Damian Dlugolecki - String Maker

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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