Strings

Edited: May 20, 2017, 11:11 AM · Hello.
I have been on the hunt for a light and mellow G string. I'm looking for an extremely rich and vibrant sound, that also projects well as I am a soloist.

Currently I use a full set of Evah Pirazzi gold.
I plan on switching to EP Gold D and A, Oliv E (or other pirastro gut E with rich and vibrant projectional sound).
I am in LOVE with the D and A EP Gold on my violin. I find them very beautiful. But I may be switching the D string with another kind as it loses its beauty in higher positions.

What do you suggest?
G- looking for mellow, rich, vibrant, projecting sound. I want a synthetic here
D- looking for a pirastro string that responds well in high positions while also keeping the richness and projection of EP Gold. I want a synthetic here
A- happy with current, but open to try suggestions if this string does not work well with the other suggestions
E- looking for a rich, vibrant gut-E that responds well in all positions with little to no ringing

EDIT: how does passione solo compare to EP gold?

EDIT2: I may try EP gold with gold G, Passione Solo D, EP gold A, chorda E. feedback?

Replies (22)

May 20, 2017, 10:31 AM · The only gut Es available are Chorda and those from small manufactures. You're using steel Es.
May 20, 2017, 10:32 AM · Passione is gut and sounds like a gut/synthetic hybrid. I like it, but I dont think this is what you are looking for.
Pirastro is a must? The Vision Titanium Solo were a bit better to play on high positions on d for me.
On e string I could also recommend the Pi maybe, although I like pirastro gold there.
G string is difficult to say. Did you already try the gold wound g? Its a bit more mellow.
May 20, 2017, 10:45 AM · Thanks Marc. And for me pirastro is a must because of personal trust and experiences with their products. I also trust Infield, although given not as much, so I may try the vision titanium solo D.
The E string I have a lot of wiggle room with, as they are cheap. I may try the Chorda soon, or I may try small dealers, as I'm really looking for a respectable ball-end gut string

I have not tried the gold wound G, for financial purposes. EP gold strings already don't last very long, so I wasn't looking to drop another $10 on top of the $36 that the EP gold G already costs.

I do sincerely enjoy dominant strings, but I find them too student like for me

May 20, 2017, 1:42 PM · What's your violin? Contemporary, antique, general quality? Does it prefer higher tension or lower tension? With other strings, does your violin respond well in all positions (i.e., the upper position response is an issue just with the EP Golds), or do you have issues in the upper positions with other string brands as well?

Note that the Oliv E is not a gut E; it's a gold-plated steel E. When you say little ringing in the E string, did you meaning whistling, or something else? (If you did mean ringing, why? Lengthy after-ring on strings is generally good and the E's sympathetic resonance is particularly important for projection.)

Be careful of Frankensteining strings too much. These things are made for balanced tension, and if you use different G, D, and A, you can get into weird tension balance issues.

If you like the EP Gold G, and you are currently using the silver variant, you could try the gold G; it has a warmer, more mellow sound, at the cost of less projection than the silver, on most violins.

May 20, 2017, 1:55 PM · @Jack: For an E that matches well with gut, heavy gauge Goldbrokat.

For actual gut E, Damian Dlugolecki or Aquila Strings (for US orders: Aquilausa.com). :)

For A, you could try the Avantgarde steel A by Warchal, which is apparently so rich as to be synthetic-sounding. :D

May 20, 2017, 2:43 PM · Thank you Lydia. I'm a bit caught up at the moment but I will be answering all of your questions in the next few hours.

To tip the ice burg,

My entire violin does not respond well to B and above on th D string, C# and above on the G string, the A is well as high as I have gone, and about 7th position on the E string I get a heavy whistle.
This was not as pronounced on the G string while using dominants.

I am unsure of how my violin responds well to different tensions as I have not experienced and just stick with medium on all strings i buy.

With recent research into string types, I have considered gold plated EP gold G, EP D, EP gold A, Kaplan E.

My violin is a $1500-1750 Beijing 2016 Jean-Pierre Lupot. I plan on getting a new one in the next few years, but as of now I need a nice one for performances.

If anyone has suggestions for medium tension, warm and rich soloist strings please reply with names and good combinations.

May 20, 2017, 2:44 PM · By nice one I meant nice setup to improve sound
Edited: May 20, 2017, 4:33 PM · Synoxa sounds closest to pure gut out of any string I hav3 ever heard, even more than wound gut (including the E!), but are pricy at about $120/set.

BUT, we have them for 68 at, and they have the cheapest prices anywhere for strings thwt I have seen. :)

https://www.johnsonstring.com/cgi-bin/music/scripts/violin-viola-cello-music.cgi?itemno=STVNSYN16_1NAB

May 20, 2017, 4:41 PM · Thanks AO. Is this dealer reputable? I have heard many stories recently of people getting strings such as red label in packaging of high tier strings such as EP. Unfortunately, my wallet is not up for the chance that any strings can be fake.
May 20, 2017, 6:52 PM · Yes. This is a reputable dealer. Dominants are not student strings. Do you like them when they're on your violin tonally?
May 20, 2017, 7:00 PM · Synoxa for the sound of plain gut (which I play on, so I ought to know). :)

Just sayin'...

May 20, 2017, 7:21 PM · Possible cons for Synoxa: price vs "similar" Tonica, only one, medium gauge, which is actually high tension (though they do feel good on the fingers). Also, the D is aluminum wound-no silver option.

They have a beautiful sound with a very "classic violin tone." I would recommend them if they work for your violin and you can afford them. Top notch strings that are rarely played nowadays (I tried them extensively two years ago.) Their steel E is a Gold Label in Magenta that matches well with the set.

May 20, 2017, 7:49 PM · Okay, this doesn't make sense to me. You're a soloist playing on a $1500 student instrument? What country do you live in? Have you tried to get a loan of a reasonable concert instrument from a patron?

Your issue with the upper positions on the violin isn't something that can be solved by strings. It's a common limitation of student instruments in this price range, and no amount of fiddling with strings or set-up is likely to really help.

Synoxa isn't going to work on practically any instrument where you need the type of projection that a soloist needs to play with orchestra. Synoxas tend to be dark and a bit muted -- basically the total opposite of the EP Golds.

If the basic character of Dominants are good, but you prefer the greater richness and projection of the EP Golds, the closest string in the Thomastik portfolio will be the Peter Infelds. I would try those next -- a full set with the platinum E string.

(By the way, what is "medium" tension for a string set varies by brand. Different brands have different baseline tension.)

May 20, 2017, 8:04 PM · Thank you for the inquiry, Lydia.

I do not play with orchestras now as I'm still in school. I play in situations such as downtown at festivals and such venues. My violin in not particularly great, but I am soon going for a $5000 one.

Although It is currently $1500ish, closer to $2000, it isn't a student instrument at all, it is such a model that some local teaches even use it. I can attach pictures tomorrow evening if you wish.
The pegs are real ebony, fingerboard not painted, peg box is nice, overall build is nice, the varnish is done much too technically challenging and intricate for a machine. It has only one fine tuner, akin to professional instruments. At the shop I played many violins ranging $1000-$2500. By far, even only being ~$1800, this one spoke to me. It responded very well and was done vey intricately. The sound was amazing, comparable to that of a $3500 one I also tried. I have reason to believe It was crafted by an apprentice by the minute mistakes a keen eye can spot. It may be factory made, but has too good sound to be in my eyes.
Unlike the common student instrument, this violin had pegs that responded well to movement but did not move when not wanted.

TLDR;
It is by no means a student instrument

May 20, 2017, 8:12 PM · That description sounds like a student instrument to me. It's not a VSO, that's all. But your problems playing in the upper positions are characteristic of a lesser-quality instrument, and it's common in instruments in the price range you cite. It's good that you like it, but as you can already tell, it has limitations.

I would say that if you play casually in public venues -- I'm not sure what you mean by "downtown at festivals", perhaps street busking? -- that you should consider using amplification instead of trying for more natural projection, assuming that it makes sense for the setting (i.e., not an indoor formal concert hall).

If you're not playing concertos with orchestra, projection should not be your primary consideration for strings. I would prioritize response and color most of all.

May 20, 2017, 8:38 PM · Agree with Lydia on the upper position issue.

My to-be-used violin for practice is $2500, even when paired with a professional bow that is more expensive than the violin, the notes above about 8th position simply do not sound very clear or projecting.

You can try to minimize the issue by using lots of bow (and the great bow somewhat minimizes other issues like reslonse and weaker D string), but you cannot completely alter the inherent playability itself.

Contrast this with a professional violin by Johann Glass for $16000 that I also tried: the highest notes were beautiful and projected very easily, and had a great deal more colour and dynamics control to the sound. Add that they were also much clearer, which means that I could actually tell when I was in tune in the very high register (on the other, the D and above is very muffled and indistinct, making intonation very tricky to hear). :)

May 20, 2017, 8:40 PM · Have a tech check out your violin. It could be a hardware problem (soundpost, seams etc).
May 20, 2017, 11:55 PM · High position d is not a seams problem. This would me more primonent in other positions.
Also b is really not high.
I too think this is a violin issue, thats a common problem in this price range and some above. Ep gold are very good strings that can be played in all positions. Anyhow, other strings may not solve the problem but they may weak it.
Maybe your violin does not like the amount of tension you apply. If dominant had less issues in this region this might be part of the solution.
In this case you could try larsen strings. I really do like the virtuoso a, but g and are not deep enough for me. Playability in high positions is a dream though due to the relativly low tension. Tzigane are a bit less projecting but more on the warm side. I used to like them too, just had the fast string dying issue many thave with them.
May 20, 2017, 11:58 PM · Oh and your suggwstion in your first post to combine passione d with ep gold g, a, this does sound wierd, both in tension and in sound.
May 21, 2017, 3:01 PM · I disagree Synoxas are muted and dark. They are loud and clear; maybe the Aricore are overly dark. Thing is we have so many super loud options nowadays (not right or wrong), that many options "of the past" are considered tame in comparison. Some even think gut offers a weak tone. But then again I may have had a different experience with Synoxas.

(To be fair, I don't necessarily think OP needs Synoxas either. But if Dominants work on many violins, so should Synoxa, albeit at a slightly higher tension, and with an alternative tone, despite similar cores.)

May 21, 2017, 3:32 PM · If violin is the issue, try a variety of affordable violins. I don't recall having problems like these with student violins, but when I try more violins, maybe I'll notice it.
Edited: May 22, 2017, 5:44 PM · I would never call Synoxas muted and dark either. I always found them relatively brilliant, though not along the lines of Evah Pirazzi or Vision Titanium Solo.

I also never liked how stiff they felt and sounded and always vastly preferred the (original formula) Tonicas to them.

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