It’s crazy how violinists spend most of their time asking what are the right strings to use but are not curious about how these incredible strings are made. Given the fact that there are gut, steel, and synthetic strings, does the construction of each type also differ from each other? If you ever made yourself curious about how these violin strings are made at least once in your whole life, today is the right time to know the truth behind that question.
How are violin strings made?
Just like any other recipe, there is no single way to construct violin strings. Take a look at the following:
Started with animal intestines
Animal intestines, specifically sheep, initially make the first strings. Experts used to stretch, dry, and twist it to achieve a warm and rich sound. It never failed them, however, these types of strings are typically susceptible to humidity and temperature, which means it requires careful maintenance. Nowadays, strings made of sheep intestines are used in the form of gut type.
String cores are wrapped with wire strands.
Gut, steel, and synthetic are the types of string cores. Each manufacturer has its own way of designing and modifying each core. After they construct the core, it’s time to wrap the cores with wire strands. Manufacturers use different metals as cover, depending on the sound they want to produce. Likewise, the layers of wires also depend on how they want the pitch to be. High pitches require fewer layers, while low pitches need more layers.
Skilled human power still matters in string production.
There is no doubt that machines speed up string construction, but nothing can beat humans’ skills behind these. Although machines do most of the work, the operation and maintenance are dependent on human skills. Therefore, the workforce is still the key in starting the process, ending the job, and ensuring that every part of the step is perfectly working.
Knots or beads, colored silk or plain
Even though the cores are well-wrapped by wires, the ends are still left open. The only thing to finish is to apply knots, beads, or silk through the process called silking, where every end of the strings is secured. For example, gut cores are just looped at the end, while the rest are locked using a bronze bead. Now that the strings are secured, manufacturers will use a specific technique to finish the string to be ready to play after you unpack it.
Now that you know a few ways of constructing violin strings, you’ll have an idea of why and how you can take care of them. Likewise, you could use the above information by being a wise consumer when it comes to picking the right string for you. Note that your level and chosen tone or sound matters when purchasing strings. If you are not sure about the ideal type for you or want to know more about string maintenance, you could always ask professionals for advice so you won’t get lost in the process.
Hi music fan! I am Jeff. Hope that you enjoy some stuff I shared here in my personal blog.
About myself, Currently I am in charging as Artist Manager/Music Supervisor at 72 Music Management. I did managed album to Grammy Award in 2017 with 7 Nominations from 2014-2020 and had the opportunities to work with : A.J. Croce, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bobby Rush, Dom Flemons, Dustbowl Revival, Sarah Grace
Governor of the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy is one of a award that I am lucky to achieved.