Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Effects of Restringing a "Normal" Right Handed Violin to Lefty


scordatura
 Share

Recommended Posts

I had occasion to turn a right handed violin over to lefty for a student that due to a handicap has to play lefty. Meaning, change the order of strings and flip the bridge. A couple of observations. The G and D strings were by far the most affected by the change with the G more affected. They sounded narrow and lacked sonority. The A was not changed that much. The E lacked brilliance but had a wider, rounded quality that was kind of pleasing. It did lose focus and brilliance to a degree. 

After working on and playing the violin, I had this strange feeling of feeling "off". A kind of dizziness and confusion. I did not expect this. It is still there even an hour later. Not sure if it is good to retrain or shock the brain on occasion! Playing lefty gives me empathy for beginners.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, scordatura said:

...After working on and playing the violin, I had this strange feeling of feeling "off". A kind of dizziness and confusion. I did not expect this. It is still there even an hour later...

I have experienced the same thing on the two or three occasions that I set up violins to be played left handed.  After doing one, my next task was rehairing a bow, and it seemed that the bow was somehow left handed.  After the rehair I drove a car and had an odd sensation that I was driving on the wrong side of the road.  Setting up a violin to be played left handed somehow reverses some brain circuitry, and it takes a while for the effect to dissipate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

43 minutes ago, scordatura said:

I had occasion to turn a right handed violin over to lefty for a student that due to a handicap has to play lefty. Meaning, change the order of strings and flip the bridge.

 

I will suggest that as far as the bridge goes, much more would need to be done than "flipping" it, starting with at least refitting the feet to their new positions,  while also adjusting the lean angle, if enough wood remains to do so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I realize that in an ideal sense a new bridge and nut should be fitted/adjusted. That goes without saying. This situation necessitated a quick change to a school instrument. I am fully aware and trained in instrument setup. I just thought that it would be interesting to note the change in sound. For the record the symmetry of the top arch is quite symmetrical with little or no lifting of the post side. Therefore the feet are well mated to the top. When I get some time I will cut a new bridge and nut.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, scordatura said:

The G and D strings were by far the most affected by the change with the G more affected. They sounded narrow and lacked sonority. The A was not changed that much. The E lacked brilliance but had a wider, rounded quality that was kind of pleasing. It did lose focus and brilliance to a degree

Interesting observations. Thank you for sharing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, scordatura said:

I had occasion to turn a right handed violin over to lefty for a student that due to a handicap has to play lefty. Meaning, change the order of strings and flip the bridge. A couple of observations. The G and D strings were by far the most affected by the change with the G more affected. They sounded narrow and lacked sonority. The A was not changed that much. The E lacked brilliance but had a wider, rounded quality that was kind of pleasing. It did lose focus and brilliance to a degree. 

After working on and playing the violin, I had this strange feeling of feeling "off". A kind of dizziness and confusion. I did not expect this. It is still there even an hour later. Not sure if it is good to retrain or shock the brain on occasion! Playing lefty gives me empathy for beginners.

You were still bowing with your right hand or did you switch that too?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, scordatura said:

The G and D strings were by far the most affected by the change with the G more affected. They sounded narrow and lacked sonority. The A was not changed that much. The E lacked brilliance but had a wider, rounded quality that was kind of pleasing. It did lose focus and brilliance to a degree. 

After working on and playing the violin, I had this strange feeling of feeling "off". A kind of dizziness and confusion. I did not expect this. It is still there even an hour later. Not sure if it is good to retrain or shock the brain on occasion! Playing lefty gives me empathy for beginners.

Due to the bass bar and sound post, the bass bridge foot moves vertically mostly at low frequencies, and the treble foot mostly moves at the higher frequencies.  If bowing was parallel to the top on all strings, it probably wouldn't make much difference which way you strung the violin.  However, there is significant vertical string force due to the inclination of the bow, so there is more G string force going into bass bar and more E string force going into the soundpost... normally.  Reverse it, and you get worse low end on the G and worse high end on the E.

Interesting reaction to playing backwards.  Similar to how humans adapt to inverted images with "upside down goggles".  I don't think beginning players would have this reaction, as they have not developed the solid frame of reference for playing one way the another, and therefore wouldn't have the dislocation of adapting to something at odds with "normal".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I don't think beginning players would have this reaction, as they have not developed the solid frame of reference for playing one way the another, and therefore wouldn't have the dislocation of adapting to something at odds with "normal".

I disagree, but we've been here very recently! 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I don't think beginning players would have this reaction, as they have not developed the solid frame of reference for playing one way the another, and therefore wouldn't have the dislocation of adapting to something at odds with "normal".

Good point but beginners definitely have another form of disorientation e.g. where do I put my fingers/hands! When I have taught strings classes for music education students that have string players, I ask them to play lefty on their main instrument to give them empathy for beginners. Try it. It Is very humbling!!! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Don Noon said:

If bowing was parallel to the top on all strings, it probably wouldn't make much difference which way you strung the violin.  However, there is significant vertical string force due to the inclination of the bow, so there is more G string force going into bass bar and more E string force going into the soundpost... normally.  Reverse it, and you get worse low end on the G and worse high end on the E.

I think the vertical G string forces going into the bass bridge foot are the same as the vertical E string forces going into the treble foot.  So reversing the strings wouldn't change these forces.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I think the vertical G string forces going into the bass bridge foot are the same as the vertical E string forces going into the treble foot.  So reversing the strings wouldn't change these forces.

The point is that the frequency content of the input of the G and E is different, and the frequency response at each foot is different.  Normally the frequency input and response is matched fairly well; reverse it, and it's not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Don Noon said:

The point is that the frequency content of the input of the G and E is different, and the frequency response at each foot is different.  Normally the frequency input and response is matched fairly well; reverse it, and it's not.

I have done only one or two experiments with reversing only the strings, but the fiddles seemed to sound and play (aside from hand-to-peg clearance) very much like they did before. I do get why in theory, this shouldn't be so. Just passing along my findings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

I have done only one or two experiments with reversing only the strings, but the fiddles seemed to sound and play (aside from hand-to-peg clearance) very much like they did before. I do get why in theory, this shouldn't be so. Just passing along my findings.

I have no qualifications other than playing three fiddles and one viola converted to lefty, and I noticed the same- --no change after re-stringing.  I had one violin built left-handed from scratch, and again, wondered why the bass bar had to be on a certain side...?   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I have done only one or two experiments with reversing only the strings, but the fiddles seemed to sound and play (aside from hand-to-peg clearance) very much like they did before.

Do you play as well lefty as righty?  How can you judge the difference in the instrument vs the difference in your playing?

I roughtly estimate that the low-frequency coupling to the G string is 50% higher in the normal position vs. in the E position, which should give an observable difference of 1-3 dB depending on whether it is bow power or bow force amplitude that matters.  That should be noticeable, but not gigantic.  Higher frequencies would have a different change, depending on which bridge foot is most sensitive to the frequency, and this could mask the stronger effect on the lowest frequencies.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...