How (and when?) To Replace the Strings of Your Violin or Viola
First I will explain when you need to replace your strings. Averagely for amateurs is to replace the strings about once a year.
Why should you replace your strings regularly and not wait until they snap? When your strings are old and/or damaged, this affects the stability of your intonation. The string seems to waddle in tone and you will play out of tune. It also effects the quality of the tone in a negative way.
The E string can have a little tube around it. This tube protects your bridge. As the E string has a high tension and is thin, you need to have a bridge protector to prevent it from cutting into your bridge. It differs a bit how a bridge protector looks like: it can be a plastic tube or a leather-like piece of cloth. This protector will only do it’s job when you place it between the string and the bridge. Some brands of strings also have a bridge protector on the A string.
Here’s how to replace your strings:
- When you replace your strings, don’t remove all your strings away at once. The risk is your bridge or soundpost will fall. Just replace the strings one by one, tune it and go to the next. It doesn’t matter with which string you start and in which order you change them.
- Turn the peg so the string loosens, remove the string from the peg and the tailpiece.
- If you have a tailpiece with integrated finetuners, just place the ball of the new string between the little legs of the finetuners. For strings that don’t have finetuners, put the ball of the string through the hole in the tailpiece.
- Put the string through the hole in the peg. It’s important to wind op the strings in a good way, so they don’t push the pegs out of the peg box. Watch the video to see exactly what I mean.
- The string shouldn’t cross itself when you wind it around the peg, because this will effect the tuning stability and shortens the lifetime of the string.
- When changing the string, check your bridge often. By tuning the strings, you can pull the bridge to one side and it can fall down. It must stand up straight. If not, adjust it carefully with both hands.
- When you are done replacing the strings, tune them, sweep over de strings with your hand warming the strings, tune again, play something, tune again etc. In this way your strings will reach their tuning stability very soon.
The sound will be most in balance when you replace your strings all at once and not one by one throughout the year.
Click here to order exactly the same Warchal Amber strings I personally use on my violin.
Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!
PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to email@example.com and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!