What brand of strings do you use?
Tagged: “fiddle tablature” “country fiddle lesson” “bluegrass daddy” “john’s fiddle lessons” “john cockman” "Don Rich" "Buck Owens" "Cajun Fiddle", choosing strings for your violin, fiddle strings, john cockman, violin strings
April 3, 2014 at 12:54 PM #3149Gerald SchofieldParticipant
Hi John Thank you so much for the lessons. I have just joined and love the sound of your violin. I wish mine would sound so nice. I was wondering what brand of strings you use? The ones I have on my violin didn’t cost much and I think that may be the problem. The sound post is in the correct place and the bridge is also done correctly. My violin is a quality German made violin about 50 years old. I just don’t know what strings to replace the old ones. Thanks again.April 3, 2014 at 12:54 PM #3146GoldberryParticipant
Hello Dr. Cockman!
I am really enjoying the lesson videos. I was wondering what kind of strings you use because I will need to purchase some soon. Thank you!April 5, 2014 at 8:55 AM #3156
Hi Gerald! I have been getting this question a lot, so I am making a post about it. The kind of strings I recommend usually depends on the tone of your fiddle, and how much you want to spend. I use D’Addario Helicores on the fiddle I give lessons on, but I use Thomastic Dominants on my 5-string and Supersensitive Red Label on my beginner fiddle. Please see the video below. Let me know if you have more questions!April 5, 2014 at 3:44 PM #3157
This video is helpful. Thanks for posting it. You are getting a nice sound out of your eBay fiddle w/ cheap strings. I’m pretty sure this has a lot to do with your bowing technique. I’m curious what your thoughts are on this, and if you have any suggestions on how to get better tone out of a fiddle thru better form or technique.April 6, 2014 at 1:59 AM #3159
Hi Harlan, that is a great idea… I will definitely post a video on bowing technique in the next few days. JohnApril 8, 2014 at 2:15 PM #3179BruceParticipant
I watched your new video on your fiddles and string selection last night. It was really good. I have wondered for years about your fiddle. My main fiddle is a 100+ y/o French fiddle too. I am playing Pro-Arte strings on it but may try some Helicore’s. I also have a $100 Chinese fiddle that is my “truck fiddle”. I keep in in the truck so when I’m at the farm at lunch I can play for an hour or so. And guess what, Red Super Sensitives are on it!! My third (actually my first) fiddle is an old Czechoslovakian fiddle. It is loud and with Prim strings it is very bright and almost too loud. This is an old family fiddle. It has been regraduated by a very skilled luthier but it still doesn’t sound really good but it sure holds it’s on in a loud jam where my French fiddle sometimes doesn’t have the volume. Going to try some synthetics next on it to try and mellow is it a little. Anyway, thanks for the info. Love the site. I’m going back thru all your old lessons and picking up tunes that I either did have as first choice when I first started playing about 3 years ago or did not have the skill to play.
I love the play along tracks on this site, really helps my timing. I don’t have the chance to play with others very often so these are my jam partners so to speak. This past Saturday I went to a bluegrass Gospel day at a country church. We jammed for several hours before the show. I had been working on Libery with the sound tracks and when we started playing that they thought I was really good (fooled them HA). I have you to thank.
All the best and God bless you and your family. I’d love to learn Salt Creek and any Kenny Baker/Monroe tunes.
Banner 279April 10, 2014 at 11:36 PM #6408
what strings do you use john, dec. i bought some peter infield strings fro m shar. by 1 or 2 mo nths later so unds like my old strings were evaha pizzaro do not know how to spell her name. expensive. what do you recommend. delmaApril 12, 2014 at 12:48 PM #3199
Hi Bruce, that is awesome! Pro Arte and Prim are both good strings. I really think that it depends on the fiddle. A certain brand may sound fabulous on one instrument and dull on another. For example, I’m a longtime fan of D’Addario, but the Helicores just sound better on my French fiddle. Salt Creek is in the chute, by the way, after Ashokan Farewell. I am currently messing around with an better way to get the tablature into the metronome videos, so I can get these things done more quickly. JohnApril 12, 2014 at 1:12 PM #6409
Hi Delmea, I use Helicores on the fiddle you see in the videos.June 20, 2014 at 8:55 PM #4319
Quick question: Does the bow quality have a big impact on the overall tone, or is it mainly the bowing technique and the strings? Besides the fiddle’s quality, of course 🙂
Marc / SpacefolderJune 21, 2014 at 10:58 PM #4320
Hey Spacefolder, I changed from cheap steel strings to D’addario Helicores on my fiddle and it changed the tone dramatically. But I’m not sure it’s the exact tone I’m looking for. I tend to think that a pleasing tone from a fiddle is a combination of a whole bunch of factors. Each instrument has its own personality to begin with. John did a great job of explaining how different strings pair up with different fiddles. Bowing definitely has an impact as well. Bow speed, downward pressure, and rosin quality and quantity all contribute to different tonal characteristics. Humidity makes a difference. Even right hand position can have a marked effect on tone. The “setup” of the fiddle can make a big difference. A thinner or thicker bridge can change the tone. Soundpost location can make a big difference. Just because it’s in the “correct” location doesn’t mean that it’s in the best location to get the sound you want out of your specific fiddle. If you can explain what “type” of tone you are looking for (warmer, softer, mellower, woodier, harsher, etc.) He or she should be able to customize your setup to maximize those qualities you are looking for. If you aren’t afraid to experiment, you can play with different setups yourself. Bridges and soundposts are inexpensive. A few hand tools, some sandpaper, and a willingness to learn, and you’re good to go. From that point, I’m afraid its up to us to get the rest thru practice and technique. I’m no expert, but that’s my take on it. Good luck!June 22, 2014 at 10:50 PM #4321
Whew! Great response Harlan… There are so many variables it makes my head spin. I do recommend a nice carbon fiber bow. I like Glasser. As for technique, I have observed that a developing a long, smooth, confident pull on the bow is more important than how and where you hold it. Your arm should be loose, not stiff, in order to apply even pressure through a pull. Confidence comes with practice! John
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