Pirastro strings: Obligato vs. Evah Pirazzi

February 1, 2005 at 06:08 AM · We all know how expensive violin strings can be, so when trying other/new types of strings it only makes sense to find out if the trial will be worth it...

I currently play with Pirastro Obligato but I'm tempted to try the Evah Pirazzi strings... as a poor college student, 60 or so dollars isn't to be thrown around lightly, so I wanted to know if anyone here has experience with these strings who has also played on Obligatos so they could be compared. Thanks!

Replies (56)

February 1, 2005 at 07:25 AM · Justin, I too am a poor college student and I would encourage you to try the Pirazzi strings. Of course it depends on your violin. My violin is more on the dark side so the Pirazzi strings, which are warm but more brilliant than the Obligatos balance out real well. If your fiddle already produces a bright tone you may want to stick with the Obligatos. Good luck.

February 1, 2005 at 03:57 PM · Hi,

I have played and tried both. The Pirazzi are much more brilliant and bright then the Obligatos. They have also more edge to the sound. They can also withstand more bow pressure, and are fast becoming the soloist strings of choice. It's a personal choice. They are different, but worth the experience for sure.

Cheers!

February 1, 2005 at 10:57 PM · Just a warning about the Evah Pirazzis. They can go false really fast. I found they were too bright for a couple of days, and then were great for about a week, and then started to go false. I tried two different sets. I can't afford to change my strings every two weeks, so it's back to Dominants that I can rely on them to last a month.

February 2, 2005 at 12:45 AM · Depends on you instrument Justin...I use Evah's on a very old Klotz and they work brilliantly. I can only suggest experimentation. Also depends on what you're looking for...warmth, brilliance, warmth & brilliance, long lasting, performance grade etc.

February 2, 2005 at 07:59 PM · I've had Evahs for 4 or 5 months, no problems, only favorable impressions. I tried Obligattos on my violin and my viola and did not like them. Different strokes, I guess.

February 3, 2005 at 10:05 PM · I use Evahs - nice strings, I like their feel, but stretch miles in the first week or two, and yes, do go false quickly.

February 3, 2005 at 10:11 PM · The A and E string go false faster in my experience than the G and D. I tend to keep the G and D on it twice as long as the A and E. That might help if you're on a budget.

February 3, 2005 at 10:10 PM · I use obligatto for my A&D, an olive E (when I can afford it ), and a pirazzi G - it's a nice mix on my violin, which needs a little more kick in the low end. It's also slightly cheaper...however, the luthier I go to can get me a pirazzi set for $43(!)...I think you should look around for a better price...Shar charges $52 or something like that...

February 5, 2005 at 01:45 AM · I find it really interesting that ever since the Pirazzi strings came out, there have been consistent comments about how quickly they "go off". That is quite unfortunate given the price and their other seemingly popular characteristics. On the other hand, I've found Pirastro's Violino strings to keep their consistent tone for a very long time and I really like their warm, gut-like sound.

February 6, 2005 at 12:18 AM · Sorry, but my reaction to the obligatos is more an absence of high frequencies than a presence or enhancement of lows.

February 6, 2005 at 06:15 AM · Thanks to all, the comments have been most helpful... I'll give them a try, but now that I know they might go false fast I almost hope I like my Obligatos better!

February 7, 2005 at 07:35 PM · Hi,

It's funny that with so many complaints about the Pirazzi, a lot of soloists seem to be switching to them (check out Pirastro's website). I don't know, I think it depends on taste and context in which you play.

As for the Violino, I tried them, and they really don't work except on overly bright new instrument. Weird strings with warm sound and lacking in power.

Cheers!

February 8, 2005 at 06:58 PM · Just a heads-up...

To try out the Southwest Strings shop (search it on Google). They have absolutely the best prices on strings in the US I've been able to find. I just ordered my first set of Obligatos and it cost me $42.00 (shipping on all-strings orders is free over $35).

check it out...

The other source of cheap strings is Johnson Strings in Massachusettes (I know that's spelled wrong - sue me).

February 9, 2005 at 02:15 AM · Southwest has very good prices, but some times I find others to be better such as Concorde Musical Supplies, or a sale on eBay. Always search around the Internet.

February 9, 2005 at 02:39 AM · Hi,

Another good online supplier is Quinn Violins. Very good prices, very large selection and good service as the same shipping policies as other online suppliers.

Cheers!

February 9, 2005 at 03:38 AM · I don't know what their shipping costs are like, but www.gostrings.com looks even cheaper than southwest - their Pirazzi are $45.99. Worth checking out...

February 9, 2005 at 05:34 AM · I highly recommend specifically the Evah Pirazzi G string, which is really especially brilliant. I tend to use a Larsen D and A, but Evahs are definitely comparable. However, for my E string, I usually use the Goldbrokat E string, which sounds great, and costs next to nothing. I find that at least for me, it is hard to find an entire set of strings that I like. I definitely prefer a mixture.

March 8, 2005 at 07:53 PM · This is exactly what I wanted to ask, so thank you for this post!

March 12, 2005 at 09:01 PM · I am trying a new set of G and D LARSEN, that they are amazing, warm and strong sound and A eva pirazzi that sound good but it brakes with too much facility. E string larsen gold, is just outstanding.

March 13, 2005 at 06:40 AM · Hi,

Josep. The LARSEN are really great synthetic strings. Try the Larsen A. It's actually the best of the set.

Cheers!

April 3, 2005 at 04:28 PM · I tried both strings, and I really liked the Pirazzis a whole lot more. They gave me more power, brightness, and color to my sound. I absolutely loved them, until they went bad after about 8 or 9 months, so I was forced to either fork out $60 or try different strings. So, I tried the Obligatos. They aren't what I thought they would be. They definitely weren't for solo playing, not on my violin anyways. My teacher told me that when I played with them, it sounded like a really old recording. And I immediately knew what she meant. She said they didn't sound that great. So now, I am probably going to go back to the Pirazzis after I try a few more different strings.

April 3, 2005 at 06:58 PM · Hi,

I would try something other than the Pirazzi. I have tried these on my instrument, and had my students try them, on several instruments, and we all hated them. Too tense, too metallic, and not enough range of colour, though they are brilliant and powerful and very loud. I think that there are much better strings out there that are far less expensive (if you want synthetics) that sound much better. Just a personal opinion. Could be the instrument, but after seeing them on lots of instruments, I am really not convinced. And the price is way too high for what you get.

Cheers!

April 3, 2005 at 09:32 PM · My personal experience with Obligatos are much better than the Pirazzis. My violin is quite old and fragile, and has a wonderful, rich tone with obligatos (all strings). I tried on pirazzis, and the result was a very loud sound, but it lacked quality. Again, it's all about your violin and personal taste.

April 4, 2005 at 02:09 AM · I kept trying the Pirazzi strings because I *wanted* them to work (the thread winding and package is my favorite color!). I think I've finally overcome my irrational desires. I like the sound, they just don't last long enough... especially for the price (another destitute student here!).

Obligatos lasted longer, but didn't have the same clarity and response--a bit muddy on my dark, viola-ish sounding violin.

I highly recommend giving the Violino strings a try. They are relatively similar to the Evah Pirazzi sound, only with a bit less of the hard-edged response and powerful, brash brightness (at least on my violin). And you can get this almost-Pirazzi-ish string that lasts much longer for a lot less $$$! (comparable in price to the much duller--in my opinion--dominants) I think that unnecessarily labeling them as a "student string" has been a disservice to Violino strings and misrepresents the true value of their characteristics/attributes.

On a soapbox about strings... I REALLY need to get a life!

'Erie (-:

April 4, 2005 at 07:55 AM · Hi,

Erie, I think that Pirastro labelled those strings that way for a reason. They do usually work best on young, modern, low price range instruments, though they are exceptions. I personally find them kind of dull, but they are definitely more playable than the Pirazzi or Obligato. I wouldn't diss Dominants though as they are still the best overall synthetic strings on the market.

Cheers!

April 5, 2005 at 05:25 AM · I took for granted the stability and lasting qualities of Dominants. Recently, I've been trying to branch out. I've tried two sets of Visions, Obligato, and Pirazzi. My favorite sounding were the Pirazzi strings on my mid-1800's German violin. They had a magical sound, and although I've heard complaints from others that theses strings are shrill and shallow, I found that on my violin they produced the fullest tones on the G string of all the strings so far. At first, I agreed that they needed more bow pressure, and the light rosin I had wasn't helping, especially in such a dry climate. But then they broke in, and I thought they were perfect.

...Except that the A string unravelled on me a few days ago, and I know that they have not been on for even eight weeks. I practice about two/three hours a day, and I haven't found a string that will last longer than two months now. Not even Dominants.

Dominants sound metallic to me.

April 5, 2005 at 11:09 AM · Hi,

Emily: The normal life span of a synthetic is about 2 months in my experience. On the metallic issue of Dominants, what E string do you use?

April 5, 2005 at 01:04 PM · Hi Emily

I am having the same problem! I love the sound of the Evah Pirazzi strings on my early 1800s German violin also! The only problem is they do feel to "streched or tense" and so I find it harder to bow on them versus the dominants. So after I was reading this thread I decided to get a set of Dominants and they do feel more flexible and playable, except the sound is not so briliant. With the Dominants I get much less bow "giiiittt" sliding/skiping. I found the tartini rosin to work good with the Evah Pirazzi strings, the bow gets a better "grip".

Now I'm trying to decide what to do!

Stay with the easy playing good grip Dominants and loose in sound quality?

Go back to the Evah Pirazzi strings get a great sound from them but loose on flexibility and bow grip??

What to do?

Regards,

PF

April 5, 2005 at 02:21 PM · Hi,

Emily and Peter: Having tried all strings, I have gone back to Dominants. The solution that I have found lies in the E string used. I recommend that you try the Jargar Forte E with the Dominant Silver D. It is really the best combination available. I had the same problem with the Pirazzi as you, and I have found that this combination, recommended by a famous soloist friend of mine really works great on a fiddles with have tried it on, so I pass on the advice.

Hope that helps!

Cheers!

April 6, 2005 at 11:42 AM · I had the same experience with Evah Pirazzi's. I found them very bright and hard to play. My suspicion is that the tension is higher with these than some other Pirastro. Pirastro does not publish the tension of their strings, unlike D'Addario, Thomastik-Infeld and Super-Sensitive. The one constant I see in this thread is that everyone's fiddle is different; a string one person extols is hated by someone else.

I am a traditionalist who has preferred gut strings, but I will say that Infeld Blue works very well on my old fiddle. They also work well on my son's German student violin. I like them better than Dominants.

April 6, 2005 at 09:31 PM · It could have as much to do with everyone's ear and sense of touch (either hand) as with their instrument, no?

April 7, 2005 at 09:49 PM · most of these strings come with 'medium' 'strong' 'soft' ... is there a difference? what do you usually get?

thanks

April 7, 2005 at 10:09 PM · For me "strongs" or "heavies" are too tense, I can play them but don't like the feeling when I need to push the string quite hard to the fingerboard. Mediums are the best IMHO.

M.

April 28, 2005 at 01:33 AM · The Obligatos are much better, at least to my ears. I think the Evahs are bright, harsh, high tension and hard to play. Especially the A and G.

April 28, 2005 at 02:02 AM · Frederick, I completely agree.

A few months ago I was getting bored with my Dominants, so I decided to try something new. I picked up a set of Pirazzi's and liked them at first, but it may have been the fact that they were different than the Dominants, and not so much the fact that they actually enhanced the sound of my instrument. Over the course of the next month or two I started to get frustrated with the fact that they just didn't seem to be as responsive, and they were too high-tension for my liking. I recently put on a set of Obligato's and I couldn't be happier. They're just about broken in, and I love the rich tone I get on them with my semi-bright (modern) instrument. They seem to balance out the tone a lot more than the Evah's did. Also, I've heard a lot of things about the Obligato's being "softer" or "not for solo playing" etc, but in the short time that I've had them on my violin, it seems that they have opened it up more than the Pirazzi's ever did.

Overall, I didn't like the harshness or high-tension of the Pirazzi's, and I love my new set of Obligato's. They balance out the tone of my instrument very well, and they're just easier to play on.

Alex

April 29, 2005 at 12:09 AM · It's interesting that to me the Evah sound great on my violin but they are terrible hard to play, very tense! This past 3 weeks I have done a few tests... I have taken Christian's advice and tried going back to Dominants, they are very easy to play and bow on! Bowing is much, much easier and "trouble" free. Then I went back to the evah's and the bowing troubles were back.

So I went back to Dominants with Jargar Forte E and the Dominant Silver D. Guess what? My problems are over, the string combination is amazing!

Regards,

Peter

April 29, 2005 at 06:19 AM · I wonder how well (or not) the low tension Pirazzis would work? I tried a Pirazzi D and G a little while back and also disliked the effort required and the physical feel. On the other hand, low tension Obligatos had a very good response on my violin and felt excellent too, but after they settled in they were too warm and subdued sounding. I guess at the moment my "perfect" violin string would have the feel and response of the low tension Obligatos with a touch more brilliance than the medium Larsens.

April 29, 2005 at 10:00 PM · Hi,

I've found that the Evahs, while very good, are harder to play than the Obligatos. However, the sound from Evahs can be brighter, especially if you need to play solo works.

On my own violin, I quite like the Violinos and the lower price and durability makes it my favoured choice at the moment.

April 30, 2005 at 06:18 AM · I agree more or less with Christian that the Violinos are very unpredictable. I have found them to always work well on new factory instruments. On some good instruments they can sound very close to gut and they certainly have a very similar feel as well. On others they seem unresponsive and lacking in power. But they are definitely a very smooth sounding string. I think it is odd that the Violino is marketed as the "easy" string to play, but on my violin the low tension Obligatos play far more easily (they are roughly the same tension as the Violinos). But if the Violinos work well on an instrument they would have to be the best deal going. They are cheap and quite durable and have just about the lowest surface noise of any synthetic I know. They sounded good on my 2003 violin when it was new, but after 6 months of playing in (and buying a new set of them to boot) they just were not as good as something like Larsen or Obligato.

May 2, 2005 at 01:03 PM · Hi,

Quickly... Peter, I am glad you enjoyed that combo. I am going back to it as soon as this set of leftover Larsen that were lying around dies out. This combo just works for me too, what can I say...

I see eye to eye with Jonathan on what he said above.

Cheers!

May 2, 2005 at 06:19 PM · Great! Now I wonder what Pirazzi are doing to correct this.

PF

May 21, 2005 at 05:13 AM · I have found that trying out a new brand of strings invariably requires some degree of sound post adjustment. I used Eudoxas for 15 yrs then progressed from Dominants,Tonicas,Synoxas,Obligatos, Infeld blues and finally Pirazzis. The last two required a significant change of post adjustment and I'm happy to say the Pirazzis make my violin sound the best ever. Great power, warmth, responsive in the softest dynamics and a full breadth of tone. I'm not looking any more. I change them every 8 weeks so the fifths are true and the brilliance is at a maximum. My point is that the adjustment will certainly vary with the tension and composition of each manufacturer. Best of luck to all of you.

Tim

June 4, 2005 at 12:04 AM · Hi all,

my new Guarneri model violin has a neutral timbre- not dark and not bright. It sounds warm, complex, balanced, brilliant but a bit hard. I like it sounds more mellow, more overtones with deep dark G, D and ringing A, E.

Which set of Pirastro would you recomment for me? or which combination is best in your mind for my violin?

June 4, 2005 at 02:29 AM · I have Evah's on my instrument right now, and I think I will be sticking with these. I should note though, that Timothy is right... a soundpost adjustment can do a lot when changing strings. Luckily, I can do it myself, so I fiddled with it and got something I really like.

June 6, 2005 at 07:18 PM · Felix, I would not recommend any Pirastro product

except the Eudoxas, but they would probably have too low tension for your instrument.

June 6, 2005 at 07:31 PM · Felix -- given the information you have provided, you might want to try Obligatos. Evahs will emphasize the "brilliant, but hard" aspect. However, you would do well to ask your luthier, who can hear your instrument with its current strings, for advice.

Wilhelm -- I am curious why you do not recommend any Pirastro product except Eudoxas. That is quite a sweeping statement.

June 6, 2009 at 04:14 PM ·

I used Dominant, but I never liked them very much. Specially the E string, that had a hard, almost shrieking sound for me, and used to whistle. I tried several E strings and ended up using a Gold E Obligato. The sound improved, but not that much. So when I decided to change my whole set of strings I picked up the Pirazzi instead of the Obligato. So far I am completely satisfied with them. Those strings are outstanding! I really got amazed at how much the sound of my violin has improved. Now it is warmer, sweeter, more brilliant and richer than ever.

The pirastro website talks about an alternative E string for the Pirazzi set, the Wondertone  E Solo, so I tried it. The sound was not bad, but I found it somewhat dimmed and without character. So I changed it for the Pirazzo E string that I have gotten too. It is so much better than the Wondertone that I really do not understand why Pirastro says it can be an alternative.

Anyhow, since  I got the Pirazzi just a couple of days ago, I do not know if they will go false or not. I hope they do not, because right now I think they are worth every cent. And I can say that too about the Oliv/Evah rosin. It gives the bow a perfect grip without being neither sticky nor dusty. I have never been able to play a piano "so piano" before this wonderful rosin.

 

June 6, 2009 at 07:39 PM ·

Have you tried Vissions???  Though on the pricey side Passiones last a long time and sound incredible!!!!!  I'm going to switch to Eudoxa to see how they go.  but so far Passiones are the ace-of-spades!

June 7, 2009 at 02:38 PM ·

I qualify (for having played with full set of Obligatos and full set of pirazzis in the past).  Obligato is warmer like we always hear. (I would add, mostly in open strings).  The E of Pirazzi is very bright and I dislike it a lot. Put another E can be a good idea.  Many say Pirazzi doesn't last long and it also depends on your violin. Quick response? Absoluntly and this is their big quality in my opinion!  Also if your violin is overly bright, they could sound very very bright. If it is dark or towards dark, they sound less bright.  Can they really add power to one's playing?  At the beginning, yes but do they last long ennough to worth it?  (that is to consider but of course, you have to make experiences... unfourtunately....)  Can other strings play as well? Yes and even some Gut strings.  Also, they have very heigh tension. While some violins and some fingers (because they are very stiff) take them well, others don't.

Is my post helpful?  I am afraid that it can be quite confusing because these are my impressions only and it is experimentation. I personally quited Pirazzis for the short life span and because I wanted to try gut.  I presently love my wounded gut strings and don't think I would come back. But Pirazzis on mine were really ok and it was very acceptable. So, I steel keep a positive souvenir even if I don't think I would want them back.  But, at  first, when new, you have a wonderful impression. If only it lasted (IMHO).

Sorry if this is more confusing than anything. Good luck,

Anne-Marie

February 25, 2011 at 07:50 AM ·

I do a lot of solo work and use Evah Pirazzi strings and have found that the brightness of the higher strings is well worth the effort of playing on them. However, I have had 2 A's unwind, each of them lasting about 6 months- which isn't too bad considering I replace my gut strings every 6 months anyway. But I was a bit surprised to see that they did produce a false tone about 2 weeks before they began to unwind. I should add that I do play pretty hard and frequently- most days 2-3 hours, not to mention performing 5-6 times a month. I thought perhaps that may have had something to do with it, but apparently it had less to do with it than I thought!

The Obligato's are a hardier string, but it's going to come down to the 3 P's- playability, price & preference. If you want a good, solid, warm tone with good playability and don't mind gut core, I recommend Pirastro Gold Label. I used them for years and years (15) and found them to be the tougher of the gut strings, producing a beautiful, rich sound on each instrument I tried them on whether student line or professional, and lasted waaay over 6 months. Hope this helps!  Good Luck! :)

February 25, 2011 at 01:37 PM ·

In my experience, Pirazzis can sound terrific after the second day, but tend to lose their overtones by week 5.

This isn't relevant to the OP, but a luthier I know sometimes substitutes (the even more expensive) Thomastik PI for the Pirazzis, saying that while they're less focused they have a more spacious sound.  Having tried the A and E I can say that they stay in tune remarkably well and make it fantastically easy to play in tune.  No info yet on how long they last.

February 25, 2011 at 09:31 PM ·

I never use the Evah Pirazzi A string! I usually substitute with a spirocore or a larsen (steel). Do you think the Evah G and D would work well with a Thomastik PI A string?

February 26, 2011 at 09:32 AM ·

I love the sound of the Evah pirazzi, but they are so expensive and the E and A need to be changed every 2/3 months.  If you want evah sound use Warchal Brilliant they are cheaper and last longer, but not quite as nice sound when first on violin.  The Evah Pirazzi E string gold is what I currently use and though it has to be changed regularly its not too expensive

February 26, 2011 at 09:39 PM ·

this is not going to be cut and dry. but one thing i have notice is if you use evah on a smallish violin it will give a somewhat fiddle sound, and the sound is kind of harsh and over bright. so I would try obligatos for smaller violins. i actually use them for more expensive 3/4's. For larger violins use evahs, Because of the big body it will usually gives a bigger sound and the evah's will not be as bright or harsh. Small being anything smaller then 14 inches with small bouts. Large being above 14 inches with large bouts. now this is not cut and dry for every violin. All violins are going to be different. And trial and error needs to be undertaken to find the fitting sound you are looking for.

Evah a's do tend to unwind but check with your local violin shop to see if anything can be done. some times the nut can have edges that will cause this (or finger nails :) ).

February 27, 2011 at 11:07 AM ·

Thanks Joshua - I think thats the first post I've read that gives a bit of hard-and-fast (though I understand there are always exceptions) relating strings to violin structure. 

I'd love to hear an opinion on new violins vs old ones - is there anything you should do to minimize the 'new' sound? 

February 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM ·

"I'd love to hear an opinion on new violins vs old ones - is there anything you should do to minimize the 'new' sound? "

Elise

You just need to play it a lot - say 12 hours a day - not too extreme!!

 

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