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Strings 'n' Squeaks!

3026 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  bandmommy
Hey Guys, top o' the mornin' to you!

I have two unrelated, non-sax queries please, that you may know the answers to:-

  • My fiance's niece has started violin lessons and we picked her hired violin up for her at the music school and as you know, us musicians, we have to check these things out. I haven't played violin since 1983 but I gave it a go and I was immediately better than I used to sound back in the day! Anyway, my question is, this is a half size fiddle and it's steel strung! My strings were gut and I'd have thought they'd have been nylon now if anything, not steel - is this the norm now or only on student violins?
  • One clarinettist in our concert band, who has actually been playing I think for a long time, says he can't play very loud with out squeaking all over the place, when I was trying to get him to play louder in his solo. I'm not a clarinettist but can knock a tune out on one, being aware of using a difference in embouchure to sax but what can he do to play louder but squeak free? More bottom lip, maybe?
Cheers, guys!
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Steel is the norm for dirty rotten bottom of the barrel discount strings bought by cheap buggers who don't have to play them. There are plenty of good synthetic core strings out there. Hit the local music store and replace those things now before the pain puts your future niece off the instrument for good. A set of decent 1/2 size shouldn't be more than dinner for 2 at a fast food joint.
The windings around the core of the string are metal, but not "steel". The cheap strings are solid steel and better used as a soft cheese slicer. (Excepting E strings which are a special case)
Pure gut strings are very rarely used as they have a soft tonal character which gets lost in a modern environment. Performers of period instruments will use gut and occasionally jazz bass players will use gut, but symphonic players use modern strings with Thomastic Dominant being probably the most used string out there.
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