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String height (gap under) at the nut - violin


Dan2
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Hi - hoping there might be advice on the gap under the strings at the nut.  I have an article by Andrew Finnigan (Luthier based in Bremen, Germany) from the Strad magazine a few year back.

He says, "How high the strings should be depends on the player, but I use the following measurements as a starting point.  Violin 0.6 at the treble and 0.8 at the bass".

I have found advice from older posts on Maestronet to suggest .3 mm gap under the E string and .4mm at the bass.   I would be interested to know any current thoughts please.  Thanks.

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28 minutes ago, Dan2 said:

I have found advice from older posts on Maestronet to suggest .3 mm gap under the E string and .4mm at the bass.   I would be interested to know any current thoughts please.  Thanks.

I often start a little higher, in hopes that the nut won't need to be shimmed or replaced before the next fingerboard planing. Some strings wear the grooves pretty badly, like Evah A's.

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I have always found that the type/tension of string is a big factor. To me different strings have different feels that can change dramatically with tiny difference in nut height. Also some need more clearance to prevent buzzing.

Fortunately I now mostly use Dominants or gut and I rarely tinker anymore, gut needs to be a tiny bit  higher.

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4 hours ago, David Burgess said:

 Some strings wear the grooves pretty badly, like Evah A's.

I'd guess that any string that gets constantly changed and fiddled [!] with is the one that "wears grooves pretty badly".  I'm not convinced it has anything to do with Evah particularly, but then I'm just an interested onlooker re violins.

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2 hours ago, AtlVcl said:

I'd guess that any string that gets constantly changed and fiddled [!] with is the one that "wears grooves pretty badly".  I'm not convinced it has anything to do with Evah particularly, but then I'm just an interested onlooker re violins.

I think that in the case of the Evah A, the texture of the winding has something to do with it.  They eat bridges too.

 

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7 minutes ago, AtlVcl said:

Huh.  Guess graphite doesn't work on violin bridges.B)

Graphite helps, but violin Evah A's are kind of a special situation. They need to be stretched so far to bring them up to playing pitch, that the windings separate, and act almost like a file on the upper nut and bridge grooves.

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9 hours ago, JohnCockburn said:

 

i think that the Finnigan measurements are the height of the nut above the fingerboard surface before the string grooves are cut.

 

Hi John - I wondered the same thing from time to time,  particularly as the advice was near the beginning of the article where he talks of trimming down the top of the nut.  However,  going on some comments above (Torbjorn uses .6 on each and David B. goes higher to allow for wear),   perhaps he really did mean the string height above the fingerboard at the nut?  Surely it is a pretty big typo otherwise?   It does appear to be roughly double the height I thought was usual however.

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20 minutes ago, Dan2 said:

Hi John - I wondered the same thing from time to time,  particularly as the advice was near the beginning of the article where he talks of trimming down the top of the nut.  However,  going on some comments above (Torbjorn uses .6 on each and David B. goes higher to allow for wear),   perhaps he really did mean the string height above the fingerboard at the nut?  Surely it is a pretty big typo otherwise?   It does appear to be roughly double the height I thought was usual however.

I know a luthier (Hodap senior, forgot the surname) going beyond a milimeter. I always felt this beeing nice for left hand pizz but bad for the general playing. 

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For beginners I tend to go especially low, but I've found that more advanced players need a little more resistance and have complained about difficulty with articulation if the heights are too low. I don't measure, but I set them at roughly 1/2-3/4 the thickness of the string (E strings are set at 1/2-3/4 the thickness of the A string). I set beginner fiddles a bit less than 1/2 the string thickness.

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Hi Dan,

when you think about string heights keep in mind the amount of fingerboard scoop (or better, neck relief) because this influence the playability more than strings heights at the nut.

A very straight fingerboard doesn't allow for a very low strings heights and the opposite for a very scooped one.

For a longitudinal scoop of 0.5 mm on E string and 0.7 mm on G string I prefer 0.5 height under G and D string, 0.45 under A string and 0.4 under E string.

You can go lower safely (0.4/0.4/0.35/0.3) for a low action but someone may have problems with left hand pizzicato and resistance feeling under the finger, depending on kind of strings.

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