Whistling E string


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I can't remember if I have seen this addressed before or not.  In fact I may have asked it myself.  That's ok, I'm old enough to forget things.

My problem is that I often get a whistling open E string when coming from the D on the A string.  Coming from anywhere else the open E plays great.  Is there anything I can do to eliminate the problem, and is this a problem for anyone else? 

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I'm sure there have been threads on this problem before, probably in the Fingerboard forum.  Some points to consider:

 

1) Change the e-string.  Wound e-strings supposedly are less prone to whistling.  Gold plated e-strings are more likely to whistle.  There are special e-strings, like Kaplan Solutions that are supposedly designed to minimize whistling.

 

2) Adjust technique.  If the left hand finger is too close to the e-string sometimes a harmonic-like event happens when changing strings from A to open E.  If the right elbow is too low the bow doesn't grip the e-string well enough and whistling can result.

 

3) Adjust setup of the violin.  If the curve of the bridge between the A and the E string isn't right whistling can result.

 

Good luck tracking it down!

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The Kaplan e string is guaranteed not to whistle.

 

According to Fan Tan who engineered the string whistling is cause by torsional movement of the string.

 

I've become convinced that a whistling e string is due to an ill fitting sound post.

 

oded

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The Kaplan e string is guaranteed not to whistle...

 

The D'Addario Kaplan Non-Whistling E, product #KS311W, was specifically designed not to whistle.  It worked for me.  My E string used to whistle, but it has not since I put one of these on.  I gave one to a friend who had a whistling E.  She said it didn't whistle, but she didn't like the sound of it.

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I use the aluminum wound E strings both for sound and to guard against whistling...I had been using Eudoxa wound E, but just recently switched to the Tonica wound E which I liked better (not the steel, mind you).  Haven't tried the Helicore wound E yet....are there any other wound Es out there?

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I've become convinced that a whistling e string is due to an ill fitting sound post.

 

Imagine the situation that an e string whistles.  Then only the e string is replaced (other 3 are left in situ) and the whistle disappears.

 

Did the soundpost fit change?

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Try:

 

a looser post that fits

 

a lower tension e-string-also try wound e-strings-tonica, eudoxa, kaplan, pirastro #1, helicore

 

and I seem to remember that Jenny Becker gave an entire lecture at one VSA on the whistling e-string.

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Imagine the situation that an e string whistles.  Then only the e string is replaced (other 3 are left in situ) and the whistle disappears.

 

Did t5he soundpost fit change?

Is it possible that removing the e string and putting on a new one caused the post to reseat itself? I would say yes, it's very possible.

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My understanding is that 'whistling' of the e string occurs when the bow induces it to oscillate around its long axis (twisting) in preference to the desired lateral displacement type of vibration.  Previous posters have mentioned playing technique, soundpost fit and the nature of the specific e string as possible causes.  When a player brings this problem to me I first investigate how the other strings are responding to the bow.  If there are responsiveness issues elsewhere then I assume sound post tension, position or fit is amiss and correcting that typically resolves the issue.  Other set-up concerns like bridge cut and position may also produce this but seem less commonly responsible.  If the instrument responds well to the bow other than for the whistling e string then I would suggest experimenting with other e string types.

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We have done quite a lot of research into E strings whistling problem.Some violinists face it intensively, some of them just rarely. It is obvious that some instruments are much more prone to whistle than the others. But you can hardly rely on soundpost adjusting as a remedy. 

 

The phenomenon has been described quite precisely, it is a (more or less) torsional vibration instead of correct vibration of the string. A lot of acoustic experts have already described it as a cause. 

 

I do not agree with them completely. According to our findings, it is not a cause but the just the consequence of low elasticiy of metal E string. If you compare any conventional E string (which is just stel wire in fact) to the rest of synthetic or gut core set, the difference of longitudinal elasticity is really huge. Even if you compare such E string to the rest of metal core set, there is still significant difference, since A, D and G strings are made of ropes or even spirals. 

 

It is not easy to increase the elasticity of E string of course. Any attempts of making E strings using rope did not bring sufficient sound, although there is still one product in the market. 

 

This is why we have invented completely different solution. Originally, we tried to solve just the whistling problem, but later we found, that the elasticity increase not only avoid whistling completely, but improves the sound and response as well a lot. 

 

As for the whistling, I am glad to say that the problem has been solved. We guarantee 100% whistling resistance unless you would touch the E strings by the side of your left index finger unnoticed at the moment of the string change Particularly amateurs and starters use to do such fault sometimes and no any string is able to cope with such obstacle of course. However, if you place your left hand properly, you really don't need to care about bowing technique very much. Any strike that is sufficient for D to A change will be good enough for A to E strings change. Even in chords, like Bach Chaconne and so on...

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I can't remember if I have seen this addressed before or not.  In fact I may have asked it myself.  That's ok, I'm old enough to forget things.

My problem is that I often get a whistling open E string when coming from the D on the A string.  Coming from anywhere else the open E plays great.  Is there anything I can do to eliminate the problem, and is this a problem for anyone else? 

Nine times out of ten, in that particular situation where you're coming from the D, it's caused by the third finger lightly contacting the E. Some strings may be better than others at resisting it though.

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It will drive you nuts.  I have had good luck with the Hill medium E string.  I have had more trouble with gold plated E strings.  The good news is it is pretty cheap to try E strings (I have been messing with Viola C strings :-(

 

A new bridge from a set up expert may help as well.

 

DLB

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Touching the E string by third finger is not very frequent mistake. Touching E string by the side of a "root" of your index finger is much more common.

 

There is another, acoustic reason, why changing to E string from D or even D# is more difficult. Maybe you have already noticed that changing form D# is even worse than from D. There is a frequency conflict. If you change tones A and E for example, their frequency ratio is 1:1.5, so they join every second cycle of A or every third cycle of E. Changing form B to E is still O.K., their ratio is 1:1.3333... They harmonize their oscillation every third (or fourth) cycle. But there is almost no any harmonization point between D and E or even D# and E.

 

D will join E in about 8.17 cycles, but it is not a whole number, so they really almost never get harmonized. D# to E ratio is even worse, they are "nearly" harmonized in 16.82 cycles, but in fact, almost never.

 

If you cross to the open E form D or even D# the whole body including the bridge is still vibrating D or even D# frequency. It is a strong disturbing influence for the "new" open E frequency. This is why most of violinists face the problem independently of unwanted touching the E string. The frequency ratio of B-flat with E in the second chord of Bach's Chaconne is neither very sympathetic...

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Thanks to everyone.  I've been away from the computer since I wrote the question so have been unable to reply.  I have carefully tested to see if there is any chance I might be touching the E string in the changeover from D on the A.  It happens when I am absolutely positive I am not touching the E.  I have Helicore strings on so I guess I should try a different E.  I'll see how that goes.

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Touching the E string by third finger is not very frequent mistake. Touching E string by the side of a "root" of your index finger is much more common.

 

There is another, acoustic reason, why changing to E string from D or even D# is more difficult. Maybe you have already noticed that changing form D# is even worse than from D. There is a frequency conflict. If you change tones A and E for example, their frequency ratio is 1:1.5, so they join every second cycle of A or every third cycle of E. Changing form B to E is still O.K., their ratio is 1:1.3333... They harmonize their oscillation every third (or fourth) cycle. But there is almost no any harmonization point between D and E or even D# and E.

 

D will join E in about 8.17 cycles, but it is not a whole number, so they really almost never get harmonized. D# to E ratio is even worse, they are "nearly" harmonized in 16.82 cycles, but in fact, almost never.

 

If you cross to the open E form D or even D# the whole body including the bridge is still vibrating D or even D# frequency. It is a strong disturbing influence for the "new" open E frequency. This is why most of violinists face the problem independently of unwanted touching the E string. The frequency ratio of B-flat with E in the second chord of Bach's Chaconne is neither very sympathetic...

...thank you! And even though I might not be able to repeat all this...at least I know it's not my imagination...or anything I'm doing wrong... :)

 

I recently switched to Zyex (to try something new)...and it is a worse problem than it ever was on the Dominants...

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Thanks to everyone.  I've been away from the computer since I wrote the question so have been unable to reply.  I have carefully tested to see if there is any chance I might be touching the E string in the changeover from D on the A.  It happens when I am absolutely positive I am not touching the E.

Perhaps so, but now I'm even more curious. How did you become "absolutely positive" that nothing was touching the E string, aside from the bow?

 

If you managed to get a whistle on the open E, with the left hand nowhere near the strings, OK, but I can do that with any violin if I try.

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