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Can one use a viola string on a violin


dpappas
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Hello MN,

Is it possible, and is it advisable, to use a viola string on a violin?   I accidentally ordered a viola tonica G and if possible I’d like to use it rather than tossing it.  

On a related note, if it’s a bad idea (tension, thickness) to use it, and you’d like it, PM me and I’ll mail it for free.  I don’t want to throw a perfectly good string in the landfill. 

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As the string you have is the G string from a viola, that means that, given the proper tension for that string, a 376 mm length of it would have that note as its resonant frequency, assuming it was designed for a 16 1/2" viola.

On a violin, you would be using a 328 mm length of that string between the nut and the bridge.

So the string would sound about 2 1/3 semitones higher. You would have to use a low tension to use it as the G string on your violin, and a very high tension to use it as the D string on your violin. So, yes, if you have the opportunity to return it, or to sell or give it to someone who plays the viola, to avoid throwing it away, that would be the better alternative.

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Yes, you can use a viola string on violin, many great player do it for the A string (Anne Sophie Mutter, Augustin Dumay and many other.) It´s better tu cut few centimetres next to the peg for not have to many turn around it. A viola string is usually (Dominant for example) a little bit thinner than a violin string, it means the tension will be a little less.

The diameter of a viola Tonica G string is 15, the same as a G Peter Infeld violin, relatively low tension but perfectly useful.

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On 8/27/2018 at 4:38 AM, christian bayon said:

Yes, you can use a viola string on violin, many great player do it for the A string (Anne Sophie Mutter, Augustin Dumay and many other.) It´s better tu cut few centimetres next to the peg for not have to many turn around it. A viola string is usually (Dominant for example) a little bit thinner than a violin string, it means the tension will be a little less.

The diameter of a viola Tonica G string is 15, the same as a G Peter Infeld violin, relatively low tension but perfectly useful.

Are you sure? 

I never heard, why anyone use viola string on a violin, not enough tension.

Diameter is not the important parameter here, line density of the string is.

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13 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

Cristian, do you know what was the reasoning behind choosing a viola string was? A better tension for the instrument with perhaps a more open freer sound with less choking? Or is is purely for the feel? 

For Mutter, it was Vatelot, many decade ago, who put the viola Dominant string (probably a weich dominant violin string would have been similar), for the other, it´s different, they use a steel string, kaplan or Larsen.

The equivalent does´nt exist for violin, the viola string have less tension.

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As Christian did, why not just try it and see if it works? With its low tension it's hardly likely to damage the violin although I wonder if double-stopped fifths might sound out of tune on account of the increase in tension as the finger goes down?

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On 8/29/2018 at 9:12 AM, christian bayon said:

For Mutter, it was Vatelot, many decade ago, who put the viola Dominant string (probably a weich dominant violin string would have been similar), for the other, it´s different, they use a steel string, kaplan or Larsen.

The equivalent does´nt exist for violin, the viola string have less tension.

Than you for taking the time to explain Christian.

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On 8/29/2018 at 3:37 AM, matesic said:

As Christian did, why not just try it and see if it works? With its low tension it's hardly likely to damage the violin although I wonder if double-stopped fifths might sound out of tune on account of the increase in tension as the finger goes down?

I have several sets waiting to be tried out (Warchal Timber, Evah Pirazzi Gold) so the Tonica G is just to have a backup set of my "base" string for comparison.  My teacher can use the string in the school program, so I might as well let a violist use it. 

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