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New Helicore strings 'Octave'


reg
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Hullo all. 

I just wondered if anyone has tried these tuned an octave lower?  if so what would be the application, Blue grass. folk?

The Helicore Octave Violin String Set is designed to be played one octave below traditional violin tuning for a new world of tonal and stylistic possibilities. It utilizes the same core technologies as the original Helicore violin set but is considerably thicker than traditional violin strings.

The Helicore Violin string set has a multi-stranded steel core G, D and A string and a solid steel E string. The Stranded steel core gives the string a clear warm sound.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • reg changed the title to New Helicore strings 'Octave'

With respect to applications, part of my children's busking repertoire is playing The Pirates of Penzance from the vocal score on violin.

They use Sensicore octave strings, one violin tuned one octave down for the tenor line and one violin set up with the low C string for the base line.  The violin using the low C string is the same range as a cello.

It sounds quite effective, the two violins set up with the octave strings were particularly loud and harsh sounding instruments (using regular violin strings) but work very well with the octave strings.

Although it hasn't been particularly cost effective to set up two violins for this it certainly inspired them to learn the music.

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Several people have played this on You Tube:  

 There's  Esther Abrami on You Tube

 who played that Bach cello suite on a violin with the Helicore Octave strings.  Sounded good, but she didn't really finish the piece.  She does have a cute accent. Lyris Hung, of D'Addario, has clips and her mug all over You Tube, too. 

Esther plays the Swan here: 

 

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IMG_1143.thumb.jpg.b2958a99f7446810bf079f6df35c070f.jpgIMG_1145.thumb.jpg.7e00bf4792a28f1498d9c3a3bb014a1f.jpg

Here are the kids violins, one set up one octave below and one set up as a cello.

They sound surprisingly effective for their size.

The thick 'C' string is wound on the 'D' peg to lessen the bend at the nut. Sadly I usually forget this when tuning.

A heavy viola or light cello bow works well.  We have found that the "baroque" snakewood cello bow works well.  We use cello rosin.

The Knilling perfection pegs work well for this application.

This pair of instruments were particularly loud and harsh under the ear as violins.  They produce a surprising amount of volume for their size with the deeper strings. They are fun to play, but hard on the fingers after a while.

IMG_1144.jpg

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Dear reg,

You may, none of it is original, most learnt from the internet prior to setting these up. ( I am just a hobbyist.)

I have, of course, enlarged the grooves in the bridge and nut, as well as enlarging the slots in the tail piece.

I have read that some insert a larger diameter sound post but I haven't bothered to do that.

I have also read that a higher arch on the bridge makes playing easier but once again I haven't bothered with that.

I also haven't bothered to alter the fingerboard scoop as on these instruments it seems to work OK with the standard violin scoop.

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Thank you

Have you ever tried the 'hole in the heart' process used for small violas? Maybe your instruments are too valuable to 'wreck' them, but if you get a cheapo, it could work wonders!

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9 hours ago, reg said:

Thank you

Have you ever tried the 'hole in the heart' process used for small violas? Maybe your instruments are too valuable to 'wreck' them, but if you get a cheapo, it could work wonders!

No, but I do have a Tarle variation of this.  See "METAL PIN UNDER BRIDGE FOOT" in The Pegbox.

Tarle2.jpg

Although this gives the violin sound a bit more of a viola character, I doubt it would be useful for the Octave Strings as I don't think it makes the instrument louder (based on the Tarle violin  which is not loud), and I think you need all the volume you can get when using Cello range strings on a small body.  I do have a sixteen inch viola set up as a "Chin Cello" and this does sound nicer than the "Octave" violins, but alas the children play violins so they don't use the lovely viola.

 

 

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13 hours ago, reg said:

Very good So is the Viola strung as normal?

I did wonder why you were using a Violin as opposed to a Viola!

For the 16 inch "Octave" Viola I still wind the C string on the higher G peg.  I have used the Sensicore Octave Viola strings.  If you do a search for "Chin Cello" or "octave Viola" on youtube there are examples of both acoustic and electric versions.

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Hullo pjham - are you still about? Just had a call from a 'folk' fiddler in Australia who has bought a 17" Viola which he wants to tune B G D A E but an octave lower. (??) The B is a problem as you are tuning up from A which, of course, snaps. Tuning C down to B is too floppy. Would you suggest a steel core A but with low/weich tension, and then tuned up to B or do you think a high/stark tension would cope?

Can anyone comment please!

 

 

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On 5/8/2018 at 2:41 PM, reg said:

Hullo pjham - are you still about? Just had a call from a 'folk' fiddler in Australia who has bought a 17" Viola which he wants to tune B G D A E but an octave lower. (??) The B is a problem as you are tuning up from A which, of course, snaps. Tuning C down to B is too floppy. Would you suggest a steel core A but with low/weich tension, and then tuned up to B or do you think a high/stark tension would cope?

Can anyone comment please!

 

 

Hi Reg the email didn't send for some reason unknown..

What I'm aiming to do is similar to this topic. I'm taking a 17" viola 5 string to Tenor tuning. It all started off with me taking up Tenor guitar GDAE for Irish trad, then I got the idea that since a 1/2 Cello has the same 23" scale length that it may work tuned GDAE. The result is a fabulous sounding Tenor violin!

An upright Tenor takes up a fair bit of space in a crowded Irish pub session & it's hard for me to hear what I'm playing accousticaly so I got a 5 string viola to try the same tuning. The idea is to have it strung GDAEB the idea of the B string is to allow me to stay in the first position for the high parts of fast Irish reels, jigs & hornpipes. 

The 17" viola has a 15" scale length, when I play a note on the Tenor Cello G string at the 15" (scale length) position on the fingerboard it plays a D# (which makes me sorry I didn't ask for an 18"). This suggests to me that heavy gauge 1/2 cello strings will work for the GDAE. For the B I'm thinking? that it will need a light gauge viola A string. When I tuned the factory strings (Yita) up to GDAEB it sounded great for all of 3 minutes when the B snapped followed by the E 2 minutes after that. Any ideas folks?

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pjham,

Thanks for your suggestion to reverse the pegging for the G and C strings with the Sensicore Octave strings. I have just restrung one of my 16" violas with these strings and appreciate your suggestion. I had recently installed Wittner Fine-tune pegs and enlarging the "hole" to fit the Octave C string was a real "piece of work" (the peg material in that region is solid, hard aluminum alloy. I'm amazed at how well the sound has turned out - but as a cellist (also) I do find the C string sound a bit disappointing - but better than I expected.

By the way, I have wondered for almost 70 years why the cello C string is not also pegged that way - but I have never had a cello C string break. Maybe it could happen, but I've always changed strings before it did - I think they "go off" for other reasons.

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22 hours ago, Andrew Victor said:

pjham,

Thanks for your suggestion to reverse the pegging for the G and C strings with the Sensicore Octave strings. I have just restrung one of my 16" violas with these strings and appreciate your suggestion. I had recently installed Wittner Fine-tune pegs and enlarging the "hole" to fit the Octave C string was a real "piece of work" (the peg material in that region is solid, hard aluminum alloy. I'm amazed at how well the sound has turned out - but as a cellist (also) I do find the C string sound a bit disappointing - but better than I expected.

By the way, I have wondered for almost 70 years why the cello C string is not also pegged that way - but I have never had a cello C string break. Maybe it could happen, but I've always changed strings before it did - I think they "go off" for other reasons.

Thank you.

For your interest, I can just get the Sensicore Octave strings into the holes in Knilling perfection pegs but not the Wittner.  The "C" didn't go all the way through but jams in enough to be solid. The "G" is tight but makes it all the way through.

Reg, I haven't tried to tune to a "B" string so am not of much help on that issue.  What brand / type of C string did you use for your test?

When I first set up the viola with Octave strings I had the C string on the C peg and the string did unravel at the nut. (Fortunately the retailer sent me a replacement C)

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On 5/10/2018 at 9:50 AM, reg said:

Thanks Harley

I understand a bit better now. We did test a 'strong'/stark C string on a 17" viola and it tuned down happily to B and was not to sloppy

Maybe others could comment please

Hi Reg

I found a spare set of Olympia Cello strings lying about so I put  two of them on the voila (5th G & 2nd E), I then tried a 14 gauge plain guitar string on the 1st B as a temporary solution to try the playability of the 15" scale length. I found that 15" is quite a manageable stretch. So now I'm interested in exploring the CGDAE tuning as well. So now it'll be an octave below a 5 string Violin.

To achieve this the half size set of Cello (heavy) strings should do the GDAE. I don't know what the scale lengths of Cellos which are smaller than 1/8th size (19 1/4" which is getting close), so ideally a Cello C string that is a close as possible to the 15" scale length (possibly 1/10th) maybe even a Double Bass string should do the job provided it fits  onto the tuning peg :-)

p.s. this is becoming a nice sounding instrument & well worth the excercise :-)

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