Can I put Gut strings on my modern violin?
Yes, of course you can! ...and I believe both your violin and your playing will get a big advantage from this.
Gut strings in fact will reveal you a new voice.
I am speaking about the paste of the voice as well as of course articulation and phrasing.
When (and if) you will turn back to modern strings this new voice will stay with you and you will be able to find it also in the evenness of modern strings. Resulting in a richness of colors and expression which will make you enjoy much more your playing!
Here is a list of what you need to check before you put them on:
- peg: if you have the possibility make both the access to the hole a bit smoother so that the string does not have any 90° edges, or anyway check they are not sharpened from the previous strings
- upper nut: the groove for the string must be really smooth and not too deep. As it was made for modern strings which are thinner, it could be thinner than the string and if it has sharp edges it will cut the string
- bridge: same as above: no sharp edges, no deep thin grooves, just a smooth surface to lay on and eventually slide
- tailpiece: remove the fine tuners, they are not necessary with gut strings. Be carefull that the strings can go into the drille hole for the tners without forcing it, or they will break the fingerboard. Take special care for the 3rd string and drill a bigger groove. The hard wood of the tailpiece will not give you any kind of advise before breaking, it will just open, so don't try. If it forces in, dont go and adjust the hole before.
- bridge (again!): gut strings tend to move the bridge much more compared to modern, so while you tune be carefull and check continuously that the brigdge remains in its correct vertical position, and adjust it. While adjusting it put something under the tailpiece so that in the unfortunate case that it falls the tailpiece will not break your soundboard. Remember to check it every day, after each tuning
- tuning: to have your strings in tune faster I recommend you to use the technique shown in the next post, titled "tuning"