This morning I changed my fiddle strings, and while it will take a while for the strings to settle down, the difference seems huge. I guess it was a good time to change them. It’s hard to say when is the right time. Eventually they begin to sound dull, but the change is very gradual but it’s costly if you change them too often because fiddle strings range from expensive to very expensive. I’ve been working on improving my intonation. It’s a big challenge when you learn this instrument because you have a short, fretless fingerboard and you have to learn accuracy to get the correct pitch. I was having problems playing a particular note with any kind of decent tone, and by that it seemed as if I was getting worse, particularly for that particular note. I thought perhaps a new set of strings would help.
As with just about everything violin-related, there is a big price difference between brands of strings and strings made from different materials. Strings that sound great on one instrument may sound mediocre on another (price doesn’t necessarily matter) and as near as I can tell, trying a set is about the only way to find out. I’ve tried some different brands. This time out, I opted for Prim mediums for my G, D and A strings and a Pirastro Gold E string. Prims are moderately priced steel strings, and they sound really good on my fiddle. I added a Pirastro Gold E string because I read that many players use them because with that string they experience less instances of a whistling E string. I don’t know if it is so, but it seemed worth the investment to find out.
I’ve used Prims before and I liked the way they responded on my fiddle. Last time out I tried Tonica strings, which have a synthetic core. I found they did not hold their tuning as well as the Prims I previously used and as well I thought the sound I was getting was comparatively mushy. I found myself immediately happy with the new ones, but I’ll know better after a couple days.