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How to Bring Music into Your Busy Life

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jun 27, 2018 12:21:00 PM

There are more people who miss playing music than there are people who actually do play music. There are countless reasons for not going back to playing, including fear, lack of time, bad memories from childhood experiences, not knowing others who may be playing partners; the list is endless. The common thread running through all these stories is the regret most people express for no longer participating in an activity that they once enjoyed so thoroughly.

SHAR is so happy to be partnering with Associated Chamber Music Players to encourage people to get back into music making! For over 70 years, ACMP has passionately advocated for and led efforts to help people realize their dreams of getting back into playing with others. ACMP’s latest resource in this effort is author Amy Nathan . . . read ACMP executive director, Jennifer Clarke’s, interview with Amy Nathan, and how her new book, Making Time for Making Music (available at SHAR!) offers both inspiring stories, as well practical expert advice, in how you can get back into the most enjoyable and rewarding experience possible – making music with others!

Val Jaskiewicz

Editor's Note: The following Q&A transcript by Jennifer Clarke originally appeared on the Associated Chamber Music Player's website and is republished with permission. Click here to learn more about this organization and its members.

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Topics: Chamber music, Strings, Blog, Ensemble Playing, Music Careers, ACMP

Six Mistakes String Players Make When Changing Strings

Posted by James Engman on Jan 19, 2018 5:11:33 PM

It's a scenario every beginner or intermediate string player finds themselves in at some point: either a string broke, the metal winding is unraveling, or they've simply decided better strings will make them finally sound like Anne-Sophie Mutter. I can tune my strings by now; I'm sure changing my strings is simple enough! With headstrong independence they place an order for the set they heard are really great and wait patiently for their new strings to arrive. In a few days, they tear open the package, sit down with their instrument and get started...

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Strings, Bass, Instrument Care

The Magic of E-Strings!

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Jul 10, 2017 12:34:29 PM

Of the four strings on the violin, the E-string is unique. With the exception of baroque violin E-strings, which are generally made from plain gut, the violin E-string is made from steel, offering very different characteristics than the other three strings. However, that’s just for starters – the type of steel, the alloys used, plating materials, windings – all contribute to the vast variety that allows violinists to choose their preferred string, for whatever reasons they wish.

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Topics: Education, Strings, Product Reviews

American String Company Introduces New Violin Strings For Students

Posted by Craig Harbauer on Jul 10, 2017 6:00:00 AM

At D’Addario, we believe that our success comes from treating our customers like family. Partnering with educators, and listening to their needs, shaped our goals for developing the Ascenté violin set.

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Topics: Student Violin, Teaching, Strings, Product Reviews

Are your Strings Real or Fake?

Posted by James Engman on Apr 4, 2017 11:49:27 AM

There have been rumors about counterfeit strings for violin, viola, cello, and bass infiltrating the market for at least a decade. When I heard of "counterfeit strings", I mostly imagined packaging that looked like it came out of an Inkjet printer, and obviously cheap strings with noticeably altered thread colorations. As popular brands of strings continued to pop up online at wildly low prices, it was time to do some deep investigating. What SHAR found was very troubling: obviously inferior strings of unknown composition and origin, with nearly perfect packaging and presentation. SHAR began buying up these strings, dissecting them, showing them to manufacturers, and searching for the source of these knock-offs, which led us across three continents and deep into the shadowy world of counterfeit products and online marketplaces.

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Topics: Education, China, Strings, Product Reviews

Q&A: With SHAR CEO, Charles Avsharian - Violin E Strings

Posted by Staff Writer on Jan 18, 2017 11:04:55 AM

The advent, or rather the evolution of the steel violin e-string over a century ago brought violinists to new heights in their playing. The stablity and thinness of a steel wire allowed for greater brilliance, intonation, and speed. However, with the loss of gut's sweetness and warmth, further refining and improving the capabilities and characteristics of steel E strings is still an endless pursuit of string makers today. More than just a simple steel wire, the full composition and manufacturing method of steel strings involves trade secrets, precious metals, and very high tolerances! The nuances of response, feel, tension, and volume make choosing the right E-string an adventageous feat for musicians today. We sat down with SHAR CEO, Charles Avsharian, to discuss E-Strings for violinists.

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Topics: Violin, SHAR, Strings, Charles Avsharian

Looking to buy a new set of strings?

Posted by Staff Writer on Apr 12, 2016 1:37:40 PM

Sometimes buying strings for your violin, viola, cello, or bass, is just a matter of reordering the same strings that you've loved for ages. The reliable set that has always sounded great on your instrument might be all you need for the rest of your life. However, sometimes a new instrument, or just curiosity will lead you on a search for the new perfect set of strings. Or, perhaps a change in playing ability or budget will lead you to look for a new sound. There are a lot of different brands and types of strings to choose from, so find a good source to start from can be time-saving first step. With so many new brands on the market, it's hard to just stumble upon the right one by chance or by word of mouth.

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Strings, Bass

How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Child's Strings

Posted by Staff Writer on Jul 9, 2015 9:47:00 AM

Have you ever caught your child sneaking some salty food straight out of the bag or jar, snacking in an attempt to procrastinate before practicing? Maybe not, but I once had a student who loved pickles and would eat them right out of the jar before picking up his violin. It took his mom a few months to figure out why his violin strings kept wearing out so quickly, forcing her to purchase strings more frequently than other students of mine. His fingers would still be sticky with pickle juice, which corroded the violin strings. Does this sound anything like your son or daughter? Let’s face it, kids can be messy. They might not realize that strings and instrument varnish are sensitive, and that replacing or fixing them is pricey.

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Topics: Parents, Strings

Choosing the Right Set of Strings Redux

Posted by Joseph Chapman on Jul 29, 2014 2:52:00 PM

Edited Apr. 14, 2016 - We've rolled live the Violin Strings, Viola Strings, Cello Strings, and Bass Strings Sound Guides, now with interactive icons, a pricing key, and revised placement! See the updated blog on choosing the right set of strings here.

As SHAR has picked up more and more string brands, we realized that our handy string chart was out of date. So we've done three things with the new string chart: we added new brands, limited the strings to violin and viola strings (cello and bass charts are on the way), and we simplified. As far as simplifications: now the major differentiations are Quiet/Loud and Dark/Bright instead of the three differentiations of Mild/Aggressive, Subtle/Direct, and Smooth/Textured. If you're looking for an interactive chart with links to products, check out the chart here. On that chart we've also added a key with price categories ($ to $$$$) to help you decide if a particular string is worth the money for you.

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Strings

A guide to Choosing the Right Set of Strings

Posted by Joseph Chapman on Jul 12, 2012 9:27:00 AM

Edited Apr. 14, 2016 - We've rolled live the Violin Strings, Viola Strings, Cello Strings, and Bass Strings Sound Guides, now with interactive icons, a pricing key, and revised placement! See the updated blog on choosing the right set of strings here.

For advancing players, or established players who want to try something different, there's a lot to consider when upgrading your set of strings: Where do you typically perform? Do you want a string set suited for solos or ensembles? Which string set will draw the most out of your particular playing style and instrument? This graph will help you navigate (almost) everything you should consider!

Projection: Next to each string set there's a graphic that indicates that set's level of projection. The levels of projection range from "Mild" to "Aggressive."

Smooth/Textured:
The X axis (horizontal) depicts the continuum between smooth and textured string sets. Textured sets are complex sounding with many colors and rich, resonating overtones. Smooth sets are very clear and focused. The tone is clean and straight. 

Direct/Subtle: The Y axis (vertical) depicts the continuum between direct and subtle string sets. A direct string set has a brilliant, distinct tone designed for soloists to cut through piano or orchestral textures. A subtle set doesn't overpower. They blend well and often have a dark undertone.

For the new Violin Strings Guide, Viola Strings Guide, Cello Strings Guide, or Bass Strings Guide, click the button below, or feel free to call our string experts for extra guidance!  
 

View SHAR's Interactive String Charts

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Strings, Bass

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