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strings for mezzo violin


Dave of Elmont

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Funny thing, I tried to email Mr. Spear, but I couldn't locate a email link on the website even though the site says email is his preferred method of contact.  Also, the website talks about how the pandemic is affecting business, making me think it hasn't been maintained.

 

Some weeks ago, I posed a similar question asking if anyone had a rule of thumb or experience suggesting how much you can deviate from a manufacturer's stated vibrating string length.  I got crickets.  Someone out there must have painted outside the lines regarding string length.  Or do I have cooties?

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The tension of a string will increase proportionately to the square of the new length/old length ratio.  Assuming the old length was the standard 328mm violin string length and the messo has a new string length of 338 we have

(338/328)^2 = 1.03^2 = 1.06

So the tension of a standard violin string will increase 6% which is not much so a standard violin string will work fine.

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4 hours ago, Deo Lawson said:

Ordinary strings will work fine. May want to use the light gauge where available.

I very much agree.  Unfortunately a lot of good strings are only available in "medium" tension.  A only a few are available in "light", "medium", and "heavy" tensions.

A "light" tension string with a longer playing length than normal (328mm)will have a higher tension if it is tuned the same.  Attached is an example that shows a "light" Zyex violin E string at 345mm can have the same tension as a Zyex "medium" string at the standard 328mm length.

 string tension png.png

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On 11/2/2023 at 12:24 PM, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I Emailed Bob Spear a while ago and never got a reply. I've since learned he has passed away. 

He had several assistants in his shop and hopefully they will carry on his business.

Hmm, when did he pass away? I need to know. Anyways you can use regular Violin strings since it's a standard 4/4 violin scale length (around 13 inches) such as the Helicore Medium tension 4/4 Size Violin Strings or my favorite the N719 Silver Strings.

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1 hour ago, Oscar Stern said:

Hmm, when did he pass away? I need to know. Anyways you can use regular Violin strings since it's a standard 4/4 violin scale length (around 13 inches) such as the Helicore Medium tension 4/4 Size Violin Strings or my favorite the N719 Silver Strings.

Bob passed way back in November 2021.  

He had redesigned Carleen Hutchins Octet instruments and I don't know what his New Violin Family "messo" violin's string length was.  I believe Carleen had used the same neck and string lengths that a standard violin used so that players wouldn't have to adapt to something different.  

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Hello all,

This is Bill Hurley. I worked with Bob Spear for 9 years and played mezzo for a time. Bob made two models with body lengths of 360mm and 368mm. In the last years, he was experimenting with reduced rib heights. 

I don't have the specs for string length, but the 368 still used standard violin strings. 

He had folks making strings for those that required custom sizes such as the piccolo, soprano, tenor, and the basses. I don't know that those are still available. 

Please let me know if any questions arise from this. I'll do my best to answer, though my association with the New Family is in the past. 

Bill

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