Strings: an exquisite act of incredible stupidity

Chalk it up to worsening eyesight. Dim light in my practice room. The fact that I change out my violin’s strings maybe, oh, about a quarter as frequently as I’m supposed to. But I put an A string where the D string belongs. My brain kept thinking “A” and my fingers decided “D.” It was a full day before I noticed, once it was time to practice again. (When I switch out my strings, I do it one string every other night until all four are changed out.) Even then, I didn’t catch the error. Although something felt wrong, I wasn’t sure what, so I launched into practicing my scales. Finally I looked closer. String manufacturers provide color-coded threading at the base, which helps intelligence-challenged types like myself. Green equals “D.” Blue equals “A.” My double-blue, green-less setup confirmed it all.

I’ve always wondered what happens when you put the wrong string in the wrong slot. Who knows what sort of trauma I caused that string? Or, since it was tuned lower than it should have been, it turned out okay. Right? Perhaps I merely gave it a horrible case of gender identity. Now it won’t be like the other A strings. It will always prefer a more masculine tone. I have confused it for the rest of its string life.

What if I’d done the opposite, putting the D string where the A belongs? Would it have been stretched beyond its normal capacity and, once corrected, put in its right place, sound flabby and flaccid? Destroyed overnight? Oh, the guilt I’d feel. Not to mention the fact that these aren’t cheap strings.

Dominants. They can stand up to anything you throw at them.

By the way, here is a wonderful discussion thread about strings from I’ve kept for reference for years now. Many thanks to member Christian Vachon, who compiled the original post.

3 thoughts on “Strings: an exquisite act of incredible stupidity”

    • Steve, that’s hilarious to hear that YOU would make that mistake, as you know so much about strings! I feel much better now. : )

      By the way, for you other readers, Steve has an online shop with great prices on strings. (The link is there on his reply and also in the “violin” category on my home page.) Speaking of which, time for me to order some more…


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