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Strings Info

The four strings are tuned to G (below middle C), the D just above middle C, then A and then E.

There is no single perfect string for everyone. You need to find a string that complements the qualities of your instrument and your playing style. I have tried to indicate below the basic qualities of each type of string: gut, synthetic, and steel followed by a more detailed description of some of the most popular brands. The list does not include some of the lowest-priced strings, which are aimed at beginner students or strings makes which are difficult to find. If you have cheap Chinese strings on your instrument you will get a cheap, thin sound – change them for something better and your violin sound will noticeably improve!

violin strings are made from a variety of materials, such as various types of steel, nylon, silk, perlon and animal gut wrapped in aluminum or silver or even gold. Violin strings are not now and have never been made from cat gut. The strings are played under a tension of around 220 newtons (50ft-lb).

INSTALLING AND CARING FOR STRINGS

When trying a new type of string, reserve judgement for a few days while you give them chance to settle in and reach their peak. It may take some time experimenting to find the string that suits you best. Keep in mind that synthetic-core strings lose some of their quality when they are taken off an instrument and later re installed.

When you need to change an entire set of strings, do not remove all of the old strings at one time - you will lose the correct bridge placement and the lack of tension can cause the soundpost to fall over. Remove only one string at a time, and keep all the others up to pitch.

Thread the string through the tailpiece from the same side as the violin, leaving the coloured end of the string at the tailpiece end. Thread the string through the hole in the peg, and wind It evenly along the peg from the centre to just before the side edge of the pegbox. Tighten the string only up to pitch, so as not to weaken it.

Sometimes relatively new strings may break after installation: if this happens be sure to take note of where the string broke. A violin can develop a rough spot at the peg, the nut, or the fine tuner.  If the winding of the string is too close to the wall of the pegbox, it may be under too much tension and stress, causIng it to snap.

If you are suffering from either slipping or tight pegs please see my violin care page for details of how to remedy the problem.

After you have put them on, strings will slowly deteriorate: usually within six months, they lose much of their tone quality and begin to sound dull and dead. Over time the synthetic or gut core dries out and the metal wrapping can erode. This occurs even if the violin is not being played. Even unused strings In their packets lose their quality after a while, so make sure you use your spare strings and replace them regularly.

Many players don’t realise how much their strings have deteriorated because the change in sound happens gradually. Often, trying different strings can make a significant contribution to improving the sound of your Instrument. But it’s not a magic spell! Every instrument responds differently to different strings, and the only way you can know for sure what might work for you is to experiment with a variety of strings. You can't turn a poor-sounding violin into a fine Instrument just by changing strings. You can complement the good qualities or disguise some faults, but the basic overall quality of the instrument will come through, no matter what string you use.