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Back to all steel strings for now...

Posted by fiddlepogo on Thursday, February 9, 2012

A few days ago after picking up Stinky with the Zyexes on it and not liking the G on it for the umpteenth time, I'd had enough, and took them off.  Dug out some OLD Prims... and I was STILL gettin' more of what I want out of them.  I had hoped Zyex would be a category buster that would somehow allow me to like synthetics, but I don't think so.  Pity, because I like the SOUND just fine... it's the feel I don't like.  I MAY try Heavy Zyex sometime in the future, but my enthusiasm for string experiments has waned.... UNLESS I already have them in my possession or unless they are steel on steel and show some promise of being in the same league as Prims.

One extra thing I did do to Stinky- someone gave me a cheap loud eBay Chinese fiddle with a cracked pegbox.  It had a tailpiece with integrated fine tuners on it, and I decided to try it to see how it did- some years back  Stinky DIDN'T do well with the Wittner Ultra tailpiec that does great on Booker and is still on it.   Somehow this cheap metal one seems to be working better.  If I still had my metal Thomastik from the 70's I would have tried that too.

With Stinky sounding good and feeling better to play, I turned my attention to the Eastman VL100- it dawned on me that  I really had the action too high for steel-on-steel strings like the Mystery European steels that are on it.

So I did my usual "Sand down the top of the bridge until the notches barely show and then deepen them" trick, and I was happy with the result.

So with my second string fiddles sounding and feeling more like I want them to, MAYBE I've cooled off the hankering for a new fiddle.  There has been another Knilling 4KF Bucharest that looks just like Booker, just a couple of years later vintage, and I had been tempted to offer to trade BOTH Stinky and the Eastman in on it, thinking and hoping that it would be just as tweakable as Booker, but sound slightly different due to different pieces of wood... and oh yes... because it DOESN'T smeall funny like Stinky and the Eastman!

Booker is sounding good as usual, having settled in from the previous tweaks.  Actually I did tweak one thing- the chinrest is a cheaper wood one, and I've done some carving away on it before, and I sanded off some corners to reduce the mass yet a bit more.  I think the change was positive, except... it's even a bit louder, which it didn't really need- oh well!

At some point, I may try the mystery Easter European set, the Lenzner Goldbrokat set, and an old set of Thomastik Precision Lights on Booker,  (maybe even the Zyex set that just came off of Stinky) just to satisfy my curiosity... but it's hard to get the enthusiasm up for it when Booker is sounding so good- still, inquiring minds WANT to know.



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