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The anatomy of the violin string

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There are four basic types of construction for violin strings: solid steel core, multi-stranded core, perlon core, and gut.

Gut strings are made of real animal gut, usually from cows or pigs. According to Downing “Jake” Jacobs of Troubadour Music, these strings are not popular.

‘Gut is an organic problem,’ he says, ‘they have a shelf life. We don’t stock them. Perlon has replaced gut because of consistency.’

Perlon is ultra-fine twisted nylon fiber. The strings are wound with aluminum for A and D strings, and silver for G strings. Perlon, with its nylon core, is the most popular, good quality, non-steel core string.

Strings that have an ultra-fine steel wire core are called helicore strings.

‘They are less stiff than strings with a single wire core,’ Jacobs explains. ‘They take the idea of perlon, a flexible core. These are multi-core strings, wrapped around in ribbon wire, flexible and strong.’

Windings range from the common flat wire to gold; ‘Though gold winding is pricey,’ Jacobs points out. Gold plated over steel has good durability, however. Titanium winding is popular in professional grade strings for long life and extra brightness.

Solid steel core strings with chrome winding are the least expensive, at twelve dollars a set.

‘These are good for small violins,’ Jacobs says.

Committed to promoting a musically literate community, Troubadour Music is located at 380 W. Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, PA, and sells a variety of new and used instruments. In addition, Troubadour does repairs and offers private instruction. On-line shopping has affected string sales at independent music shops such as Troubadour, so Jacobs encourages customers to ‘shop local’!


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