Which E String darkens a set of Dominants?

Edited: August 25, 2017, 11:06 AM · I've found my Dominant E to be far too shrill on my relatively bright violin. Which E strings (e.g. Jargar Forte E/ Pirasto Gold E) would darken the overall sound?

Replies (25)

August 25, 2017, 11:28 AM · You can try using that plastic tube over the bridge, it may remove some of the brightness of the sound.
August 25, 2017, 11:30 AM · Hi Jeremy,
Not a big fan of the Dominant E string and think the the other two strings which you asked about might tend to brighten your sound more than darken it. Have you looked into soundpost/tailpiece adjustment? for better sound to your liking?
August 25, 2017, 11:31 AM · Is this the plain steel E, or the wound aluminium-on-steel E, which is sweeter sounding?
Edited: August 25, 2017, 11:43 AM · Hi there: I've ditched the original plain Steel E and I am currently using the regular Jargar Forte (with the plastic tube). I've heard the Jargar Forte E is slightly more gut-like... I've considered adjusting my tailpost etc. but I don't want to tinker too much yet.
August 25, 2017, 12:01 PM · Hi,

Although the Jargar Forte E can darken the sound on some instruments because of the higher tension, it depends on the instrument, as the increase in tension can make some instruments brighter and greatly increase projection. The Jargar medium E does that in particular.

You could try a lower tension E string like a medium gauge Hill, or Kaplan Golden Spiral E, or something like the Pirastro Universal E (which is chrome-plated) or a non-whistling E like the Warchal Amber. A wound E will automatically reduce brightness of an entire set, but it usually comes at the cost of projection.

For me these days, on my own instrument, I have found a balance of sorts at the moment by using a medium Goldbrokat E, which makes things a little less bright than a Pirastro Gold Label, more focused, more tolerant of bow pressure, but also chokes a bit the sound, so I do lose projection.

Hope this helps.

Good luck and Cheers!

August 25, 2017, 2:08 PM · Jarger Forte E is good. I also like: Hill Thick, Gold Label medium, Goldbrokat .27.

Chris is right -- experimentation is required because each instrument will react differently. Experiment not only with strings, but gauges, based on your results.

August 25, 2017, 2:28 PM · The superflexible E is quite warm
August 26, 2017, 4:34 AM · I was told that Westimster E tends to darken the sound..... however, from my personal experience, different bridge brings more changes to a bright instrument than any set of strings. Check with your luthier if the bridge is thin or of an unusual design.
August 26, 2017, 7:43 AM · Cheers for all the replies! If string changes don't work out, I'll check out different soundpost and bridge configurations
Edited: August 26, 2017, 7:53 AM · Obligatos tend to have a darker, richer sound.
Edited: August 26, 2017, 8:26 AM · Olive Gold plated E? Which I believe is the same E as Obligato. Very sweet tone but may whistle.

Westminster thick gauge is rather full body sounding.
And similarly, other thick gauge E string like goldbrokat is also nice.

August 26, 2017, 8:37 AM · I've always found gold-plated strings to give a bright, and even shrill sound compared to plain steel.
Can someone explain to me what is desirable about gold-plating? Especially since it wears through fairly quickly?
August 26, 2017, 9:40 AM · Maybe violin dependant. My last Oliv medium did not do that well. It did "darken" the instrument in comparison to the TS E it previously had (in this regard, *maybe* the OP can try a Medium Oliv/Obligato E.) I put the Tiranium Solo E back on after less than an hour of testing the Oliv E, though now have a Goldbrokat .26 ("medium".)

The Oliv Stark E has always sounded good to me. Maybe that one isn't as "harsh", but for some players it's too "loud".

Gold-plated sounds generally richer but also theoretically powerful. The only con I find is the possible whistling for some players/violins. It is very ringing and brilliant, giving the violin lots of resonance, but not brittle, IME.

I find the medium Pirastro Gold Label E not harsh, but emphasizing high frequencies at the cost of "core" sound. The Silvery Steel does this even more, so I do prefer the Gold Label in comparison (it IS good.)

Hill Medium sounds richer to me than Gold Label. Both are really good, to be honest.

As I mentioned elsewhere, I think we all have different thresholds of "harshness" and a "bright tone". For me, one can always use a bit more edge to the tone, as long as the lower frequencies of the E string are not entirely sacrificed.

Favorite Gold-Plated right now Oliv/Obligato E Stark

Favorite "regular" Es: Titanium Solo (remember I stated almost nothing is "too bright" for me), Goldbrokat Medium, Hill Medium. Goldbrokat is so good for the price, the tone it produces certainly not "cheap" sounding... beautiful and soaring in the highest positions.

I tested the Jargar Forte the other week... it also failed. The string itself sounded fine and powerful, but marred the tone (made them "too dark") of my other strings this time around. I must note that I am currently using wound gut and pure gut, so I am not making generalizations. It's good, but no longer works for my dear instrument.

Given all of this, maybe OP should try Jargar or Westminster Forte, the Medium Oliv, or the Stark Oliv. Of the options he mentioned (Jargar Forte E vs Gold Label), I think he *may* prefer the Jargar.

(Haven't yet tested the Amber E or fancy Platinum coated strings.)

Edited: August 26, 2017, 10:20 AM · This is the first time I have heard of tailpiece adjustment. Could someone tell me more about why and how it is adjusted. I love a goldbrokat medium. E.It brings clarity in the higher positions
August 26, 2017, 12:32 PM · You can change the weight, which will have tonal influence on good violins and you can change the string after length which often has big influence on both playability and tone.
Edited: August 26, 2017, 4:29 PM · The setup indeed changes the E tone quite a lot. My current setup is Gamut wounded gut for DG, Warchal Advangarde A and Amber E. I used to use fine tuner on both the steel A and E, the E sounded terrible. And I almost gave it away. However, after removing the fine tuner on A, the E became lovely, and so did other string.
Even with just one fine tuner, the after length on E will make quite some difference on its tone. I normally adjust the fine tune to a range which I like first, then adjust the peg to bring up to pitch. It has effect on the tone/resonance quite a lot, particularly higher registry. Just something worth noting.

As for Gold E, I like it a lot as it's a good string even at high registry. But it may not be the darker or sweeter type of string. It's quite silvery or sharp, but in a good way. My personal favorite after trying pretty much all E string out there, goes back to Goldbrokat.

August 27, 2017, 3:36 AM · Great input by everybody here...Just my two cents as well

Jeremy, I've found that the GDA dominant, sound the darkest (to my instruments) with their own E, the plain steel one, unfortunately.

I second the opinion that a heavier gauge E could do the trick (perhaps). Another suggestion could be the Evah Pirazzi E or the Evah Pirazzi Gold E (I think it has more tension than the regular medium evah E), or the Eudoxa aluminum wound E

Let us know of what happened

August 27, 2017, 3:40 AM · You might also add some weight to the bridge to test what this changes in sound. This is not a permanent solution but you might get an idea if you want another bridge.
August 27, 2017, 4:40 PM · How would you go about adding weight to the bridge?
Edited: August 27, 2017, 7:18 PM · Opinions on strings are extremely controversial for several reasons:
1. everyone perceives sound different
2. everyone has different preferences for sound
3. every violin has unique traits that players try to change in different ways
4. different bowing styles result in different types of sound and playability requirements
5. hand perspiration may be a concern.
In addition, you might want to search the site for similar threads. I have heard these types of problems with Dominant E strings, but haven't tried it myself.
August 28, 2017, 12:52 AM · To suggest modifications to my very patient luthier, I place blobs pf blue-tack (very briefly) at different locations on and around the bridge, or over the ends of the bassbar. Sometimes I will remove a tiresome resonance, only to find it joining forces with another one, further up the string.

For bridge, if we find a real improvement, we could replace the mastic with a metal insert?

August 30, 2017, 5:24 PM · Dominant also makes a string they call tin-plated carbon steel. This is a very unusual string that most people haven't tried, and it's become our shop favorite, giving more body to the sound of the whole instrument.
August 30, 2017, 5:31 PM · Hi Michael, long time! Good to see you.
August 31, 2017, 6:28 AM · For instruments that like the lower tension of dominants, consider the new string by the company that took over Lenzner, Optima. They make 4 types of goldbrokats now (original, premium, brassed, and 24k gold) They are still inexpensive, and I've found the 24k gold medium works wonders with instruments that have an overbearing e string. With dominants and its silver d, it takes the edge off giving a darker yet cheerful and powerful resonance that balances well with the set. I've tried this combination when stringing up instruments at the shop, and when it works, it works very nicely.

On a side note, the brassed heavy gauge sounds wonderful with pi and the silking matches!

Edited: August 31, 2017, 6:43 AM · Changing the E may work but for a darker sound change all the strings to Obligatos or Violinos. If you want to stay in the Thomastic family they do a line of strings called Infeld Red that are darker in sound.

Cheers Carlo

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