I am preparing to take the ABRSM violin test, grade 5. One of the pieces, Allegro (4th mvmt Sonata in E, HWV 373) by Händel (A:2), has a chord (measure 22, F♯, a♯, e) where my violin inevitably squeaks unless my timing is perfect or I don't have enough rosin. (My bow is in the lower quarter when reaching the e-string and the pressure is applied after it kind of ‘hooks’ onto the string). I have noticed that when my bow has more rosin, it is much more difficult to get the perfect chord; however, I can't play in the exam without enough rosin because otherwise everything else will sound terrible. Because I haven't changed strings in over a year, my question is this: could this issue be caused by my string being old. FYI, I am using an evah pirazzi pirastro set. Also, I have to perform in 3 days, so is it worth switching strings now, if this is part of the problem? If the problem has nothing to do with the strings, can anyone please give me pointers for my technique?

Thanks for your help!

  • 1
    It's not old strings; this is a common headache. I struggle with it, and my strings are brand new(ish). Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 2:56
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    The examiners are human. You aren't going to fail the exam because of one squeak. If you switching strings only a day or two before an exam, you run the risk of having tuning stability problems - you need to put in some time actually playing on new strings before they settle down. Professionals make sure their emergency replacement strings (for breakages) are pre-stretched, not straight out of the packaging!
    – user19146
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 3:18
  • @alephzero What the heck! You can do that? How do you pre-stretch strings? Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 5:42

2 Answers 2


Violin E-string squeaking is something that happens to the best of violinists. It's a natural problem because the E-string is so thin. Try changing the angle of the bow as you hit the string, the weight and/or the speed. All of these factors will contribute. However, if your E-string squeaks while playing it's not a big deal. The judges should know that this happens to the best of us.

You can try changing your strings, but I would do this after your audition is over so you don't have trouble keeping your instrument in tune.

Also try a different kind of E-string. Sometimes different brands are more prone to squeak than others. I like Hill E-strings. You'll have to experiment and see what gets the best response from your instrument.

Good luck!

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    The Kaplan non-whistling E string does exactly what it claims to do. The tone isn't bad at all too. Would recommend giving it a shot. Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 23:20

When I play I notice this sometimes happens to me... The solution my teacher taught me is to not have as much rosin and to play much more lightly or to angle the bow towards the scroll so that less hairs come into contact with the string.

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