I cannot fathom why people want a steel A. I’ve got one now. I hate it. I want my dusty old A string back. I’ve got a mute on the thing, and the A string is still piercing and irksome. It’s actually hard for me to tell whether I’m in tune on it because I hate the notes so much that I just want them over. Asking me whether my E is in tune on the A string is like asking me whether a particular cat turd is musky versus earthy. Just get it away from my nose, please. I don’t care. There’s a million things wrong with the sound of an E on the A string. Whether it’s in tune or not is hardly the most important of that noise’s glaring faults.

And it shrieks. At the slightest provocation. My synthetic Dominant A never misbehaved like this before, and just to keep perspective: I’m a beginner. I suck, and my old A string never misbehaved like this thing.

I wonder whether people don’t want steel A strings so they can make their violas sound as much like their helium-filled little siblings as possible. I don’t want that. I want it to sound like a viola.

God, I hate my own A string. I could not manage playing a violin without earplugs and a hotel mute. And a wire cutter.