Another thread on strings and string combos
Sorry yet another string thread. I'm going to change strings soon. Ive been playing with dominants and Goldbrokat E. The latter did not sound pleasant on the instrument for quite a while (anddoesnt sound especially nice on this instrument). The strings now are starting to sound a bit too metallic with some shrillness. Ive had them on for around 3-4 months and I practice around 1-2 hours daily(weekends more. Is that normal that they should start to deteriorate after such a period?
The instrument is neither 'dark' nor brilliant. I would say it has some sweetness,good enough volume for me (but I suspect it does not project a lot). The G is not particuarly strong or clear (its not too bad but not like the other strngs, fuzzier).
What I would like is, as someone who wants to work on their intonation, bow technique, are strings that would not be too forgiving but also not too harsh in terms of sound. Of course I realise this is all dépendent on the instrument and its response to the strings, but nonetheless perhaps I could gain an idea to begin with. I havent got that mch experience when it comes to choosing strings.
Ive been doing some research here and I found that a good combination would be the Warchal Avantgarde A with Warchal Amber E. I do not not know what G or D to match them with.
I've read that our Scott Cole recommends Dominant G Weich for instruments that dont do so well on G.
Anyway, I would love to read your recommendations. Just to note that I am aware that there is only so much one can expect from strings and that the instrument is the main vehicle (and even more so the player:). Nonetheless, some ideas would be great. Thank you
Try tuning your Dominant G down a half or whole pitch and see how you like the sound and response that way. If it’s better, then a light-gauge Dominant may be more to your liking. I’ve used them with success on a couple of violins in the past, too.
I just got obligatos 2 weeks ago and i absolutely LOVE them. My instrument is on the bright side, so these were perfect. They feel like they are a lot less tension than my previous strings, PI, which I like as well. Having said that, they are definitely more finicky than the PI strings. I have to pay much closer attention to sounding point than I usually do (bad habit I needed to break anyway).
Here's the core question with the Avantgarde A: Do you want the color of the instrument to change most dramatically between the D and A strings, or between the A and E strings?
Thanks Andrew, will try that.
Don't overlook Pirastro Flexocor-Permanent strings. They are steel core strings that have much of the quality of synthetic-core, but they stay in tune better and seem to add power to softer-toned instruments. But they are toward the higher end, price-wise.
Another possibility is that the string choice is fine, but the violin is out of adjustment. You might take it to a good luthier and see if it requires attention.
I much prefer the Avantgarde to the Russian A. The Avantgarde sounds more like a synthetic than a steel string. Note that it and the Amber E both have a spiral design that feels a bit different under the finger; the texture doesn't bother me but it does bother some people.
Lydia, in terms of achieving more sensitivity towards intonation and bow control (ie less forgiving, drives me to learn more) , what sort of strings would you choose?
I'm reminded of that part of my youth when I sometimes played with a mute on and noticed I could hear my intonation better. I'm sure this was because mutes suppress the overtones and thus make the fundamental pitch clearer.
I find that intonation is easier with more overtones, not less.
I agree with you NOW, Lydia, but back when I was a lot younger I found it easier to hear my intonation without the accompanying harmony of overtones.
I’m currently using medium Thomastik Infeld Blue with a Goldbrokat E on one of my violins. It’s probably my favorite synthetic string and in my opinion a much better version of Dominants (also made by Thomastik). I use Tricolore gut strings on the 1690 Grancino I play on which seems to be a perfect match. Each instrument varies and responds differently to strings. I do think the older instruments in general respond better with gut strings.
I use Peter Infeld with Goldbrokat 24k gold E string. I am very happy with the combination with my benchmade Topa. I always like Goldbrokat E string but this gold one is even more beautifully sweet, bright and very playable.I'll see how long it will last.
Yixi, the PI's are pretty expensive. how is their logevity, compared to Dominants for example? And what is the advantage in using them, in terms of sound quality you find?
Tammuz I find Infeld Blue to be far superior to Dominants on my violin, in response, purity of sound, stability, and also longevity. When I used Dominants years back, the A-string would always come unraveled around 3rd position after about 2-3 weeks.
I do highly recommend the Tricolore set with whatever E you prefer, but gut has an undeserved "stigma," based on years of synthetics being popularly used in the market. Of course, I do believe in "play what works best for you and your instrument" but often teachers or peers disagree about the "usability" of gut for modern playing, and some thus may be inclined to just comply with "the norm." These strings can be "more difficult" to play for most first users, since many of us were not trained with them when we were starting out, but once you have a better bow arm and adapt to them, the challenges are well worth it, in my opinion. In this regard, they will refine bowing if you are careful to learn how to best play on them. The "modern", remanufactured Tricolore I use also have the added benefit of great stability (vs most Eudoxa and Oliv variants, at least), and a very resonant, penetrating, powerful tone (the unwound A is "the best", for me.)
hi Adelberto, I didnt specify smoother specifically. I actually want strings that would promote more clarity, make me work more consciously with bow articulation, is better in higher positions especially on the G and promotes more intonation awareness. Of course all this is dépendent primarily on the violin...but at least i can optimize with the strings. Please keep in mind I am not an advanced player, but that doesnt mean I want something to cover over my bad playing :)
Tammuz, a set of regular PI at Long and McQuade costs $115 (less without E string) these days but they last a long time (at least 8 months for me). I too agree what Christine said that you are better off trying a bunch of E strings to see how your violin sound before buying a whole new set. Another way of doing it worked for me in the past (for my other older violins) was to let my luthier tweak the sound a bit and try the strings he recommended. I was happy with the Obligato with Goldbrokat E combination on those volins, especially before Obligato raised its price.
Tammuz, from what you write, I actually wonder if a steel string like Helicore might be what you want. They usually sound warm, though not rich and full in the same way that many synthetics do, and are very focused.
Tammuz — again, I think Dominants with Goldbrokat E is a fine string combination. It might be that your violin needs an adjustment. A worn bridge or nut groove, slightly out-of-alignment bridge, open seam, loose bass bar, or misfit soundpost are just a few of the things that might cause a weak G.
thanks all for the great suggestions
E strings shouldn't need a break-in period. You can try a bunch in rapid succession with your existing strings.
Great, thanks Lydia
Ok, so just to remind that I had G,D,A dominants. Also to note that I wanted a stronger G since mine was a bit fuzzy (I realise that could well be the instrument but again, my aim is currently to optimize though strings).
Glad that you found a setup that works better!
As I noted before, all-Dominants with the Gold Label E is a classic combination, so it's not surprising that this E works well.
Medium Infeld Blue G D A with Hill Thick E combo works well with on my dark instrument (2016 Atanassov), which generally responds well to lower tension strings. The thick E really made a big difference on the overall balance and ring. Finding the right string brand combination is difficult, but we shouldn’t forget that varying tension gage on a given string can also have a significant impact.
Hannah, I wish I could buy some TIs to try.
I use the Warchal Amber E and Avantgarde A in combination with Vision Solo D and G. This is a very bright, high-tension lower strings in combination with upper strings that are a little more mellow (even though the upper string are steel, interestingly).
By the way, if you use a steel A on a regular basis, your luthier might want to shape the nut and cut the bridge for that.