Tricolore (Gamut) Strings?
Hi everyone! I’ve used the Pirastro gut strings Eudoxas Oliv, and Gold label as well as a variety of synthetics. I absolutely prefer gut, and so far, the Gold Label string set has sounded the smoothest and most beautiful on my violin. I’ve been interested in plain and wound gut from Gamut, mainly their tricolore strings. I can only describe their sound as ecstatic. Does anyone have any knowledge of their playability and response compared to the Pirastro wound gut sets? I know it’s different on every violin but some opinions on the matter could be very useful. Thanks in advance!
I tried the Tricolore set in heavy gauge, varnished.
I have used Oliv rigid, Silver D, regular A, Eudoxa Rigid, Passione regular and Solo, and Gold Label. I must admit that the Tricolore are among the best strings in the market at all levels. Sound, playability, all really special. Even the Wound D sounds great (especially comparing it to the more famous Pirastro alternatives.) The pure gut A is "the best" (for me-subjective, but very much my current opinion.)
Nice post Adalberto, you have almost convinced me to order a set of Tricolores and give them a try. Since they are thicker strings have you had to alter your nut or bridge to use them?
Thank you for your responses Adalberto and Douglas! It seems like the tricolores are definitely going to be my next string choice, since I was looking for a little more response than Olivs and like you guys said, the tricolores sound is just sublime. Has anyone tried gamut’s plain gut E strings?
I used a gut E string for a while in a pit orchestra (Rossini). It actually didn't feel too different from a metal E, and it sounded fantastic. It is harder to tune however.
On the violin I have been playing the longest (65 years) I used Pirastro gut-core strings exclusively for the first 18-20 years - Eudoxa and Olive (Gold Label just were not right for it). When Dominant became available it turns out they ere not right for it, but Tonica was ---and the story continued on for the next 40+ years through all the major Pirastro and Thomastik strings as well as some others finally culminating in PI, Vision Solo and EP Gold. And then late last year I decided to try a set of Tricolore. I tried the mediums unvarnished/wound G. They took a long time to stabilize and compared to the EP Gold that had been on previously the sound seemed quite weak - so weak that I had to remove the PI Pt E string that I had kept on because it was overwhelming the Tricolore sound. (PI-Pt had been my E string of choice on all my violins for through the previous three string-type changes) and I installed a Goldbrokat medium E which does match the Tricolore set. Perhaps I should have tried the heavier gauge Tricolore as some have recommended!
I'm also in the middle of a big experimentation-- after doing a bunch of mixed sets, including Passione A strings, I went to straight Dominants (plus PI Pt E) on most instruments. Generally OK, with no real vices, but a little of that "neutral" flavor of cigarette smoke. On two of those violins I've now moved to the Rondo A/D/G, and they are miles better. Probably better, even, than EP Gold, but aiming at the same general thing.
Ironic-the Tricolore on my instrument are very powerful. I believe you, though, Mr. Victor. Their power was quite a pleasant surprise, really surpassing all gut alternatives, including Oliv.
Nor was I impressed by Passione, Eudoxa or Olive compared to my most recent experiences with Vision Solos and Evah Pirazzi Gold.
Are the Tricolores installed like modern gut strings (i.e., just like stringing Olivs), or is there something different about how you have to deal with them?
Very normal-just like installing Oliv/Eudoxa. He (Mr. Larson) added that leather washer thingie Pirastro uses in some of their gut sets on the nut end. Basically, put on and play (I guess, stretch and play would be more appropriate); no need to deal with nuts or cutting anything. Tricolore even has a regular wound A, but the pure gut A is spectacular.
I've been thinking of trying them, but we're approaching the horrible summer swamp season of DC, during which I suspect pure gut strings will be a pain to keep stable. (I usually switch from Passiones to synthetics for the summer.)
@Adalberto, "Tricolore even has a regular wound A, but the pure gut A is spectacular."
I won't add much more to Adalberto's excellent descriptions, except to say that everyone should try them. Even if you don't use them regularly (I do not), they give you a different perspective on tone and response that is unmatched by mainstream gut offerings.
What's the difference between Tricolore's wound gut, unvarnished gut, and varnished gut?
Wound means it has a wire winding on it. varnished has a coat of varnish on the bare gut string and the other is obvious.
Anybody try their viola offerings?
Thanks. I've read about the differences in string composition, but how does sound, response, and longevity differ between the Tricolore types?
I've tried the Heavy wound G, wound d / plain d varnished, and varnished A.
Mr. Rivera, Mr. Rosand actually plays with a Damian Dlugolecki plain gut A when he is using gut. He believes in using a very light gauge (14 1/2 PM).
The unwound, varnished pure gut strings are indeed remarkably stable. I found them to hold up pretty well through long (and warm) opera performances. Of course, good strings do help. I had a stand partner lose about one A or E string per night-- actual breakage. He was using the infamous Pirastros, and also said his sweat was kind of toxic.
I have a full Chorda set on my old violin, a copy of a long pattern S. The set was installed by the luthier as part of my instructions when I had to have the instrument seen to as a result of the bridge collapsing catastrophically early in December last year.
I bought a set of Tricolore strings about a month ago, but I was unable to install them. The end of the strings had a loop and a washer. The washer was not metal but a more flexible material, which did not remain secured in the tailpiece as I tightened the pegs. I think one of the washers even tore off. I've always had ball ends for all 4 strings. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find Tricolore strings with a ball. What am I doing wrong? Is the washer supposed to function the same way a ball would? Can a ball be added?
sounds like the slots in your tailpiece are too wide, if he supplies it with a knot and loop that should be sufficient for a normal tailpiece.
Adalberto, how long did it take for your Tricolore G to start speaking properly? On one of my violins, I have a Tricolore unvarnished A and wound D, which are amazing, but I couldn't get the Tricolore G to sound, so I put on an Oliv G. Maybe I was too impatient. Was there really that noticeable change in responsiveness and sound after your Tricolore G settled in? And how long did that take? ;)
I think it needs its tension to be fully settled in. For about a week or less, using it a lot. At first it sounds a little too dark and dull, and the artificial harmonics are all over the place. It will also be less resistant to pressure. Then it becomes really great-alive, rich but clear. I have the wound D as well, and they become a superb pair together. Once in its best state all of those high sul G passages will sound amazing.
Adalberto, thanks for your astute feedback! I agree with all your observations about how the Tricolore D compares to the Olivs. Right now the rigid Oliv G works great, but...if it can sing like the TD in the upper positions, it might be worth the pain of breaking it in ;). Thanks again!
So the Tricolores arrived today. I had Dlugolecki (not too heavy gauge) on A and G, with a leftover Dominant on D. Gold Label E.
I wouldn't expect the Tricolores to be any better than Damien Dlugolecki's strings, in fact I recommend his strings.
Unwrapped, yes. But the wrapped G was at a very different level.