From Gary Kroll
Posted April 16, 2007 at 02:28 PM
Vision Titanium Orchestra
Vision Titanuim Solo
Longest to shortest
Oliv-seem to last forever
D'addario Pro-Arte-lasted forever on my viola
Zyex-last a fairly long time
Vision Titanium Solo
Evah Pirazzi--lasted like a week!!
olivs. they dont seem to go false as much as they lose their ability to stay at pitch and in tune..
evahs-agreeing with hope. these last like 1-2 weeks before going downhill
The Olivs I was playing on until a few weeks ago had lasted quite well since November, then all of a sudden (4 months after putting them on!) they unexpectedly got fuzzy, unresponsive and generally nasty-sounding. I thought there was something wrong with my playing, but then I put on new Olivs and it was just like "Ohhhh....so I WASN'T the problem!"
1. Eudoxas - last "forever", like other's comments about Olives (haven't tried Olives)
4. Visions (regular)
6. Evah Pirazzi
Zyex & Violino:
-Both sound just as bad a month after installing them as after 2 days. I don't think picking a string based on longestivity is a very good idea, unless money is incredibly tight.
Helicore: Last forever, and is a nice string IF you like that sound. However, if you play classical music, I doubt you'll like that sound.
The only REALLY good sounding synthetic string I've tried that also lasts is the Wondertone Solo. A very nice string, overall.
FWIW, pure gut strings probably last longer (MUCH longer, according t other threads here) than any synthetic, so add those to your list. If you like the pure gut sound, and can deal with the instability, they are easily the most affordable long-term solution. Well, except for the E-string.
Dominant (but very harsh on that violin)
Tonica - crazy. The sounded wonderful for all of two - three weeks then straight downhill!
On my last two violins (from the same maker)
My luthier would beat me with a stick if saw anything other than Dominants (w/ a gold label E) on "his" fiddles. Due to my experience with his fiddles, I have to agree. I (unbeknownst to him) tried others based on my comfort with Eudoxas and Olivs and desire to keep the gut tradition going but the result was not good. If your luthier really knows the properties of a specific set, he/she will make it work for you. In his mind, changing the strings would be paramount to changing the bridge or soundpost. A quality set up is a finely tuned combination of factors. Most players are limited to knowing only how to change the strings, therefore can chase their tails looking for the perfect string when it most likely is the brand the luthier had in mind when he/she cut the bridge.
i very much agree with you. my lutheir raves about visions and has them on most of his instruments. hes not a fan of evahs, which i tried out, but they last like a week. i have been very happy with the visions after trying manny differnt strings (obligatos are to wide and low in tension.. etcetc.) but still this set of visions lasted me 4 weeks tops.. i think thats atrocious.. then again, i am a strong player and sweat alot.. (and play A LOT) do you think that could factor into the life of the strings?? on average i play 3 hours a day. on tuesdays, its closer to 6.. 6+3*6 (days)= 24 hours a week. times 4 (weeks in a month) = 96hours a month? can someone tell me if is this is a decent lifespan for a set of strings??
Ian: I recall Mr Vachon stating somewhere he thought Doms were engineered to last through 120hrs of playing time. Thereafter, downhill rapidly. Check the prior posts.
Sweat can definitely have an effect on strings. I had a friend in college that actually (shudder to think) used solid steel strings because he sweated profusely and couldn't keep good strings for any amount of time. My luthier does applaud me for keeping the best care of violin than anyone he has ever sold a violin to (probably why he has agreed to apprentice me in violin making) so I do endorse active and frequent care of the violin. That means wiping it down after every time you play it. It really will help.
My luthier is Robert Kimble. He is an amazing wealth of knowledge but keeps close ties to a few very notable figures in the violin world and just about noone else! Strings are an intrigual part of a violin - a luthier should find the set that consistently works for them, otherwise how do you tune a bridge? It is important to note that violin making and violin set ups are two different concentrations. Just because someone is good at one does not even hint that they may be good at another. I am just lucky that Mr. Kimble was in the restoration and set up business years before he made his first fiddle. Who is your maker?
Wondertone gold E
Evah Pirazzi E
Somewhere around Dominants I'd stick Red Label strings. I played on them when I was beginning to learn violin however, so it wouldn't be fair to include them on the list.
Here's the explanation for my listing:
As far as sound is concerned, I would have to agree about the Evah Pirazzis-They sound magnificent for about two and a half weeks and then putter into a state of lesser brilliance. They do however, still work as a string.
If you're willing to put up with a less vivid sound than a fresh dominant, you can keep them on your instrument. What I tend to do is change them a week before a big performance-and leave it on during the off-season until it either breaks, another gig comes up, or it becomes unbearable.
Vision Titaniums have a similar feel to Evah Pirazzis, but were excessively bright (I would rather say blindingly piercing) on my violin. I put them on one of my older, stiffer violins (an intermediate level instrument) non-luthiered instrument) and it opened up the sound very well.
The Larsen E that I tried out became false within about two months.
The Evah Pirrazzi E broke before it lived through its term.
The Red label strings I recall lasted almost forever, but I don't think there was much change in their sound. If I'm not mistaken, most of them were solid steel.
That's all I have to say for now.
In the Great Ponder on which strings are best for my violin I came accross this topic on how long strings last. My violin had Evah P strings on when I bought it. As described above, the sound of the strings deteriorated to the point where I replaced the G and D with Vision Solos a couple of months ago. I have now replaced the A with a new EP (I happen to have one - and the result was remarkable, again consistent with the limited lifetime of these wonderful sounding strings.
The point of this, however, is that the E string is still fantastic.and I wondered if the blanket condemnation of EP strings might be a bit too severe; I get the impression that the higher strings last much better than the lower ones, in sequence even perhaps.
Incidentally the Vision solo titanium G deteriorated about as fast ast the EP.
In my experience one of the best sounding and shortest lasting string is the Oliv A. I've had some begin to unwravel at the nut within a few days. Quothe the raven "nevermore"!
Does anyone yet have experience with the longevity of Passione strings?
How much of the longevity issue is related to the environment in which the instrument is kept? For those who experienced shorter life with gut, does your instrument remain exposed more than the norm? It seems that these, and several other factors, would affect the life of different types of strings, even things like the type of rosin, frequency and method of cleaning, oils and perspiration from the fingers, etc.
In my own limited experience, so far, Dominants outlast the rest by a lot. They settle fast but remain stable longer:
I use Passiones, and have done since soon after they came out.
For me, they last for a very long time. I had one set on for over a year, and only changed because I thought I ought to, rather than noticing any particular problems. Of course, the new set sounded different to start with, but settled down within a week or so. They do take a while to stretch and settle, but once they do. they are very stable. I like them a lot.
That said, I must say that I hardly sweat at all on my hands, and wipe my strings down all the time, occasionally removing rosin with a dab of after shave or cologne. I also oil the strings from time to time.
I am also a lazy practiser.
WOW!!! I thought I was ging crazy, I guess not. I used to use Evah's but I was going thru them in 2-3 months and they are way to expensive. I have since switched to Warchal strings and so far I love them. Warchals are $25 a set and they sound fantastic on my fiddle.
I used to use Passiones, which I consider the best of the gut. They sound at least as good as Oliv, with a little something extra to the sound, as well as physically. They add some kind of extra thread or filiment which seems to stabilize the string more.
That said, I've opened my case to find this or that Passione broken. (That's how I discovered that filiment.) I mostly use Vision Taitanium Solo, though I will experiment with other E's. This E has gone a tad false, whistles a bit sometimes at string crossings, and is way overpriced.
Cheaper Es, replaced frequently, seem to me to be the way forward.
Hence the popularity of Goldbrokat, which are less than £1.30 a piece over here.
I've had Passione's on for almost 4 months now -- been meaning to change before I play with the BSO in a couple of weeks, but they still sound really good, so I think I'll leave them alone.
Chromcor A made by Pirastro- for some violins it's a wonderful, smooth and beautiful string but the thin gauge has resulted in many a string being false or unable to withstand moderate weight applied into the string right from the get go. Even when I've gotten one that was not false or withstood the weight they never lasted more than a month. I had to switch to Spirocore ( made by Dominant) medium gauge A and found that they lasted at least a few months and mimicked the beauty of the chromcor A but withstood weight much much better. Pirastro, if ypu're reading this, how about making a medium gauge Chromcor?
For E string I use Olive E stark ( thick gauge) , given the amount of playing I do, they last a month and a half or so. The D is an Obligatp D , which lasts two months and the G is a Pirastro Tonica which in its new formulation seems to be better and longer lasting than the "old" formula G, lasting also about 2 months.
These durations are based on an average of 3 hours of playing a day.
Well I unfortunately have limited experience with strings, but I have to say I absolutely adore my Passione Solo set on my violin! They are great under the finger, last quite a while and stay sounding good for a good while too. The only thing I would say about them is that they are so expensive... this means I cannot afford another set when the time comes. This brings me to dominants. I think we all know dominants are pretty good, apart from the dreaded E... but let's not go there. I think dominants are decent, and they sound okay and last a while. They do have that tendency to unwind though, which is annoying!
The trouble with adding your question to an old topic is that noone sees it - they immediately continue on the OP's topic....
I hope noone minds if I start a new one on the same subject.... :-\
I have been using dominant and infled reds, vision as well as cheap china strings from yita/ovh perlon strings.
this is how long they lasted ranking from top to btm.
infeld red - 3mths
dominant - 3mths
Vision - 2 mths
china string - 4 mths(since they are pretty inferior at the start)
I practice almost 1.5hrs a day :) going to use my warchal brilliance and try my infled blue set really soon :) waiting for about 1 more mth before changing them :)
Plain gut: A's and D's never seem to lose their basic fine quality of sound, though they will go false as they wear out. When they're old they will fray in the low positions and get worn where the bow saws away at them. I have never had an A or D break in 50 years of playing. Gut core G's (Eudoxa, Olive, etc) also last a loooong time. E's are near the tension limit for gut and some breakages will happen. The brand matters for E's. Larsen's Gamut brand are very durable.
Infeld Blue: not quite immortal but almost. Keep their tone very well and I have never had one break.
Dominant - tend to lose their sound in a month. They also break when they are getting long in the tooth.
Unlike many of you, Evah's have not given me any particular problem. I used a light (Weich)gauge Evah G with a gut A/D "Heifetz" setup for nine months before it became false.
I've so far tried Ametyst, took a week to break in, and so far the "colour" has lasted over 2 weeks. On Infeld Red, it took an hour or two to break in, then the "colour" faded out within a week and started sounding dull.
Ametyst sounds still good though, but the "colour"/richness has never been better than of Dominants. I always found Dominants too rough.
I am inclined to try Eudoxa and Oliv next after reading this thread.
However, they still sound totally fresh after a month, if more Dominant-like than gut-like. Clear, focused, resonant.
The Cantiga D and G also last well - they degrade very gently.
For me, Dominants have a short window where they sound good - perhaps 100 hours - then they die rapidly and the A unwinds under the left hand.
My two least successful experiments were the new Tonica and the Karneol, which lasted a short while and then fell off a cliff.
Plain gut wins hands down on both counts (except for a gut E of course).
Dominant - Long lasting, but I'm a little sick of the neutral sound. 3-5 months
Vision - Didn't really like the sound that much especially the A string. 3-4 Months
Zyex - Love the sound, but kinda hard to get soft with these strings. I'll try them at some point of this new violin I have. 3 months
Evah Pirazzi - Only tried the E, but I loved it's sound. I played a full set on someone else's violin though. 2-3 months if you're lucky.
I have some odd mix of strings on my violins; here's the data playing/practicing about 2 hours a day:
-Dominants D and A last me about three months.
-Pirastro Tonica G and E last about 2, maybe 3 months. I find my G going out sooner than the E most of the time. I use them as cheaper alternatives to Evah Pirazzi.
Zyex lasts around two-and-a-half months but I rarely used them.
-Evah Pirazzi G and E last about a month maybe. The sound is great but not good value for the money in my opinion.
-Helicore lasted 5 days but that's because I couldn't stand them, the sound was just not right. Gave them another chance on another violin and the G snapped while tuning, something that had never happened to me before! Maybe I had a defective batch.
I would not choose string by their life span, but by the type of sound and playability they offer.
Life is too short for playing with strings you don't like.
Studying the violin is not cheap so just play with the best strings and instrument you can pay. Just my two cents.
It would be awesome if someone did a study on that!
Yes, Evahs last 2-3 months if you are playing 6-8 hours a day. I put my Evah golds on about two months ago, and they're already dead. It's so sad, but time to buy another set. (I have a set of green Evahs in my "violin stuff drawer", but the golds are so much better, so they sit there as emergency backup). It may sound crazy to shell out that kind of money when they have such a short lifespan, but they sound so gorgeous up to the point where they just turn. And, they seem to go from brilliant to dull almost immediately...
Wow I just had a business idea. Sell strings that are "conditioned" by playing them for an hour on a Strad. $500 a set.
A friend of mine made a narrow board (to fit in the bow clips in the case) with small pegs to pre-stretch his strings.
When you see what actually happens to a string in super slow-mo it's clear that they take a real beating.
So I suspect that Luis is right when he says that playing with a big sound will reduce string life. I'm playing folk and competing with pipes, accordions, melodions so I go for a soloistic sound with lots of attack. It may explain why some strings die on me, while someone playing with a more chamber sound might get more out of them. Perhaps some string constructions stand up to hard playing better than others?
His trick: Play the theme from Paganini "Moses", at maximum volume and pressure. It's normally played on one string and goes all the way up the fingerboard. Just transpose it for every string other than the E string (which should be immediately stable, being steel). Retune after each repetition.
Works like a charm, at least for Evah Pirazzis and EP Golds. About three to five repeats per string to get reasonable tuning stability, from my experience. My guess is that it does shorten the string life somewhat to do this somewhat forcible stretching, though.
Strings are constantly adjusting. As they adjust many things change with it (Tension and overall mass of the string). Because of this and because of how any particular instrument reacts, the so called "life span" is just what you perceive as a good tone with that particular tension on that particular instrument.
For example. Many people have said that the PI (Peter Infeld strings) change a lot within the first week. It was amazing for a week on my instrument and then went a bit dull while other people have said that it is a bit dull for a week and than perks up.
I think a better question is how much does the string adjust in a certain amount of time, but that is a very vague question in its own right. I feel that rating a strings "lifespan" is not a very helpful tool in in end to rate the quality of a string itself.
What's happenning to our ears?
I think you hit the nail on the head when you are wondering what's happening with our ears.
We have alienated ourselves from gut strings and as a result we tend to perceive the metallic sound of synthetics as brilliance,
This was the case with me as well until I tried the Passiones by Pirastro, They have the true brilliance of gut string without any metallic element which I find most astonishing, of course the colours of gut come as a bonus.
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