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E-Strings.. hunting for something dark.

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Mar 4, 2020 - 6:19:30 PM

Kye

Canada

96 posts since 3/16/2017

I realized I've been at war with my E string this whole time. It always sounds 'shrill', and I can't stand it any longer.
I wonder if there's any recommendations on e strings I can try / buy separately that might be more grounded / earthy/suited for old time. I think I have Dominant's on here right now, and my back up pack, yet to be used is helicores. Thanks.

Mar 4, 2020 - 7:27:20 PM
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194 posts since 3/1/2020

If you’re using a Dominant E, throw it away and replace it with something like a Goldbrokat or a Gold Label. Luthiers and players alike have hated the Dominant E for decades. They’ve tried several formulations, but for some reason they’ve never gotten it right. If you want the E tamed a bit, a heavy gauge E might help. However, an unbalanced sound is often the result of soundpost position. Your violin may be in need of adjustment.

Many fiddlers like Helicores or Visions for their flatter sound.

Mar 5, 2020 - 3:43:21 AM

kjb

USA

712 posts since 6/8/2013

there is also the violin itself, you can't fix it with strings or soundpost adjustment which is the majority of the violins out there unfortunately .

Mar 5, 2020 - 4:41:50 AM

4834 posts since 9/26/2008
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Considering the natural shrill of the notes at that pitch, I've never heard an E string that I would describe as dark or earthy. I like the Lisa E by Prim and think it has a sweet tone. Also the fiddle, as Kevin said, could be the actual cause of whatever it is you don't like.

Mar 5, 2020 - 8:17:42 AM

194 posts since 3/1/2020

Heavy gauge E strings are a little darker. For earthier sound, wound E strings can help, but they tend not to have much depth or focus.

Mar 5, 2020 - 8:22:34 AM

194 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by kjb

there is also the violin itself, you can't fix it with strings or soundpost adjustment which is the majority of the violins out there unfortunately .


Any violin can be adjusted. It's just a matter of investing the time and knowing what needs to be changed. Sometimes more than adjustment is necessary, but adjustment can drastically change the sound, even if it's only a matter of a quarter of a millimeter of movement. 

Mar 5, 2020 - 9:27:19 AM

kjb

USA

712 posts since 6/8/2013

Yes but a violin that is not resonating will never be a good violin no matter what you do, otherwise you could buy the 60% of the poor designed violins out there and make them into 5000 $ instruments
I had one where the sound post was in the middle half way between the neck and the bridge. I thought wow this is going to be a big change when properly placed in the end withers new bridge and sounpst it sounded no different
I agree a lot of things can improve the sound , and you definitely try to improve them but in the end there is a limit that you will get even with regraduation

Mar 5, 2020 - 10:42:55 AM

194 posts since 3/1/2020

A lot of people have careers regraduating violins. I’ve done hundreds of regraduations over the years. You’d be surprised how much a cheap old German or Czech violin can come alive!

Mar 5, 2020 - 12:28:55 PM

276 posts since 1/5/2009

I have to agree.

Mar 5, 2020 - 12:34:16 PM

2622 posts since 9/13/2009

I like the Warchal Amber E for one of my fiddles.

Getting a great matching E string for violins have always been  a challenge. Gut sounds great, not shrill at all, but doesn't last long, easily breaks. Nylon is unable to to make a good E. So steel is about it... but can be harsh, thin, easily whistle.

There are some modifications to help tone down the E, that might want to try. Plated, tinned or coated in some way. Wrapped E; often as aluminum or chrome steel.

The set-up does play a role. Just to mention one other part of the issue (though folks don't want hear it) is simply "technique". That is, some folks technique is going to be prone to E issues... neither the string nor set-up will really solve.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 03/05/2020 12:35:54

Mar 5, 2020 - 1:11:43 PM
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kjb

USA

712 posts since 6/8/2013

Sorry not disagreeing with you , about regrads , set up and all , I think we are talking about 2 different things , You are talking about getting the most out of a violin, I am talking about the limits that any specific violin can achieve, no matter what you do to it. you are not going to make a strad out of a $50 chinese violin no matter what you do. .

Mar 6, 2020 - 5:59:48 AM

194 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by kjb

...you are not going to make a strad out of a $50 chinese violin no matter what you do. .


I agree that instruments have certain limitations, especially when it comes to wood selection. However, I would say that cheap instruments always have room for improvement when they come out of the factory. Hasty making means important details are missed. Fixing a couple of those issues can go a long way. You might not make a Strad out of a $50 fiddle, but you very well might make a $3500 fiddle out of it. 

Mar 6, 2020 - 11:10:14 AM

kjb

USA

712 posts since 6/8/2013

What percentage would you guess that that would happen , from your experience ?

Mar 6, 2020 - 6:50:28 PM
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194 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by kjb

What percentage would you guess that that would happen , from your experience ?


Enough to make the trade worthwhile. The price change isn't always quite so drastic, but the demand for revoiced fiddles is high enough that it's difficult to keep up. 

Mar 7, 2020 - 4:09:09 AM
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kjb

USA

712 posts since 6/8/2013

that's great, glad to hear it. good that you are doing that , otherwise a lot of them would probably end up being trashed.

May 20, 2020 - 6:24:02 PM

513 posts since 9/4/2007

The greatest cause of squeaky E strings is USER ERROR.. Practice.

May 20, 2020 - 8:35 PM

47 posts since 6/26/2007

A Lisa E string solves a lot of problems...

May 20, 2020 - 8:47:13 PM

1655 posts since 12/11/2008

Am I the only fiddler on the planet that likes Dominant E strings? I admit I don't keep close track of the E string brands on my three fiddles, but I'm pretty sure two of them do have Dominant E's. My good luck could also be because of the skill of the luthiers where I bought my fiddles from. It doesn't hurt that my Dominant E's blend in fine, volume-wise. As for the E's that do squeal, if a replacement cures the problem I just throw the offender away.

May 20, 2020 - 9:35:01 PM

182 posts since 6/3/2016

I like the Helicore aluminum wound over steel rope core E. It is more mellow than the Helicore unwound steel E.

I too like the Prim Lisa E string. Though I thought its advantage was supposed to be durability because it's made of stainless steel.

May 20, 2020 - 9:47:52 PM

182 posts since 6/3/2016

Also, Kaplan Amo strings are good to make a bright instrument sound warmer. They are relatively expensive. Don't expect them to make a piece of crap shrill instrument sound wonderful. I use them on one very well graduated and set up instrument. I did it in part because I already had a nice loud instrument and wanted a different sound.

May 21, 2020 - 3:26:54 AM

Swing

USA

1967 posts since 6/26/2007

Piastro Oliv Gold plated E... nice mellow E string use it on all my fiddles

Play Happy

Swing

May 21, 2020 - 12:42:46 PM

853 posts since 1/25/2008

You could always switch to a viola. That way you wouldn't have to worry about an E string. :-)

May 21, 2020 - 2:06:34 PM

38 posts since 8/20/2019
Online Now

I also like a darker E and have tried a few. I have tried a few and landed on the Westminster heavy (27.5).

Jul 26, 2020 - 8:43:37 PM

RickM

Canada

15 posts since 3/20/2017

Two from Thomastik that I’ve tried and like for a more mellow sound. Infeld Red, on the pricey end in Canada. Spirits are also worth a try. They’re marketed as a student grade string and priced a little more reasonably.

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