Bohdan Warchal

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About Bohdan Warchal

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  1. Hi Dimitri, Thanks for letting me know. Actually, the prototype sent to you is very slightly different. I would guess 4% or so. We are still not sure we will make another "warmer" G, but even if so, it will definitely not be a big difference (otherwise we would get our of intended range). We have just returned from Cremona. The organizer do not allow entry with instruments to visitors, which makes string trials a bit more difficult. However, a lot of visitors have tried Timbre on two our violin and some of them managed to get their violins in somehow, so they tried them with Timbre too. We got a bulk majority of very positive feedback. To be very precise, there was one lady reporting "too much power" and another one who would like to "get slightly more power". So I believe we have achieved what we aimed. However, there is still possibility to customize the set to those having too bright and too dark instrument by making special variations. However, such strategy would increase logistic burden for sellers of course. In any case, let me know please. As I told you, there is a difference that might be, or might not be noticeable according to many other circumstances...
  2. This is what we have done with Amber W-core®. However, there are also at least two layers of windings that need to stay open. We could seal the gaps of course, but you would certainly not enjoy playing such string...
  3. Any plastic edge may do the job. Credit card has been just en example, since it is also quite common item :-)
  4. I suggest you using only well played in strings for such kind of tests. Playing in strings is obvious process. Therefore you mix playing in strings with (potential) playing in the instrument by using new strings.
  5. You can of course mix strings in order to find the best match and I would like to encourage you to do it in case you are facing any problem with balancing of your instrument. There is no any set with unique tension in fact. The typical violin strings do vary from about 45N to 80N in one set as well. The biggest problem with referring tensions from manufactures data is that there has been no any standard saying what range should be soft, medium or heavy tension. Moreover, there has been no any standard saying how precise the declared tension should be kept. However, there are some rules for mixing strings and you will learn them by experimenting soon or later. Firstly, the highest quality synthetics are very close to gut strings in terms of sound, but mainly playability and response. So you can mix them in case you do not mind the gut strings tuning instability. On the other hand, metal strings differs. This is why there is no much sense to mix them unless using metal strings in upper positions (E metal, ADG synthetic, or EA metal, DG synthetic). However, there are some traditions that are hardly understandable for me. For example the typical French viola set-up has been A – metal, D – synthetic, G – synthetic, C – metal. Switching from G to C is very tricky, requiring completely different bowing parameters, (at least double portion of press , much less speed and being farther from the bridge). As for the “loudness”, it works not so easy. If such a rule would exist, we would play three times heavier strings nowadays. Only carefully adjusted tension suitable to your instrument can give you the most projective sound. If you raise the tension beyond its ideal level, the sound starts lacking overtones, being dull and hearable just close to your ears. Moreover, you would sacrifice a lot of playability and response. This would force you to press even in piano passages (in other words, you would unintentionally change piano to mezzoforte, so your dynamic range would became even narrower. Listeners would perceive it as a lack of power in forte passages. So you would gain nothing at the end.
  6. We already tried to treat the string, but the priority is grip, so non-adhesive surface is not what we need :-)
  7. So you can see the result here http://warchal.com/faq/cleaning_using_cork.html In the original "string cleaning" article the "cork method" was not included. We did't suppose such method could be so popular and frequent. Obviously recommendations posted on Maestronet do have huge impact :-)
  8. Hi colleagues, after publishing the article about strings care and cleaning a few days ago, we have got plenty of e-mails from our customers. They refer we have forgotten to mention cleaning strings by a cork. They were allegedly advised such method on Maestronet. I have to admit we have not included this method, since I did not suppose it could be so popular. In fact, this turned to be the least effective and most string damaging method ever, unfortunately. We will publish more details soon.
  9. We have tested repeated detuning of our strings up to 10 times. We have not noticed any significant tone quality change. However, keeping an old string set for temporary use for set-up jobs is not a bad idea. Particularly if you are not sure about the perfect condition of nut grooves. Although we do not warn our customers of string detuning, there is on exception. Our synthetic core cello "A" strings are extremely fine and therefore fragile and sensitive to handling. We recommend avoiding any excessive handling of this particular string version http://warchal.com/technical_support/cello_synthetic_a_string_care.html
  10. There would not be much sense to change only one of the synthetic core strings, you are right. The only excpetion could be if somebody facing aluminium corrosion issuse would insist on using synthetic core A strings. If he (she) would destroy A string in three or four weeks time, changing D and G with every other A string change could make sense. On the other hand, the durabilty of our metal core A strings (Russian, Avantgarde) is several times longer than any synthetic core string. So any frequent change might be waste of money. The winding is almost completely resistant to wear, so you can play it at least 3 times longer as any synthetic core set as for tuning issue. Some of our customers have played them even for many years time. Sound quality drop is something else of course. Although I believe the "sound quality durability" is much better with Russian A strings too, we can harly give you any definite advise. The sound quality drop sensitivity is very individual with every single customer and even with every single instrument. Sometimes it is no easy to define the moment when the string(s) should be replaced, since the string sound deterioriation process used to be quite slow and gradual. The very same as with the tires on your car. If you drive on dry roads only, you can wear your tires almost up to zero. Should you like to be able to drive in rainy weather on highways safely, you will need to change the tires much sooner...
  11. There are more kinds of pollution representing different risks. (Actually three of them in my opinion) 1. Rosin pollution on the bowed area. There is no any permanent risk, until it would be cleaned by solvents such an alcohol e.t.c. But the temporary effect is unpleasant, since it make the response worse. The pollution does not stick around the whole string and many people are surprised that it does not fix at the very top. If you would cut the string, the rosin pollution would have the shape of clown haircut. So you need to scratch both sides of the string (close the the top) by any sharp object, that is softer than aluminium but harder than rosin. I recommend using a credit card edge (and cloth afterwards). I own up, that I do clean my strings by my nail edges. It might be considered as a bit "peasant" method, so I do not recommend it officially :-) There is no any reason to clean the rosin very completely. Firstly, a new one rosin sediment will be created by the first bow stroke, secondly the response of the totally clean string used to be neither ideal. This is also, why the mechanic cleaning make more sense. 2. The common dirt coming from our hands, on the fingerboard area. (The dirt we accumulate on the skin during the day, skin debris, human fat, e.t.c.) The dirt comes inside the string and it causes the sound degradation. This is the permanent, non-reversible process according to our research and experience. It happens even with metal core strings (where we can hardly blame the core elasticity drop). In my opinion, there in no any chance to avoid it except of prevention (trying to keep our hands clean). Metal strings cold be washed by dipping intensive ultrasonic bath theoretically, the open winding of the synthetic core strings closes by removing them from the instrument. I do not believe such methods would be worth trying. 3. Salt and some corrosive acids in human perspiration. It affects aluminium and hydronalium strings mostly. Only a small part of population faces this problem significantly. But there are guys that destroy every violin A string in three weeks completely due to massive corrosion. It is related to diet we eat in great extent, but genetics has been also involved of course. We recommend them to switch to warm sounding metal core A strings such a Russian style A, since they are wound by the stainless steel of the food quality. Salt is easily removable even by clean water fortunately. I have to admit, that cleaning the fingerboard area after every playing session may help to slow down the corrosion a bit. The most of the sweat remains on the top of the string of course. But it is only a slight remedy, since the salt inside the string is doing its job permanently, even if we do not play the instrument for weeks. I only recommend doing this for those, who face the aluminium corrosion problem. I would like to highlight that I am not interested in shorting the life of the strings we sell to you (by discouraging you cleaning them by solvents here e.t.c.). On the contrary, we are permanently trying to improve their durability. If I would be able to make a violin string set, that would last ten years in its original sound quality, I could charge USD 1000 for it. I would be happy to be first offering such product, there would be no any risk for us. Answering the very original post, no any violin string has been designed to keep its original sound quality for two years time I am afraid. In my opinion the only we can do (and also we should do) is offering strings of the best possible quality for the affordable price in order to allow customers changing them regularly in time and recycle the worn strings in order to avoid wasting precious metals.
  12. Synthetic string construction is quite complex. There are at least two metal windings (and the gaps between) on the core having several hundred fibers. Our viola C has three metal windings Cello C has four of them. How you could "wash" such a tight labyrinth by a solvent applied on the surface? You will rather get the salty and aggressive dirt deeper inside instead. If you clean the bowing area with alcohol e.g., you can be sure the dissolved rosin gets inside causing damping effect. Occasional cleaning is O.K., but you can hardly prolong string life by frequent cleaning care. In my opinion, the prevention (washing your hands before practising) is much more effective. Moreover, the dirt contamination is not the only cause of sound degradation. There are various kinds of pre-tensions in a fresh string that do change by its wear, there is mechanical wear of the vibrating string on fingerboard and so on. If you look at the Helmholtz string motion simulation, you can see the intensive massage that every part of string has to undergo with every single vibration cycle... And if you consider that the synthetic core violin string reaches one million cycles in less than an hour of playing in average...
  13. Feel free to disregard such guides that have been written one hundred years ago. Op. 8 is fine for shifting practising, but the playing technique has developed a lot since such recommendations had been written.
  14. You can alternate or even blend different kind of rosins on you bow hair (in spite of the official recommendations of rosin makers).
  15. It is not easy to explain the original pronunciation, since there is the sound "ch" that is not used by English language at all. The sound is commonly used in all (or almost all?) Slavic languages and also in Hebrew, Dutch, German... e.g. (Johann Sebastian Bach). So the same like you modify Bach's name, you will modify mine. If such a giant like Bach does not complain, I am also fine with any pronunciation . Word is large and in spite the globalization, there are still many nations, languages and even dialects. We (Slovaks) neither pronounce foreign names correctly mostly . As for the rosin, it really depends very much on the result you want to achieve. If you have chosen Brilliant set in order to make your violin sounding louder and you want to emphasize the effect even with the rosin, go ahead with Andrea solo. Should you found the sound a bit too loud or even harsh close to the ears, try A Piacere or Vienna's best. Or you can try another type or rosin, there are many of good quality nowadays available. We do not have any list of strictly recommended or even authorized rosins. The aim of the test have been just to give our customers a clue where to start in case they do not want to try many rosins.