Recommendation for E strings (what about gold E?)

January 11, 2007 at 05:29 AM · I'm looking for an E string that isn't quite so metalic (i.e., "e"-sounding). Somebody recommended a gold-plated E string - what do you think?

I'm playing a rather battered mid-1800's Mittenwald violin (O.K., it's showing its age) which has a really nice sound (especially on the lower two strings). I keep hauling it to the luther to fix things as I can afford them (I had a huge crack under the chin rest which was fixed last summer, plus I had a couple of corners replaced). I need to have all of the edges on the top fixed - they are quite worn. However, I really like my instrument - it suits me. I have Thomastik Dominant strings on it currently.

Replies (28)

January 11, 2007 at 08:05 AM · i love using the eudoxa e string cos it gives a really nice tone on my violinn but gold e strings sound awful. it all depends on the violin the bow and the player though. you'll just have to try and see what works best for your violin.

January 11, 2007 at 08:15 AM · Gold plated E strings sound good but squeak a lot.

January 11, 2007 at 01:47 PM · I love gold-plated E strings - especially the Pirastro Oliv or Obligato (the same string with different packaging, as Pirastro informed me), or the Infeld Red. I find that, esp. in an otherwise brilliant instrument, that they give more warmth and texture to the sound. I haven't experienced any squeeking. But like anything else, it is a matter of taste and instrument reaction.

The problem is breaking. Most E strings break at the loop on the E adjuster. The gold tend to be a little softer and break sooner. But there's a simple solution: Get the version with a ball (kugel), rather than a loop. The ball has a hole in the middle and will fit most adjusters. It's much stronger, for the tension is on this thick palstic wheel, rather than directly on the thin metal loop.

January 11, 2007 at 02:36 PM · Raphael

The problem with breaking the string at the adjuster is easy to overcome in two different ways.

Either you dismount the adjuster and round the back edges with a small file or you can buy so called string guards made out of plastic that fit onto the adjuster and protects the string.

Regarding e-strings: I have yet to find anything that comes near the Jargar forte.

January 11, 2007 at 04:16 PM · I haven't tried your first idea, but have tried the second. Those guards didn't work for me. I found them hard to put - and keep - on. But in any case, the ball works quite well, and is a kind of built-in guard.

I haven't tried the Jargar forte - how do you like them quality-wise?

January 11, 2007 at 04:21 PM · Gold-plated strings squeak like a possessed mouse.

I've recently switched to a Lenzer Goldbrokat heavy-gauge E (despite the name, it is not gold-plated) and I loooooove the sound. Very clear and brilliant but also rich and warm. They're also dirt-cheap--I got mine for $2.

January 12, 2007 at 01:25 PM · I'm surprized! Two 'votes' for squeeking gold E's - and I've never had one squeek, as I recall, from gold, or non-gold E's for that matter. My issues have been brilliance, texture, quality, and complexity - or lack thereof. Also lasting power. I tried Goldbtokat years ago. They were, indeed cheap and brilliant. But I found that they went false quickly. That said, I understand that Heifetz used Goldbrokat.

One other aspect is physical feel. Some E's have more or less of a sharp feel to the skin. That's another thing I like about the gold-plated E's: they have a less sharp and more textured feel as well as sound.

As usual on the fiddle - different strokes...

January 12, 2007 at 01:30 PM · Hi,

E strings are strange. Each fiddle reacts differently. So making a suggestion is impossible without physically seeing and hearing the instrument.

One option could be to go to and order there sample E's pack. Has all the standard E's and might be a good way to experiment. I remember the price as being good.

Raphael - The Jargar Forte E is an excellent string, very consistent in quality, but they are hard to find these days due to production problems. So, I have tried as of recently and am now using a medium gauge Goldbrokat which has been good for my fiddle (the heavy gauge was a disaster).


January 12, 2007 at 03:40 PM · Christian,

The E string sample pack at quinns violins is going for $21.50. In it you get Medium Gauge Westminster, Goldbrokat, Pirastro Gold Label, Hill, Pirastro Oliv, and Kaplan Golden Spiral Solo.

If you order these separately from Concord String, you can only pay $19.23

I've been putting together a Strings Price Guide - comparing prices of strings across a number of online stores. I'm on about 65 different types of strings at the moment, across 6 stores - Johnson String Instrument, South West Strings, Shar Music, Musician's Friend, Concord Strings and now Quinn Violins. I'd like to get a few more shops before I publish it, but if anyone is interested in the file, I can send you the rough data (I plan on making it a bit easier to read and find strings before publishing it officialy). So if you're in a rush to buy some strings on line, let me know, and I'll send you the data I've collected.

January 12, 2007 at 04:24 PM · Ben, that's a great idea.

You should also add data about which retailers stock various strings in NON medium gauge. Plenty of folks use light or heavy, and many retailers only sell medium gauge.

January 12, 2007 at 05:45 PM · I've heard good things about the Kaplan Solutions Non-Whistling e-string... I've yet to try it out myself, but it's aluminum wound and not made out of steel or gold. It's supposed to have a very rich sound (and prevent all the squeaks).

January 12, 2007 at 09:59 PM · The Kaplan "non-whistling" E string sounds very muted. I did not like it at all. It is also quite expensive.

I also tried the Jargar forte E as per recommendations here

but my old violin could't take the high tension. It may work for a modern fiddle and also for people with fleshier fingers than mine. It really hurt me.

I play with Pirastro Gold E. I also tried Ewa Pirazzi but that E goes false very quickly and the tone quality is nowhere near the Olive. I use the Olive on all of my violins.


January 13, 2007 at 12:52 AM · I've tried so many E strings and I settled on Goldbrokat medium.

I actually find lower guages, on the advice of somewhere here, to project more. I liked the Jarger Forte for a long time, but then I found the Goldbrokat which is quite ubiquitous and easily found. I also think it sounds quite good.

January 13, 2007 at 03:03 AM · My new violin came with dominants and a pirastro gold label E. I absolutely love the sound of this violin, and I really love the E string, it has a nice rich, powerful sound. I'm thinking of trying Evah Pirazzis to see if I like them (I've always been curious about them), but I'm thinking of sticking with this E if I don't like the Evah Pirazzi E. On my old violin I used obligatos with the gold plated E, and I really liked that E too, the obligatos took away the metallic edge of the violin. However, the E will whistle sometimes. Dominants are good strings, but I don't like the E. I used to use all dominants on my old violin, and the E always sounded rather harsh. If you continue to use dominants, try the gold label E, it goes really well with the set, and it's cheap (you can get it on shar for $3).

January 13, 2007 at 04:29 AM · If you don't like the DOminant E string, be aware that there are a number of other e-strings still in the Dominant label. You can get an Aluminium, Steel or Gold-Plated E string. Shar and SWStrings have the Gold-plated E, and the cheapest price I've seen. Concord Music is the place if you want the Aluminium or Steel E string.

You might also like to try the Thomastik Gold E string - you can get that from Concord, or maybe the new Wondertone Silvery Steel e string (a very nice string, I must say) - you can get it cheapest from Johnson String INstruments (but SWStrings is an equally good value, only 1c more expensive.)

But as said before - if you've got the money to do it, you might like to get a number of e strings and try out a number of them. Thankfully, E strings are fairly cheap (in comparison to the G string) so you can get most non-Gold e-strings for less than $5

January 13, 2007 at 06:45 AM · I agree - e strings are a personal choice, for both the player & violin, but I've found that medium gauge Hill e strings work really nice on most violins I come across. To me they have an ideal combination of brilliance and a smooth singing sound, without shredding your fingers like thicker gauge strings (Hill thick, and Jargar) and with less squeakiness than I've found with some other strings (Corelli, pirastro, westminster, anything gold).

I do change my e string about every three weeks when I'm in full on playing mode - as I find they wear out quickly and are so cheap I'd rather just change the string than complain about losing brilliance. (I lose enough of that on my own...)

January 13, 2007 at 03:49 PM · Julia, I found the Evah E to be a little thin and whiny. If you switch to Evah strings try Obligato or Gold Label E, but I agree with everybody who says it's a very personal choice so you just need to try a lot of different things. :) At least E strings are cheap... :)

January 14, 2007 at 05:54 PM · Consider: Dominants are by far the most popular string in the world, by sales volume, yet nobody likes the Dom E (myself included). One would think that after +20 years, Tomastik would have developed an improved E string (similar to the Jargar). Technically, the Dom E is a good string, as I have not yet had one break, and is low in squeeks. It seems to sound more mellow without the use of the fine tuner, oddly enough. definitely a couple of mysteries here.

November 6, 2007 at 07:29 AM · How are the sounds of different gauges on the Jargar E? Does the gauge matter? Lots of people use Jargar FOrte but I didnt see many people using regular or dolce... :|

November 6, 2007 at 06:01 PM · The E that is sold with the Larsen Tzigane is the sweetest E I have ever tried.

November 6, 2007 at 10:23 PM · What do you mean by a sweet sound? Do you mean a deep, rich sound? How well does it project? My violin does not project well, so I'm looking for strings with god projection...

November 6, 2007 at 10:27 PM · Greetings,

I amlooking for strings with `God projection,` too!



November 6, 2007 at 10:37 PM · if you need to project more, you may want to look in to higher tension e-strings. Id recommend either the Jargar Forte or Gold Label. there is a NOTICABLE difference between the feeling of a high tension and medium tension string. High tensions are harder to play up in high positions. It's worth testing one out to see what works for you.

Also, you want to be careful that the E string u choose transitions well between your a string. most synthetic strings have significantly different timbres then that of a steel E. I recently changed my A to an steel core string, like what oistrakh and heifetz did. It seems to transition better to the E string, but then you get that similar effect of what I used to get with octaves on the E and A strings when I play octaves on the D and A strings :(.

November 6, 2007 at 10:52 PM ·

November 6, 2007 at 11:12 PM · Our concertmaster's "concerto" violin(self explanatory) has evah pirrazis and a gold lable E. It projects amazingly ... almost god-like.

On his "quartet"(violin he is in our quartet 1st violin) he uses again Evah Pirrzis with a gold lable E(its the same as his concerto violin)

Then his violin that he used to play when we play something that doesn't envolve a solo. He uses Obligatos with a... i think a universal E

I personaly being a violist use C,and G Olivs and then a Obligato D and Larsen A. On my practice viola I use Obligatos with a Larsen A.

Is Larsen E strings are as amazing as they are for viola A's. There is no way in the world that somebody would stop me from trying them. Of course I've tried a Jargar forte A before and So high tension.... So uncomfortable to play on!!!.

Also you might want to try Eudoxa strings... Im pretty sure they are the better choice of GUT strings for older instruments instead of Olivs

November 6, 2007 at 11:34 PM · Hi,

Different violins react differently to different E's. A lot of factors get into play.

That said, the Jargar forte enables a little more weight of bow than the medium. The heavier gauge can be too much for some violins, but the only way to know is to experiment.

So in the end, it depends on your instrument, what bottom strings you use, your preferences and your style of playing.


November 7, 2007 at 02:13 AM · God Like Projecting 'E' strings... My home boys/girls in "The Eclectic Electric Circus" use Marshall half stacks and a EMG transducer and their 'E' strings come out up to 134+ Dbs!!!!


December 3, 2007 at 12:16 AM · If a high tension string is harder to play at higher positions, does it mean the sound is bad or it's harder to press down on the string because of the higher tension?

Our Kokopelli
Please support
through your
one-time donation or
sponsorship campaign. is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

The Potter Violin Company


Coregami Performal

Metzler Violin Shop

Heifetz International Music Institute

Snow Stringed Instruments

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases


Long Island Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin Lab

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Study with Simon Fischer in Michigan, Aug 1-5