Damian Dlugolecki - String
Mounting a violin in modern set-up
Mounting a violin in modern set-up with gut strings requires no changes
to the instrument or bridge. The violin must, however, be equipped with a
Hill style tailpiece which has a round hole for each string with a slot
forward to where a saddle spans the width of the tailpiece. The string must
have a knot at the end to secure it in the tailpiece. I can supply the
strings knotted and ready to use and it is best to ask for this service
particularly if you are new to gut strings.
First remove any tuners that are installed onto the tailpiece. This is
easily done by unscrewing a knurled nut from under the tailpiece which
allows removal of the entire tuner assembly.
Mount the strings one at a time, inserting the string either up through the
bottom of the tailpiece; or knot-first through the top of the tailpiece. Put
the end of the string through the hole in the peg and then wind away from
the peg handle 2-4 turns; then cross the string over the turns and resume
winding so that the wraps wind towards the wall of the scroll. Be sure the
string is properly seated in the tailpiece before winding the string taut.
As the string is wound closer to pitch it is best to push up on the string
at the bridge. This is done by placing a finger on either side of the bridge
underneath the strings then pushing up on the string so that it momentarily
loses contact with the bridge. This serves to distribute tension equally
along the entire length of the string and relieves the build-up of friction
between bridge and string. It is good to do this from time to time as the
strings are stretching.
Keep your left hand dry as you play. Moisture, more than anything leads to
the fraying of strings. If you were to keep your left hand entirely dry it
would be theoretically possible for the strings to last for many months.
To get the optimum resonance from your violin check to make sure that the
lengths of string between the tailpiece and the bridge are the proper length
to assure consonant resonance with the playing length. Dis-intonation of
these lengths is often the cause of "wolf tones." The distance
should be 1/6 of the playing length. You can test this by ear by plucking
the e" string and then plucking the a' string between the tailpiece and
bridge. The pitch of the tailpiece length for the a' string should be three
octaves above the open e" string. If the pitch is sharp, the tailpiece
needs to be stationed further from the bridge. If the pitch is flat, the
tailpiece needs to be placed closer to the bridge. When everything is in
tune your violin will ring more and have a bigger sound.
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