Gut Strings with Loud/Big Projection

August 12, 2017, 3:50 PM · Hi everyone! I recently have purchased a new violin to use as a solo instrument. Previously, I had a cheap $1000ish violin that I used Olivs on for orchestra.

I love the feel of gut strings and I love to play on gut strings, but I have trouble spending the money on more Olivs for my new violin. My violin is loud in general, but I was wondering if gut strings would mute the sound too much. They were loud enough for my instrument, but I was wondering if I could purchase anything just a but louder for my solo instrument.

Does anyone have any recommendations for gut strings that can project clearly and loudly?

Replies (103)

Edited: August 12, 2017, 4:05 PM · Supposedly Passione Solo are up to what you are asking, at least they are advertised as having "very powerful and brilliant sound - great projection"

What strings are on this violin right now?

The problem is I don't think Passione Solo are significantly cheaper than Oliv. Also you know, nothing is guaranteed, and every violin reacts in a different way. What if you take the Olivs from the other violin, mount them on your new instrument and see what happens? Just to make sure your sound is not "muted" with gut core.

August 12, 2017, 4:11 PM · Thanks for the reply. I have a set of Pi strings with a Goldbrokat E I later put on. The strings came with the instrument and I don't mind them, but I really don't like synthetics. I've heard good and bad things about the passione solos. I heard that the winding on the peg end is too long and reaches over the nut, something that I would not accept from a string.

That's a good idea about swapping the strings, but the Olivs are old and need to be replaced. I'm probably going to end up swapping all 3 of my instruments' strings soon.

August 12, 2017, 4:27 PM · Passione Solo are up to this task, as are Olives. The Passione Solo G has silking that may rest at the nut initially, but winds up in the peg box after a few days of stretching. This is by design.

If you are looking for gut-like synthetics, none have really achieved the beautiful warm core gut gives to a sound. One of the closest, and most overlooked, strings that reach in this direction are Vision Titanium Orchestra. Quite different from Vision Titanium Solo which are loud and screamy, Vision Titanium Orchestras are warm and colorful but projecting and brilliant.

August 12, 2017, 4:28 PM · Search this site for similar threads. There's probably a few. Opinions on strings can be very controversial. In this case, each player's definition of "loud and projecting" is different. You don't want strings to take away tonal complexity.
August 12, 2017, 5:00 PM · @ Ryan To my experience, Pi strings may seem soft under the left hand, but truly their tension could be on the "higher" side. So by swapping them with gut core with less tension, you may feel the instrument more resonant. I felt the same thing when I changed the PIs with Dominants (which are less tense) in some of my violins.

If your violin is meant to be used for soloing, I don't think you'll lose much sound with gut core anyway. Just to be sure you can ask your luthier if it's ok to move to gut core in this instruments (I've heard some people say that some instruments are set up with lower bridges for high tension synthetics, and need another higher bridge for gut, but I don't think that this happens all the time of course, and it's not necessarily true regarding your instrument)

I also second what Douglas says about VT Orchestra. But if you want to stay in the gut universe, I think your options could remain expensive unfortunately. (But if you ever go back to synthetics, give the Dominants a try in your new violin, you never know, they may sound wonderful and are the cheapest option of what has been mentioned in this thread)

Maybe Eudoxa Stiff could be another (cheaper) option? I have not used them, but have heard that they are more powerful than the regular ones...

August 12, 2017, 5:44 PM · Tonicas, perhaps. Those are cheap synthetics.
Edited: August 12, 2017, 6:26 PM · It depends on context you are playing within. For example, I sat in the last row on the balcony during Tafelmusik's "Delightfully Baroque" concert and had no trouble hearing Cristina Zacharias play a demanding violin solo in one of Bach's cantatas - with full choir and orchestra!
All of them use pure gut strings and, trust me, Bach did not spare any choral, or orchestral part in that movement.
If you sit in a quartet of Evah Paparazzi lovers.... good luck to you being heard on gut strings.
Lastly, a lot depends on your instrument and your bow.
August 12, 2017, 6:33 PM · Thank you for all the replies. I will take info into consideration. My violin I am using right now is of high quality and is not the cheaper one so I will invest in better strings. I just was worried to experiment with expensive strings. Thank you!
Edited: August 12, 2017, 6:42 PM · What is this instrument? Who made it? When was it made? General price class? These factors are going to affect what strings will likely sound the best.

The violin's set-up also needs to match the strings that you're using. My guess is that if it came with PIs, then it's currently optimized for higher-tension strings, although depending on its price class, the set-up might just be adequate rather than highly optimized.

When you talk about using it as a "solo instrument", what are you talking about? What's driving this quest for more raw volume?

On a day to day basis, whether student, adult amateur, or pro, most players sit in orchestras. Any violin used for that needs to be able to easily blend. Louder is not better.

If you are playing in a recital with piano, or playing juries or competitions with piano. at your level (I seem to recall you're a high school freshman at intermediate level), you will probably never have issues being heard. The pianist can always go to half-open lid or closed lid, too, if you're having balance issues. If you're having trouble being heard in this kind of venue, fix your technique, not your violin.

If you are trying to be heard in a concerto with orchestra, it never hurts to be able to get extra projection. :-)

The key to producing a big, soloistic sound is... having a big, soloistic sound. That comes from you more than it comes from the violin. The instrument can respond properly to that technique (not having the sound "bottom out" easily, clear tone near the bridge, responding to the particular way you bow to get more volume via more bow vs more weight, etc.), and it helps if it has more natural projection (aided by a good set-up). But a violin is not a trumpet. Chasing maximum decibels is often not productive.

More complex strings can aid projection by producing more overtones. Those overtones give richness and warmth to the sound, and they also help the instrument carry at a distance, and be heard floating over the orchestra. Olivs, Passiones (whether regular or Solos), and other complex strings may turn out to project surprisingly well, even if they don't win the raw decibel contest.

I've played concertos with orchestra (as well as recitals with pianists playing Steinway B pianos with the lids all the way open), both on Passiones (non-Solo) as well as synthetics of various types. I would take the beauty of the gut over raw power, as long as you can be heard.

If you're looking for raw power because you're busking or otherwise trying to be heard in noisy settings, I would go with a pick-up and an amplifier instead.

August 12, 2017, 6:45 PM · Having a great instrument doesn't mean you need more expensive strings.

Often, the opposite is true. The instrument speaks well by itself.

Many Strads you will find with Dominant or Eudoxa strings sounding quite well.

August 12, 2017, 6:55 PM · Douglas Bevan hits the nail on the head. Great instruments often just don't need the help, although they can be choked by high-tension strings, especially if the set-up is wrong.

I see Ryan's recently updated his profile, which answers my questions about the violin. A new Wayne Burak for $6,500. That seems awfully high to me -- from looking online, it appears that Burak finishes Chinese instruments in the white, rather than building from scratch? Or is this an instrument that he's made 100% himself?

Either way, we're talking new contemporary of the lesser sort, which I'm guessing is probably brash, resonant, and loud? Probably benefits from expensive high-tension strings with reasonable complexity. If the PIs aren't great, try Evah Pirazzi Gold.

Edited: August 12, 2017, 7:07 PM · Lydia, thank you so much for the advice and the time to write all that you did! I used to play Evah Pirazzi Gold strings on my old instrument. I just really prefer gut, but they are superior synthetics.

Wayne Burak builds student instruments as well as his own handmade instruments based off of old models by the masters, such as the 1713 Ex Huberman Stradivari in my case. The violin is part of his workbench series instruments, which are considered his masterpieces. He makes them entirely by his own hand and adjusts them to how he feels best represents the instruments qualities. However, I don't want the adjustments to keep me from exploring opportunities available on my instrument.

Currently, I am rehearsing for playing Bruch in G Minor with my school's chamber orchestra, so I am trying to find suitable strings for playing over an orchestra in the complex chords in many passages of the first movement.

I completely agree with your statements about the beauty of gut. That's why I will try to only play on guts. My technique will always have room for advancement especially at my level. I've never heard of the overtones actually aiding in the projection of the instrument. Olivs are known for their good overtones so that may be the way to go. Thanks for all of the information!

August 12, 2017, 7:49 PM · While I am not on the whole a "gut zealot", your Oliv strings can do the job quite admirably. Expensive as they may be, they will generally outlast synthetics sound quality and volume-wise. Passione Solo are fine, but the price isn't cost-effective, so at that price I would rather go with Oliv, which are not really "weak" sounding by any stretch of the imagination.

I have new Olivs on my violin. The previous Titanium Solo were louder only in the beginning. After being worn, they were actually very beautiful sounding, despite their hollowness (lack of some upper mid frequencies that IMHO gut naturally provides) compared to gut. Not "screechy" (their original Titanium E is "good screechy", if that is not an oxymoron to you). The Olivs do sound better, and are "loud".

Again I find the Oliv A to be a fine and powerful sounding gut string, and find the stability issues to be a bit overstated. That said I am going to try a pure gut "Heavy" Tricolore soon, as my current Oliv, though not really thin sounding, I find a but "too thin" in relation to all other current strings on my instrument. Hopefully I like the results, and may keep you updated in the future.

Also, always remember the E has a significant impact on the other strings. That many soloists use Jargar Forte doesn't mean it is the best fit for your instrument EVEN for Solo Concerto over orchestra purposes, as it *may* warm or dull the tone on the other strings too much (maybe it will help them, but it's not a sure thing.) I am currently using medium Goldbrokat, but the Medium Hill and the aforementioned, slightly pricey Titanium Solo E have worked great for me.

August 12, 2017, 8:03 PM · (Just to clarify, I believe the Passione Solo are also good and "loud", but even if they do mostly sound and feel like gut-because they ARE gut-the technology to keep them "more stable" do take away some of the gut magic other options have. The expensive price is "warranted" by this technology, which also is their main pro. If stability is not a concern, as it isn't for many gut core using players, I think "even" Gold Labels-which are presented as "budget gut strings"- represent a more practical value... they are also not weak, just bright and less bassy than Eudoxa.)
Edited: August 13, 2017, 6:07 AM · "...but I have trouble spending the money on more Olivs for my new violin. "
I do not see how will Ryan save money by switching to Passione Solo or just any other Pirastro brand.

I had been a fan of Pirastro for a long time, but have switched to Salvarez brands. I also tried Warchal Kaereol on my viola and was pleasantly surprised by their quality.
Salvarez brands are less expensive than Pirastro and they definitely stretch faster and last longer. Cantiga or Corelli Alliance sound as good, if not better than some of Pirastro labels.

While none of synthetic strings can match the sound of guts, some can give a bearable approximation for way less $.

Edited: August 13, 2017, 6:32 AM · To be fair, the other (and one could argue, most popular) "big" brand can be overly expensive for seemingly no reason. PI strings are not worth that much money; unless one of their technicians comes to this forum and explains to me the technology that is so special and hard to manufacture vs their other lines, I won't be convinced.

(Not a brand hater, even if I use Pirastro more often-I like some of Thomastik's offerings, and one of their expensive Es I like very much. Not referring to the PI Platinum E, which as Pirastro has recently proven, are also overpriced.)

I still believe good Pirastro gut core strings doesn't need to be expensive. Eudoxa and Gold Label are not that bad, and are honestly "better" than the "best" synthetics at a sometimes lower price.

I agree Passione Solo are expensive, but I understand the rationale behind the product.

How is the Cantiga E?

Edited: August 13, 2017, 7:13 AM · Cantiga E is surprisingly good. I would say, give it a try and if not happy, switch to your favourite E. Also, unless a fan of high tension, start on light; they match Dominant medium when it comes to tension.
Regarding the pricing of violin strings.... we pay less than cello players, but way more than guitar players.
I wish it was all about offer and demand (the myth of free market), but in reality we fall victim to designer brands, no different than in the world of fashion.
I can't understand why guitar strings are affordable and violin strings border with luxury for many of us. Yes, there are more guitar players (even the sub-group using nylon strings is probably huge), but the technology is not so distant from one producing violin strings. Except for pure gut strings, no strings are made manually anymore and composite core is mass produced. There is no justification for price tag. I hate to say this, but the bitter pill for Pirastro's and Thomastik's arrogance will be eventually made in China. It is only a matter of time!
August 13, 2017, 7:27 AM · I also don't get it with all this pricing getting up and up all the time. Recently I tried a string set named "Fiddlerman Strings" synthetic and pretty close to the Thomastik Dominant in terms of sound and feel (with subtle differences). They are made in Germany, and cost a lot less (about 30 USD if I am not mistaken). So it is not only a matter of labor costs I guess.

In a somehow similar way as Rocky says I have stopped buying Pirastro and TI (besides Dominant and Eudoxa E I usually go back to this combo, it works and is cheaper than other options), I love the products but I just cannot afford them (and when I do, I wonder about the pricing). Savarez Crystal were great as well.

Also, with all this hype that is promoted and players are pushed to change their strings all the time (even before going false, and even without performing in public) I think that if Pirastro and TI lowered their prices, it could even be an advantage to them...people could change strings more often...

August 13, 2017, 7:31 AM · I want to suggest a somewhat simpler solution.

The thing that really maximizes how good strings sound: How new they are.

You still want to find a good match, but you are better off changing much more often if you want to maximize sound. If you are on a budget, being able to change moderate-priced strings more frequently may yield better results than buying expensive strings that you don't change as often.

Change strings one week before you start rehearsals for a concerto, and then change again one week before the performance. (This assumes that there's at least a month between start of rehearsals and the performance.) Have the violin adjusted within a few days of the performance. A week is adequate break-in time for Passiones. A day or two is adequate for most synthetics. (My teacher actually changes strings backstage just before a performance; it's doable with Evah Pirazzis or EP Golds, which stabilize quickly.)

Also:

If you are having trouble being heard on the chords in the Bruch first movement, I'm guessing that your technical approach isn't getting you enough resonance. That's not a string issue.

Also, depending on where you rehearse vs. where you perform, balance might seem dramatically different. If you're in a good-sized auditorium, especially one that is deep rather than wide, you are going to have different challenges being heard than you do for an audience right in your face. Some instruments have carrying power over a distance, against an orchestra. Others don't. You have to have someone stand at the back of the hall to find out.

And:

Wayne Burak's website's Workbench page says, "finished in house one at a time". I note the use of the word "finished" rather than "made", along with numerous other references online to Burak's use of Chinese violins in the white, which he finishes (refining the graduations, etc.) and varnishes himself. $6500 is normally too little money for a profitable fully-American-handmade instrument, between the cost of wood and the cost of the labor. If I were you, I'd make sure that I have paperwork that asserts that the whole instrument was fully constructed by him from start to finish, with no one else involved.

August 13, 2017, 8:10 AM · I found the Cntiga to be the most overpriced strings I ever tried.
I tried them on 3 different instruments and the responsivness died immidiatly on every one.
Edited: August 13, 2017, 9:06 AM · I suggest regularly cleaning the rosin off the strings to increase their lifespan. I have found this to help decrease bad noises and squeaks while playing. I don't know if you should change your strings 1 week before rehearsal and 1 week before concert, but this might be a good measure if you play a lot.
The lifespan of strings is different for every player because the more you play, the more you'll need to replace your strings.
August 13, 2017, 9:38 AM · I wouldn't trust any maker that has to lie about hand making the violin when its actually made in China. Truth in advertising is a lost art!!
Edited: August 13, 2017, 9:46 AM · If you can't afford a $90 set of strings, buy $70 strings and change them twice as often. Makes sense to me.

About "playing over an orchestra" if your teacher is teaching you to generate tone with projection as a soloist, then you're already doing what you can to play over the orchestra. Pressing down harder on your bow isn't going to help. The orchestra needs to play under you. Your conductor doubtlessly understands that you're not playing "The Cannon" Strad, and that you're a student violinist who hasn't developed pro-level projection.

August 13, 2017, 11:25 AM · Ill Cannone is a Del Gesu, not a Strad.
Of course you need to clean your strings, who doesnt? From what the op wrote in the past I think Lydias suggestion about the string changing is right.
If you need to project under all circumstances you might try EP, but they dont last long at all.
The informations given are way to unspecific to really recommend a specific string.
The closest to what you had before without spending the same amount of money I know is Eudoxa stark, still not the same of course.
If you would ask for a composite core string I would actually throw in the PI you already have on the violin.
August 13, 2017, 12:46 PM · My experience is that EPs don't project as well over the orchestra due to less complexity; EP Golds are normally a better choice for that situation. (Note that soloists with EPs on their violins are likely playing instruments rich enough in overtones that the difference doesn't matter for them, much like those instruments will also be fine with Dominants.)

I agree that the orchestra needs to stay under the soloist, but the player still needs to produce enough power to be heard. My observation is that most teachers don't actually teach students to play as if they'll do the concerto with orchestra, though, unless they themselves have significant experience performing the work with orchestra.

August 13, 2017, 12:50 PM · Pressing harder on the bow with the hand muscles is definitely not right, but you could get a big sound out of your violin with the weight of your arm, as long as you use lots of bow and play near the bridge. Otherwise, you'll choke the sound.
August 13, 2017, 1:14 PM · EP Golds are dying even faster in my experience. In the end I think projection should be in the violin, the player, the bow and strings at the end of that list.
August 13, 2017, 1:25 PM · Brought up on Eudoxas half a century ago, I've always wanted "gut-like" synthetics. Now folks seem to want synthetic-like gut strings!
August 13, 2017, 3:30 PM · You do not need to use lots of bow and play near the bridge in order to play with more weight on the strings. Indeed, a violin that can't take a solid contact is not well-suited to playing solo, even if it might be a great orchestra instrument.

A denser sound, created by a slower bow with firmer string-contact (my teacher terms it a "compact" sound), gives you power. You can, alternatively, get more volume with more bow and more speed, but this may project better at a distance rather than cutting through up close, plus it takes more energy. More bow at greater speed puts more air in the sound, creating greater transparency. In practice, you end up using both tactics in a concerto, depending on the sound-color you want.

August 13, 2017, 6:57 PM · Rocky,

If I had to pay for my Augustine's what I pay for my Obligatos, the company would go out of business.

Guitar players are smart. We won't give in to the extortion!...

August 13, 2017, 7:46 PM · Good sounding violin strings are much harder to manufacture than good guitar strings, just try some off brand violin strings and you'll see just how bad they can be.
August 13, 2017, 8:44 PM · I specifically bought my violin for its loud voice. I was just worried that guts may hush it's magnificent projection.
Edited: August 13, 2017, 9:20 PM · Lyndon,

Source?

I find it very unlikely 1 string requires more effort to manufacture than an entire set of 6 guitar strings using the same materials, not to mention the difference in length and gauge (material quantity per string).

I've used guitar strings wound in materials from silver to gold, with trebles made from various blends of nylon, steel, titanium, and carbon fiber, sometimes with various coatings, and it's extremely rare that a single pack of strings costs me more than a single mid range viola string. I've certainly never paid more than $100 for a set of strings for my guitar.

-edit-
In fact even a set of gut strings for my guitar costs significantly less than for violin/viola. I'm sure there is not so big a difference in the manufacture process in this case to justify the difference in price when they're significantly longer and there are 2 more of them per pack.

August 14, 2017, 12:05 AM · A gut combo that works well for me with lots of projection is Oliv rigid G, oliv silver D,passione solo A and Evah pirazzi platinum E. The Oliv E is also great with this combo. While the price is higher than Evah gold it ends up cheaper because they last a lot longer
Edited: August 14, 2017, 1:32 AM · I'm kind of puzzled as to why some people on here are recommending synthetic strings when Ryan asked us what type of GUT strings to use.

The Tricolore strings made by Gamut are fantastic. The pure unwound gut D&A strings they make are especially penetrating and have a certain core to the sound not found in wound gut D&A, synthetic, or steel in my opinion. They also a make an excellent silver wound gut G. Other good wound gut G's include Pirastro Eudoxa and Oliv. I wound not recommend using Pirastro Gold Label. These strings have a problem with staying in tune. They're dreadful to put it mildly as is the Pirastro Oliv A.

If you'd like to use an entire set of silver wound gut, Pirastro Eudoxa is very well made and stable. Milstein used Eudoxa throughout his career with a pure gut A string and a steel E. Heifetz used the Tricolore G, Tricolore plain gut D&A, and steel Goldbrokat E. Milstein and Heifetz had no problem projecting and playing expressively with gut!

August 14, 2017, 1:24 AM · Am I mixing something up or is the oliv e the same that comes with Obligato?
If yes, I dont remember it to be very powerfull compared to the EP one.
August 14, 2017, 1:35 AM · Michael McGrath, if I compare the quality of my guitarre strings (Savarez atm) I dont think they would work on a violin. Its ok on my consumer guitarre where intonation is just ok, but they are not exactly of the quality I demand on my violin to play in tune without to much work. The mass distribution is just not linear enough.
Edited: August 14, 2017, 1:56 AM · Marc,

Of course they won't work on violin. They're not meant to be bowed. That's an engineering problem - I can't put a wheel from a dump truck on my little sedan and expect it to work (Savarez are great strings, btw. I love them when I can find them local).

The point in contention is why are violin strings ~200% more expensive? I doubt it has to do with the quality of the strings. I strongly suspect it has more to do with a couple economic factors:

1. There are more guitar strings being moved on the market than violin, viola, and cello strings. This means they can be produced in larger batches for less risk - you're paying more upfront to produce a larger quantity but you also know they're going to move in a reasonable amount of time. This means you can charge less per string

2. The guitar string market is saturated with manufacturers. Compared to orchestral strings, there are dozens of potential brands of guitar strings. It's a great place to be if you like to experiment. This also means there is more competition for sales, which drives down prices. If you want someone to buy your strings you need to give them a reason to. I would hazard a guess that getting a market share in the guitar world is much easier than in the string world - conservatism is well entrenched and it's very hard to fly new ideas. I can see it hard for a new company to get shelf space at the local store. When was the last big break out violin string manufactures debut?

I'm sure there are a few other points I'm missing in this line of reasoning, but I find this a much more likely explanation to the large difference in price.

Difficulty to manufacture can definitely account for some of the difference in price, but the fact that I can buy a perfectly serviceable set of guitar strings for $10, and not a perfectly serviceable set of violin strings for a similar (lets say $15, since they're harder to make) price is not a reasonable proposition with the global economy.

Edited: August 14, 2017, 2:00 AM · Guitar vs violin strings?

Guitar or harp strings must ring; violin strings should not, otherwise fast detaché bowing will have difficulty stopping and restarting the vibrations, resulting in much fizz and buzz in the attacks.

In synthetic violin strings, there is a complex layer of resins between the synthetic core and the metal winding to damp the vibrations.
In gut or gut-cored strings the gut itself has the required damping properties.

Sources? Norman Pickering's "The Bowed String", plus my own trials!
I even tried half a bare nylon E as a substitute for a plain gut E: a pleasant tone, but the string became flattened where my fingers pressed. My luthier explained that the tension on a violin is higher than on a classical guitar and the nylon is weakened. This was in the early 70's.

Edited: August 14, 2017, 2:15 AM · Adrian,

Good information, thanks for sharing. :)

I'm surprised that the nylon from a guitar treble would even sound with the bow at any reasonable volume. Violin strings need to be higher tension because they are higher pitch, of course! There is a full octave between those two strings, but of course there is much more at work than just that.

I do think that because there is a little more to the manufacture of a violin string it's reasonable to ask a higher price, but I also think there are limits to what is reasonable.

We should all be asking ourselves if we are really happy with how much we pay for strings, when even cheap strings are quite expensive on the spectrum.

On an even more off topic note, I wonder what a piano string costs (not a full set, just a single string). I suspect there is a premium attached to it, not from difficulty of manufacture, but because it's something you don't exactly buy frequently.

August 14, 2017, 2:25 AM · If there is some sustained interest in this side-topic we should probably make our own discussion.. in retrospect I feel guilty for hi-jacking the thread.
Edited: August 14, 2017, 3:57 AM · I reckoned that as the violin E is an ocatave higher, but somewhere near half the length of the guitar E, the tension would be similar.
The other problem was the nylon's smooth surface, which the bow had difficulty "grabbing".

Pricing? Supply and demand, plus pure marketing stategy, where a popular string comes out in a New Version, inexplicably more expensive....

OK, back to the OP's query!
But many threads go off at a tangent!

August 14, 2017, 4:59 AM · Ryan said "I specifically bought my violin for its loud voice. I was just worried that guts may hush it's magnificent projection."

It's trully funny (not to say another word) how such threads tend to be easily derailed and questions pop out regarding other issues, like the quality of the OP's violin and their technique. It's like somebody entering a restaurant asking if the chef can cook a stake bloody, and other folks asking if the customer knows how to use a fork.

Anyway, I still don't get the price tags of violin strings. For example, Vision and PI could have a 30 to 40 bucks price difference, Tonica and Synoxa almost the same (I am not comparing Tonica and Obligato for example to prevent comments relating to their different synthetic core type). This implies a difference in the cost of the materials? Why it's so big? Otherwise I think they are crafted by the same staff, in the same facility...Funny.

August 14, 2017, 6:33 AM · The fun part is, Vision TI solo have nearly the same core as PI.
Michael, I know the difference between a bowed and a pizzed string, did you really get this out of my comment??
I said that the quality of the strings is not good enough to be in tune on a small mensur because they are bumby/the mass not distributed linearly (also when new).they are made with much much less precission obviously (when I compare inside the Savarez brand) and therefore cannot be compared in the price tag.
I know there are other factors too, but its not conclusive to look at guitarre string prices and therefore calculate prices for a violin. Its like looking at tires for a bike and therefore try to estimate the production costs of car tires. Both are tires, but thats it what they got in common.
August 14, 2017, 6:37 AM · "The fun part is, Vision TI solo have nearly the same core as PI."

Marc, I was just thinking the same...and both sets have an expensive E string, and approximately the same windings (not to mention the better quality balls in VTS I think (forgive me if I'm wrong)...Yet here in Greece, the price gap between VTS and PI (NOT the platinum E set) is still around 20 euros...

August 14, 2017, 7:19 AM · Yes Synoxa vs Tonica baffles me, though the older strings have their own signature sound, which is quite beautiful, if a little high tension. If Tonica is so affordable, at least the Synoxa should be slightly less expensive.

Titanium Solo used to be slightly pricier some years ago. I think they made PI their "most premium" line (I.E. $$$) for its own sake, or to "celebrate" Mr. Infeld. If someone asked me to choose a full free set of either, I would still go VTS, even if not a popular choice in these forums. They are not nearly as screechy... I think my taste is just different.

I am willing to retract my statements if they can scientifically explain their differences and manufacturing problems in these forums. The older Vision Titanium Solo work for considerably less money, and sound pretty great and powerful for synthetics.

BTW, not bashing Pirastro or T/I. Good brands, just that the pricing can be a bit weird some times.

Edited: August 14, 2017, 12:10 PM · I'm thankful that Nate had some excellent things to say in support of plain gut. I haven't yet got around to using the Tricolore setup, mainly because on my #1 symphony violin I am using a complete set of Pirastro Chordas which currently more than fulfil my needs - but the Tricolores are somewhere there on my bucket list.

Some comments about the setup on the #1 violin:

it sounds at its best in tone, resonancy and projection with plain gut (apart from the covered G of course), and should I be surprised at that with a 200+ year old violin? ;

changing the Wittner tailpiece to an ebony baroque complete with a real gut chord, made for me by Bristol Violin Shop, has had a very noticeable and good effect on the tone and projection;

the gut E is better in all playing and tonal respects than any metal E I've tried over the years, the only con being that after a few weeks fraying can start, and when that gets to be a distraction then I change the string - but I'm prepared to live with that in view of the manifest advantages;

in my experience of an all plain gut setup over the last 3 years I'm prepared to state that in a full-length concert they need no more retuning than any synthetic I've used, possibly less, - I find all I need is to give them about 10 minutes before the start to settle into the hall's microclimate.

Finally, I don't spoil it all by using certain add-on attachments ;)

Edited: August 14, 2017, 1:32 PM · I am trying a pure gut varnished heavy A Tricolore today for the first time (will install when I get home), but just wanted to add that said strings are also not that expensive when compared to Eudoxa and Gold Label. I do find the Gold Label to be fairly stable-perhaps was lucky, but I can vouch for them being good, "cheap" (not really) gut core strings. But going back to Tricolore, I believe a so-called "Heifetz Set" costs only $78 and some change. Eudoxa is around there, and Gold Label around $70.00 or slightly less.

It is note worthy that I have never found any synthetic, no matter how "evocative" their powers and "just listen!" (sorry, dear Pirastro, just a bit of fun at your expense) that sounds better than even the Gold Label set. I come impressed with many synthetics, of course, but once you play gut again, you understand what was missing.

(Which is not to say I believe using modern synthetics is "always wrong", however.)

I must also add... can't relate to the idea that gut must necessarily produce a weaker tone or that they don't project well. Of course, it's up to each player's bow arm, but I have not found even Eudoxas to be as "tame", or just meant to be used to "blend in with orchestra", as people are often led to believe. Nothing wrong with blending in, of course, but they also project. Modern gut core sets sound good-their tone isn't "outdated" or necessarily surpassed in projection by good synthetics.

August 14, 2017, 1:31 PM · My suspicion is that a significant portion of the cost deltas in strings is actually due to marketing, not to manufacturing cost.

Also, the price of strings have more than doubled in the last 15 years -- far more quickly than consumer price index. The Euro is slightly stronger vs the US dollar, but nowhere near enough to explain the price increase.

Anyway, when thinking about strings, what it's going to go on always matters. Vintage violins used to lower-tension set-ups may not react well to higher tension. Recent contemporary violins usually can put out more power with high-tension strings. Instruments have different characteristics of raw decibels vs. greater complexity, that alters the equation of which strings are likely to help.

The OP seems to be willing to consider synthetics along with gut, so synthetic suggestions don't seem entirely out of order. And he's thinking about Passione Solos, which are a hybrid string that to me have a sound that's closer to synthetics than to gut.

PIs, on the right violin, put out a lot of power. There's a fairly significant chance that anything other than their Pirastro equivalents (EPs and EP Golds) will put out less power. Greater complexity might drive greater projection at a distance, which goes in favor of gut, but it may not drive greater raw volume, which the OP seems to have an attraction to.

Milstein and Heifetz were playing the very best old Cremonese instruments, with magnificent bow-technique and the technical ability to draw huge sounds. Their use of gut is largely irrelevant to a modern player trying to maximize their volume on an instrument not even vaguely in that class.

Moreover, the OP feels Olivs are too expensive ($136 from Shar, I just got sticker shock). Passione and Passione Solos are nearly as much ($112 and $121, respectively). Eudoxas are more reasonable ($86), as are Tricolores ($78). But I'm going to guess that if they don't work out, the OP's parents aren't going to want to drop a bunch of money on another new set.

August 14, 2017, 1:43 PM · True, but I just find hard to believe that gut must necessarily sound "weaker" in modern instruments. Some thick gut sets have actually very high tension (not Eudoxa, of course.) I do agree with most of the other observations (also, I do not have a "modern" instrument myself... maybe one day, should fortunes change.)

Good discussion overall, and hope no one gets offended by my comments if they do disagree.

Edited: August 14, 2017, 1:54 PM · Milstein and Heifetz were also projecting over different conditions, with very different orchestra string setups, at that time.
August 14, 2017, 2:13 PM · Seriously, the main draw of synthetics and steel is convenience. There are some good steel options, and didn't the Quartetto Italiano play on steel core strings? (Please correct me if I am wrong.) But players must choose strings by balancing this convenience with the tonal characteristics they like, the practical applications, their own playing technique and habits, and their instrument.

I don't think a blanket statement like "Tricolore will make you play as loud and projecting as Heifetz" is 100% precise for all players, but also disagree with "modern solo playing *requires* synthetics-gut was for another generation." Try the options for yourself, and figure it out. Had synthetics not been invented, I am sure our modern soloists would still be playing powerfully above an orchestra with gut core strings.

I *do* see the value of good synthetics, as they can be powerful, beautiful sounding, and steel-like stable at times, but that doesn't mean gut is no longer relevant or "not loud enough" for the "modern" Concert Hall. Both technologies have a place in our Halls, IMO.


August 14, 2017, 4:52 PM · This Tricolore heavy varnished A is so powerful and bright. I'll see how it balances out in the next few days vs the other strings, but forget bias-has nothing to do with Heifetz or being "old-school", as the string is just full of vibrancy, richness, and power.

Try them, and hear the power, clarity and difference. Have not yet tried G&D (wound or pure gut) and won't do so immediately. However, judging from this A, we can safely put to rest any misgivings about gut sounding "muted" (Ms. Leong's comments may still apply, as some violins may "dislike" gut.)

August 14, 2017, 7:07 PM · About Tonica vs. Synoxa prices -

This might be obvious, but I'm pretty sure Pirastro wants to sell more Tonicas. They probably want growth. The viola strings are priced very low too.

I don't think they really want to sell more Synoxas or Aricores. Their price strategy seems to be "harvesting" for those.

Edited: August 14, 2017, 8:14 PM · For those of you using gut strings in projection-required solo situations (i.e., concertos with orchestra, concertmaster's solos, etc.), what's the rest of the environment you're playing in? i.e., period orchestras with period set-ups (and perhaps more chamber-sized), hall size, etc.? If relevant, would you make a different choice if you were playing in a large modern hall with a full-size symphony of players with typical contemporary set-ups?

(Back when I could buy strings for about $40 a set, I was happy to try a lot of different sets. Now that a set costs $100, +/- $20 or so, I'm much more reluctant to experiment.)

August 15, 2017, 9:33 AM · That's kind of the place I'm falling in too Lydia. I would be much happier experimenting with strings if they weren't so expensive.
Edited: August 15, 2017, 9:56 AM · I wouldn't experiment too much if you are happy with your tone. Seems like the Warchal steel strings are good As, and since your violin sounds really good, it will likely make most options sound decent at worst. I am sure you could play loudly with Dominants, etc.-as you already know.

To be honest, I always thought that Tricolore's much touted "Heifetz" sound was a bit influenced by nostalgic bias, but they seem to be "solo gut strings"-extremely potent. They can be considered "modern gut strings", except they don't sound like Passione. The A I have doesn't "crush" under pressure. Imagine the power of a new "loud-synthetic" line, but with the ability to also easily play piano, etc. Indeed, you have to be conscious of not playing too loud on them. On powerful steel/synthetics, this modulation sometimes is not easy-on some violins they can go from loud to louder. Great richness, but the A does NOT sound dark, even though they are advertised as being "warm and powerful."

For the more old-school among you, a "Heifetz-like" tone-which I do NOT have as I don't even use his bow hold-comes through very clearly. These are indeed the ones he used.

I was also surprised I did not need to "adapt"-it was a "put-n-play" string, despite being pure gut. Did not need to change contact point, pressure, etc. But it may be that I adapted subsconsciously, or that I am so used to my violin I instinctively play it a certain way that works. Again, this is the "heavy" gauge-which wasn't unresponsive or too thick (and definitely not "too warm".) The only adaptation required on my part, as with any A, is matching dynamics with the E and viceversa, as it IS louder than most As. Otherwise, a joy to play at any position, very clear, and perfect for those double stop, A&E passages in the highest registers.

I may "marry" my dear violin to this A string. Best I have ever tried, synthetic, steel, or indeed gut. Hope Gamut is able to provide us with this wonderful option for years to come.

(Please note: I have not yet used Gamut/Tricolore's other options. Curious about the Silver/Aluminum or Aluminum wound D options in the future, as well as the G. If they also have this beautiful, bright, projecting tone, I may also stick to them in the future, but can't vouch for what I have not yet tried. The wonderful A is what I have, and am using right now.)

Hearing is believing-thanks to the few of you who have been promoting these Tricolore for years. It is an excellent, genuine quality product-so great to discover something "new" that actually works as advertised and goes even further.

August 15, 2017, 12:31 PM · Adalberto, what are you using for the rest of your strings?

Edited: August 15, 2017, 1:22 PM · Oliv G Rigid 16, Oliv D Rigid 17 (trying it for the first time-I used to use the Silver D... this particular Oliv is "tense" for gut at 5.6 kp, but is not hard to play), Heavy Tricolore pure gut A (varnished), and a Medium Goldbrokat. These Olivs will last a long time, but eventually will try the other Tricolore options. All of the other strings are rather fresh (2 weeks old or less). The sound is big and bold, though that of the G&D is very "thick", as you can imagine, but not muddy; if I remember correctly you don't prefer Oliv yourself (and they ARE pricey) so may as well try the others, "for fun".

I am not leaning towards a pure gut D for now, since they are so thick, but I am sure it should share some of the qualities of the A.

August 15, 2017, 2:02 PM · I am not sure its likely that buying the Tricolore brand enables one to manufacture exact replicas of the original Tricolore strings, may be more of a marketing gimmick, I don't know.
August 15, 2017, 5:28 PM · I do not believe Mr. Larson is a charlatan. He's well respected, and has been in the period string making business for a while.

Moreover, just test the strings. They sound too nice to be a farce, and the price's actually less than most.

One can love Pirastro without hating on Gamut and viceversa. No reason to question the legitimacy of Mr. Larson's business just because one likes Pirastro, Thomastik, etc. I still love Pirastro strings, but the Tricolore are excellent, and it's good to have high quality options to literally play with.

It always requires some faith to believe what ALL brands claim their strings are (as previously discussed with some apparently overpriced options), but if the strings sound good, and work for the instrument and the player, then all is good.

Edited: August 15, 2017, 8:36 PM · I don't doubt that they are good strings, I just seriously doubt that they are that similar or identical to Heifetz's strings. For one thing Gamut is an advocate of much thicker gauges than would have been common during Heifitz's time.
Edited: August 15, 2017, 8:54 PM · Lyndon the Tricolore strings are indeed authentic and the same ones made back in Heifetz's time. Gamut owns the very machines that made the Tricolore strings in Chicago. Mr. Larson is one of the world's authorities on gut strings. I have shown these strings to a few mentors of mine who studied with Heifetz, and they have confirmed these are the same strings he used.

Responding to some of the other comments above I'd like to point out gut strings do work in modern settings. You can solo with an orchestra in Royal Albert Hall in London and project with gut strings if you know what you're doing. You don't need a expensive old violin to use these strings. Gut strings work on modern violins as well. At one time those 'old Cremonese instruments' were strung with sheep gut when they were first made!

Edited: August 15, 2017, 9:08 PM · I'm not buying it, too long has passed since they stopped making them, I find it very hard to imagine that all the knowledge that went into producing them was miraculously preserved, buying the machines does not make the strings the same. The preparation and treatment of the gut is more important, and I highly doubt that is being done exactly the same way.

Mind you I'm not saying the strings are deficient in any way, they could be better, they could be worse, but the same?? Not likely.

August 15, 2017, 9:18 PM · Adalberto, I loved Olivs on my previous violin, but for whatever reason they tended to lose their glorious sound after about two weeks, and became merely good. In the very stable climate of the Bay Area they also required more tuning than I wanted to deal with. (Context for that: My arms are rather short -- short enough that I cannot properly cup the scroll on a full-size violin, for instance. It's actually somewhat awkward for me to reach the pegs, and my arms are too short to be able to properly push in friction pegs when they're being turned. I generally prefer not to have to make adjustments on the fly, only when I have enough time to properly tune.)

I haven't tried Olivs on my current violin -- none of the local dealers carry them, either -- but my guess is that they would probably be very good. This violin is excellent with Passiones and has tons of projection (thus I've never felt the need to try Passione Solo on it). Indeed, it's pretty much just as good with Warchal Brilliant Vintage, which cost $50, less than half the cost of Passiones, and as much as I'm tempted by further gut experimentation, I'm sort of inclined to go back to the Warchals and just change every 4 months or so.

Edited: August 15, 2017, 11:23 PM · Lyndon, My teacher Erick Friedman recorded the Bach Double Concerto and studied with Heifetz. He used these very strings on his Stradivarius when he was student of Heifetz as did a number of his students who I know. There's a difference between speculation and first hand accounts. Daniel Larson is an internationally respected authority on gut strings. He is to gut strings what Bernard Millant or Isaac Salchow is to bows. I think we should celebrate the master craftsmen that are with us today rather than tearing them down. I encourage you all to try these amazing Tricolore strings!
Edited: August 15, 2017, 11:39 PM · I prefer Damien Dlugolecki's strings, though they both seem obsessed with heavy gauges IMHO.

Your testimonial relies on recollections of how strings sounded from 40+ years ago, most people can't reliably remember what something sounded like 5 minutes ago, get real!!

August 15, 2017, 11:55 PM · Why can't you say something logical, like Mr, Larson endeavors to manufacture a string that comes as close as possible to the original Tricolore strings, given what we know about them, then we would have no argument, but claiming they are identical is just ridiculous and illogical.
August 16, 2017, 6:44 AM · Mr. Taylor,

Some players still use Mr. Dlugolecki's options, and that's fine. They have been around for some time, and are bound to be good.

It isn't "ridiculous", however, to claim that the Tricolore options are being manufactured the same way as in Heifetz time. You *can* doubt it, but that doesn't make Gamut's statement false. You are basically arguing the improvable, which is a debate no side can win-an argument for its own sake, with no possible "logical" resolution (as you put it). Is the point trying to question the maker's expertise, promoting Mr. Dlugolecki, or just finding something to complaint about for the fun of it?

Note that I do not mean to offend, but that's how it's coming accross-an argument for the sakes of disagreeing. For my part, I don't mind when people disagree with me, but I don't think it fair to imply Mr. Larson is selling "string snake oil"-he has never claimed the strings will turn you into Heifetz, just that they are made the same way, and Gamut even sells options that Heifetz did NOT use (the steel Es and wound D and A.) You can choose to believe they are not "authentic", of course, but that doesn't mean players should mistrust the veracity of Mr. Larson's few comments about the strings. "But I doubt it" is an opinion to be respected, but also offers no proof that your stance: "that just can't be true!" is real.

Edited: August 16, 2017, 7:41 AM · 'Your testimonial relies on recollections of how strings sounded from 40+ years ago, most people can't reliably remember what something sounded like 5 minutes ago, get real!!'


The problem with that argument is that gut strings have been made actively for the past 40 years. There was no 'break' in string making where knowledge of a certain practice could have been lost. Heifetz died in the 80's and used these strings or something very close up until the end of his life on most of his violins.

I will defer to the testimonials of a Grammy winner who recorded and studied with Heifetz. Again I'd like to point out there's a difference between speculation and a firsthand account. Believe me, if someone could stand up there on stage and play the Tchaikovsky Concerto for memory, chances are he could remember what happened 5 minutes ago or even 40 years ago!

August 16, 2017, 9:07 AM · You said the new strings were identical to the ones Heifetz used, I stand by my case.
August 16, 2017, 9:42 AM · Prove they are NOT identical. Proof beyond a doubt. Misgivings are not evidence.

This why this argument is useless, and almost troll-bait.

Feel free to believe they are not identical, but it's not a provable argument-much like we won't be able to "prove" to you that the strings are "identical" because of the "5 minutes" argument (BTW, fine, experienced artists do remember these things.)

Best of luck, however. We don't need to agree.

OP, the Tricolore is another "loud" gut option available to you, and not ridiculously expensive. You may have to get used to pure gut (and some teachers may ask "why are you using those things?!", because they lack experience using them and may misjudge them), but I consider it a "modern" setup, more than "Heifetz period performance".

August 16, 2017, 9:59 AM · Prove they are identical, that's the claim that was made!!
Edited: August 16, 2017, 11:44 AM · @Nate Robinson -- what gauges do you use/recommend in the Triclore strings?
Edited: August 16, 2017, 12:15 PM · Hi Douglas, I currently have a set of medium gauge on my 2 old fiddles from the 17th and 19th centuries. I use heavy gauge on my Phillip Injeian violin made in 2003. It can vary from instrument to instrument.
August 16, 2017, 2:11 PM · Mr. Taylor,

What's the point of the argument? You won't "win" it, and I bet you would still doubt the "evidence" that can't be presented, even if it could. You either believe Mr. Larson is telling the truth, or he's a marketing liar. I believe he acts in good faith, and has provided us with a great replica product, long discontinued.

Make your agenda and/or bottom line known, or just agree to disagree,and move on from this worthless debate. Nothing wrong in doubting the "claims" of a product, but it most certainly isn't "ridiculous" to believe Mr. Larson. People nowadays believe things that are more harmful than Gamut's Tricolore "claims"; no point in debating this further.

Edited: August 16, 2017, 2:40 PM · "It is our belief that we are now able to offer and exact copy of this historical brand of musical string"

source: https://www.gamutmusic.com/tricolore-string-return

Never did the manufacturers claim that the new Tricolore is identical to what Heifetz used. It's their "belief" that the new Tricolore is an "exact copy". This has pretty much a different meaning.

That being said, it's unfair to slam them.

P.S. I have not used the product, and I am by no means related to the manufacturer company. But all this got my attention.

August 16, 2017, 3:00 PM · @Nate Robinson -- thanks for the info. I've experimented with nearly every string on the market over the years, but never pure gut. I just ordered a set to try and will report back in a new thread. Injeian is my local luthier here in Pittsburgh -- a great guy!
Edited: August 16, 2017, 4:03 PM · Glad to hear that Douglas. What a small world! He does tremendous work as a maker and restorer!
August 18, 2017, 6:57 AM · Mr. Bevan,

Let us know how you feel about the set, good or bad. Very much hope Mr. Larson is able to manufacture these strings for a long time. Got myself a beautiful and effective A.

Ms. Leong,

That is understandable, and my memory of Brilliants Vintage is that they were very good, though you will always miss "something" without gut. Price to quality, astounding sets put out by Mr. Warchal's company. If the compromise works for your physical and economical considerations, why not?

I would still consider using them in the future, when you feel like experimenting more. If you like Passione and they work well for your violin, you may also like the Tricolore with your choice of E (I don't think, say, medium tension, will be that much more tense for your instrument than a set of Brilliant Vintage.) Of course, the tuning can be an issue, but judging from my string, it is highly stable (more than Oliv A so far) with the varnished variant.

(They certainly aren't tame, gentle things meant for light bow strokes.)

August 18, 2017, 10:22 AM · I agree that there really is something about gut -- they are the "analog" to the synthetics "digital", so to speak. My violin doesn't really seem to need the help from strings optimized one way or another, though (my luthier is of the opinion that I could simply put Dominants on it and call it a day), but the engineer in me can't help wanting to tinker.

I've found my violin seems to prefer lower tension, and I'd always assumed that this was because gut set-ups were lower-tension and vintage (in this case mid-1800s) violins were designed for lower tension. But it appears that many gut sets are in fact pretty high-tension -- Olivs, Tricolores, etc. Can anyone explain this? Is it just that lower tension was achieved with A=430?

August 18, 2017, 10:40 AM · Modern gut string makers are playing the same volume game the synthetic string makers are playing, they claim some shaky kind of historical evidence for heavy gut gauges, but the real reason is they can't get their customers to accept the slightly lower volume of traditional medium or lighter gauge gut strings.
August 18, 2017, 11:37 AM · The marking of gauges on, say, Olivs and Eudoxas haven't changed over time, right? Oliv medium is still relatively high tension.
Edited: August 18, 2017, 12:51 PM · Those are wound gut strings, they are roughly comparable to Dominant (in tension, edit), I believe but not quite as loud. I was referring to unwound gut like Tricolore, Gamut and Damien Dlugolecki. They all still make the lighter gauges but they "expertly" recommend the much heavier gauges.
August 18, 2017, 12:03 PM · I dont even feel Eudoxa and Olive are comperable to each other. Dominants are not close to those strings.
Edited: August 18, 2017, 12:51 PM · I meant close in tension, not sound.
August 18, 2017, 1:10 PM · In my long-forgotten youth, Eudoxa was the reference, and Dominant a practical but rather nasty upstart. Then Tonica, Pro Arte, and escalating tensions.

Then come Composites, nearly as tense as steel strings, and short-lived but seductive. Now Eudoxas have to have Stiff or Bright versions (to withstand modern bowing!..), and Passiones are nearly as tense as Evahs.

My wife's 'cello has had its neck reset (at considearable expense) to reduce the downward force on the bridge so the insrument can breathe with the new tensions.

It's a conspiracy: the string makers are in league with the luthiers to make each other's work indispensable!

August 18, 2017, 3:13 PM · Mr. Taylor,

Both gentleman sell "high tension" pure gut, but I am convinced they are experts on their field. The "real" reason you mention behind their rationale I call into question. Do you have proof they are being dishonest, or are you forcing this idea on us to push your string tension preference... and why is this so important to you that you must cloud the reputation of these well-informed people?

No offense meant, but it keeps coming up, and I feel it's an unfair characterization of what they do for a living. They probably love and know what they are doing.

(BTW, I bet Medium Tricolore are loud without being "high tension". I just wanted thicker on purpose, to match my lower, also "thick" (for wound gut) strings, increasing bow resistance in the process. I love pirastro, but bet their thickest Chorda pure gut A-14.25?-would have indeed been too thin, so even Pirastro themselves recommends thickest gauge for 440 tuning My current A is only 16-there are thicker As made out there, actually.)

To Ms. Leong, to be fair, Gamut states the thickness, not kp tension. Though the current tension on my instrument seems "excessive", using gut always kills a wolf on the high C note on my G string. Even a slightly less tense synthetic setup wakes up the wolf, though I learned to play around it by now. (Wish a luthier or expert could explain this to me.) Also, generally very thick gut is not always as "heavy" on the instruments as some synthetics can be. The string is still more pliable, and feels great under the hand nonetheless-even that "monstrous", wound gut, Rigid Oliv D. Maybe the pure gut Tricolore D-even thicker by necessity-is easier to play then the thick Oliv, but I haven't tried this yet.

The Passione are less tense than Oliv, but more than Eudoxa. The Silver Oliv D is not as tense as Oliv Rigid D, but still more than Eudoxa. Gold Label is very balanced-low tension, but not too low. Passione Solo are not that tense vs medium, but do feel and sound slightly different... I still prefer to "match" tensions with Oliv, as the Passione/Passione Solo are so expensive.

The above is why I generally suggest medium-high to high tension for Eudoxa. They are so light that their "high tension" will be merely medium.

That said, I disagree with the notion that high tension and/or thick strings are always better for projection. Especially for synthetics, I prefer medium to low, and likely wouldn't even use the thickest Oliv options.

Pirastro does make great wound gut strings, IMHO. Their range is quite diverse, though, so as Mr. Marschall said, the strings are just manufactured differently and serve different purposes (apologies for stating the obvious.)

August 18, 2017, 11:40 PM · According to Pirastro'a website, the Oliv G is very low in tension, even in the thicker gauges. I don't know that it's easy to generalize across string brands when thickness between strings differs among brands.
Edited: August 19, 2017, 1:37 AM · Indeed it always surprises me how the balance of tensions across the four strings varies so much from one brand to another, even from the same manufacturer.

I also wonder if we don't sometimes fall into the trap of expecting the four strings to feel similar under the bow: as a violist, I have always treated the strings differently: a longer, lighter stroke as I pass from low to high strings; on the violin too. I don't always want my viola A and violin E to sound like trumpets!

August 19, 2017, 4:03 AM · Holy smokes the amount of replies.

Passione solo strings have very nice projection and feel good under the finger and last long.

August 19, 2017, 4:45 AM · I would realy be interested in the longlivety of the Passione Solos compared to PIs. I am thinking of trying a set after my PI are outplayed, which is after 4-5 months usually.
August 19, 2017, 8:38 AM · Also curious about Passione Solos vs. Passiones. For me, Passiones probably need changing every 4 months or so to sound optimal -- call it about 150 hours of play time (versus about 100 hours for EP Golds). Therefore, relatively expensive.
August 19, 2017, 6:01 PM · I've tried Pis, Passiones, and Passione Solos.

For me, Pis are the longest lasting of the 3, lasting on average around 6 months. Passiones are next, lasting me around 4 months. Passione Solos are strange and die more oddly. They start out very strong and responsive but after a month or so the response starts to get sluggish (although the tone remains). I usually end up taking them off around the 2-3 month mark because the tone starts to fizzle out, and along with the slow response they become problematic.

If they work for you, Titanium Solo / Titanium Orchestra are the longest lasting synthetic sets I've tried. I currently use Dominants which last me 6-8 weeks and die rather predictably. I've thought about switching just to increase the time between string changes, but things sound rather well so I lack the motivation.

August 21, 2017, 2:13 AM · Thanks for the info. Does not sound too promissing, tbh.
I agree on Dominants, I like them very much on my violin for 6-8 weeks, but than they start to loose sound and response quickly.
August 21, 2017, 2:23 AM · Douglas Douglas xd the titanium solo is 100% the worst string I've bought in my entire life.

Metallic and breaks at the nut. The nut doesn't have any issues. The wound on the outside of the core went away at the nut further sullying the sound.

Would never buy again.

What was said before on passione solos. I keep an e string i bought some 3 years ago in a cabin and use it when I'm in between sets. The tone is still there. It's good. But i should really try the olivs. I want pure unvarnished gut for baroque

Edited: August 21, 2017, 5:01 AM · Sounds like you hit a fake. Played about 20 sets of them on my previous fiddle, not a single string broke.
August 21, 2017, 3:41 AM · Marc i got it from the violin channel store! XD unlucky I guess
Edited: August 21, 2017, 5:33 AM · VTS's can be a little metallic on some fiddles. That's why I said "if they work for you".

I've never had one break. In fact, I can't recall ANY string breaking on me for a very long time. Sometimes Evah Pirazzis windings come apart on me at the nut, but they never break on me.

Mark -- I think that's just the lifespan of Dominant strings if you play a lot. At least they don't go off a cliff like Evahs. I find that Dominants die more gradually and predictably.

August 21, 2017, 5:48 AM · I agree, with EP I had a few windings going of too, also at Dominants and Larsn Tzigano, those seemed to be the weakest ones in this term to me. The VTS are just a little to bright for my current violin, but on my last one they were a very good fit!
August 21, 2017, 5:50 AM · I hate bright strings. My go to strings are the superflexible chrome core.

Settle fast. Nice. Last an alright amount of time.

You basically know what to expect.

August 21, 2017, 7:32 AM · "Brightness" is overstated, and likely because someone's "too bright" is another's "edgy" tone.

The Vision Titanium Solo are "good bright"-very bright and powerful on the top two strings. Though the aforementioned Superflexible are good steel strings, the VTS sound "better" and more "gut-like" (a sort of oxymoron) than steel. They sound metallic at the beginning, as do Dominants and many sets in the Thomastik brand. Sometimes they are too edgy for some, but I don't find them to be the shrill strings many believe they are.

Same with EP-different strings, but not really "too bright"... maybe "too hollow", when they get older. VTS are lower tension than EP Medium. Both are not hard to play, though the EP need more grab/"pressure" to go, especially vs gut.

Of course, I am not saying hating a bright tone is "wrong"-more than many sets are not nearly as bright as peiple think, so you should try them yourself before following online advice (BTW when EP was a new product, many people raved about their "warmth" vs Dominants... likely the same strings today as they were then.)

August 22, 2017, 9:44 PM · Wow, that's a lot of replies, I won't pretend to have read all of them. The Violin doesn't care what the string are made of, it amplifies the signal that it receives through the bridge. The angle that the string makes with the bridge is probably more important than the tension of the strings. There will be an optimum amount of pressure that strings will exert on the top plate, like a drummer "tuning" the heads of a drum. I'll let a real luthier explain all that. Gut core strings are wonderful, both flexible, strong, and durable. They are a complex protein polymers of amino acids. The tertiary partial electrical bonds between the sulfur and nitrogen groups give it a 3-dimensional flexible spring-like action. Inside our bodies; these connective tissue proteins in the tendons and ligaments are protected from oxygen and toxins, and last for decades unless we over-load them. jq

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