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Nov 20, 2020 - 7:37:58 AM
25 posts since 11/20/2020

I wear out A strings at a prodigious rate. They always wear through at the same place: right on the D note. I’m wondering if it‘a an issue of technique. I mostly play Irish, so the D note gets a good workout, but my jam buddies don’t seem to have the same issue. I’ve been using Tonica strings, which I really like, but they wear quickly. I have used steel strings but don’t like them. I average about 10 hours a week playing time. Any thoughts?

Nov 20, 2020 - 8:14:03 AM
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1863 posts since 8/27/2008

That's vary common. I used to wear out A strings in the same spot until I switched to Prims from Helicores. Helicore A's were wrapped with aluminum. Prims are all steel, I believe.

Nov 20, 2020 - 8:28:37 AM

25 posts since 11/20/2020

Thanks. I just ordered a set of Helicore with a titanium A. Sort of like buying jewelry. Hopefully, they will last better. Haven’t tried Prims, tho I know some like them. That will be my next stop. The only steel strings I’ve used were Super Sensitives. No bueno.

Nov 20, 2020 - 9:33:08 AM

doryman

USA

104 posts since 2/10/2020

At leasts you don't have to replace frets!

Nov 20, 2020 - 11:25:04 AM

2 posts since 11/19/2020

You can also make sure you keep your fingernails trimmed... I have to trim mine back every few days to keep the nail from touching the string. Wiping the strings down before and after each use will also help preserve them.

Nov 20, 2020 - 11:33 AM

311 posts since 3/1/2020

Just a few things to consider:

-Is the fingerboard clean beneath the strings? A metal deposit on the board will wear strings out faster.
-Is the fingerboard shaped properly? Is there a hump at the spot where you’ve been breaking strings? Is there not enough scoop?
-Do you wash your hands before playing? Oils and dirt and sweat can get into the core of the string and degrade it.
-How often do you cut your fingernails? Although the pads of the fingers are the focus point for positioning your fingers, the nails can get in the way and make little nicks in the winding that unravel quickly
-Do you eat and drink a lot of acidic things? If so, that could cause your sweat to be more corrosive to the strings. Heavy coffee drinkers and smokers tend to wear strings out faster than average.

Nov 20, 2020 - 4:55:36 PM

25 posts since 11/20/2020

The Violin Beautiful all good points. I regularly trim my nails, wash my hands and wipe down the strings. In spite of those good habits, I also drink coffee by the bucket and chew snoose. The fingerboard may be an issue. It has pretty good divots from playing. I have noticed that the one at D is deep enough it’s starting To affect my tone. So as soon as covid settles down I’ll get it dressed. Thanks

Nov 20, 2020 - 8:01:50 PM
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311 posts since 3/1/2020

I hope that helps! If your fingerboard is pitted, it’ll definitely be worth it to have it planed.

Nov 21, 2020 - 5:02:18 AM
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RobBob

USA

2718 posts since 6/26/2007

I have a fiddle with some fingerboard pitting. When I showed it to a lutheir he just shrugged. It wasn't bad enough. The titanium A will out last the aluminum and sounds better to me. A clean instrument is a healthy instrument.

Nov 21, 2020 - 5:12:49 AM
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DougD

USA

9976 posts since 12/2/2007

Might add that Helicore are steel strings, although more mellow than most, so if you don't like steel strings you may not like them. Prim are steel too, but both sound better to my ears than super sensitive.

Nov 21, 2020 - 8:43:33 AM

25 posts since 11/20/2020

I really hope the Helicore work. I like Tonicas. They’re like the poor man’s Dominants, but I’m going broke buying A strings (an exaggeration, but... you know).

Nov 21, 2020 - 9:26:28 AM

Earworm

USA

170 posts since 1/30/2018

If you're getting Helicores, be sure to get the Titanium A string. I've actually never tried the aluminum A, but it has quite the reputation of giving out before all the rest.

Nov 21, 2020 - 10:59:28 AM
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11705 posts since 9/23/2009

No matter what strings I use, it's the A string that always goes first.

Nov 21, 2020 - 12:22:02 PM

1742 posts since 12/11/2008

A strings have been problematic for me since Day One...at least compared to the other strings. It doesn't really bother me, though. I just figure that an A string is inherently more fragile than the others. It needs to be more slender than the D and G. Its windings need to be a smaller gauge than the ones on the D and G, which in turn makes the winding more delicate and susceptible to wear.

Nov 21, 2020 - 9:10:48 PM

311 posts since 3/1/2020

A strings are often the first to break on many different sets. A common reason for this is that aluminum is the metal that’s used to wrap the core, and it tends to be softer and less durable than silver. If silver were used to wrap the A string, it might last better, but the diameter of the string would end up much thinner and it would feel and perform rather differently.

Incidentally, Warchal makes a “Russian style” A string that’s wrapped with stainless steel. It’s noticeably thinner and sounds different. The marketing makes a point of emphasizing its durability. A few of my customers really like it, especially when used with a Vintage Brilliant G and D and an Amber or Timbre E.

Nov 29, 2020 - 10:50:30 PM

25 posts since 11/20/2020

Update: I put on the Helicore with the titanium A. I have to say I prefer the sound of Tonicas on my fiddle. The A and E Heli sound a little flutey to me, and the diameter is smaller. But I asked for durability. Hopefully, I’ll learn to like them.

Dec 23, 2020 - 7:13:13 AM
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4289 posts since 6/23/2007

Some years ago I saw a Youtube video that advised players to use less finger pressure when noting. I gave it a try and he was right. I was surprised by how little finger pressure was required. I warm up by playing a few exercises and some short waltzes. I focused on relaxation and bowing. I added using less finger pressure to things to accomplish.

You might try finding out how much finger pressure you actually need.

Dec 24, 2020 - 2:15:06 PM
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WyoBob

USA

201 posts since 5/16/2019

In the year and half since I started with the fiddle, I've gone through two sets of Helicore mediums.  The G and D strings never failed and still sounded good when I took them off.   The E strings were OK but I did put on a Goldbrokat E on one fiddle.   I've had two medium Heli A strings "go wonky" and two Titanium A strings do the same thing.   I put a new Titanium string on 3 days ago and it started out sounding wonky and never ot better.  I replaced the Helicore titanium A string today with a Goldbrokat A that I had on hand and it sounds great.

I have medium Prims on the other fiddle with a Lisa E string and it sounds great.   I ordered another set of Prim's with the Lisa E to replace the Heli's on the second fiddle.  I liked the sound and "feel" of the Heli's but, I'm done with them.  I bought the two packs of Heli's and the Titanium A's during a short time period so perhaps I just ran into a bad batch of wonky strings.

I've never had a problem with any string, Heli's or Prims (or Preludes) have windings break or unravel.   I play around two hours every day.

Dec 24, 2020 - 2:43:53 PM
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1863 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by WyoBob

In the year and half since I started with the fiddle, I've gone through two sets of Helicore mediums.  The G and D strings never failed and still sounded good when I took them off.   The E strings were OK but I did put on a Goldbrokat E on one fiddle.   I've had two medium Heli A strings "go wonky" and two Titanium A strings do the same thing.   I put a new Titanium string on 3 days ago and it started out sounding wonky and never ot better.  I replaced the Helicore titanium A string today with a Goldbrokat A that I had on hand and it sounds great.

I have medium Prims on the other fiddle with a Lisa E string and it sounds great.   I ordered another set of Prim's with the Lisa E to replace the Heli's on the second fiddle.  I liked the sound and "feel" of the Heli's but, I'm done with them.  I bought the two packs of Heli's and the Titanium A's during a short time period so perhaps I just ran into a bad batch of wonky strings.

I've never had a problem with any string, Heli's or Prims (or Preludes) have windings break or unravel.   I play around two hours every day.


I only tried a Lisa String once and it was fine. But so is the E string that comes with a set of Prims. Couldn't tell the Lisa was any better.

Dec 29, 2020 - 10:00:35 AM

WyoBob

USA

201 posts since 5/16/2019

I replaced the medium Helicores on my second fiddle with Prim mediums and the change was great.  I now enjoy playing the fiddle as much as my other one. 

My string search has ended.   I'm never going to use any string but Prims.  For real. 

(I thought I'd inject a bit of humor in this postwink)

Dec 29, 2020 - 10:09:59 AM

DougD

USA

9976 posts since 12/2/2007

Bulltrout - Helicore mediums seem to be thinner than other strings, which contributes to their playability. Some folks prefer the heavies for the thcker feel.
BTW, its not illegal to mix strings of different brands. Maybe you could find a longer lasting A string to go with the Tonicas.

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