First time changing to new strings of the same kind. Wow!

Edited: September 30, 2017, 5:51 PM · Since I'm doing home trial for bows, I've decided to change to new strings of the same kind that originally came with my violin. It's supposed to be my back-up, but I told myself why not try them.

My original back-up set was the Dominants, which was recommended by my teacher. I tried them for two weeks out of curiosity, but could not get myself to like them. I ended up giving it to a student back in my home country as a gift before I left since he mentioned that he's been using the same strings that came with his violin for 10 years. Makes me remember how spoiled we are here in the US.

I recorded the old strings with each of the trial bows. Put on the new set of Vision strings. Waited several minutes for the tension to settle in a little bit. I could already tell the difference just plucking open strings, but wow! Once I started playing, my violin sounds livelier and cleaner! I didn't have to replay the recordings to confirm since the difference was obvious.

I have no idea how long the original strings have been there. Some strings already had some stickiness I couldnt rid of. My violin definitely didn't sound as good as this when I bought it. I just hope the magic of the new set would at least last me half a year. Does it help to loosen the tension after each session? I usually leave it as is unless I'm traveling. I have a feeling that they will die down once they fully settle =(

As a bonus, it helped me cross out one trial bow since it now sounds too bright for me. I actually initially preferred the sound of that bow, but definitely not with this new set.

Edit: typo

Replies (17)

September 30, 2017, 10:09 PM · Don't make any decisions until you have had your strings on for a week. Depending on how long you play each day, it may take that long for the strings to settle and the initial brightness to mellow.

Cheers Carlo

October 1, 2017, 7:24 AM · I love putting on new strings
October 1, 2017, 7:25 AM · But usually people change strings around once half an year. I always change mine 1.5 years because of my usage periods however.
October 1, 2017, 10:02 AM · Change strings at least once every 6 months. Possibly every 3 months if you play a lot and can afford it.

Each time you might find yourself surprised by how much the violin wakes up again.

Edited: October 1, 2017, 12:14 PM · Every 150-200 hours of playing time seems to be a good rule of thumb (that I learned from v.com) which if you play two hours a day is about every three months. One hour a day equates to six months. That's probably the minimum too even if you play less a day on average.

I've found that gut seems to last longer than synthetic (Passiones, which tonally were still good after five months but started to be so unresponsive I was having trouble sounding barriolage with them), so I'm looking forward to seeing how long the Olives have on now last. Someone here said the G&D last long enough that replacing the A and E halfway through makes sense. We'll see.

October 1, 2017, 1:29 PM · I only change mine if I believe they really go bad.
Edited: October 2, 2017, 6:56 PM · "Waited several minutes for the tension to settle in a little bit."

Carlo is right -- three days is more what it takes for strings to settle tone-wise. Intonation-wise it can be a week easily. That's my experience with Vision Solo, Larsen, Obligato, and Evah Pirazzi. (It took the longest with the Larsens.)

I'd like to changes strings more often than I do (about annually) but it's four instruments (my violin, my viola, my daughter's violin, and my other daughter's cello) so you can see that adds up to some serious cash.

Remember the definition of being middle-class: You can have anything you want; you just can't have everything you want.

October 2, 2017, 7:25 PM · hence the "settle in a little bit" =P I'm sure it would take at least a week like my Dominants. The steel E probably in a few days. It was interesting watching the tuner bar/indicator go down after each pluck.
October 3, 2017, 3:12 AM · For most amateurs every 6 months seems to be about right. Old strings are also inclined to play out of tune, presumably on account of non-uniform stretching along their length. This was convincingly demonstrated for me (not on my violin!) by a noted string quartet leader who was reputed by his colleagues to change his strings more often than his socks.
October 3, 2017, 5:26 AM · I find that the regular "Vision" strings are good for adding brightness to a violin, but don't contain much warmth. Dominants are superior in that regard.

Vision Titanium Solo and Vision Titanium Orchestra are better strings in that lineup, the latter being my favorite of the Vision family. The regular Vision Solos are good long lasting strings as well.

Lydia is right, you should change strings on a regular interval, based on how much you play. 6 months is probably a good interval for most students, certainly not more than a year.

October 3, 2017, 5:37 AM · It completly depends on the string and playing style and its unlikly that the whole set goes false at the same time.
You named Dominants, propably one the shortest lasting strings on the market. I cant get 3 months out of them, more like 8 weeks than 12. All visions last significant longer.
For me a string does not setlle tonaly before it is pitch stable. Its the other way around.
October 3, 2017, 6:50 AM · I change mine every 3-4 months, or roundabout that time-frame. Basically, once the strings feel unresponsive, I change them. I only play for about 10 hours a week, but it is frequently enough that even my violin teacher says that I should change them as often as I do. I find my strings take around a week to settle in (I'm using Larsens at the moment, with a Warchal Amber E - love that E string). I change out the whole set, simply because it makes it easier for me to remember the timeframe from when they were last replaced. It IS expensive, but I take lessons every other week (or thereabouts) and I do this because I love it so I want to fully enjoy my time playing. I think of playing (which includes taking care of my violin and bow, taking lessons, buying sheet music, etc.) as a luxury and a necessity, so I treat it as such. (I also don't go on big vacations or out to eat anymore, so .... hahaha Paul, so true. So true.)

Anywhoo - I was not sure about the Larsen Tziganes when I first put them on. They seemed like they were going to be too much for my violin, but after a week (and getting my bow back from the shop) they were juuust right. The shop's loaner bow that I was using just before and after putting the Tziganes on I loved UNTIL the Tziganes settled in. Then I realized I did not like the bow at all - what at first felt great with the big sound of the new strings became apparent that the bow was not powerful enough for my setup. (The first week I had the bow -which included a few days with the new strings- I was preparing to ask the shop if I could buy it!!! Oh how things change in a week-plus...) So, give it at least a week before you make any choices about anything.

October 3, 2017, 8:09 AM · If there's one thing that i learned empirically, and not only regarding violin, is that the "time rules" for changing strings is useless, as it changes from person to person, and from violin to violin and string types, and such.

So, 4/6/8 months mark is a nonsense, in my humble opinion.

October 3, 2017, 8:48 AM · Not sure I can break in the new strings on time before I have to return the bows. Quite busy at work this week. I'll probably change back to my old strings in the last two days of the trial.

Douglas, how are the Titanium Solo and Titanium Orchestra different from the regular Vision?

https://www.sharmusic.com/Pages/How-To/Strings/Strings-Chart/Violin-String-Chart/

According to the chart, those two are brighter and louder. Is that true based on your experience? I'm not sure I'd want anything brighter or louder than what I already have.

October 3, 2017, 9:00 AM · Hi John,

I would keep those strings on rather than switch back to your old strings. Installing and stretching strings to pitch, and then removing them, is not optimal for the string windings. I find that strings sound little different after being removed and reinstalled. But I'm picky about sound.

The Titanium Solo strings a brilliant, loud and focused, and can also be richer sounding on the right instrument. Titanium Orchestra are brilliant and loud (not quite as much so as Titanium Solo) and they have a warm core to the sound.

I personally use the term "brilliant" when describing sounds that have more high frequency content but aren't grating, and I use "bright" when something has more high frequency content but is grating to my ears. I think of regular Vision strings as "bright".

October 3, 2017, 9:25 AM · Thanks for the advice, Douglas. I'll keep the strings on. I may try the Orchestra in the future.
October 3, 2017, 6:14 PM · You're so welcome, John. Relax and enjoy your bow testing!

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