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Silk Music Strings?

Silk Music Strings?

Published by Dan Larson on Jun 22nd 2023

Silk is yet another option for music strings. There are references to using silk in some early Arabic literature about 'ouds, but not much in the Western tradition until the days of the British Raj. Gut strings did not last very long in the environment of Southern Asia, and violin enthusiasts turned to silk strings which were available from the Northern regions. Silk strings began to be imported into the rest of the Empire, and numerous attempts have been made to introduce silk strings into Western practice without much success; I am not sure where the reticence comes from. 

I made silk strings in my early days, and I found the tone nice but a little "chippy." I found it challenging to get a finish to stick to the silk, and it wasn't easy to get a protective layer on the surface of the strings. Consequently, the silk tended to fray quickly. Counting out silk fibers proved to be very time-consuming, and I had to give them up in the end, as I found them considerably labor-intensive for serious production. 

I don't have much opinion about silk. It works as a material for strings, and the tone is OK. Making a few silk strings to test and try is easy enough. Still, I question the prospects of producing enough of them in a broad enough range of gauges to be viable as a commercial enterprise as necessary to bring the stock to market.