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Strings Info 2

GUT-CORE STRINGS

Musical-instrument strings have been made of sheep or lamb intestine since the earliest days and until the end of the 19th century, gut strings were the only strings available. Today, musicians specializing in early-music performance are among the few who use plain gut strings. Gut-core strings are wrapped with silver or aluminium. They have a unique sound, very full and complex with lots of overtones and shades.. Because they are lower in tension, gut strings tend to feel softer and more pliable under the finger.

The major disadvantage Is that they can be unstable in response to temperature and humidity changes and thus tend to go out of tune frequently. When first installed, gut-core strings need about a week to “play in” before they have some stability and although the need for frequent tuning can be a little tedious, this can be more than compensated by the beautiful sound. This type of string is definitely not suitable for inexperienced players.

SYNTHETIC CORE STRINGS

Nowadays more and more violinists are using synthetic core violin strings. They are usually made of Kevlar or Perlon wrapped with silver or aluminium. Their great advantage is that the core is not affected so much by humidity and temperature so that they are considerably more stable than gut core strings. They also “break in” much more quickly and will stretch out and stabilise within a couple of days. They share many of the tonal qualities of gut core strings but are quicker in response. Some violinists, however, feel that they do not have the complexities of tone provided by gut-core strings..

STEEL STRINGS

Steel strings began to appear in the late 19th century when the first steel E string was produced and many E strings are still just steel. The A, D, and G strings use a core of fine strands of steel covered with a variety of metals, including chrome steel, silver, tungsten, titanium, etc.

Many steel-core strings have a brightness to them. The sound is usually clear and straightforward rather than complex or subtle. Steel-core strings have the fastest response of any string. The cheaper steel strings tend to be edgy, tinny, and a bit rough but the better ones are of a much higher quality.

With steel cores, there is very little expansion or contraction during temperature and humidity changes and they therefore tend to stay in tune more easily. Non-classical players such as jazz musicians and country and folk fiddlers often choose the sound of steel strings.