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Bohdan Warchal

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Everything posted by Bohdan Warchal

  1. You are right, V-groove is expected to conform to a certain extent. This is what I spoke about, when I wrote that any string creates something like a saddle beneath. However, this solution is not the same as U shape. The V-shape (although with conformed string) is still ready to accept strings of a bigger gauge much better (whithout the risk of being squeezed) as well strings of thinner gauge (without a risk of rolling back and forth during its oscilation). The same way our helix solution Amber E used to be found. I have been told quite frequently on the events: "What is the benefit of your Amber E, if the helix turns to completely straight wire after reaching the final pitch?" It does turns into a straight wire only if you observe it briefly. If you look at it properly (preferably along the strings towards the light), you can observe well noticable waves quite easily. So the helix do turn to straight wire for 98% I admit, but the remaining 2% makes a huge effect. It seems to be the same, but it is not. I admit, I have never shown much respect to traditions. Now I am reading a book about a healthy food and diet by Dr. Bukovsky. He is one a few guys being able to help people with serious diseases like diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's decease and even cancer. (He is an well educated doctor, not a quacksalver). In the book, he mentions an Australian guy, a microbiologist, who decided to solve the problem of lack of microbiotal transfer at a C-section birth by a painting his freshly born daughter by his wife's vaginal swab (starting from the mouth and face). According to Dr. Bukovsky experience, there are guys going even farther, advising using not only vaginal swab, but even mother's faeces for such a deliberate contamination (starting from children's mounth and face) in order to prevent serious and chronic defects in the child's development (including autism e.t.c.). Could you imagine how Dr Bukovsky has been accpted by a medical community in our country? If the other doctors could kill him legally, they would do it instantly. Even my niece, just studying medicine at the university told me: "I hope you don't ready Bukovskys books.." But the main point is, that he is making the best moeny here, since is is almost only one who is able to help effectively. One year ago, I had some problem with my stomach, so I tried to apply for a consultation. I was out of lack. He has been totally booked, not accpeting new patients. Thus, similarly, I have never shown enough respect to traditions. Otherwise, I would never be able to invent the helix shape E string, or other improvments, that are not so visible, since they are hidden inside our strings. When I showed our first Amber E to my friends, they told me: "You are mad, you will be never able to sell something like this". Three years later they told me: "O.K., you have succeed with Amber E, since it is shaped just in a bowing area, but nobody will be willing to play Avantgarde A, since its wavy shape will bother them at shifting"... Similarly, I have immediately switched into Hamberger adjustable soudpost (with alomst all of my instruments) once I tried it. I have nothing in common with Wolfgang as for a business, I have bought the posts as any other regular customer. I just don't have prejudices trying new solutions. Most of makers do obviously, since most of them reject even trying something like that. I have been fully aware my suggestion switching to V-shape grooves will be considered a heresy. U shape has been a tradition, it looks nicer, and every single e-mail from a customer claiming broken or unrevelled strings begins: "I would like to assure you, there are no any sharp edges on my nut, it is perfectly rounded and recently inspected by a luthier." This magical sentence seems to be a must, someting like a greeting, since we got just bery few claims not containing this (whithout asking the customer). I would like to leave this disscussion, since I am afraid, it is developing as in any other disscussion of such kind, taking it more and more "personal". So let me to highlight at the end: I am not going to belittle your skills or experience, or anybody else skills, experience or reputation. I just start trying to find different solutions whenever I feel the common ones are not sufficient. Many luthiers tried to solve the whistling of E strings }especially with a particular instruments that are prone to whistle) with little efect mostly. There has been also another stringmaker, who did solve the whislling even before us. They really did. Unfortunately, their E string is not only non-whislting, but pretty dull sounding at the same time. So I have looked at the problem again. The result are our Amber and Timbre E strings. Everyone can try it, everyone can judge how we have succeed in solving the problem. I will never resign from finding new ways in case the old one turned to be not working properly, or risky. Comming back the to main topic, there is no ideal way to avoid problems considering significant gauge diffefences of a particular strings. Thus, please do not take it personally, we are just disscussing, nothing more...
  2. Guitars strings are pretty different form the violin ones. Gutar strings are wound by a round wire, which makes its surface much rougher.
  3. You would be right if there would be chance to do perfect grooves "one size fits all" forever, but there is no any. I have spent a great part of my life as an chamber music and orchestra player travelling on tours worldwide very frequently. Musicians simple grab the first available string if they need to replace the worn one. So if I replace the silver D by an aluminium one, the perfect matching U groove turns to the same as V, since it do support the string on two spot only. Life is sometimes more complex as expected :-)
  4. Hi Davide, you may be right of course. Nevertheless, neither a fingerboard level isn't set forever. It is expected to be resurfaced from time to time. So now, the basic question is what would get wear faster, if it would be the nut, or the fingerboard. O.K., you are right, perfect matching shallow U is the best option, there is no doubt. I advocate V shape being desperate trying to explain this matter to all kinds ald levels of customers. I mean, all kinds and levels of players, and also all kinds of repairers. As you certainly know, there are no only the best educated and meticulous makers spread over the word (as well here, on MN). There are many of them, who are not able to understand why a violin synthetic core A can be even a bit thicker that silver D (not only speaking of Warchal products, but speaking in general). Every top brand is played by all kinds of customers, from the top soloist, up to the totall beginners. This is why we also got complains like this one e.g.: "Your strings came packeged wrongly, there was D string in A string package and vice versa. I have distinguished them correctly, nevertheless, the A strings snapped even before reaching the final pitch. The sound of the D string is awful..." So there are various levels of users and various level of violinmakers worldwide. U shape is the best if made properly. On the other hand, U shape nut groove is the most frequent cause of breaking strings in the pegbox (and unraveling on the nut). V shape is worse, but still working. This does not mean I would like to change the mind of those, who know how to do it properly :-)
  5. David, all synthetic core A string are fragile. Viola synthetic A's and cello synthetic A's are the most fragile ever. Shalow U shape groove that do match the diameter perfectly is ideal solution of course. But it is just very rarely seen in the real word. Most of the grooves are unnecessary deep. You will probably agree, that the sides of U shape do not help to bear any load. they just squeeze the string in case it is a bit thicker. Too wide groove leads to repsonse problems of thicker strings like violin G or viola C. (Violin A string pressure is so high, that it does make its own U shape even on a perfectly plain bridge, so the phenomenon of rolling string cannot manifest here.) Thus, in order to summarize my advice, right angle V shape is much better than wrong size U shape and our strings can cope with such V shape grooves. The same are other kind of advices. We try to educate public, how to clean strings, which kind of tailpieces and adjuster to use for attaching synthetic core strings, how to protect loop E strings from faliures... Some of our customers do follow our recommendations some of them not. If a damaged string is sent to us, we try to document the cause, make pictures and educate them again. Some of our customers may be surprised that they are being educated instead of being sent the replacement, but there is no much sense to send any replacement if the new string is expected to be used the same way. However, I did,t come to argue here. According my experience such kind of knowledge can be better discussed with the particular instrument and knife or file in our hands. This is why I sometimes hesitate to joinn such disscussion. There may be quite a lot of misunderstanding and it used to be hard to explain an effect that can be demonstrated in a minute in person.
  6. I have stated wrong angle by mistake, sorry :-). I meant 45-degrees each side, so I have already corrected my post to 90-degrees angle preference in order to avoid any misunderstanding.
  7. You can believe me that we do deal with the problem daily. 90-degrees V shape groove does not make Warchal strings unravel. You can keep your own set-up preference of course. Nevertheless, a strings quality complaints cannot be accepted in case we would be contacted by a customer and a wrong groove shape / size is detected. Customers used to be surprised, how precise could a real string failure cause could be discovered and documented in a stringmaker laboratory. We can learn, how long had been the string played, the player's hygiene habits, player's perspiration quality, groove shapes, string cleaning procedures and some other details.
  8. There is no any sharp edge in fact. There are two plain surfaces as a contact spots, nothing else in fact. If we are speaking about nut, the whole groove is expected to be bent, since the nut is expected to be rounded towards to pegs of course. If we are speaking about bridge, no any V shape groove will stay perfectly V shape, since the string always creates slightly U shaped saddle beneath due to very high pressure. Thus, let's dissucing nut grooves. There are two plain surfaces in fact. The pressure divides between the two surfaces, (two bent lines in fact). Any string can cope with it easily. On the other hand, no any string can cope with being squeezed into a too narrow and deep groove. It would be a naive chimera if we believed there is a chance to design the U shape groove according the string's gauge. In fact, there are no two strings having the same diamater. Such a parameter can never be standardized. Metal core strings are much thinner than synthetic ones, silver versions of synthetic D strings are much thinner then the aluminium ones, e.t.c. Your customers should keep using the very same kind of strings forever in case they should be sure matching the grooves. Many players are lucky in case their U shape grooves are at least shallow. Than, the string can sit on the two upper edges the same way as using V shape groove. If the groove is deep (as it really is with at least 80% instruments), problems are expected to come sooner or later. Making the U shaped grooves rather a bit wider is another disaster especially on the bridge. If you make such a groove on G string, you can be sure that the string is sent to the manufacturer as a quality claim. The player will complain poor sound and even worse response. The manufacturer does not decetct any fault. However many brands do not want to annoy their customers, so the replacement is often sent back. After achieving the same result with a new string, the player decides to swith to another brand. The same happens with a second, or even third kind of G string subsequently. Then, the instrument is brought to the lutier. A very common job with moving soundpost, or making the new one beginns. New bridge or even new bassbar comes into a consideration. If the process continues with a new bridge the problem gets solved (provided the maker do not do the same mistake with grooves). Nevertheless, only one maker of 100 looks onto the string/bridge contact point with a pocket microscope before removing the string in order to diagnose the problem. V shape grooves easily solve all of the above described problems.
  9. I prefer 90-degree angle. There is no reason to make the angle too acute.
  10. I am still not sure of my personal visit there. If I come, I will be pleased by having a talk with you. Should you come to Shanghai or Cremona, we could meet for sure. If you would like to contact me by e-mail meantime, just write to my surname@familyname.com
  11. Of course we can. Do you mean here, or in peson?
  12. As a stringmaker, I also second V shape. Please switch to V shape to avoid 80% problems with strings breaking and strings unwinding.
  13. 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...
  14. 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...
  15. Any plastic edge may do the job. Credit card has been just en example, since it is also quite common item :-)
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. We already tried to treat the string, but the priority is grip, so non-adhesive surface is not what we need :-)
  19. 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 :-)
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 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...
  23. 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.
  24. 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...
  25. 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.
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