Which Thomastik Dominant strings?

September 17, 2017, 9:19 PM · I'm ordering various brands to try them having so far only played the Cecilio strings that came with the violin. I see there are various types of TD's - D135SB, D129SAB etc. Do you regard one as "better" or do they just have different sound?

Thanks.

Replies (18)

September 17, 2017, 10:12 PM · Chuck the Dominants and get Pirastro or Cantiga. Your ears will be happy. Even the Thomastik PI's are much better than Dominants.
Edited: September 18, 2017, 6:56 AM · It depends on how YOUR fiddle responds to the characteristics of each specific string. Many people used mixed sets, crossing not only "tension/thickness specifications (i.e. forte-mittle-weich, etc.) but even different brands from the same or different companies.

An expert luthier, with your fiddle in hand, strung with a well know set of or mix of strings might be able to suggest some strings that would work better on your fiddle - and also might be wrong. But from here knowing what you have told us it is absolutely impossible to give you useful guidance.

My primary violin, which had been under Pirastro gut-core strings since its birth in 1951 just did not work well under Dominant strings when I first tried them in the early 1970s - but they did OK with Pirastro Tonicas when they came out a few years later. I must confess I never tried Dominants on that fiddle again - although on some of my others they were just fine.

September 17, 2017, 11:25 PM · Dave, I would rather play Dominants than Cantiga.
Dominants are as valid as most other strings, although they sadly dont last long. On my violin they sound great.
@Scott: There is no generaly better set of Dominants.
If you try them, keep in mind most people substitute the e string for another one. Most people dont like it.
Edited: September 18, 2017, 12:08 AM · "Chuck the Dominants and get Pirastro or Cantiga"

I can't chuck them - I don't even have them yet! :)

However you've given me the names of additional strings to try.

September 18, 2017, 12:26 AM · I find the Dominant plain steel E pretty miserable; the aluminium-wound E on the other hand is sweet and responsive - if we use a longer, lighter bow stroke. Many folk want a more tense E, I suppose to equalize the bowing across the strings, or maybe to try and beat the wind instruments!
Edited: September 18, 2017, 12:32 AM · Scott, I get the feeling that you are quite new to violin based on your instrument choice and question about strings.

In this case I would add another recommendation to the hat: D'Addario's Zyex strings. To me they are probably the ideal student string. Cheap, extremely long lasting, and functional. In my last set for violin (when I played more violin than viola) they stayed true until one finally broke. I also had a set on viola that repeated the experience - they lasted so long I still have them in a tube incase of emergency breaks after moving on to try some different strings to see what was out there.

No matter what you do get those Cecillio strings off soonest... From experience: Not only do they sound bad, they're quite brittle. You might get a shock tuning if you go just a touch too far.

Edited: September 18, 2017, 12:56 AM · I dont know your Budget, but for beginners not on a budget Obligatos are a nice string, quite forgiving.
Other strings to have on the radar are definitly Tonikas. Thomastik vision titanium orchestra are also good (student) strings, but they handle bow pressure a bit worse.
All common strings are a nice upgrade in this case. I would not start with extreme strings (like EP, PI, etc).
Edit: Ofc those Thomastik are not student strings but also good for students, like not too solistic).
September 18, 2017, 6:21 AM · Dominants are great sounding strings. I would order the lower 3 separately and substitute in a different E string. The Pirastro Gold Label E with Dominant G, D(alum), A is very popular and sounds classically good.
September 18, 2017, 8:08 AM · Beginner here so dont consider my words too much. I tried the Dominant but didn't like it even after a few weeks (I got the set with Pirastro Gold E). My violin came with the regular Vision strings, so I switched back to that one. Then switched again to the Gold E as it sounded much better. Im using Vision GDA and Gold E. Curious how other Visions compare.

Before this, I tried about a dozen violins and after I picked the one I have now, I asked what strings the violins had. Most of them had Dominant. I guess I just personally don't like the sound. Makes me wonder if I couldve bought a much cheaper violin, switched to Vision, and sound the same as the one I have.

September 18, 2017, 11:07 AM · Propably not. Strings help, but in the end the violin will be way more important, even the bow unless the violin has structural problems with not enough or to much pressure needed.
Edited: September 18, 2017, 4:07 PM · If you are experimenting with strings, I'll give the nod to Warchal Amber E. It is superior to Dominant E and blends well with the rest of Dominants. Also, it is virtually whistle free, fyi.
September 18, 2017, 4:09 PM · The Amber E is really nice, and it really whistles less. I just put a full set of Olives on, whereas before I had an Amber E with Passione's, and now my E is whistling again. Although, in this case, I think it's worth it because the Olive gold E seems to match the tone of the Olive A better than the Amber E would. But with dominants, I would use a Jargar E or an Amber E.
September 18, 2017, 7:31 PM · I must warn you that opinions on strings are extremely controversial, as you may have already noticed from this discussion. This is because
a. every player has unique preferences for sound and playability
b. every violin possesses unique traits, which each player chooses to change in different ways
c. differences in bowing style can also influence string choice
d. hand chemistry, cost and durability are other factors to consider.
With this in mind, I would try the cheapest set from the above mentioned posts and go from there.
September 18, 2017, 9:53 PM · I must warn you that opinions on strings are extremely controversial, as you may have already noticed from this discussion.

I noticed - lol. That's fine it's food for thought. I see a lot of Youtube vloggers recommend the Dominants so that was my starting point to ask about.

Edited: September 18, 2017, 10:04 PM · Dominants are a lot like the Pro-Art's (guitar strings) of the violin world.

They're considered a neutral pallet that most people have had experience with, and so can be used as a meter stick for comparison. In essence they are a safe first set of strings. No one here is likely to militantly deny that.

We do all have our favorites though. Starting with Dominants is a good place to start your quest for your own favorite string combination. :)

Because they're such a good meter stick, if you decide you dislike them after using them for a bit you can tell us if you want brighter, darker, more or less responsive, etc, and people can recommend strings that are comparatively more X than dominants, at least within the constraints of the fact that every violin will respond a little differently.

Really finding your favorite strings is a fun journey.

September 18, 2017, 10:05 PM · I forgot to put a disclaimer on my post that it is indeed dependent on personal taste :P I wish there's some sort of violin string trial.

This headphones company has a loaner program to test their headphones. Basically you can borrow it for up to two weeks and you only have to pay for shipping it to the next person.

Maybe if I can find enough people in the San Francisco Bay Area... we can do a rotating meet-up to trade strings.

September 18, 2017, 10:22 PM · John, I wonder if strings can handle being installed and removed many times. For example, the sharp turn where the string goes into the peg looks like it would weaken the material if it's bent and un-bent a few times.
September 18, 2017, 11:55 PM · the sharp turn where the string goes into the peg looks like it would weaken the material if it's bent and un-bent a few times.

From what I've seen there's enough excess length on strings to trim a little off several times.

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