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Ball or Loop end E string?

About 80% of our E string sales used to be of the ball end version. The choice between loop or ball end used to be attributed to the aesthetic tastes of violinists. But we found that there is also an acoustic difference.

The acoustic difference is caused by the different after-length measurements. The after-length of a loop end E string is significantly longer than the after-length of a ball end E string when attached to a conventional fine tuner added to the tailpiece. So when using a loop end E string the after-length tone sounds lower resulting in a warmer and more projecting sound for the whole instrument. With an integrated tailpiece there is less tonal difference between the ball end and loop end E strings, provided that the tailpiece is not too heavy. To achieve the best sound we recommend either using a loop end E string with an English style of fine tuner or if you prefer to use a ball end E string then use a lighter good quality integrated tailpiece.

The difference in the sound between the two types of E strings (or set-ups) is not huge. However it can be heard and is also measurable using a spectrum analyser. If you combine this with other small but significant sound improvements such as using a Kevlar type tail gut instead of a Nylon one, you can achieve a definite improvement in sound.

Loop end E strings used to be considered less durable than ball end E strings due to more frequent instances of breakage at the loop. However, this normally only happens if an inappropriate fine tuner is used. We strongly recommend adhering to our advice regarding loop end fine tuner set-up.

How does string tension influence the sound?

In general, it can be said that the higher the tension, the louder the sound. Unfortunately, high tension has a number of disadvantages. First of all, it makes playability and response worse. This is manifested mostly in the softer dynamic ranges and higher positions. Moreover, with increasing tension, the number of overtones in the sound decreases; the sound becomes rather strong, but does not project well. When the tension is too low, the sound is thin and sharp, lacking a robust core.

Of course, strength of sound and responsiveness are also influenced by factors related to the structure of strings and the materials used in making them. The tensions of our strings are very similar to those found in other high quality synthetic and gut strings. However, we seek to achieve lower tensions whenever possible. The tensions of some of our E strings (Karneol, Brilliant) are a little higher because of the complexity and softness of the soprano register. E strings with higher tensions tend to whistle on some instruments. To guarantee you will have no problems with a whistling E string, use our non-whistling "Amber E".

Why do violin E strings sometimes whistle?

Whistling on the E string is a problem that violinists all over the world occasionally have to cope with. Beginners usually contribute to this undesirable effect in two ways. First, whistling usually occurs when the bow, after changing from the A to E string, is too far from the bridge. Second, violinists sometimes slightly touch the E string with the left index finger (with the side of the finger, just above the nut) at the moment of changing to the E string. Whistling is also is a challenge for many professionals. Some instruments are simply sensitive to whistling on the E string – even the best violins.

When we realize that various E strings have various resistances against this phenomenon, it becomes clear that not all E strings are suitable for all instruments. Even though we seek to achieve the lowest possible tensions for our strings, our Karneol and Brilliant E strings have rather high tensions in order to produce their characteristically rich and colourful sound. This fact may contribute to whistling on instruments that already have a tendency to whistle. For such violins, we recommend using our non-whistling Amber E string.

What's the best way to care for our strings? Should they be cleaned?

Our strings do not require any special care. In order for the strings to maintain a good grip with the bow, it is advisable to occasionally remove the rosin from them. The strings should be cleaned mainly when your bow is newly coated with rosin, as it is necessary to apply quite a lot of rosin, which sticks to strings. In general, rosin should be on the bow, not the strings. For cleaning, we usually recommend using alcohol. When using alcohol, you must be very careful and make sure no alcohol gets on the varnish of your instrument.

It is not always necessary to clean the strings with alcohol; the film of rosin can often be removed by a dry cloth. The layer you fail to remove with a cloth can be removed with the edge of a credit card. Never use metal tools to remove rosin. we also recommend checking whether the notches in the nut and bridge correspond to the thickness of the strings, and applying the graphite from a pencil to the notches when changing strings.

How often should Warchal strings be replaced?

The best time to change a single or entire set of strings depends on several factors. Two major factors are how many hours per day and how intensively they are played; and the corrosiveness of the player’s perspiration. The primary criterion is what your expectations are from the sound of your instrument. It is well-known that the durability of synthetic strings is generally shorter than that of metal strings. But synthetic strings give a player many more options to modulate the tone, so it's no wonder they are increasingly popular. There are at least three reasons why your strings should be replaced: the windings may break (especially on the A string); they simply do not stay in tune any more; they lose their quality of sound.

When worn-out, strings lose their quality gradually -- it can therefore be difficult to determine the right moment when the strings should be replaced. There is a commonly accepted limit of duration of 150 hours of playing, which for a professional player may mean something like six weeks. Nevertheless, many orchestral players and teachers play our strings several times longer. On the other hand, there are soloists that replace their strings even more often. My recommendation is to replace your string as soon as it does not stay in tune any more, in order to avoid the problem of reinforcing poor intonation. Sometimes, it is enough to replace the string with the most wear (e.g. “A“) only, though a replacement of the whole set is certainly the best solution.

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