squeek on E string

squeek on E string

I am getting a squeeking sound on my high E when playing fast, what causes this anybody and what’s the cure apart from hanging up my fiddle?

Regards and thanks

The Shylock

Re: squeek on E string

sometimes that happens if you go from a lower note to an open E string within a tune, usually caused by uneven bow pressure. Try playing GGGG DDDD AAAA EEEE at varying speeds, and see if you squeak then.

Re: squeek on E string

sometimes folks buy an individual E string that is mellower in tone than the rest of the set. Since the string itself is so much thinner, it can sound too bright or even squeeky. If you like the tone of the other strings, it might be worth a try to go down to a shop and get something different in a single string for your E and give that a try

Re: squeek on E string

It’s commonly due to bowing technique. Try a lighter touch on the E string. Some strings are more prone to squeaking than others.

Re: squeek on E string

If it only squeaks when you play fast, it’s probably "pilot error." Slow down and pay closer attention to your bow strokes, to make sure you are keeping the bow at the proper angle all through the stroke.

Re: squeek on E string

I just replaced my E string with an Obligato Gold E and sometimes I get a little squeek. I find it interesting because I never had this happen before although I’ve used lots of different type of E’s. As Forrest said it’s probably "pilot error"
but I have to wonder how much the make up of the string contributes.

Mary

Re: squeek on E string

Mary, the makeup of the string does matter a lot, slthough it’s usually possible to play squeak-free on any string once you get used to that string.

I use the same gold E you’re using, and while I had some squeaks when I first started using them it hasn’t happened to me in a long time (they sound wonderful too, I love those E strings).

There are some E strings that are marketed to be squeak-free, but they sound like garbage IMHO.

Re: squeek on E string

Glad to hear that Marklar. I really like the sound of the string on my fiddle. I have that string on with Wondertone Solo G, D,A. Works well for me.

I’ll have to pay more attention to when the squeek happens and hopefully be able to make the proper adjustment(s) to my bowing.

Mary

Re: squeek on E string

Forgot to mention that I love thte sound of the Obligato’s but have found that the D string unravels quickly. I’ve been using the Wondertone Solos for a long time and they last much longer for me. Anyone else had the Obligato unwinding problem.

Mary

Re: squeek on E string

Is this the infamous whistling E string problem? Various competing explanations and solutions have been discussed here previously.

Re: squeek on E string

Mary, I’ve been using obligatos for years, on both fiddle and cello, but never had one unravel yet. I must ask the obvious, though - fingernails not short enough? pressing down too hard? high action on that string? Or perhaps it’s just a bad batch - unusual for Pirastro perhaps, but accidents can happen in the best families :-)

Re: squeek on E string

A phenomenon related to the whistling/squeeky E is when the E string just doesn’t respond - all you get is silence for half a second or so and then the sound kicks in with a bang (or perhaps doesn’t). In the trade it’s called "ghosting", and can be quite unnerving when it first happens. It tends to happen, as it did once with me, when you’re slurring from a fingered note on a plain gut A onto the open steel E, which is when the bowing pressures for those two markedly different types of string are wildly different. Again, it’s down to bowing technique, and looking carefully at this, perhaps with the assistance of a teacher, should sort it out.

Pirastro make a special wound steel E for use with their Chorda gut range which deals with the ghosting problem.

Another possible cause for the whistling/squeeking/ghosting E, which can easily be eliminated, is if the player is inadvertently lightly touching the string near the nut with the side of the first finger near its base. An analysis of left hand position should be able to solve this one.

Re: squeek on E string

Don’t know lazyhound. Nails very short to almost non-existant. Fiddle is professionally set up and the action isn’t too high. Don’t think I’m pressing too, hard never had this issue with other strings. Don’t think its a bad batch, I’ve tried them periodically over the years with the same result. Maybe it is something related to my fiddle. Perhaps I don’t change them often enough and just wear them out?

Mary

Re: squeek on E string

Mary, if it’s happening at the nut end you might need to have the nut groove checked out. Frequent tuning can also cause the windings to come undone at the nut even if the nut is fine, if the windings aren’t very strong to begin with.

I used to have this problem with Oliv As, on more than one violin the windings would quickly pull apart from being tuned. And from searching the Web I found I wasn’t alone, some strings just have weak windings.

Re: squeek on E string

Thanks, Marklar

It’s not near the nut that they unwind it’s always the D string where the G note is played in first position. Hmmm, guess it might be something I’m doing if it’s the exact same place all the time.


Mary

Re: squeek on E string

“… the E string just doesn’t respond - all you get is silence for half a second or so and then the sound kicks in with a bang (or perhaps doesn’t).”

Trevor, that sounds (or doesn’t :-) ) like what I’ve been calling the “whistling E string”. There’s no sound except an ultra-high-frequency whistle that’s barely audible (or not) to vintage ears, then it sometimes kicks in. I’ve tried to examine what I’m doing when it happens and so far I’ve failed to characterize it. One of my hypotheses is that part of the mechanism is an overtone transmitted through the bow onto the E string, setting it vibrating in a mode that is then sympathetically sustained by both string and bow. I wonder how bow hair tension might play into that.

For me, it seems to come in spells. Once it starts, it keeps happening until I put the fiddle away til another day.

Re: squeek on E string

Sounds like you’re doing a lot of snappy rolls to me :)

Re: squeek on E string

That was meant for Mary, not Bob.

Re: squeek on E string

In my dreams Marklar


Mary

Re: squeek on E string

I was questioning a guy on this today when he was fixing my fiddle for me. Apparently one cause might be if you’re not turning the plastic that stops the E string from cutting into the bridge too much. Something about it cutting through the plastic and that makes it whistle? Not too sure, sorry I can’t be clearer!

Re: squeek on E string

Wow, never thought about that plastic bit before, crathana.

With E squeaks I’ve found it’s pilot error 95% of the time. Occasionally
for me it might be caused by rosin problems - too much, too little or crappy
rosin.

Re: squeek on E string

I’ve never thought about that string guard before either, and I can see how it could have an effect on the string.

Interesting, I’m going to start checking mine and turn it once in a while. I doubt that it’s the cause of the problem here, it would have to be a pretty rare thing to have happen, and it would go away as soon as you changed strings. But I could see it happening.

Re: squeek on E string

I was tormented by the E squeak until I changed to salt and pepper horsehair for my bow. That has taken care of it for me.

Re: squeek on E string

Just today where I work we had a talk given by an international violinist who brought her violin and demonstrated a few things (including all the really bad tone things kids get wrong) and talked about all the minute scales on horsehair that act like thousands of little pluckings on the string to get it vibrating.

Then when she played a longer piece for us her E string whistled a few times - and she asked whether we heard it or not and said that it was both a combination of the lack of humidity of the room (the room was airconditioned and very dry) AND that she hadn’t cleaned her strings beforehand.

Re: squeek on E string

Try a wound E string.

Re: squeek on E string

lots of different opinions on the squeaking-E-string-problem on the fiddleforums, too.
It HAS to do with bowing technique but then i heard it happening to very good fiddlers, too.
I’ve been using the Kaplan Solutions non-whistling e-string and was very happy with that and it took better care of the problem than the previous string (corelli). But then this is individual to the instrument. why not give it a try.