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Quest for Strings: High-responsive strings for a sonorous/dark violin


Vafan
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Just now, Mark Norfleet said:

But much of the response has been slow …

Hey I'm maker (pretended), just out of curiosity, what exactly does a good  "response" mean to violin players?

Is it getting a lot of sound output by using a slow bow speed, and/ or low bow pressure?  Is it a quickness or ease of getting a note started?  Is it the ability to "mold the sound" by changing the bowing (speed, pressure, distance from the bridge)? 

 

My ex-wife said I didn't respond well to her requests.

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2 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Hey I'm maker (pretended), just out of curiosity, what exactly does a good  "response" mean to violin players?

Is it getting a lot of sound output by using a slow bow speed, and/ or low bow pressure?  Is it a quickness or ease of getting a note started?  Is it the ability to "mold the sound" by changing the bowing (speed, pressure, distance from the bridge)? 

 

My ex-wife said I didn't respond well to her requests.

Yes.

Hopefully the best possible adjustment was achieved.

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While I was not impressed with the original Evah P. greens (seemed to be a "silver bullet" string that didn't last long), I currently have a set of Evah Gold which have been on my violin for over a year with no need to replace them, or any signs of deterioration.  They are pretty much played daily, but are on Wittner pegs which seldom need adjustment (the strings hold intonation very well), have a wide pegbox with straight runs to a non-binding ivory nut, and even the A is doing fine, so far.   As I have previously reported, I'm doing a test to destruction on these, and will keep reporting from time to time.

Given what some other people have said about their Evahs, maybe mine are counterfeit.  If so, I hope I can get more of the same.  :ph34r: ;) :lol:

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8 hours ago, Vafan said:

With all due respect, I am considering this insinuation a little off the track....

The Eva Pirazzi supplied with my new violin have done well. Whether they are as good as new I cannot say as the instrument has opened up. Over a few years it had the equivalent of many months at an hour a day.

Strings make a big difference to sound. Without making any insinuation, I was going to raise a question about the search for responsiveness. Before synthetics, violinists managed well with Oivs and Eudoxas and similar, but in many cases chose the possibly less responsive uncovered gut A (Milstein) and in some cases also bare gut D (Heifetz). Some of them had typically dark instruments (Heifetz, Szyering). In my mind the jury is out on whether the search for responsiveness is useful, once one has a decent, well set up instrument.

 

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1 minute ago, Mark Norfleet said:

In my mind…, a well set up (and adjusted) instrument IS responsive.

Agreed, I suppose I meant I am not sure that searching for more responsiveness from strings is necessary. I do think a badly made violin (or bow) which does not respond well can hold one back.

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13 hours ago, Mark Norfleet said:

In my mind…, a well set up (and adjusted) instrument IS responsive.

I keep learning and confirming that time and again, as formerly unexciting instruments, with time and attention, become harder and harder for players to put down, and eventually find new homes.

 

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Plain gut strings are not less responsive than wound gut strings are -- they are differently responsive. They speak a milisecond slower, which is an easy compensation to make, so no net loss. They also allow (or require if you like) more bow pressure, which makes for easier control of fine detais without squashing or choking. 

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3 hours ago, Michael Richwine said:

I keep learning and confirming that time and again, as formerly unexciting instruments, with time and attention, become harder and harder for players to put down, and eventually find new homes.

 

Yes, time and attention.  

I find that the set up needs tweaking if I try different strings. Some sets the G and A strings are strong and the D feels flabby etc.

I recently tried Larsen Virtuoso and the G and D felt low tension.  The A and E higher.  

Prims, the D is really tight compared to the G and A. 

On my 3 violins, I can't just change to a different type string without having to move the sound post , tweak the bridge and/or nut.  ;)

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On 5/20/2022 at 2:45 AM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Is it getting a lot of sound output by using a slow bow speed, and/ or low bow pressure?  Is it a quickness or ease of getting a note started?  Is it the ability to "mold the sound" by changing the bowing (speed, pressure, distance from the bridge)?

For me it is about getting the note started. I think it is mainly about need for bow weight.

For example, if you start a scale on the G string and change to D string without an open string between, you want a relatively even sound and for the first note on the D to start sounding immediately and without a scratch. As well as preparing the left hand finger to stop the string, the plane of the bow has to change, and maybe make the sounding point a bit closer to the bridge, and even more challenging to do without scratching, you may need to increase bow weight to get the sound started. In a fast scale it has to happen fast. Some instruments are quite forgiving and the note will ring out immediately, cleanly, without scratching, at the touch of the bow. By contrast, all this can be challenging on a badly made violin which does not sound freely, or even on a well-made violin with a thick bare gut D string, where the smooth continuous sound only works if the factors are precisely controlled.

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On 5/19/2022 at 9:45 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Is it getting a lot of sound output by using a slow bow speed, and/ or low bow pressure?  Is it a quickness or ease of getting a note started?  Is it the ability to "mold the sound" by changing the bowing (speed, pressure, distance from the bridge)? 

All of the above.

Regardless of set-up, I find that good synthetic strings lose responsiveness as they wear out and die compared to when they are fresh and broken-in.

One of the joys of fresh new strings in re-gaining the violin's innate responsiveness.

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On 5/18/2022 at 1:15 PM, Mark Norfleet said:

I do a lot of sound adjusting and have for decades. 

I'd be really interested to see an overview of your approach to sound adjustment, if you have the time to post such a thing. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Leastways I hope not. 

 

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If anyone is interested,  I  just put a Jargar Forte E on my violin and that ended up rounding out the  thin toned A string :). Mellowed the edginess.  The A now sounds strong, round and the unpleasant notes mellowed. 

 

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1 hour ago, Rustle said:

If anyone is interested,  I  just put a Jargar Forte E on my violin and that ended up rounding out the  thin toned A string :). Mellowed the edginess.  The A now sounds strong, round and the unpleasant notes mellowed. 

 

I'm interested, and thanks for posting this "data point", but, IMHO, what fully assembled violins do when played is the sum of too many stray interactions and resonances to have any real hope of explaining or controlling them all.  I'd also suspect that many observations like this, while quite real, are not fully reproducible because of the complicated system involved.  As the strings (and other parts) settle in, age, etc., your fix might evaporate, too.  Keep us posted. 

I'll add this to my "when all else fails" bag of tricks to try.   :lol: :)

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On 5/19/2022 at 6:45 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Hey I'm maker (pretended), just out of curiosity, what exactly does a good  "response" mean to violin players?

Is it getting a lot of sound output by using a slow bow speed, and/ or low bow pressure?  Is it a quickness or ease of getting a note started?  Is it the ability to "mold the sound" by changing the bowing (speed, pressure, distance from the bridge)? 

 

My ex-wife said I didn't respond well to her requests.

I play some. 

To me, it means that a basic bright happy tone comes easily and immediately with minimal deliberate bow effort, that catching tone for the notes does slow me down for passage work, that a thicker heavier tone is readily accessible with some effort, and that the sense that more can be had with effort isn't easily tapped at, and that efforts to articulate or crisp the beggings of notes will readilybe heard.

I suspect answers to this will be highly personal and vary greatly.

I think it's a great thing to ask ourselves and others.

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On 5/19/2022 at 6:45 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Hey I'm maker (pretended), just out of curiosity, what exactly does a good  "response" mean to violin players?

Is it getting a lot of sound output by using a slow bow speed, and/ or low bow pressure?  Is it a quickness or ease of getting a note started?  Is it the ability to "mold the sound" by changing the bowing (speed, pressure, distance from the bridge)? 

 

My ex-wife said I didn't respond well to her requests.

I play some. 

To me, it means that a basic bright happy tone comes easily and immediately with minimal deliberate bow effort, that catching tone for the notes does not slow me down for passage work, that a thicker heavier tone is readily accessible with some effort, and that the sense that more can be had with effort isn't easily tapped out, and that efforts to articulate or crisp the beggings of notes will readily be heard.

I suspect answers to this will be highly personal and vary greatly.

I think it's a great thing to ask ourselves and others.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for all the responses on responsiveness, sonority and so on!

I just want to let you know what I finally did: I did not change strings, but went to a local luthier who is a good player himself, described my issue, and let him set up the violin. He changed the sound post's position, which had a tremendous impact, tweaked the tail piece with a new tail gut (which had a modest effect) and now I am trying the violin for some weeks without changing anything else, until we may decide to do a re-calibration of the sound post or alter the bridge.

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On 6/6/2022 at 3:25 AM, Vafan said:

Thank you for all the responses on responsiveness, sonority and so on!

I just want to let you know what I finally did: I did not change strings, but went to a local luthier who is a good player himself, described my issue, and let him set up the violin. He changed the sound post's position, which had a tremendous impact, tweaked the tail piece with a new tail gut (which had a modest effect) and now I am trying the violin for some weeks without changing anything else, until we may decide to do a re-calibration of the sound post or alter the bridge.

Thanks for the update.  Glad you got some help :)

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