what's the best Violin Stings For Bluegrass players

October 26, 2008 at 11:37 PM · i'm playing bluegrass music, i just want to ask, what is the best violin strings for this kind of fiddle music

Replies (11)

October 27, 2008 at 02:41 AM · Jake, about 3/4 way down the home page is a link to a long "Choosing Strings" article. If you you have trouble finding it, here is the address http://www.violinist.com/wiki/violin-strings/

I live in a very rural area of western Colorado and the only violin strings that the local guitar shop carries are D'Addario Helicore. Lots of local fiddlers use them, otherwise they would have to drive 100 miles to get TI Dominants like I have been using.

October 27, 2008 at 04:07 AM · Greetings,

I heardthe `sting` of an asp is good for bluegrass;)



October 27, 2008 at 04:47 AM · Buri,

Sorry, but that would be cruelty to the asp. If we have enough fluid inspiration onboard, we are immune, but infortunately the asp does not tolerate it as well; it gets a little 'cottonmouthed'...

October 27, 2008 at 08:10 AM · Helicore heavies are very popular, Thomastik Superflexibles use to be the defacto std. Many bluegrass players still prefer them. They are a tad brighter than Helicores. Prims are also on the list but they are even brighter and a little raspier than

the previous 2 I mentioned. It really comes down to what the fiddle sounds best with to you !!

David B

October 27, 2008 at 12:32 PM · Strings,wow. I have tried just about everything that makes sence and here is what I find. You get what you pay for. Steel strings are just that, steal tone and colours. Try using a string that would suit a solo player and you will hear the differance in your fiddle as soon as you draw the bow. I can tell you Pirastro makes a few great sets of strings and you pay for it.

October 27, 2008 at 11:54 PM · Depending on your budget, and your preference, strings for bluegrass work should be of decent quality and dependability, respectivly. I personally found, through my professional career, the Thomastick-Infeld line of strings superior to any other. This is due to the strings ability to withstand temp changes can take a good working over, and they last a long time before going false. They are of the "rope core" variety, which has it's advantages over gut. They are reasonabally priced and there is a good selection of strings to choose from. You get the feel and sound of gut and the volume power of a steel string. Steel strings are commonly used by bluegrass fiddle players for this reason. They sound good when playing fast tunes and sweet when playing slow airs. Avoid any string that is labeled for "bluegrass or fiddle" as they tend to be wound like acoustic steel guitar strings, which is illogical for fiddle. Makers such as Super-Sensitive, and some others who usually specialize in guitar strings, produce this atrocious string and I am amazed that anyone would use them (except for sawing kindling wood at a campsite). A flat wound string, even on guitar or mandolin is prefered over the annoying and constant "zipping" sound produced by some string windings. Expermentation is the best way to discover what you really prefer and what works best in a given situation. I hope I was of some help.

October 28, 2008 at 03:07 AM · Stuart Duncan uses Prim. Mark O'Connor uses Jargar. The Bluegrass aesthetic is often at odds with the nature of gut strings.

Amongst steel strings, one is wise to match the string with the instrument to tame tonal flaws, highlight tonal strengths, appeal to the player's taste and perhaps inspire one to play more.

June 28, 2009 at 11:17 PM ·

I am a bluegrass musician as well as a classical musician, and I have found that Helicore strings work really well.  I believe that I use the medium gauge set.  They have a quick response, and they feel good under the fingers because of the smaller diameter.  Plus, they have an extremely short break in time!


Hope this helps!


PS, I would check into those strings that Stuart Duncan uses, he's the man!

June 29, 2009 at 02:11 AM ·

I play old time fiddle. I use helicore mediums. I get around 7 months out of them and I play alot. They seem to hold their tune pretty well.


Stay away from red label , the cost may be alluring but the sound stinks


Glad to see some other fiddlers here, we all play the same instrument and face the same problems   :)

June 29, 2009 at 11:59 AM ·

I have said it before, Shoe Laces are an improvement over Red Labels!

August 24, 2009 at 01:11 AM ·

In general steel cored strings are better for bluegrass.  They are easier to bow and are quite responsive, but the sound is less complex than gut or synthetic strings.   They are also cheaper.   D'Addario Helicore heavies are pretty popular with bluegrass fiddlers and give about the most tonal complexity in the steel range, making them suitable for other styles as well.

Other decent bluegrass strings are Pirastro Chromcores, which I have on one of my instruments at the moment.  Others recommend Prim or Super Sensitive Red Labels, but I haven't  tried these yet.  Some of my friends find Dominants do the job OK.

The important thing is to get the match between the string, instrument, bow, rosin, player and music style right.  Due to the number of variables here, a player usually has to resort to trying different string brands in practice.

www.gostrings.com has strings at very reasonable prices.

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