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Jun 2, 2021 - 4:58:38 PM
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WyoBob

USA

301 posts since 5/16/2019

There's lots of discussions about E strings on the Hangout.  I have limited experience with E strings in my two years of playing the fiddle but here's one I've not read about.

Thomastik Alphayue.   I have experience with the following E strings:  Prim, Prim LIsa, Helicore medium, Prelude, Fiddlerman, Goldbrokat and Pro Arte.

The GEWA fiddle I bought from the "Bluegrass Shack" came with Thomastik Alphayue strings.  I wasn't a fan of the synthetic strings and have had several different strings on the GEWA.   I have a " beater", my free fiddle (Jenkins, a hobbyist built fiddle made back in 1949) that started me on my fiddle journey and also a GEWA and Kenney fiddle and have tried several sets of strings on all of them.

On the Jenkins fiddle, I now have Helicores with an unknown E string (up to now).  It occurred to me that that E string sounded pretty good on the Jenkins but I didn't know what it was.     So, I went on a search to find out what it was and it was a Thomastick Alphayue (I'll be darned if I know how to pronounce that!) and, I like it.   It's the best sounding E string I have experience with but have never read any comments about it here.

So,  there it is.   It sounds the best of any "E" I've tried but I've only had it on the Jenkins.   I intend on ordering 2 or 3 of those strings and trying them on my other fiddles.  At $ 2.70 per string, it's certainly sounds good to me.  I'm not much for spending big bucks on an E string so this one is right up my alley.

Jun 3, 2021 - 3:45:08 PM

46davis

USA

47 posts since 3/16/2021

It could be the instrument and not the string. Some fiddles are really bright on the E string, a desirable quality in fiddling where you want to be loud enough for the dancers, and codgers who say, "Eh? Wha'd you say?"

Jun 4, 2021 - 3:54:10 PM

WyoBob

USA

301 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by 46davis

It could be the instrument and not the string. Some fiddles are really bright on the E string, a desirable quality in fiddling where you want to be loud enough for the dancers, and codgers who say, "Eh? Wha'd you say?"


Rich,   Well the instrument isn't much.  It was given to me by a guy who never played it two years ago.  His granddad made it in 1949.  It was my first fiddle and, though it is pretty crude, heavy and didn't sound very good, it's what got my on the road to fiddle playing at age 72.  

I put guitar type tuners on it as the pegs and peg holes looked like they were carved with a knife.  I put a new tail piece and gut because the original gut broke while the fiddle was on my lap.  (There went a couple of years off my life!)   The sound post was wayyy off target so I cut another one and put it where it belonged, put Helicore mediums on it.   It sound pretty "ok" now and will be my "rough country" fiddle.  

"Eh? Wha'd you say?"   Ha, I don't do that anymore!   I bought new hearing aids from Costco a month ago to replace my 8 year old ones and they're great!!   (Although, I didn't realize there were so dang many birds around here.)

I think I'll take the E string off and put on one of my 2 other fiddles and see what happens.

Jun 6, 2021 - 11:50:35 PM

46davis

USA

47 posts since 3/16/2021

Hey, sounds like my kind of fiddle. Don't knock guitar tuning pegs on a fiddle. Whatever works. I think Strad & Co. would have used a lot of newer technology if it had been available. Thinking in absolute terms, I'm amazed that violins and pianos use tuning pegs that are left over from the dark ages.

I used to go to a lot of fiddle festivals, Mr.Airy, Clifftop, Brandwine, Galax, etc. when I lived back East, and among old-time fiddlers it isn't the fiddle you play, it's how you play the fiddle. You see more than one homemade fiddle and more with homemade repairs or restorations. Old-time fiddlers are notoriously cheap when it comes to buying instruments, but they will patch up an one one and see if they can get one more season out of it.

I have seen a tail gut made of baling wire. Yes, real honest-to-God baling wire. It's good for a lot of stuff. But makes it ****ty welding rod. Too soft. Use coat hanger. But that makes ****ty tail gut.

Are your hearing aids prescription or OTC?

Jun 7, 2021 - 8:49:56 AM

WyoBob

USA

301 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by 46davis

Hey, sounds like my kind of fiddle. Don't knock guitar tuning pegs on a fiddle. Whatever works. I think Strad & Co. would have used a lot of newer technology if it had been available. Thinking in absolute terms, I'm amazed that violins and pianos use tuning pegs that are left over from the dark ages.

I used to go to a lot of fiddle festivals, Mr.Airy, Clifftop, Brandwine, Galax, etc. when I lived back East, and among old-time fiddlers it isn't the fiddle you play, it's how you play the fiddle. You see more than one homemade fiddle and more with homemade repairs or restorations. Old-time fiddlers are notoriously cheap when it comes to buying instruments, but they will patch up an one one and see if they can get one more season out of it.

I have seen a tail gut made of baling wire. Yes, real honest-to-God baling wire. It's good for a lot of stuff. But makes it ****ty welding rod. Too soft. Use coat hanger. But that makes ****ty tail gut.

Are your hearing aids prescription or OTC?


I switched "E" strings and put the Thomastik on my GEWA fiddle (with a Goldbrokat on it) and put the Goldbrokat on the Jenkins.  The Thomastik sounds good on the GEWA.   The Golbrokat E's have sounded fine on my 3 fiddles but I think the Thom. is a bit better.  I have prims on my Kennedy fiddle (and used to have them on the GEWA which now has Helicore's) but never cared for the prim E's.   The Prim Lisa's were a bit better but not worth the extra buck, IMO.

The guitar style tuners I put on my freebie fiddle cost $16.00 for four.   They're heavy but  didn't want to tie up much in a fiddle couldn't give away.   I put Wittner's on my two good (Chinese) fiddles.

There was a good performer at CROMA a few years ago who played a $50.00 fiddle he bought off eBay.   My hero.  

Bailing wire.   I clipped tons of bailing wire in my younger days in the hay grinding shed at our feedlot.  Clip the bales, flip them onto the long conveyer that dumped them into the 100 plus hp hammer mill and then air lifted them over to a bin where the ground alfalfa was mixed with molasses.   Hmmm, yummy.  The cattle loved it along with the "corn flakes".  I think we were the first feedlot in Nebraska to put in a steam, corn flaking mill.   Three giant roller mills, making corn flakes out of steam cooked corn.  Smelled great.   Cattle loved it.  But, days of running the mills took a big toll on my hearing along with shooting and flying airplanes with no headset.  I bought shooting ear muffs pretty early on and started using them when grinding hay or running the flaker mill but the damage had been done.   Bought a couple of aviation headsets in my later years of flying.  What a help that was.   The last headset was a Bose, noise canceling one.   No more "huh's?" from me.  The controller's didn't like repeating themselvesindecision

No prescription needed here.  Maybe for new wearer's?   But, all of the aids I've worn were fitted by an audiologist.   Pickens are slim for audi's around here.   I drove 2 1/2 hours to Billings, our nearest Costco and the audi I had there was the best one I've dealt with.  I know it is advisable to have your ears checked by an ENT doctor before you buy your first pair.  The Costco's were my 4th pair over the last 15 years or so.


Edited by - WyoBob on 06/07/2021 08:52:48

Jun 7, 2021 - 4:54:28 PM

46davis

USA

47 posts since 3/16/2021

Those are good looking pegs. I might put them on the fiddle I'm currently making. It has a red cedar top and walnut back and sides. Haven't made my mind up about the neck and scroll. I hate carving necks and scrolls.


Always flipped the bales on their sides and pulled the wires off. Put 'em over a stake on the back of the wagon. Pity there wasn't something you could do with them. Nowadays, you could sell them on etsy.

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