Can you use viola strings on a violin?


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Viola strings can be used on violins, that works – but only for steel core A-strings. All other viola strings, including viola A-strings with synthetic cores, are not suitable for use on a violin, because their string tensions are much too low for the smaller instrument.

First off: Why would anyone want to use a viola A-string on a violin? A-strings for violins are designed to emit a high degree of brilliance, whereas A-strings for violas sound warmer. If the goal is to give your violin a warmer sound, you can use a viola A-string on the violin. The viola A-string has better corrosion resistance if it is wound with chromium steel. For a darker sound, we recommend the Peter Infeld®PI21 A-string (included in the PI200 set), and for a brighter sound the Vision® VI21 A-string (included in the VI200 set). 

Warning: you can only use viola strings if you match 4/4 viola strings with 4/4 violins. On the other hand, 4/4 violin strings would, naturally, be too short for 4/4 violas. In order to use viola A-strings on a violin, it is necessary to shorten the string by around 5 cm (2 inches) at the peg end. A well-sharpened string cutter is recommended for this. 

Of course, the correct string tension is also important. The vibrating string length of a 4/4 violin is 32.5 cm. For a viola, it tends to lie between 37 and 38 cm on average. If you compare the string tension of a 4/4 violin A-string with a 4/4 viola A-string, they obviously won’t match up at first glance. But since the string tension of the viola A-string was calculated for the longer vibrating string length of the instrument, it will decrease correspondingly when winding it onto the shorter violin.

 


If you would like to calculate the string tension for an instrument equipped with new strings yourself, the following applies:

 

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