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E string squeak

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#1 Tebs



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Posted 29 March 2001 - 07:00 PM

A customer was asking me about her cheap violin - everytime she tried playing fast repeating passages her E string cut out or squeaked. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I thought it was her technique and so I gave it a play doing some tripple stops with a bare E on top. It did cut out and I half think it was her string and half think that it was my technique.
What do you guys think?
Will a wound E grip more - or is it purely technique????

#2 Yankee Fiddler

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Posted 29 March 2001 - 07:43 PM

What kind of string is it? Is it the famous squeaky Dominant string that so many of us have had the "pleasure" of playing on?

Yankee Fiddler

#3 November


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Posted 29 March 2001 - 08:04 PM

Some strings just tend to squeak more.My red infeld squeak the most.I prefer other strings and still searching for the right one for me.

#4 toasty



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Posted 29 March 2001 - 08:40 PM

Humm .. might as well waffle on this since it could be 1001 things.

The diameter of the string is quite small compared to the G where there is no squak soooo I imagine some more hair on the string or a slight buck up of Bow speed would reduce the problem.

I assume the Bow is not skidding if so square it, glazed rosin is capable of causing shrieks, hummm.

Newbies, when they do not put enough rosin on the Bow - often when they have not broken the gloss on a new block, worth checking too.

Hope that helps.

#5 Candace


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Posted 29 March 2001 - 09:11 PM

For 9 years of lessons and then over 20 years of playing sometimes a lot, and sometimes not, I never noticed such a squeak. Then I got a different brand of strings and there it was. I endured it and changed strings after a few months, and I haven't had that problem for the past year.

Now, I am sure that it was my playing that did it. But I also have found both before and since that some strings are forgiving of imperfect technique and some are not.

I think your friend ought to change strings and see if it helps. But also try to improve technique.

#6 mark



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Posted 29 March 2001 - 10:20 PM

I am currently attending the American Federation of Violin & Bow Makers conference, Maestronet being an "honorary' member. I hope to post a few interviews from the conference in REalAudio when I return. This morning there was a lecture from a research scientist from D'Addario strings. He indicated a scientific reason for the whistling E. For some reason the string twists at 4.7 Khz and rather than settling down as other strings do it continues to oscilate at that frequency and causes the whistle. I will try and update this further when I get more info. But the upshot is that there is a real reason why this occurs on the E string and it is not the player. Perhaps others can shed some more light on this, and I will speak with the lecturer again to get a clearer answer.

[This message has been edited by mark (edited 03-30-2001).]

#7 Tebs



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Posted 29 March 2001 - 10:28 PM

Thanks, what a eye opener. I look forward to learning more about this.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. My customer had a cheapie string I think Red Label Supa sens (the string I love to hate!) I was told that a Dominant wound E might work - so it was interesting to hear about the Doninants.
Hummmmm the plot thickens ...


#8 Fetique



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Posted 30 March 2001 - 02:15 AM

I would get that non response from the E, interestingly, when I was using those fancy gold plated Pirastro Olive E's. Recently I have been using Lenzner Goldbrokat, and it virtually never happens anymore. I vote for it being the string and not the player. Although, it may have something to do with how your violin is set up, too.

#9 Andrew Victor

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Posted 30 March 2001 - 12:36 PM

Indeed, the plot does thicken, but like Sherlock Holmes, I think it was written some time ago.

I suspect the D'Addario speaker was Norman Pickering, their physics consultant.

The E-string whistle seems to accompany the gold-plated strings including Pirastro Olive and Obligato Es and the Thomastik Infeld Red E.

I've also found a trace of it on some other strings, but not nearly to that extent.

It seems to be related to using low pressure that gets the torsional mode going. A heavier bow pressure would get the lateral vibration going, but whould often make the E-string too loud, especially in a broken chord or arpeggio. Sometimes, even with the gold-plated strings, you can suppress the whistle by using one of those little tubes that come with the strings around the string at the bridge - probably dampens the torsional vibration.

These gold-plated strings give wonderful E-string tone on many violins, otherwise why would people put up with this problem?

Other E strings that have been recommended to get rid of the problem, and still have good tone and power are Pirastro Wondertone (also called "Gold Label" but not a gold-plated string), Westminister, Hill. I've also found that the Tonica E and the Zyex E do well and don't whistle. The Thomastic Infeld Blue string is also powerful and doesn't whistle. I've found the Dominant E strings I've tried (especially the Al-wound one) were softer (perhaps even duller) in tone than these others, and not a match for the other strings on my instruments (which by the way, cover a range of brands, selected to optimize each instrument).


[This message has been edited by Andrew Victor (edited 03-30-2001).]

#10 fiddlin



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Posted 03 April 2001 - 08:42 PM

I used to use steel E strings, and all my fiddle-playing life I've had to deal with whistling E strings. I switched to wound Es a year or so ago, and the whistling has dropped to almost zero. I use Tonicas with the wound E.

#11 Ludwig



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Posted 03 April 2001 - 08:49 PM

I switched to a Eudoxa wound E and the squeaking stopped.... best E I've used yet....

#12 Tebs



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Posted 03 April 2001 - 10:18 PM

Well I did an experiment.
I played Handel's sonata #5 A maj Allegro (which has a few open e double and triple stops) using my Helicore e. And guess what??
Squeakage big time!
I repeated the passage 4 times - same effect each time. Thought 'bugger this' and replaced my e with a wound Dominant.
First time through - perfect! No squeak.
So I am a fan of the wound E Dominant.

#13 toasty



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Posted 03 April 2001 - 11:49 PM

Scratching head and wondering, learning new stuff all the time.

I notice with wound Es that they make a more rounded sound with few if any noticable overtones, like the Flute, but with unwound steel there's noticable overtone.

Why would windings dampen overtones?

#14 M Rankin

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Posted 05 April 2001 - 03:50 AM

Maybe winding tends to damp the basic resonance properties of a steel wire?

BTW, I put a Gold E on an otherwise well behaved violin last night as an experiment, and it squeeks abominably on open E so long as my 1st finger touches the neck (not the string). Practising figure 8 open string crossings from A to E produces A - (1/2 second squeek on E) - E unless I bow forte or louder. This violin has a long scale and fairly high string tension - anyone have experience with gold Es on 'soft' feeling violins?

Oh well, back to the wound Eudoxa!


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