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switching to the back peg for viola C string????


Dwight Brown
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I saw a long while back that it was common to use the rear peg on the bass side for the c string.  More recently I heard mention that it might help the C string on a smaller viola.  It would make the over all length greater, and so in theory it should make the string longer for a given length should yield a higher tension .  Big instruments would have a problem do to too short a C string.

 

 

DLB

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I saw a long while back that it was common to use the rear peg on the bass side for the c string.  More recently I heard mention that it might help the C string on a smaller viola.  It would make the over all length greater, and so in theory it should make the string longer for a given length should yield a higher tension .  Big instruments would have a problem do to too short a C string.

 

 

DLB

 

"Might" can be a very big word.   All the cellists I know use the "shorter" peg, but then the C string on the typical cello doesn't need any help.  Whether or not this is also true for the viola is beyond my pay grade.

 

LML

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I saw a long while back that it was common to use the rear peg on the bass side for the c string.  More recently I heard mention that it might help the C string on a smaller viola.  It would make the over all length greater, and so in theory it should make the string longer for a given length should yield a higher tension .  Big instruments would have a problem do to too short a C string.

 

 

DLB

That makes no sense to me at all. What happens in the pegbox is immaterial to the pitch. The speaking length will be the same, and a given string will need the same tension over that length to sound C.

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I've a friend who is a fine professional violist and he always does this and insists that his students do as well.  He knew William Primrose and claims that he got the idea from him.  I tried it on my two violas--one was unchanged the other perhaps slightly improved but it annoyed me when tuning so I changed back.

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That makes no sense to me at all. What happens in the pegbox is immaterial to the pitch. The speaking length will be the same, and a given string will need the same tension over that length to sound C.

Sort of the way I felt about it.  Since the string has to go over the bridge and the nut, I was not too sure about what effect the over all length of the string would have, if any.

 

DLB

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I have strung violas (I use) that way for years. Forget where I got the idea from now.

My reason, rational or not, was that in might provide a bit more 'after-length'(?) and resonance.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to students.

It makes things complicated for tuning at first.

 

 

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The tender string on viola has always been the g string for me. but there is no real proof, just my dumb luck.  when I get over this ear infection I will mess with it.

 

 

Gonna be new viola spring around here :-)  Full size Da Salo in the last stages with Mike Jones and an N. Bergonzi model from the National Music Museum by Chris Jacoby.

 

DLB

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Depending on several factors that would effect the degree of slope down to the peg, including the diameter of the peg itself altering this angle, even if it be a slight amount, but mostly related to the scrolls shape and nut height, the after length breaking angle can and will have a slight effect on tone as well as effect playability, depending on if the if there is a dramatic change by switching pegs. In general a steeper more abrupt angle change will put more downfoce at the point of break over the nut which tends to ad a ringing quality and at the same time increases the "feel" or resistances when pushing down on the string, which effects playabilty feel.

 

This is much more of a noticeable thing on guitars than bowed instruments but the same basic rules and outcomes are the same, just less noticeable on bowed instruments, and well most times the change of peg does not effects the angle that much and therefore doesn't do much.

 

Gotoh tuning machines have what is called the H.A.P system that allows one to change the post heights in order to manipulate this aspect of tone and or feel, basically more break, better ring, less break easier to push the string down. "Ring" in bowed instrument land may not be a desired outcome, yet for a flabby sounding string, it may help.

 

There also may be some logic based on hand strength and that by changing over a peg may allow for more purchase when trying to grip and twist larger pegs.

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I've been down this path, I used to know many fairly high-level violists that used to do this. I think the angle of the string over the nut is a legitimate reason, I think it helps if you are using wound gut, and have to do a lot of tuning with these thicker strings. I don't think it matters with modern synthetics.

 

The pegbox after length is also something people talked about. We all know that after length can make a big difference between the bridge and the tailpiece. I think people thought that there could be something to be gained with a stubborn C string, and people will do anything to get a bad C string working. But I have never been able to detect any value on any instrument I've tried it on.

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That makes no sense to me at all. What happens in the pegbox is immaterial to the pitch. The speaking length will be the same, and a given string will need the same tension over that length to sound C.

All of that is completely true. However, switching the "c" string to the back peg increases the compliance of the string as a whole, similar to what an angled tailpiece does in a very general way. It does not help all violas, or all players, but it certainly has a discernible effect on/with some.

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...switching the "c" string to the back peg increases the compliance of the string as a whole, similar to what an angled tailpiece does in a very general way. It does not help all violas, or all players, but it certainly has a discernible effect on/with some.

 

If there's a scientific basis for this supposed "compliance", the effect, whether discernible or not, should exist on all instruments, not just some.   Maybe the degree of any compliance has more to do with the type/construction of the particular string, and not what peg it's wrapped around.

 

The last time I saw a professional cellist use an angled tailpiece was back in the 60's.  Seems to me if there were any discernible improvement, most players would have discovered it by now.

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If there's a scientific basis for this supposed "compliance", the effect, whether discernible or not, should exist on all instruments, not just some. Maybe the degree of any compliance has more to do with the type/construction of the particular string, and not what peg it's wrapped around.

The last time I saw a professional cellist use an angled tailpiece was back in the 60's. Seems to me if there were any discernible improvement, most players would have discovered it by now.

I have not ever tried, or heard, of this making a discernible difference on cello.

It Is certainly the case that there are many things that will work on some instruments that do not work on all. But, this is not and doesn't have to be a theoretical discussion: have a few of your colleagues play, take the instrument away and switch the pegs, and have them try it again.

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If there's a scientific basis for this supposed "compliance", the effect, whether discernible or not, should exist on all instruments, not just some. 

Not all things work the same on all instruments. If they did, we could always put soundposts in the same place, or always use the same strings.

 

We don't yet have good scientific explanations for lots of the reasons why some things about fiddles work better than others. (And I haven't experimented enough yet to have a strong opinion on this particular one.)

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Can someone explain string compliance please. I've never heard of it before.

 

I must say that I have doubts about this sort of adjustment. All too often, just slacking off the strings, and putting hem back again, straightening the bridge and so forth, can give an instrument a lift, and seem to freshen it up a bit. So the impression is of an improvement, but really things just settle down again as before.

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Can someone explain string compliance please. I've never heard of it before.

 

 

The idea here is that while the "vibrating string length" between the bridge and the upper nut will stay the same, the overall "stretchiness" of the string may have contributions from points beyond that, like the added distance between the upper nut and the peg, and the distance between the bridge and tailpiece.

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Not all things work the same on all instruments. If they did, we could always put soundposts in the same place, or always use the same strings.

 

 

 

 

Sorry, if such a concept as "compliance" exists, it should exist on all instruments.  I say it's more likely to be related to the composition of the string, i.e., a Perlon string would be more "compliant" than one with a steel core.  

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