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Most musicians agree that in an orchestra, viola strings have a significant effect on both the intonation and tone of the viola.
However, finding the right set of viola strings can be challenging, especially if you are buying for the first time as there are many varieties available for purchase. furthermore, keeping this instrument in tune is rather difficult hence why it often is a source of ridicule among other members of an orchestra.
Since you cannot try out all the different kinds of strings on the market, we are going to take you through some key features to look out for in viola strings. Eventually, though, the best viola strings on violin depend on your technique, the style of music you play plus your personal preference.
Points considered for Viola Strings On Violin
There are some essential elements you should be looking out for when looking for viola strings. So discussed below are some of the things you must consider when purchasing viola strings.
Pick the Right Gauge
Most viola strings have different thicknesses, and this is known as gauges. Usually, with thinner strings, you get a brighter tone which has reduced carrying power, whereas thicker strings produce more volume which centers more on the sound.
Nevertheless, most musicians prefer the viola strings on their electric violin to be somewhat in between the two. But occasionally you will find a musician with a preference for one over another.
Therefore, the gauge you decide to use eventually depends on your choice. If you find that your viola is struggling to project sound, you should buy a thicker string, and a thinner string if you are aiming to project light, bright sound.
It is vital that you seek advice from your viola instructor on further guidance regarding which gauge you need to test out first.
How Often Do You Need to Change the Strings?
It is a vital factor you always need, and whereas some manufacturers claim their viola strings last longer in comparison to their competitors, there lacks any definitive proof.
Therefore, the most crucial factors which consequently affect the lifespan of viola strings is how strings are affected by your body’s chemistry plus how regularly you play your viola.
viola strings on a violin
Typically, if your sweat contains a high concentration of acidic content, you might be necessitated to replace the viola strings on the violin more often unlike someone who plays just as often as you but has lower acidic content.
So, you need to replace your strings whenever they are visibly deteriorating or damaged or the sound being produced is dead or dull.
What Material Is the String Made from?
Viola strings are of three main types, that is, the steel core strings, the synthetic core strings, and the gut core strings. Additionally, of these different type of strings has their advantages and disadvantages.
If you are an amateur musician, synthetic core strings are ideal for you because they offer you a perfect combination of affordability and comfort. Additionally, because it has a synthetic core, the tone unlike with gut strings is more consistent; nonetheless, it does lack several tonal qualities.
With steel core strings, the pitch produced is very stable, and it necessitates minimal tuning, and the subsequent sound it produces is somewhat different from that of the gut strings. It is because steel core strings usually produce a direct and clear sound that features extremely little complexity, whereas gut strings are full and warm.
As already stated, the sound that the gut strings typically produce is warm, features rich overtones, and is filled with complexity. Nevertheless, these strings often go out of tune, and about one week after installation, it requires to be tuned preferably daily. Also, these strings are susceptible to changes adjustments in temperature and humidity.
How To Change The Viola Strings
It is essential that while changing the viola strings on the electric violin, you do it one string at a time. Moreover, whereas the others are up to pitch, you need to maintain the tension at the top. Before you start the installation of the string, make use of a soft pencil on the bridge’s and nut’s groove because graphite acts as a lubricant which minimizes the risk of the string breaking.
It is vital that you ensure that you do not push the strings against the pegbox as well as tighten them more than the usual pitch. In case your instrument’s grooves are uneven or broken, the breaking of the strings will be much easier. So in case of any issue, always consult your music instructor on what you need to do.
The Brand and Your Purchase Criteria
When looking to buy viola string, you need to consider a few exceptional brands such as Jargar, Spirocore, Dominant, Larsen, and Evah Pirazzi.
If you are a professional violist, you most likely use more than one kind of string to replace specific strings, thereby making it tricky to recommend you one brand which works on all strings.
Therefore, to get a better understanding of the different combinations, you need to test out several brands to attain the specific sound you desire from your viola. With the guidance of your instructor, there are some recommended sets which you can buy and consequently save some money.
Usually, these brands feature more than one strings brand put in a combination that is identical to many of the frequently used sets found on the market.
Your Style of Play
Having at your disposal several sets of viola strings allows you to play different styles as well as the customization of your strings for every performance.
So, if you are a soloist, you most likely will require more than one string type as you need to have more control over your playing characteristics and sound. Nevertheless, if you are an orchestral player, for all the performances, you can make use of the same set of viola strings.
Nevertheless, because viola strings are relatively affordable, it will not be uncommon if you buy numerous different brands and styles of strings to customize the impeccable viola sound. Likewise, having high-quality viola strings is much better as it saves you plenty of time to replace your old strings.
Effects of putting viola strings on a violin
It is possible to put viola strings on the violin and still be able to play the violin. By doing so, you subsequently are creating a fractional viola. Nevertheless, the strings have reduced tension, which is necessary to achieve C, G, D, and A, therefore, resulting in poor responsiveness, lack of tone, and the strings having a spongy feel. Additionally, these strings are susceptible to getting rattled while on the fingerboard.
The effect of putting viola strings on an electric violin is a pitch that is marginally lower as viola strings are meant for relatively longer suspended playing length. Putting viola strings on a violin suspends the length for an inch, and this consequently causes the pitch to increase by a step.
To counter this, you will have to reduce the tension to lower the pitch at that specific length, and this might result in a slight pitch bend at the start of every bow stroke because of the reduced tension.
Therefore, having gone through this article, you now are better placed on some of the critical things you need to consider when looking for the ideal viola strings.
Consequently, when you make your purchase, you get to enjoy every minute when playing your instrument due to the impeccable sound being produced. In this article, you can also learn possible techniques to put viola strings on the violin.