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Gut string advice


PaxDomini
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Hello ive been getting into the gut world, i play mostly romantic era to modern repertoire in a chamber, symphony, and solo setting. I have used the tricolre strings by gamut in the standard "heifetz" setup but i have changed it to a wrapped D (i find the unwrapped one too thick and kinda iffy). The strings lasted from about March 2021 to late August (6 months) and were not dead when i changed them. The only reason i changed them was because the strings were fraying and felt bad under the hand. I had snipped off any large frays and was generally happy with the strings' performance in Florida heat and humidity. Does anyone have any advice for making gut strings last longer???

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I'd say you are doing pretty good under those conditions if you play a lot esp. for plain gut. Some people put oil (I was told olive) on the strings, but I dont think it helps much. My more recent strings from Gamut havent been getting as hairy as quickly as they have been, at least thats my casual observation. Order new ones and see how it works out. It can be expensive, but I think Gamuts are the best quality for the price.

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I prefer Aquila strings because they don't fray nearly as much. They have a different construction from Gamut strings (which are not only more expensive but seem to grow hairs right out of the package). I love the sound of both brands but Aquila just has that durability advantage.

Oiling your strings will help extend their lifespan regardless of brand. Walnut or linseed oil are preferred because they "dry" with time. Just be sure to wipe the excess away from the bowing area.

If you are still willing to experiment, Gamut offers a gimped D string, meaning a plain gut string with wire wound into it. I haven't tried it because of the cost, but it is thinner for the same tension and supposedly has a snappier sound whilst still retaining that gut tone.

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10 hours ago, Rothwein said:

Walnut is one I haven't tried. Does it leave a film as it dries?

Either one will leave a "film" as it "dries" if there is anything on the surface of the string.  The oil is not evaporating, but is polymerizing and oxidizing and becomes less liquid as it does.  Getting oil on the hair of your bow is not a good thing...  Wiping it off the string will encourage growing hair, so it should be done very carefully.  Of course strings are also often varnished to prolong their lifespan.

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