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Does Hahn use Dominant/Pirastro Gold E combo?

DVD reviews: I did some sneaky investigation and thought I saw her using this combination of strings. Can anyone confirm or correct my assertion?

From James Lapihuska
Posted February 28, 2005 at 05:50 AM

This has probably been discussed before, but I recently viewed M. Knight Shyamalan's The Village. I know why the movie was nominated for best original score... it's pretty amazing for what it is. Hilary Hahn did a very nice job playing into the plot during the film's scoring and she puts herself sort of into the same role as the young, female lead actor. But I digress... the real reason I wrote this is because I purchased the DVD and I did some sleuthing. During a scene in the bonus features of The Village, I zoomed in on Ms. Hahn's... violin and it looks to me like she used Dominants with the Pirastro Gold E. The picture is dark and I can't be entirely sure, so I was wondering if there are any Hahn buffs who happen to know what combination of strings she uses. And incidently, this is just to satisfy investigative curiosity, not to justify anyone's preference for string brands.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on February 28, 2005 at 12:28 PM
You are correct. I believe she lists what she uses on her website.
From Christian Vachon
Posted on February 28, 2005 at 01:49 PM
Hi,

Yes she does... It was mentioned in Strings magazine a while back. Cheers!

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 28, 2005 at 11:18 PM
Greetings,
that`s right. teh only thing that bothers me is if she had really been getting into the subject of the movie then wouldn`t she be using plain gut strings?
Cheers,
Buri
From Christian Vachon
Posted on March 1, 2005 at 05:17 AM
Hi everyone!

I tried to post this as another thread, but it didn't go through... So, I thought I would past it here.

Everybody seems to be interested in the string combos of artists (including me of course!), so I did some research to try and find out what they used including newer and older artists. Enjoy and if anyone knows of anything different than what I have posted, please let me know.

Jascha Heifetz : Goldbrokat Medium E, Plain Gut A&D, Wound G (don’t know the brand). That he used until the end of his performing career judging by the album photos from the 1960’s that I saw.

Nathan Milstein : Same as Heifetz in the 1950’s with a Eudoxa G, but he moved to using an Eudoxa G&D, plain gut A and Goldbrokat E in the 1960’s. I have been told by someone who saw him in the 1970’s that by then he was using an Eudoxa A as well.

Zino Francescatti : From an album from the late 50’s or early 60’s that I saw, he was using a Eudoxa G, Kaplan Silver D, Eudoxa A and Goldbrokat Medium E.

David Oistrakh : Eudoxa D and G, Prim Steel A (or Chromecore) and a Prim E.

* On a historical note here, the first person to use and recommend the use of a steel A with two wound gut core lower strings was Carl Flesch.

Arthur Grumiaux : Used an Eudoxa A, D, G. Couldn’t figure out the E. In the 1970’s, I saw a cover where he used the Eudoxa steel A, and gut on the two lower strings.

Henryk Szeryng : Used a Eudoxa D and G, a Kaplan A and either a Gold Label E or Kaplan E (they look so alike!). He did also use Olives for the D and G, and on the last filmed broadcast he did for Radio-Canada, he used Olive D and G, plain gut A and a Gold Label E from what I could tell.

Isaac Stern : Used the Eudoxa A, D, G and a Goldbrokat Medium E. Later in his career he kept the E but switched to Dominants.

Frank Peter Zimmerman : Uses Olives for the A, D, G and a Hill E.

Thomas Zehetmair : Unless he has changed, he use to use a full set of Olives.

Pinchas Zukerman : Used Eudoxas until the Dominants came out which he still uses (including the E, I think...). He was the first soloist to switch to Dominants.

Itzhak Perlman : Used Eudoxa in his early career than switched to the traditional combo of Dominants with the Gold Label E.

Hilary Hahn : Dominants with a Gold Label E.

Maxim Vengerov : Used to use Dominants but recently switched to a full set of Pirazzi.

Vadim Repin : Don’t know what he used before but he is currently playing on a full set of Pirazzi.

Ilya Gringolts : He uses Evah Pirazzi at the moment.

Gil Shaham : Uses Dominants and a Jargar E (don’t know which gauge).

Midori : Uses Dominants and had a Synoxa E for a while, but it could also be Jargar Forte E which looks similar.

Stefan Jackiw : Uses Dominants and a Jargar Forte E.

So far, that is all I could find. If anyone feels like adding anything (or correcting me!), please feel free to do so.

Cheers everyone!

From David Lee
Posted on March 1, 2005 at 06:57 AM
As far as I know, Josh Bell uses Pirazzi's.
From Keith Loke
Posted on March 1, 2005 at 10:02 AM
Thanks, Christian, for that list! As a matter of fact, I was scouring the net last night to no avail for a list like that, and lo and behold you've come along and posted a terribly comprehensive one. Cheers!
From Lisa Marsnik
Posted on March 1, 2005 at 05:37 PM
Hi Christian,
I was listening to Milstein's last recital yesterday and thinking he was playing on a gut A (which he loved to do). Listen to the shifts in some of the short pieces (I forget which one in which it was really clear) and you will hear the little "clicks" you get when you shift on a gut string. I think I remember him using a gut A in the master classes and talking about it - but now it is too dim in my fading memory (hehe) to know for sure.
Lisa
From Christian Vachon
Posted on March 2, 2005 at 01:51 AM
Hi:

David: Thanks. You are right. Pirastro lists Joshua Bell as a Pirazzi artist. Thanks!

Keith: You're welcome. My pleasure.

Lisa: Thanks too. I am sure that you are right. It was a Toronto luthier who saw Milstein and his violin in the late 1970's, early 80's who told me that. But, I have never see a photo of him with anything like a wound A. I will listen to the last recital again and look at the photo to make sure. Thanks for the pointer! I drool every time I hear about you have the opportunity to work with Milstein.

Cheers!

From Christian Vachon
Posted on March 2, 2005 at 02:03 AM
Hi again,

My orginal post did go through. I put in some updates there...

Cheers!

From Mike Harris
Posted on March 3, 2005 at 05:11 PM
Great list, Christian, thanks for posting it!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 3, 2005 at 05:25 PM
Someone give Christian two stars.
From Christian Vachon
Posted on March 3, 2005 at 05:59 PM
Hi,

Mike and Tom: Thank you very very much and you are welcome!

Here are some updates to the list...

Ricci: Now using Vision strings (thanks for Buri for letting me know - he saw it in Strad magazine). In the past he has played Dominants, and before that, Eudoxa.

Anne-Sophie Mutter: Dominants with some kind of E... looks like a Gold Label or Golden Spiral.

Joshua Bell: Now listed by Pirastro as a Pirazzi user.

Julian Rachlin: Said on this site that he uses Tonica D&G with a Jargar A and a Kaplan Golden Spiral E.

Cho-Liang Lin: Started his career on Eudoxa, but quickly switched to Dominants (including the E as I saw on an old CBS LP cover), and is now using Infelds which he finds more reliable (according to his statements in Strings magazine).

Aaron Rosand: Listed on the Pirastro site as now using Tonica Weich (Silver D) since the late 90's. Strange though as he swore by the traditional Eudoxa G&D and the pure gut A with some E until then. Even forced his own students to use that string setup.

Feel free to add on... Cheers everyone!

From P W
Posted on March 3, 2005 at 06:52 PM
Thanks for the great list. A few minor comments/questions:

1] Regarding Mutter, in her recent recordings, her violin tone did not sound like Dominant strings at all. The tone in her recent recordings did not have the shinning leading-edge sound quality frequently associated with Dominant. I wonder how much audio engineering had occurred.

2] I thought Zukerman uses Westminster E, at least some times.

3] Cho-liang Lin uses the blue version of Infeld.

4] Does anyone know why most soloists no longer use Goldbrokat E, compared to thirty years ago?

PW

From Christian Vachon
Posted on March 3, 2005 at 06:47 PM
Hi,

PW: Thanks for the comments/questions. I don't know about the Anne-Sophie Mutter thing... But I do know that she uses Dominants. Maybe someone else can clear that up... Thanks for the clarification about Zukerman's E. It's possible (I inquired with someone who knows him well and he couldn't answer the question of the E). I went from covers, but the Westminster E would make sense.

About the Goldbrokat E... In my opinion and experience it is a great match for gut/gut core strings. It helps to brighten things up. Why things are different now... hmmm... different strings with different characteristics?

Cheers!

From David Lee
Posted on March 3, 2005 at 07:25 PM
Hmm if I remember right, Sarah Chang uses Dominants but I know she uses Jargar and Westminster for her E strings.
From Allen Liang
Posted on March 3, 2005 at 09:28 PM
I think Anne-Sophie Mutter now uses the Infeld Blues and Kaplan Golden Spiral Solo E. The peg end of her A,D,G strings in her most recent photos are blue instead of the Dominant purple.
From Michael Schallock
Posted on March 3, 2005 at 09:33 PM
I have heard that some players prefer Olives but switch back and forth to Eva P's depending upon climate and venue.
Maybe some of these really good players switch around too.
From Christian Vachon
Posted on March 4, 2005 at 05:29 PM
Hi,

Thanks for adding. Michael, although I think that great players do experiment, they tend to stick to something for a while. And except for a couple of people, most soloists use synthetics because of pitch stability, brilliance and power.

Cheers!

From Graham Clark
Posted on April 27, 2005 at 11:40 AM
I like to change my make of strings from time to time: it gives me an insight into other aspects of what my fiddle will do. A bit like having a different instrument for a couple of weeks.

By then the strings have settled in, and I get used to the sound. I am not so sure that, after the initial period, some makes are all that different from each other anyway.

We get so involved in listening for the minutest subtleties, and our brains pull all kinds of tricks on us. I certainly get "listening fatigue" when playing many different instruments one after the other. I wonder whether what I notice with new strings of different makes is more to do with them being new, than being different. I am certain I cannot remember exactly what that G-string was like 2 months ago.

gc

From Ron Gorthuis
Posted on August 5, 2005 at 03:19 AM
Believe it or not, I had a chance to speak with Ms Hahn after her perfromance in Shanghai recently. She told me she uses Dominants, and her violin is a Vuillaume. Lovely gal, and a real inspiration for my daughter. Had the audience spell bound with her recital.
Very intersting to read here what the pros use.
From Mechelle Mechelle
Posted on August 5, 2005 at 06:13 PM
I'm going to learn the score to the Village if it kills me. I have been in violin for about a year and have yet to learn how to read music. I just can't retain it.....everything I learn is by ear. But have been complimented by my instructor for the talent of said ear.

I've tried to find the sheet music for it so he can work with me during sessions so I can learn it. There are parts that are hard to hear on the soundtrack but transcribing it by ear is the best I can do for now.

It's a shame the sheet music for the soundtrack is not available for purchase.

From Mike Harris
Posted on August 26, 2005 at 02:14 AM
What I find most interesting is that so many great players have an identifiable "sound" regardless of what strings or even what instrument they use.
I also find it interesting that there are so very many strings available, so many combinations and options for performing on a high level. Of course, there are a great many sub-standard strings as well, and you don't see them on the lists above, so obviously the strings do make a difference. If there were only a half-dozen or so viable choices it would make it a lot simpler (and cheaper).
From Kristian Rahbek Knudsen
Posted on February 1, 2006 at 06:46 PM
Gil Shaham uses the forte gauge of Jargar
Anne Sophie Mutter uses a Corelli Steel viola a-string hence low tension. Sounds weird but I know for sure.
From Rigo Murillo
Posted on April 25, 2006 at 06:03 PM
I think too much focusing on the kind of strings will not do much. Why wondering which string so and so player uses? Guys, it's NOT the string, it's the "stringer" who makes them sound.

The instrument has more to do with the sound characteristics than do the strings. And you'll never get the same sound out of YOUR violin with the kind of strings they use on THEIR particular violin.

About recording-guessing, forget that. How the instrument is microphoned counts for a lot of the suond qualities you hear. For instance, some mics can "show" the brilliant/edge side of the tone, while others won't. The engeneers also have a say in this.

Maybe we can ask ourselves what kind of PLAYING they do instead of the kind of string they use.

I don't mean to be disrespectful here, please understand I am just telling my opinion.

Cheers!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on April 25, 2006 at 06:24 PM
Amen, Rigo. Wondering what strings they use, what rosin they use and whether they do or do not use a shoulder rest has a sort of intellectual interest but is probably a waste of time IMHO. The strings/rosin that brings out the best in your particular violin may be ones that no famous violinist uses. Only your luthier can advise you.
From Maura Gerety
Posted on April 25, 2006 at 06:49 PM
Christian, from your list of fiddlers and the strings they use.......hasn't Ilya been talking about his gut strings? I don't think those are Pirazzis! :)
MG
From Ray Randall
Posted on April 25, 2006 at 07:01 PM
Why not log onto her website and ask her directly.
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on April 25, 2006 at 08:37 PM
Ilya loves gut strings. He makes his own with alley cats. It's really quite sick.
From Maura Gerety
Posted on April 25, 2006 at 09:55 PM
Don't joke about killing poor little cats, you awful man! :)
From Peter Schafer
Posted on April 25, 2006 at 11:06 PM
I'm interested in the strings Vanessa Mae uses, particularly the G.
From Christian Vachon
Posted on April 26, 2006 at 01:54 AM
Hi,

Maura, at the time I wrote that list, Ilya was using Pirazzi. Now he uses Olivs (thinnest gauge) and raves about him. Things change I guess.

Cheers!

From Julie C.
Posted on April 26, 2006 at 03:00 AM
Oh my, Pieter, I can't get over how hilarious you are. The comment about the cats was pretty sick, but I found myself laughing at it anyway (me! Laughing about an animal joke! And I'm the animal rights activist here...) HAHAHAHAHA, gut strings, alley cats... oh, man.
From Ray Randall
Posted on April 26, 2006 at 07:06 PM
Gut strings actually come from sheep. Baaaaa
From bill _
Posted on April 26, 2006 at 07:34 PM
And tennis racquet gut comes from cows, mooooo...
From Laura E
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 03:51 AM
Hi, could anyone recommend an E-string that would go well with Infeld Blues?
From Julia S
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 12:48 PM
Maybe try the Gold Label E. It was my favorite E that I tried, it has a nice bright powerful sound. Right now I'm using Evah Pirazzis, but they seem to be too tempermental and are pretty expensive, so I'm going to switch back to dominants with a Gold Label E.
From Gabriel Kastelle
Posted on February 10, 2007 at 03:32 AM
Rigo-- Thank you for your comments which are entirely correct!!

And yet, also true: it's not for nothing they call these "string instruments". The strings do matter.

From JOhn kim
Posted on December 9, 2007 at 10:07 PM
If you go to Connollyandco.com and check out the violin strings, they have a list of musicians who use the strings you're looking at at the bottom. Itzhak perlman uses dominants, and Josh Bell DOES use pirazzis but with Goldbrokat E.
From Sora Tsuchiya
Posted on July 22, 2008 at 12:53 AM
From Adam Clifford
Posted on July 22, 2008 at 03:06 AM
One of Dominant's "biggest" ads is a picture of Hilary Hahn with Dominants on her violin, I suppose that implies she does use them?
From Sora Tsuchiya
Posted on July 22, 2008 at 03:07 AM
From John Allison
Posted on July 24, 2008 at 10:13 PM
Gold E. She discussed it in Strings, and on her website, www.hilaryhahn.com, as well.
From Andrew Holland
Posted on July 24, 2008 at 10:54 PM
I think I read a comment stating that she felt that she didn't want to invest time experimenting with strings, etc...focusing on the music was much more important.
From Rei Miyasaka
Posted on April 16, 2009 at 11:47 PM

Wow, lots of Dominants. You'd think people would do otherwise just to be speshal.

Violinists tend to carry a stereotype of being conservative, but it's interesting how pragmatic they/we can also be.

From Gene Wie
Posted on April 17, 2009 at 11:18 PM

I love Goldbrokat E's. The fact that you can get them for practically a little over a single US dollar also makes me happy. :)

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on April 17, 2009 at 11:23 PM

Greetings. You said it Gene!  Only prunes and love are cheaper and a smuch fun.

Cheers,

Buri 

From Michael Divino
Posted on April 18, 2009 at 01:53 AM

I think she does.  I have her documentary and from close-ups, GD and A are purple up top and E is green, which is pirastro gold.  that's the set up i have on my violin!

From Bart Meijer
Posted on April 18, 2009 at 04:58 AM

Buri,

I hope that neither your love nor your prunes turn rusty so quickly.

Bart

From Carolyn Ohlbaum
Posted on April 19, 2009 at 10:14 PM

Hi everyone, I am back in NYC right now until April 26th, and I'm doing quite a bit of violin playing. This afternoon, I was over at Butterfield 8. Tonight I will play at the Algonquin Hotel. Tomorrow I will play at Birdland, and there are some other spots as well. I have always used the combination of Dominants and the Gold Label E. Many people say that the Dominants do not hold up well, but I have never had a problem with them. They have served me so well over the years, and I get a gorgeous sound out of my violin.

Carolyn

From Matthew Reichert
Posted on December 27, 2012 at 02:47 AM
According to Wikipedia, Heifetz used a domestic gut string called 'Tricolore.' The company that was based in Indiana stopped production in the 1970's. In the past five years, a company called Gamut Strings (in Duluth, Minnesota) started making 'Tricolore' strings again. They bought the machinery used to make the strings, and the formula.

According the the Gamut strings website, Heifetz used a Tricolore medium gauge wound gut G-string, a Tricolore medium gauge unvarnished/unwound gut D-string, a Tricolore medium gauge unvarnished/unwound gut A-string, and a Goldbrokat '26' steel E-string.

From Matthew Reichert
Posted on December 27, 2012 at 02:53 AM
It is rumored that Itzhak Perlman uses a Westminster 27.5 gauge E-string. Can anyone confirm/substantiate this?
From Brian Lee
Posted on December 27, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Yes - I go to the same luthier as he does. I'm pretty sure he uses a set of Dominants (with aluminum D) with the Westminster heavy E on all of his violins.

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