Lots of Broken A Strings….

Lots of Broken A Strings….

I tend to go through fiddle A strings at an alarming rate. It seems like they always unravel around the first or second finger. I keep my finger nails very short, so I don’t think that’s the problem, and I don’t think a rough fingerboard is to blame, either… I’m usually very good at figuring out what’s going on with my instrument, but I’m at a loss on this one. It’s only the A string that does it, even though the others get the same or more use. Does anyone else have this problem or have any explanations for what’s causing it?

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Join the club! I used to use Dominants and now use Infield Reds. Both of them do it (the A string around the 2nd finger) after about 6 - 8 months. I think it’s probably the string and place that gets the most use and wear. When that happens I just replace all the strings since they probably need changing anyway.

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

If you’re using Dominants you’ll always wear the A out. They’re very soft. If your fiddle has a nice round tone you should try Spirocore. They last a lot longer and sound a lot clearer but they sound terrible in a bad instrument.

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

It’s simply because these notes occur more oftedn on the tunes. Nothing wrong with the strings or the fiddle.

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

The same thing used to happen to me with Dominants. I practiced using as little pressure as possible with the left hand fingers & the problem went away. I still use Dominants with no problems now.

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Pitty to compromise your style for the sake of string conservation.

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

I use Helicore strings and have never had that problem.

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

I used Corelli, and the same thing happened to me. Try changing the saddle (the thing that the fine tuners are on). I now use Helicor and no prob.

Athena

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Kit, Dominant A strings are famous for coming unwrapped, though some people don’t experience this problem. I quit using Dominants after years of unraveling A strings (they’d only last a week or two). If you like synthetic core strings, try Evah Pirazzis—more expensive, but great tone, and they last a lot longer, so the cost ends up equalling out in the long run.

Another possibility is that your fingerboard needs dressing. Over time, pressing the strings against the ebony wears little divots into the wood, and the high spots in between can lead to increased string wear. A reputable repair person can smooth (or "dress") the wood back to an even surface. The more you play, the more often you’ll need this done.

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Wow, I’m glad that I’m not alone! Thanks for all your advice! Yes, I do use Dominant strings. I’ve tried some other types, but I really do like the tone of the Dominants, and they seem to work well for both classical and fiddling. I also have a problem where new strings buzz like crazy for a couple of weeks before settling in to their normal, sweet tone. Is this unique to Dominant strings as well? I tried Infeld Reds, but they were twice as bad….

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Buzzing? Do you use fine tuners on your tailpiece? If the tightening rings are loose, they will buzz, or if the knob is cranked down too far, it will press the lever against the top of the fiddle, also causing buzzes.

If you play classical too, I’ll double my suggestion to try the Evah Pirazzis (made by Pirastro). They really sing on a good violin, feel wonderful under the fingers, and you can get all the strong, clear tone out of them that you’re capable of—great for solo work.

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

I think I might try those, Will, thanks! I’ve used that brand for the E string and I love it, but I guess I’ve never tried it for the rest of the strings… No, I don’t have fine tuners except on the E string (they deaden the tone to much for classical), but I’ll check to see if it’s loose. Thanks for your help!

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Fiddlekit, did you rule out the dressing of the fingerboard? You have your violin maintained on a regular basis? If not, that could be the answer.

I did a test of the Evah’s and they were, in the end, not for me. (I should probably try them again.) I loved them when I put them on, but they died very quickly.

Here is a link to some notes about my experiment with strings: https://thesession.org/discussions/5627/

Again, one person’s/one fiddle’s experience.

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Jode, I’m convinced that fiddles are ridiculously idiosyncratic in how they respond to strings, and that our own body chemistry also affects string durability and tone. So the Pirazzis may not be best for you.

But it’s also possible you got a stale set of Pirazzis. I had a Pirazzi A once that was dead right out of the wrapper. My local music shop replaced it for free, no questions asked. And a friend has had the same A unraveling problems with Pirazzis as with Dominants. I suspect quality control is a moving target with violin strings….

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Tried the gold E Pirazzi string this last time…love it! Love it! Love it! Lasted a lot longer than the usual Pirazzi E, sounds quite nice, minimizes the dreaded E shriek.

Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Aren’t fiddles wonderful?

With my experimentation with strings, it was just easier to move on to cheaper varieties. I am now playing Helicores (aka Hella Cores) and I love them, except for the G string. It is rather dead. But the D and A are lovely.

I am certainly willing to accept that I got a bad batch of Evahs. Actually, I have them in mind for an emergency set. You know, like when your strings are dying a slow death and you are not quite prepared to change them. Then some gig comes along and you need good sound immediately. One impression that remains is that they were brilliant from the get go.

For Fiddlekit, I just wanted to send out the thought that even these highly recommended strings might not be the answer. As you say, it is really up to Fiddlekit and the fiddle in question.

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Hey Zina, how’d I do on the cross-linkage stuff there?

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Good points Jode. As much as I recommend Pirazzis, I’ve also enjoyed playing on Helicores, Dominants, Prims, and Obligatos. Whatever shakes your tree. And after six years of playing, Kit really should get her fingerboard looked at for a possible dressing.

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Re: Lots of Broken A Strings….

Well done, Jode, you can be the next Web Ferret! 🙂