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I just received my violin 2 days ago.

My E string broke when I tuning it.

I enquired nearby musical instrument store and they only sell the whole set of strings.

So, do I have to replace all strings or I keep G, D, A strings and only replace E string?

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    Find another music store - or buy online. You can certainly buy strings separately. On the other hand, if you don't have any spare strings, it might be worth buying full set plus another E string. Note, it's possible you broke the string by trying to tune the violin incorrectly - an E string shouldn't "just break" after only two days, or even two months. You were using the tuning adjuster on the tail piece, not trying to tune the E string with the tuning peg, I hope! – user19146 May 6 '17 at 4:06
  • I asked 3 different music store. Unfortunately, all of them do not sell individual string. Ya, I use tuning peg to tune because need more 100Hz to reach E5. – Coolwei May 6 '17 at 5:03
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    You can absolutely buy individual violin strings. Many players use an E string that doesn't match the brand of their other strings. A generic music shop probably doesn't do enough volume to sell anything other than sets, but a shop that caters to string players will have the individual strings. There may be one locally, or you can order online. – Karen May 6 '17 at 11:25
  • Yes to all of the above. I'll just add that new violins are nowadays often furnished with really bad strings, and it's not uncommon for them to break pretty much immediately. – Scott Wallace May 7 '17 at 8:03
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There is no point in changing all the strings, especially since the remaining ones are so new. When comes the time for total replacement in 6 months, a year, depending how much it gets played, then yes, change them all.

I'm pretty sure singles are available, but if not, a whole set isn't going to break the bank, and having spares is a sensible situation to be in. Bit like that insurance policy - useless until it's needed!

As a new violinist, be very careful you tune to the correct notes, and not an octave higher. Seen it happen, not a pretty sight.

  • OK, I'll be careful next time. Thank you for you suggestion. :) – Coolwei May 6 '17 at 10:44
  • "a whole set isn't going to break the bank" - that depends. It's quite easy to spend £50 on a decent set of violin strings, and possible to spend £100 without trying really hard to find the most expensive ones available! – user19146 Sep 18 '17 at 2:59
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Hint: Get into the habit of slackening off your fine tuner when you are changing a string. This will give you more adjustment after you have roughly tuned it with the tuning peg and for subsequent tuning adjustments. Your violin is unlikely to get bumped 'sharp', so you will rarely need to fine tune it down far.

For the first time, maybe it's best to ask the music store to fit the new string. Watch the way they do it. For example, it's good to make sure that the string windings stay near the outside of the peg box, rather than the centre. That will stop the peg from slipping outwards and loosening its grip in the peg hole.

  • Ok, but is changing string is easy? Because I planning to let the music store's staff change for me. – Coolwei May 6 '17 at 10:51
  • @Coolwei- if you're still here: let the music store change it for you, but watch carefully and you can do it next time. – Scott Wallace May 26 '17 at 12:05
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You can absolutely buy individual violin strings. Many players use an E string that doesn't match the brand of their other strings. A generic music shop probably doesn't do enough volume to sell anything other than sets, but a shop that caters to string players will have the individual strings. There may be one locally, or you can order online.

The three stores I've bought from online are Shar music, Johnson Violin, and Southwest Strings. There are certainly other reputable shops as well.

You mention having the music store put in your string. Ask them to show you how to change the string, because it is very simple and something every student should know. They may charge a small fee, especially if you don't buy the string from them.

  • You are right. I purchased 2 set of strings and I learnt how to replace it from Youtube, it's very easy. Thank you. – Coolwei May 8 '17 at 7:01
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From experience, violinists don't actually like the timbre of new strings. While guitarists typically chase the timbre produced by a fresh set of strings, violinists prefer the timbre of strings that have at least bedded in, and will only replace strings if they break, start to unwind or develop an undesirable tonal artifact.

With this in mind, I think it would be more typical for a violinist to replace a single string than to replace all four when one breaks. The other thing to note here is the cost of violin strings. Beyond purchasing a spare set for emergencies, it could get fairly costly fairly quickly were you to replace all four strings whenever one broke.

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    I saw other people said have to replace all strings to ensure the strings ageing is the same. Since I only used my violin for 2 days so I decided to replace E string only. – Coolwei May 8 '17 at 9:22
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The thing to keep in mind when replacing single strings is to find the gauge of the broken string and get an individual string of the same gauge. This way, the original setup of your violin stays intact.

Usually, a music store should have a device to measure the gauge. So I advice you to find another store to get it replaced.

  • I bought 2 set of strings eventually, each set is about 3USD (converted from MYR). – Coolwei May 25 '17 at 23:55
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I suggest you replace the strings that came with your violin within 6 months. It probably is not of the greatest quality unless you bought a 4000 dollar violin. Keep at least 2 sets of spares safely. They may get damaged on exposure to extreme atmospheric conditions. After a while adjust your set up mixing and matching different strings of different brands and gauges to your preference.

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