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Tech: Octave fiddle strings?

GUEST,beardedbruce 13 Oct 11 - 07:27 AM
Bernard 13 Oct 11 - 09:50 AM
RTim 13 Oct 11 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 13 Oct 11 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 14 Oct 11 - 08:09 AM
ollaimh 14 Oct 11 - 10:22 PM
Micca 15 Oct 11 - 07:13 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 18 Oct 11 - 06:58 AM
Bernard 18 Oct 11 - 07:14 AM
wysiwyg 18 Oct 11 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 18 Oct 11 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 18 Oct 11 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 20 Oct 11 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Guest Strad 20 Oct 11 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 20 Oct 11 - 12:07 PM
GUEST 20 Oct 11 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 20 Oct 11 - 01:22 PM
s&r 21 Oct 11 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 21 Oct 11 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 31 Oct 11 - 02:22 PM
Crowhugger 31 Oct 11 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 01 Nov 11 - 01:22 PM
Catherine Jayne 01 Nov 11 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 02 Nov 11 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 03 Nov 11 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 03 Nov 11 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 04 Nov 11 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,beardedbruce 08 Nov 11 - 10:40 AM
Mary Humphreys 08 Nov 11 - 01:57 PM
foggers 08 Nov 11 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,beardedbruce 10 Nov 11 - 09:39 AM
beardedbruce 16 Nov 11 - 07:43 AM
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Subject: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 13 Oct 11 - 07:27 AM

I know the gauges of the standard fiddle set ( .010, .014, .022, .032) in steel, and have been getting octave violin stings (Perlon core) for the three I have modified. But they are really octave violins- LOTS of tone, but missing that "fiddle" brightness.

Does anyone know the gauges in steel strings for an octave fiddle set ( one octave below the "standard" fiddle)? I presume that they will be wound strings, probably in the 0.042 to 0.072 range, which I can get from a guitar set or bass.

I know I can tune the .022 D up to an E, and the .032 G to the A, but what might work for the G and D strings? I hate to cut up a bunch of strings just to try them out ( and the pegs need to be redrilled to allow for larger sizes).

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: Bernard
Date: 13 Oct 11 - 09:50 AM

I'm given to understand that strings wound in 'high density tungsten' were developed for this purpose. Not that I've tried them, but I know of people who use them to good effect.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: RTim
Date: 13 Oct 11 - 09:55 AM

I recently saw Brian McNeill (ex Battlefield Band) play an Electric Octave fiddle - and it sound just like a Cello!! It was wonderful.......

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 13 Oct 11 - 11:31 AM

Tim,

I also have been modifying violas to be chincellos. That is actually easier than the Octave violins- there is no internal modification, just pegs/nut/bridge/tailpiece/strings.

Getting a decent sound out of a 14" violin body means structural work inside, unless you go electric.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 14 Oct 11 - 08:09 AM

OK, I have just ordered some 0.044 and 0.072 steel strings to try ( .042, .046, .048, .050, .052, .054, .054, .056, and .078 I have)

I will try them out, and see which ones give the octave tuning at a reasonable tension.

Wish me luck!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: ollaimh
Date: 14 Oct 11 - 10:22 PM

octave mandolins and theirn cousins have conquered the folk world but i have never heard of octave fiddles. that sounds really interesting. i'll have to give it a listen


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: Micca
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 07:13 PM

Ollaimh, and Beardedbruce,. there is a link Here to a UK Octave violin maker that has contact details etc. he is a thoroughly nice guy and I am sure could , if contacted ,provide the info you need


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 06:58 AM

Thank, Micca. I had looked at his site before. Very nice looking instruments, but out of my price range. I may contact him, if I get the chance.

I will try the new strings, and am chasing down some " piccalo bass" strings, for a double octave violin/fiddle.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 07:14 AM

You might just want to revise your spelling... it's 'piccolo'!!

Also bear in mind a bass tunes in fourths (not fifths), so the tensions may not be quite right.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 08:04 AM

Some past 'Cat writing on these. AKA "chincello" if you want to Mudcat and/or Google search. I believe Catter LilyFestre had a set. Seems I recall (from the person we both know who told us about these) that they are quite expensive and fragile, but OMG the TONE...... she (that mentor) has a spare fiddle permaently set up that way, which seemed to work well for her.

If you like that deeper tone and don't want to go chincello, Hardi has a 5-string fiddle (a surprisingly nice Chinese). That fifth string allows for the usual 4 violin strings.... and also four viola strings (the ranges overlap). This permits playing in keys many fiddlers find difficult, in addition to the mellow, low tone of playing in the viola range. (PM for details)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 09:02 AM

Susan,

I have both chincellos ( modified 16" violas strung an octave low) and octave violins.

I am modifying violins to octave violins ( new/additional bass bar, work on pegs/nut/bridge/tailpiece) whenever I get a violin that seems like it has decent tone and response. Presently working on a 14" viola body to see if it works without the additional bass bar- it is a real pain to open them up and fit the oversized bass bar in!

The tone of the chincellos, especially the C string, have to be heard to believe!

I am learning viola, and have several decent German ones. I never really liked the high notes on the violin, anyway. And the fingering on the chincello is just the viola shifted down an octave. But fiddlers seem to like the octave violins.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 10:12 AM

Bernard,

I need to use a shorter scale length, as well- so I am checking various sizes of strings to see what tunes up to the required note. On a double octave violin, the G is one octave below the cello G. The octave violin set works well, but I wanted to get the brighter tone of steel, hence my initial post.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 08:26 AM

OK, I will expand this to a more general discussion of octave violins and fiddles.

I am presently making them by modifying violins. This requires removing the top, fitting an additional bass bar, reglueing the top, modifying the pegs, nut, bridge, and tailpiece.

I brought one to the FSGW Getaway, and sold it there.

The one maker of OVs in the US that I have found uses 14" violas, and does not appear to change the inside ( though it is not certain- he does not describe his mods specifically). There are two makers of OV strings, but all the discussion I have seen are that the SuperSensitives work better. ( Some comments were on unmodified violin bodies, though)

I am making several based on 14" violas, and having a friend ( violinist) try them out and compare to my prototype modified violin version.

The luthier mentioned by Micca ( in UK) makes the entire instrument, and it is priced appropriately for a custom instrument- but higher than I think many can go. I would like to see decent instruments in the $500 to $2000 range, as opposed to $3000 or $5000.
Parts ( wholesale ) are around $100, and it takes about 8 solid hours of work ( spread over several days waiting for the glue to set) to modify a violin ( plus any repairs the violin requires).

I am using older ( mostly prewar German) violins ( and violas) that have needed repairs to the tops ( so I had to open them up anyway). I suspect that the better instrument I start with, the better the tone and voice of the resultant OV, but have relatively limited funds, so...

Does anyone have experience with Octave Violins? Any feedback as to modified violin vs small viola vs custom in terms of the instrument "voice"?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,Guest Strad
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 11:26 AM

I use Thomastik Octavgeige strings which don't need any mods to the fiddle. The Catalogue No's are 2714.1 2714.2 2714.3 2714.4 for the e to g strings respectively. Need to work quite hard to get a decent sound out of them. The main disadvantage is they are very expensive. Don't know where my previous reply went to!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 12:07 PM

Guest Strad,

I read about the Octavgeige strings, but the consensus seemed to be they were not as full as the SS Octave strings. ( from several discussion groups, on the instruments being talked about). I probably should get a set to compare, though. But then I use Tonicas on my violas...

The modifications to the violin are to improve the low end response- without the heavier bass bar, the low string is much weaker in volume than the others. One CAN string up a standard violin with the octave strings, but the low end is weak. Fitting the nut and bridge to the thicker strings is a good idea, as well. I end up with viola fine tuners on a violin tailpiece, but I'm playing with modifying the shape of the tailpiece to see what the difference in sound might be

You might want to try getting a new bow- when I tried OVs with a violin bow, they sounded very weak, and the low string on the chincello was weak even with a wood cello bow.

- I am now using braided carbon fiber viola bows on the OV, and braided carbon fiber cello bows on the chincello. It still takes a solid pressure on the low string, but the volume seems balanced a lot better. The comments I have seen are that the stiffer the bow the better for these instruments.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 12:09 PM

fyi




http://www.giannaviolins.com/vl/oct/griz.html

http://www.baritonefiddles.com/acoustic-octave-violins-and-fiddles/


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 01:22 PM

above was my post...




Friend's blog on the OV


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: s&r
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:03 AM

Use a bass rosin

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 09:48 AM

Yes, I have tried changing the rosin- but the stiffer braided bows helped more than the rosin did. It DID help some, though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 02:22 PM

ok, it looks like one can either add a new bass bar to a violin, or use a 14" viola body without internal modifications.

I have a 17" viola on order, to see how the chin-cello strings sound on the larger body- it might be worth using 17 rather than 16 inch violas.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 03:38 PM

I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes with the 17" viola. Although with my large hands I'll probably stick to an actual cello despite its size and weight, it's most absorbing to read about ocatve violins and chin-cellos. Thanks for this thread!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 01:22 PM

Another site...




http://www.darolanger.com/bariton.html


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 03:40 PM

I've got a beautiful Tim Philips Octave Violin and I get my replacement strings direct from him, yes they tend to be expensive but they have a beautiful tone. If you ever get to meet him he is a wonderful guy and an amazing instument maker. I've played a number of his instruments and hopefully will be getting another one of his creations in the near future.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 08:15 AM

I looked at Mr. Philips' site. They look wonderful, but are out of my price range. I am still converting violins and violas, rather than making new instruments.

The bad point about conversions is that the instruments need modification, and then still are not optimized for the lower tones.

The good points are that I can afford to play around with them, and by judicious selection of the used instrument to be converted, I can get a stable, nice sounding instrument without waiting 20 years for the wood to age! Best conversions so far have been pre-war German instruments- 80 years seems like enough time ( or else the bad ones are all thrown away!)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:37 AM

OK, the 17" viola has arrived, and modifications started.

I should know later this week how it compares to the same brand of 16" chin-cello. Since the difference in a 16 1/2" vs 16" viola is noticeable, I expect the 17" should be impressive as a chin-cello.

One good point already- the pegbox is big enough that I did not need to carve out more space for the strings- just a larger hole in the pegs ( and some fitting).

The SuperSensative strings are just barely long enough for a 17"- I will have to see if they plan to make a longer set before I get a 17 1/" or 18" body


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 08:49 AM

Further notes on the 17" chin-cello

The SS strings are stated to be for 15" - 16 1/2" violas. IF you put them on the 17", you must change out the standard composite tailpiece ( with tuners internal) or add external tuners on all strings ( to a wood tailpiece) to get the string long enough. As it is, with 4 viola tuners on a large ebony tailpiece, the silk on the strings are just over the nut when the strings are tight enough to hold the bridge. This should give enough plain string on the nut, when tension is applied to bring it up to the note.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 11:20 AM

Well, I had to increase the notch in the bridge for the C ( and G) strings on the 17" chin-cello - the string was vibrating out of place when full pressure was applied. Off it goes to my evaluator to be compared to a 16".


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 10:40 AM

updates:

The 17" chincello is good, but not as impressive as I had hoped- it is a little better than the 16", but not sure it is worthwhile ( larger spread for fingers, and difficult size to get accessories for). Might be the lower tension with the longer scale length. I may look into some other tunings ( other than CGDA) to see if a higher first string helps. Maybe the equivalent of the ADAE or AEAE tunings for fiddle( first one or two strings up a step).

I have found some mandocello strings of the right gauges- they look like they will work for octave fiddles. Bronze instead of steel, but I'll see what the tone is like.

I have a set of steel (.022, .032, .044, .074) strings to try, but have my present OVs strung up with perlon strings to compare to each other. Once I have them graded and priced, I'll swap out the strings for the steel ones.


Still not sure if the modified violins ( new bass bar) sound better than the 14" violas ( no internal mods). I think the fact that each one is different before I modify it is a greater effect than the difference in my modifications.

I am presently just making the modifications, then having them graded vs the first OV I made- any that sound as good or better are good enough to sell. Most buyers will play several, and pick the one they like anyway.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 01:57 PM

Neil Brookes plays an octave violin and it sounds superb. It may be worth trying to get in touch with him.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: foggers
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 03:10 PM

Interesting thread; I have a 14" VSL bowed dulcimer on order from Ken Bloom, and it is possible to string it with octave violin strings so this info on sources could be useful in the future when my new "baby" arrives.

I also second the comments on Tim Phillips; smashing bloke, lovely instruments and he is a nifty player too. Had a brief jamming session at Cheltenham in Feb this year in the market area and he was pretty handy on mandolin too.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: GUEST,beardedbruce
Date: 10 Nov 11 - 09:39 AM

Well, it looks like the mandocello string set is the right one for the Octave Fiddle. I have several more on order ( and one gets TWO OctaveFiddle sets per Mandocello set!) at under $11 a set. About 1/10th the cost of an Octave Violin set ( as expected- the Fiddle set is 1/8-1/10 the cost of a violin set).

Using a Bass rosin, and viola BCF bow. One does have to shorten the strings, leaving about 6 turns on the peg when it is holding down the bridge- there is no silk end, s0 the end gets bent after going through the peg. Had to shave the inside of the pegbox on some of the instruments, to get clearance for the winding.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Octave fiddle strings?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 07:43 AM

Octave Fiddle with bronze Mandocello strings- VERY brassy and loud. Looks like a good dance band instrument- no need for any amplification!


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