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Rate strings - longest lasting to shortest life span.

Instruments: Which of the following popular strings have retained most of their quality the longest? Please list the longest lasting first and include in your list only the strings you have personally used.

From Gary Kroll
Posted April 16, 2007 at 02:28 PM

We all have our favorite sounding strings for our instruments but this question-poll is specifically about which strings in your experience have retained most of their freshness for the longest time after their initial break-in period. Since a lot of us use a different E string please disregard the E. And if you use another brand A string please respond only concerning the life span of the D and G. Here's a list of several popular strings in no particular order to get you started. You you don't see some strings that you have tried please just add them to your list.

Corelli Alliance
Corelli Crystal

Evah Pirazzi
Obligato
Wondertone Solo
Eudoxa
Oliv

Helicore
Zyex

Dominant
Vision
Vision Titanium Orchestra
Vision Titanuim Solo
Blue
Red

Larsen
Tzigane

Worchal Brilliant
Worchal Karneol
Worchal Ametyst

From Hope Paolotto
Posted on April 16, 2007 at 05:41 PM
My experience...

Longest to shortest
Oliv-seem to last forever
D'addario Pro-Arte-lasted forever on my viola
Zyex-last a fairly long time
Dominant
Vision Titanium Solo
vision (regular)
Evah Pirazzi--lasted like a week!!

From Ian King
Posted on April 16, 2007 at 07:16 PM
from the strings i've played:
longest to shortest

dominant
visions
olivs. they dont seem to go false as much as they lose their ability to stay at pitch and in tune..
obligatos
vision titaniums
wondertone solos
evahs-agreeing with hope. these last like 1-2 weeks before going downhill

From Maura Gerety
Posted on April 16, 2007 at 11:38 PM
Evahs are such twitchy, high-maintenence drama queens. I got a few good weeks out of them, then they suddenly turned against me.

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!"

From Victor Zak
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 03:07 PM
Longest to shortest:

1. Eudoxas - last "forever", like other's comments about Olives (haven't tried Olives)
2. Obligatos
3. Dominants
4. Visions (regular)
5. Tonicas
6. Evah Pirazzi

From Allan Speers
Posted on April 18, 2007 at 02:36 AM
Longest lasting:

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.

From Megan Chapelas
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 09:24 PM
For me, Obligatos clearly had the shortest lifetime - you play them in, have about a week, and then it's all downhill. I've had Evah Pirazzis on my violin for 5-6 months at a time - but that's no guarantee they sounded good...
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 10:59 PM
Greetings,
I had an adult beginner come to me for a lesson once. I asked what their basic gola was and they siad thta most of all they wanted good intonation.I stood the playing for about ten seocnds and then asked them when they had last changed their dominants. The reply wasa fifteen years ago. That was the easiest lesson I ever gave.
Cheers,
Buri
From Ian King
Posted on April 23, 2007 at 10:11 PM
i may have to take back what ive said before about the visions lasting a good amount of time.. ive had these things on for about a month and they sound very false.. especially the a.. they lack the tonal qualities and sound color they had 2 weeks ago...
From Christopher Burndrett
Posted on April 23, 2007 at 10:28 PM
This would have to be grouped by instrument. My previous violin loved Eudoxas and I would rate it this way:

Eudoxa
Oliv
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)

Dominant
Dominant
Dominant

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.

From Ian King
Posted on April 23, 2007 at 11:02 PM
Chris-

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??

From Ron Gorthuis
Posted on April 24, 2007 at 01:32 AM
Christopher: I wonder if your luthier knows mine. Mine tells me he builds his violins for use with Doms only, and I imagine he would break my bow (not his) if he discovered I used anything else. At first, I thought this was rather outlandish, to say someone could make a violin sound best with a particular string. But my violin sounds great in the low registers, and sweet on the highs, even with the Dom E. How this is accomplished is a true mystery to me. Still, to satisfy curiosity, I may try other strings, as and when I find them.

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.

From Christopher Burndrett
Posted on April 24, 2007 at 02:42 AM
Ian,

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.

Ron,

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?

From Eric Gratz
Posted on April 24, 2007 at 02:46 AM
Tonicas and Wondertone Solos lasted no time at all for me. I don't mind changing my evah pirazzis so often- whatever it takes to get the best sound! We should all be thankful we play the violin, and not the cello or bass!
From Mike Harris
Posted on April 27, 2007 at 04:09 PM
I'm not thankful--as a converted guitarist, I have a difficult time understanding why 3 short synthetic strings (plus 1 cheap steel) cost double or triple what 6 long guitar strings cost.
From Kevin Cheung
Posted on April 27, 2007 at 04:43 PM
But I heard some guitarists change their strings once a week.
From Ian Tran
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 10:32 AM
I'll list my experience in decending order of "life":

Dominant
Vision Titanium
Dominant E
Wondertone gold E
Evah Pirazzi E
Larsen E
Evah Pirazzi

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.

From elise stanley
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 08:56 AM

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. 

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 11:59 AM

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"!

From David Christianson
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM

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:

  • Dominants - 12 weeks
  • Evah's - 3 weeks
  • Infeld Red's - 8 weeks
  • Passiones - TBD

 

From Graham Clark
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 01:00 PM

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.

gc

From Tammy Kirwan
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 01:31 PM

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.

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 05:45 PM

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.

From Graham Clark
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 06:51 PM

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.

gc

From Smiley Hsu
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 07:42 PM

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.

From Ronald Mutchnik
Posted on March 25, 2011 at 11:08 PM

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.
 

From Eloise Garland
Posted on March 26, 2011 at 12:01 AM

 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! 

From elise stanley
Posted on March 26, 2011 at 01:04 AM

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.... :-\

From Sherman soothoo
Posted on March 26, 2011 at 03:42 PM

 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 :)

From Frederick Rupert
Posted on March 31, 2011 at 12:36 AM

Here goes.

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. 

 


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