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Scott S

Loop End or Ball End Strings?

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I recently set a sound post on a violin that had the strings attached at the tailpiece in a way that I had never seen before. All of the strings had loop ends. The strings loop end was pushed into the tailpiece and then the other end was sent through the loop at the top of the tailpiece on its way to the peg. There was a fine tuner on the E string. The E string loop was placed over the tuner as if backwards and then the string was routed back through the center of the tuner. Does anyone find these methods worth using? If using a french or Hill style tailpiece, is this an ok way to attach a loop end string? Is this an ok way to attach to a fine tuner? Most note worthy instruments that I see use ball end strings with one small Hill type fine tuner. Is there ever any good reason to use loop end strings? The customer refused new strings even though they were obviously very old.

Scott

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I recently set a sound post on a violin that had the strings attached at the tailpiece in a way that I had never seen before. All of the strings had loop ends. The strings loop end was pushed into the tailpiece and then the other end was sent through the loop at the top of the tailpiece on its way to the peg. There was a fine tuner on the E string. The E string loop was placed over the tuner as if backwards and then the string was routed back through the center of the tuner. Does anyone find these methods worth using? If using a french or Hill style tailpiece, is this an ok way to attach a loop end string? Is this an ok way to attach to a fine tuner? Most note worthy instruments that I see use ball end strings with one small Hill type fine tuner. Is there ever any good reason to use loop end strings? The customer refused new strings even though they were obviously very old.

Scott

+++++++++++++

In my old days, there was not anything like ball ends. Ball ends are better.

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Going through the loop must have an effect on string stop length and the tailpiece nut has no purpose anymore, right?

Didn't recognize you, Yuen.

Scott

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Sounds to me like it was strung up by someone who didn't know what they were doing. I may be wrong, but I've never seen that in any books. Ideally, the string passes over the fret on the top of the tailpiece, and gives the correct length from the bridge to the tailpiece. Having the extra loop/string in front of the tailpiece is less than ideal. Looping the E string on the tuner as you describe forces the string to make a sharp 90 degree bend as it enters the tuner string slot from the back. Sharp bends on strings is not a good idea, as the sharp bend weakens the string at that point.

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Despite the old strings and other oddities it played pretty good, would have liked to have played it with new strings. And yes, fitting the sound post without better strings was not the ideal situation. I would have restrung it with ball end strings and a loop at the fine tuner because the tuner was that type.

Scott

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I'm with FiddleDoug. In ancient days when I was young and strings were gut, the knot went on the bottom of the slot just as you do with the ball end today. I understand that before my time strings came without knots so you had to tie them yourself. A simple overhand knot on a bight gives the needed bulk and the loop isn't used.

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I recently set a sound post on a violin that had the strings attached at the tailpiece in a way that I had never seen before. All of the strings had loop ends. The strings loop end was pushed into the tailpiece and then the other end was sent through the loop at the top of the tailpiece on its way to the peg. There was a fine tuner on the E string. The E string loop was placed over the tuner as if backwards and then the string was routed back through the center of the tuner. Does anyone find these methods worth using? If using a french or Hill style tailpiece, is this an ok way to attach a loop end string? Is this an ok way to attach to a fine tuner? Most note worthy instruments that I see use ball end strings with one small Hill type fine tuner. Is there ever any good reason to use loop end strings? The customer refused new strings even though they were obviously very old.

Scott

Don't know about the e-string but as for the loop end strings, try looking carefully at the pictures of the violins in the Hill's Guarneri book. This shows the stringing practice for gut strings ca 1930. It looks like gut strings with loop ends might have been done both ways, just through the hole or looped through itself.

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Don't know about the e-string but as for the loop end strings, try looking carefully at the pictures of the violins in the Hill's Guarneri book. This shows the stringing practice for gut strings ca 1930. It looks like gut strings with loop ends might have been done both ways, just through the hole or looped through itself.

I concur. Most of those old pictures show the string fed through the loop, especially the two middle strings. Some people still do it. There was a discussion on just this issue a few months or perhaps a year or two ago. Somebody had installed the strings in the manner in question and emailed Pirastro about "proper" stringing practices. I remember very clearly that the response from the string technician is that either way is fine.

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For those that have the Strad magazine calendar, take a look at today's new month. The N. Amati 1677 cello, looks like the A and D strings are attached in just this way.

I've seen plenty of older violins strung this way, though that is no verification of its correctness. I've also seen violins strung with full-length guitar strings, with lots of wraps on the peg. Of course the proper procedure when using guitar strings on your fiddle is to cut some of the length off.

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My baroque fiddle is all loops; the e string is not gut, but steel. Sounded pretty thin; the luthier restrung it, reversing the direction of the loop (accidentally, in a configuration he thought was wrong) and it sounded much better. Sometimes "wrong is right" in luthierie as well as jazz.

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I am really surprised, even shocked that anyone else has even seen this configuration at all. But then I think that if I wanted to play and I only had loop ends and no balls to install in them, I would do it the same way, only I would not have thought of it if I had not have seen it first.

Scott

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Have you ever seen how guitar strings are attached to the bridge of a classical guitar? It's not that dissimilar except that there is no real formed loop. Instead the string is kind of looped and twisted around itself and then pulled tight. Works fine for gut or nylon strings. The only time that I tried a pure gut violin e-string it came without any loop formed on the end so I just tied it to the tailpiece 'guitar style'. Worked fine.

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Check this photo out. Look closely for the loops!

Here is the entire webpage of Heyligers: http://www.heyligerscremona.com/baroque.html Most of the violins have at least one of the strings mounted in the manner described.

I know these are baroque instruments but the principle is the same. If you look at the header photo of the bridge you can see the string loops reaching up the face of the tailpiece end.

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Check this photo out. Look closely for the loops!

Here is the entire webpage of Heyligers: http://www.heyligerscremona.com/baroque.html Most of the violins have at least one of the strings mounted in the manner described.

I know these are baroque instruments but the principle is the same. If you look at the header photo of the bridge you can see the string loops reaching up the face of the tailpiece end.

Yes, some of the strings are tied to the tailpiece but the same thing is happening, all out in front of the tailpiece. I don't see a fret or nut on these tailpieces. If the strings were knotted and placed as usual they would have a buzz to them. That must be why the strings are stopped at the front of the tailpiece.

And so the tailpiece evolved.

Scott

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I ran my strings through the loop until I saw my first ball-end string - around 1970 when Dominants appeared. I didn't use Dominants on that fiddle, but at that point it occurred to me that I could also use the knot in my gut strings the way Thomastik used the ball and it seemed like a more stable arraangement. I finally started my switch away from gut strings when Tonica strings appeared.

Andy

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As I recall the photo with that CD of Accardo playing the Cannone has the D and G strings -- which I believe were eudoxa -- going through the loops.

Tom

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