Bow Wound Strings: our criterias Print E-mail

Photo Gallery

 


Picture nr. 1 : Making a Cello 4th wound.

Picture nr. 2 : 18th C.manual winding machine (Diderot & Alembert's "Encyclopedie", 1750-60 ca.).

Picture nr. 3 and 4 : Old winding machines of 1st half of the XX century (Sant'Eufemia a Maiella-museum, Abruzzo- Italy 2007).

Picture nr. 5 : Stradivari wound strings, Museo Stradivariano Cremona. Our traduction: "these are the examples of the thick strings; the string that show its gut inside must be made wound like the Vitalba's plant".

Picture nr. 6 : This is the Vitalba's plant.

Pictures nr. 7 : 18th C. open wound bass lute strings on a Raphael Mest's lute.

Pictures nr. 8 : Copia of the Raphael Mest's lute bass open wound strings.

Picture nr. 9: Copia of the Raphael Mest's lute wound strings on a d- minor baroque lute.

Picture nr. 10 : Joahn Kupezky (1667-1740); portrait of a luteplayer. In the original, the last bass string seem to be an open wound type.

Picture nr. 11 : Claude Perrault, "Ouvres De Pysique", Amsterdam 1680.

Picture nr. 12 : Viola's old wound strings (Bruxelles, Museum Royal Instrumental, 2007)

Picture nr. 13 : Antonio Gabbiani (1685 ca?) 1st know example of a 4th Violin wound string.

Picture nr. 14 : Antonio Gabbiani (1685 ca?) 1st know example of a 4th Cello wound string.

Picture nr. 15 : A.Gabbiani (1687 ca?): other example of a 4th Cello wound string.

Picture nr. 16 : Francoise Puget (1687 ca.): wound strings on a Bass-violin.

Picture nr. 17 : G.B. Forqueray, 1750 ca: detail close and open wound strings.

Picture nr. 18 : Horemans (1770 ca): detail of a Violin (4th silver/silver plated wound).

Picture nr. 19 : Nicolas Henri Jeaurat (1756): detail of a Violin open wound 3rd string.

Picture nr. 20 : Modern winding machines.

 

A FEW HISTORICAL NOTES

The earliest mentions known to us of wound strings dates back to 1659 (Hartlib Papers Project; Ephemerides: "Goretsky hath an invention of lute strings covered with silver wyer, or strings which make a most admirable musick. Mr Boyle. [...] "String of guts done about with silver wyer makes a very sweet musick, being of Goretskys invention”) and 1664 (John Playford: "An Introduction to the Skill of Musik...") :

 

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However, their use did not spread out very quickly for some decades: in fact the earliest iconographical evidence showing musical instruments strung with wound strings (Violin and Cello) date back to 1680's.
In Italy, a country renowned for its string production, the earliest evidence is from the year 1677.
According to Rousseau ("Traité de la Viole", 1685) it was the Viola da Gamba player Sainte Colombe who first introduced them into France around 1675, but the most important English Lute and Viola da Gamba tutor, Thomas Mace's "Musick's Monument", in 1676 does not mention them at all. According to James Talbot's MS. (ca.1700) Lute, Violin and Bass-Violin bass strings are still the usual gut ones, namely Lyons, Catlines or the "deep dark red" Pistoys. Only in the early decades of the 18th century wound strings -both close or open wound (called, in 18th c. France, demi-filée)- got the upper hand of traditional gut strings, revolutionizing music making to our day.

 

WHICH SORT OF WOUND STRINGS WERE IN USE IN THE LATE 17th TO 19th CENTURIES?

 

JUST THREE

1) Close Wound: the single wire spires are tightly wound touching one another. It is the still commonly used sort.

2) Double Wound: a second close wound layer is laid over the first one.
Because of the large quantity of metal wound on the gut core they were employed on instruments with a short string length but requiring a low tuning, e.g. violoncello da spalla, 5th double bass string &c.

3) Open wound (demifilè): the single wire was wound so that the spires would not touch one another but with a space in between equal or slightly wider than the wire diameter (see Francoise Le Cocq, Paris 1724); these strings were in use exclusively in the in 18th century as transition between plain gut mid-register and close wound basses, e.g. Bass viol 4th, violin 3rd &c and D minor german baroque Lutes.

 

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18th C. harp with open wound basses. Note the Violin with a a 4th silver wound and three upper gut strings

 

 

diapositiva21
Hear their sound on a 13 course D minor baroque lute (712 KB)

 

 

WHICH ARE THE TECHNOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MODERN AND HISTORICAL WOUND STRINGS ?

 

 
THE HISTORICAL WOUND STRINGS PRESENT THE FOLLOWING GENERAL FEATURES

a) medium or high twist gut core.
b) round metal wire winding.
c) no silk 'padding' between core and metal winding.
d) metal wire of silver, silvered copper, pure copper or its alloys (brass).
e) different gut/wire ratio than the modern wound strings.

MODERN WOUND STRINGS:

a) flat metal winding.
b) stiff, low twist core.
c) silk 'padding' between core and metal winding.
d) employment of modern alloys like tungsten, nickel, &c.
e) metal-biased gut/wire ratio.

Hence the acoustical differences are quite noticeable and interest both dynamic and timbric aspects.

 


 

OUR PRODUCTION

 


CLOSE WOUND GUT STRINGS


WITH PURE SILVER WIRES (F type)
WITH SILVERED COPPER WIRES: (A type)

 

OPEN-WOUND STRINGS


WITH PURE SILVER WIRES: (FD type)
WITH SILVERED COPPER WIRES: /AD type)

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS AND FIELD OF APPLICATION
We conceived our "F" (pure silver close wound), "FD" (pure silver open wound); "A" (silvered copper close wound), "AD" (silvered copper open wound) type-strings with the aim of recovering the typical materials and proportions of the wound strings in use in the 18th and 19th century (round wires, no silk between the metal wire and the gut-core): rather different from modern strings, as supported by historical sources and by measurements taken from many original string fragments in museums.

 

Hereby we would also like to remind you to use our "C" type loaded gut strings when performing late 16th and hearly 17th century music; our "FD" and "AD" types on French 18th Century-repertoires (3rd D Violine; 4th Bass Viola da Gamba C); in the strictest respect to historical authenticity.

 

 

Pure silver or silvered copper wires?
 


What are the differences between the wound strings of  pure silver ( F and FD types) and the ones in silvered copper ( A and AF Types) ?


  1) The pure silver, being a heavier metal than copper makes necessary to use a wire slightly thinner than those of copper. This brings to a lower noise -attack of the string under the bow.


2) On the wound silvered copper strings, the protective deposit of silver (which serves only to protect the underlying copper from rapid oxidation) is only ten, twenty microns.

This means that in a few weeks or few months (depending on how and how much you press the string and the type of sweat) in the contact point with your fingers the deposit of silver is consumed, leaving out the copper.

At this point, the string begins rapidly to become brownish- green. In the case of strings wound with pure silver this does not happen.
In other words, pure silver wound strings last much longer.
 
3) Silvered copper wound strings are cheaper than the ones wound in pure silver 
 
4) There is not a substantial improvement in acoustic power using strings wound with pure silver


 
In conclusion, the strings wound ​​of pure silver are suggested in all cases in which:
  a) we are dealing with fine musical instruments
  b) the instrument is used by professionals players and not amateurs
  c) if you are looking for a long lasting string

 
On the other hand silvered copper  wound strings are recommended:
 a) for  students where the cost factor is crucial
 c) in the case of cheap musical instruments
 d) if  sweat of the fingers is very low

 

 

PRICES : SEE SETS FOR BOWED INSTRUMENTS

 

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