When I suggest roughly polished strings instead of smooth heavily polished ones, I often receive a squint like I am interfering with personal choices on musical taste, or with technical issues of an instrument which I have never seen, let alone played.  It’s always been difficult for me to explain why I am firm on this

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“I couldn’t play without varnished strings. Yes, I know they are not historically correct, but there is no other way for me, as my hands are so sweaty and I am so busy, that I move from hard air-conditioned to hot and humid environments even trice per day.”Is this familiar to you? I hear this

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Good gut strings: where do they come from? What does really make a difference for the quality of a gut string: in my opinion, the first factor which really affects the final quality of a string is that the numbers of gut strands used is balanced to the gauge we want to obtain. This is

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Sheep gut versus Beef gut: when, why and the differences The long time diatribe about strings: sheep gut versus beef gut: first video of serie of 3 discussing when, why, and the differences between the two. We are covering this because it will help us to analyze the changes of 20th century so that we can

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On the sensibility required to make wound strings Wound strings are a matter of hand sensibility and control of the string maker: even if a machine is involved, it is real craftsmanship to make a good wound string. The factors involved are many, from the quality and gauge of the core, how much it is

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Do you ever struggle during a concert for false intonation… just to discover that while your pure gut strings were going down, the wound ones were going up? please comment below to share your experience and suggestions!

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How polishing has changed through the centuries, from hand to machines …and, most important for us, from delivering on the market strings sorted by numbers of strands (so to say, in a 3 strands bulk you can find strings from 60 to 76) to deliver strings singularly packaged and labelled with a precise gauge. Polishing

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How the gauge is determined at the polishing and on half polished and smooth strings…. Can you guess why you can never be sure of the quality of a polished string? Want to know more? There’s a downloadable report here, it’s free, no opt-in!

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Drying, polishing, packaging The strings dried and still on the frames were polished by hand, using horse hair, or equisetum, polish stone or powder, or, later, sandpaper. About horse hairs: equisetum is also called horse tail, so for a long time wi thought that when they say we polished with horse tail, they were referring to

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C’mon let’s twist again… We finally have our guts ready, well cleaned, softened, hardened, selected: we are ready to use the wheel and give some twisting! …then we take our protostrings and we put them on the frame, where we give more twisting, we check the tension is fine, we constantly check they don’t dry

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From historical process to modern, from sheep to cow. In this video I forgot to mention the most important thing: the use of bovine guts permitted to avoid a big part of the process, saving days of work and dozens of workers, and, last but not least, working with a standardized material, always same size. If

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The “fresh gut” part  Let’s get started, and of course we start from Salle, in Abruzzi (Italy). We’ll go and see how a factory was organized in the 18th century. Yes, I said factory, not workshop. When you take out the intestine from a sheep, the first thing you need to do is to empty it someway.

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Making cordones for double-basses with a crochet, and recycling waste material 

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Historical gut strings manufacturing: cleaning with the thimble The last cleaning passage of the fresh gut was made using a copper thimble, pressing hard the thumb on the index finger. They did this 3 times a day for almost one week, using chemicals, and standing behind big tables with a parapet to protect them… G.

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Scarnatura: the first thing to do at the factory In this videos, originally Facebook Live, I went to the butcher to buy some lamb row intestines to show you the first part of the cleaning. This should never be done in a river directly, because the clod water will result in a stiffer gut. Normally

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Not only sheeps or lambs… you will be surprised to learn! My sources for this video are the letters of Roberto Salerni, the interviews to the old string makers in Salle, and Labarraque “Nuovo dizionario universale tecnologico delle arti e dei mestieri…”, “Minugiaio”, Venezia 1823

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Why sometimes do we have to wait for our order at the string maker? Why he cannot just decide to make our 85? Sometimes planning a gut production is really frustrating: the gauge of the string is not only determined from the number of strands, but also from their width and from the twisting. The

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Why I don’t like varnished strings: Maybe if you live in a very humid place, like Vietnam or Japan, it looks like this is the only solution. It may be true in fact if you want to buy a “ready to use” string.But if you have the patience of organizing your olive oil process and

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That’s me , or at least this is what I was in Aquila from 2002 up to 2016… On gauge imposed on a string by the polishing process… why half polished are definitely better and why the quality control and the polishing must be done by the same person. Want to know more? There’s a

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Making modern strings at the D’Addario factory (quite old video). It looks like the machine is the same used in the past, to make handmade wound strings. You’re guided by Jim D’Addario himself explaining what is critical in the process, and the sensibility required by the worker.

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…the idea came to a cello player… Sometimes, you wander around the web and you find little gems which only apparently have little to do with what you were looking for.  …but at a closer look… at 0’30 there are some historical pictures: note the dimensions of the factory and the name: Maillot is the actual

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