27, 2017, 4:55 AM · One solution is offered by Metzler Violins:

The Simple Secrets of Successful String Changing

See steps 9 and 10.

October 27, 2017, 5:51 AM · Thanks Joel! One of the most important technical articles I've seen, even though I don't use synthetic core (to which steps 9 and 10 are particularly addressed, although I'd guess it also applies to covered gut as well). Everyone should put that link on their desktop and/or print out the article.

Bo, nothing important in the chat, which was generally about how to get into the thread, and what Laurie was going to do about it - which she has done.

October 27, 2017, 6:48 AM · Interesting, I discovered step 10 by myself but always thought about it just beeing a bit of personal wodoo.
October 27, 2017, 10:16 AM · I changed strings a couple of days ago and they were still a bit hard sounding. Just tried that no 10 trick. Instant improvement! I shall never change strings again without doing this.

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