Problems with Treble Gut Strings

 

Animal gut is an odd material for making strings and I have always thought that is is remarkable that any string can be made from it at all.

However, recently there have been some problems with treble-gut strings, both beef and sheep, that have resulted in many strings breaking, some even before they got up to pitch. As you can imagine, this has been alarming to both us and the customers concerned and we have spent the last six weeks or so trying to sort it all out.

It looks like there have been several problems that came together at once. One was a problem with the treatment of some gut last autumn at the workshop of one of our suppliers that resulted in weak gut that we use specifically for making treble gut. Another problem has been with the continuing difficulties with the quality of sheep gut, and these challenges were compounded with a complication in the drying cycle in the workshop and another is that we have been releasing strings before they were fully cured and the result has been that some strings reached customers that were not good.

We have identified the poor quality gut and that material has been thrown away. In addition, we have made significant changes to the workshop that will give us better control of the environmental conditions for better string making. Also, we have found what we hope will be a better source of sheep casings from the Middle East and we are working on importing some of that material now.

In our efforts to get orders to customers as quickly as possible, we have been cutting strings off of the racks and polishing them before an adequate seasoning time had elapsed. Our production is rather small compared to other workshops and with the increase in demand for the strings over the last year or so, I have let the quality control slip a little. Consequently, to make sure we send out better strings, we are going to have to season the batches a little longer before the finishing stage of production.

In addition, we have started testing many more strings from each batch for tensile strength and general quality. Because of the nature of the material, each string will have certain individual characteristics, but we have developed a method of ascertaining the over-all quality of a batch and we have a new method of following the batches through the finishing process.

These efforts will not solve all problems with all strings, as the nature of the material works against this goal, but we are confident that these efforts will help to minimise problems with strings going forwards. I believe that all of the suspect strings have been pulled from the stocks and disposed of and what we will be sending out from now on will be good strings.

If you have had difficulties with treble strings recently, please let me know and you will receive replacements free of charge. If you have any difficulties going forward, please let me know and we will do what is necessary to resolve the problems.

Please note that, with the new production schedule, we might not have avery string ready to send out at the time you place an order. Now, more than ever, it will be necessary to order well ahead of time to make sure strings get to you when you need them.

If you need replacement strings. please contact: dan@gamutmusic.com

Posted on March 30, 2015 .