Which strings do you use?

December 12, 2006 at 06:34 PM · I'm wondering which strings do you use now and which strings have you used and your review about them.

Thanks.

Replies (38)

December 12, 2006 at 07:34 PM · Hi,

There are a lot of references to this in the archives. Check out the Wiki on the topic, which has also a link to one of the longest archives discussion on this.

Cheers!

December 12, 2006 at 08:45 PM · Edi - all strings sound different on different violins. Therefore, nothing we say will be very useful to you. Take your violin to your luthier. After hearing it with its current strings, s/he can best advise what strings will best help you acheive the sound you seek. Good luck!

December 13, 2006 at 04:17 PM · The question wasn't 'Which strings should I use'.I just wanted to know which strings do you use.

December 13, 2006 at 04:26 PM · Dlugolecki varnished gut (not metal wound) e,a,d, with silver-wound G.

Have also used "Dominants" and "Eudoxa" (metal-wound gut) and "Helicore" and "red label" and "prelude" steel.

December 13, 2006 at 04:28 PM · Sorry - the wording of your question strongly suggested that you were looking for information so that you could choose new strings. I use Obligatos and have used a variety of others.

December 13, 2006 at 05:10 PM · Thick Eudoxa 17 1/4 G, 21 Plain Gut D, 16 Plain Gut A, Medium Wondertone Solo E. They are on my 1785 Storioni and can be heard at:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/oliversteiner

The gut strings, and especially the Plain Gut D, demand more of the player. Contact point accuracy is more critical, but it is well worth the effort. After one adjusts to playing them, one has available a richer and more varied range of color and nuance than is possible with synthetic strings. I treasure them because they are especially helpful in communicating the deeper and more personal emotions.

December 13, 2006 at 05:30 PM · I use Evahs in the summer and Dominants in the winter.

December 13, 2006 at 06:42 PM · Hi,

I currently use a sliver wound gut G, and plain gut D & A from Aquila, and Hill E.

December 13, 2006 at 07:48 PM · Oliv G, D, and A, with a plain old Gold Label E. The best-sounding strings I've ever tried. (My A string is coming unwound though, and it's only a month old! Does this happen to anyone else??)

December 13, 2006 at 08:51 PM · Oliv G and D (silver). The A is usually Obligato, the only synthetic A I've found that matches reasonably with the Olivs (I have tried many.) Heavy gauge Wondertone Solo for the E string (used to use Gold Label, but Wondertone Solo worked better for me. I snapped two Larsen E strings within two weeks. Also tried Pirastro No 1 recently, which was not very responsive on my violin.) I used to use Eudoxa, which sounded great under the ear and which no one heard fifteen feet away.

My viola set is simpler -- a full set of Larsen. Sometimes I use a gut A.

Maura, yes. :^(

December 13, 2006 at 08:55 PM · "Eudoxa....sounded great under the ear but no one heard it fifteen feet away."

Yep! That's why I switched....I have to do something about that A though. Someone recommended Larsen A to go with Olivs, anyone tried that?

December 13, 2006 at 09:23 PM · I haven't tried the Larsen A, but knowing their viola strings, I can see how it might work (I settled on Obligato for the A a couple of years ago and have been happy enough to not tinker with the A very much since then.) Let us know how it works if you try it...

December 13, 2006 at 10:50 PM · "Eudoxa....sounded great under the ear but no one heard it fifteen feet away."

I had the opposite experience. I played Bruch Concerto a few weeks ago. Audience members reported hearing the violin (Eudoxa G & Plain Gut D&A) very well above the symphonic accompaniment in a large hall. It's the richness of overtones that allows them to project so well, though they do not sound "loud" (like a loud necktie!) at close range. Of course some violins take to Olivs better and some to Eudoxa. I have a friend with a Strad who prefers Olivs quite alot over Eudoxa. On my violin it's the reverse situation.

December 13, 2006 at 11:34 PM · I recently changed to EUDOXAS. G and D and olive A. Kaplan Golden Spiral on the E. Dominants were my choice for many years.....I find the gut core strings more responsive than Dominants with lots of overtones and fizz. They do tend to go out of tune quicker than perlon core strings.

December 14, 2006 at 12:44 AM · I am currently using THOMASTIK VISION. They are made by the makers of Dominant. They were advertised as "quick break in, high tuning stability, rich sound, extended life span."

I am relatively new to violin (less than 2 years), but I would agree with the advertisement. I have really noticed that my violin has been staying in tune much better, since I put on these strings.

December 14, 2006 at 07:19 AM · For those with Oliv G and D, it might be worth trying an A string from the Pirastro Synoxa set. It's been a very good match for me. The Oliv A was also very finicky for me--it didn't last long and sounded a bit nasal on my violin. I use a medium gauge Gold Label E.

December 14, 2006 at 07:37 AM · I use all Eudoxa and a few different types of E strings -- often a gold label.

I would love to go back to plain gut D and A, but the only easily available strings here are Pirastro Chorda, which I think are aimed at the Baroque original instrument players. Has anyone used these? Also, for gut strings, how do you get around the slight roughness they sometimes develop? Finally (if anyone can help me with these questions), what sort of knot do you use for the A string?

December 14, 2006 at 06:48 PM · Dlugolecki varnished gut e and a, Larson (Gamut Strings) Pistoy (his invention) gut d, Eudoxa g (getting changed to Larsen g sometime soon).

Others' comments:

Gerety - "My [Oliv] A string is coming unwound though, and it's only a month old! Does this happen to anyone else??" Yes, they are shortest lived of the Olivs, tho' I've never had one go only a month.

Ouyang: "I snapped two Larsen E strings within two weeks." I have had similar experience with Larson gut E's, better luck with Dlugolecki's. The season of year seems to matter (they last longer in winter). [this comment corrected after next post below, thanks! - different maker, but same experience]

Ouyang: "Eudoxa, which sounded great under the ear and which no one heard fifteen feet away".

My Eudoxa G fits very well with the plain gut on other strings, and is quite loud and rich, one reason I've kept it on. This is another example of the comments above that strings are instrument-specific.

O'Brien: "for gut strings, how do you get around the slight roughness they sometimes develop?"

Doesn't seem to cause a problem in playing. If they get very rough, it's time to change (if you pluck the open string then, I find it has lost resonance). The only such problem I've had has been with E-strings, though, which start shedding within 4-10 weeks (depends on maker, weather).

Taylor: "[Gut core strings] do tend to go out of tune quicker than perlon core strings." However, my experience with bare gut strings is that they are VERY stable, almost eerily so. I practice over 2 hrs/day, am particular about pitch (have perfect pitch), and I have to tune the A maybe once a week.

December 14, 2006 at 08:11 AM · Eric, I think you are referring to (Dan) Larson of Gamut strings; I was referring to Larsen, the Danish string manufacturer which specializes in synthetic core and steel strings.

Indeed many (perhaps most) comments about particular brands strings are going to be instrument-specific.

December 14, 2006 at 05:55 PM · Even though they seem to be unpopular with people i love the Correlli Alliances. I don't use the E though, i'm still searching for the correct E. The only downside to Alliances is that they are expensive. But they do last for ages.

December 15, 2006 at 04:49 AM · Hi Eric,

Now that I have your ear, may I trouble you with one or two more questions? Good advice on plain gut strings at modern pitch seems to be hard to get one's hands on.

Is your violin tuned to A440? If so, that is very encouraging that your gut E's last so long.

How do you attach the plain gut A? I played with these strings about 10 years ago and if memory serves me well (to quote Iron Chef which I have at times espied) I tied the E on with a loop going back around on itself, but the A and D were just put on with a figure of eight knot that formed a 'blob' like the ball on the end of a covered string. In other words, the A and D just popped straight into the tailpiece slots. Is this the way to go about it?

December 15, 2006 at 05:05 AM · I use whatever my parents decide to buy me! lol he he. (mostly Prelude and Correlli Crystal).

December 15, 2006 at 05:30 AM · Responding to Jon O'Brien (I'm hardly an authority, but I'll give it a shot):

* Is your violin tuned to A440?"

Yes

* If so, that is very encouraging that your gut E's last so long.

My gut A is what's lasted (my present one has been on over 6 months), and is tonally stable. I've gone through a whole mess of gut e's, ranging from 2 weeks to a maximum of 10 weeks. You have to be really gung-ho and willing to fork out some money if you want to use gut e's, though they are pretty inexpensive individually.

* How do you attach the plain gut A?

Upon request, both of the string makers I've dealt with (Damian Dlugolecki, Daniel Larson) will knot the strings for you, so I've never actually tied one myself. If the knot isn't big enough to keep the string from slipping out through the hole when tightened, I just thread the string through the knot hole one more time.

* I tied the E on with a loop going back around on itself,

I've also tried attaching an e-string externally by looping it through and around the slot in the tail piece. It worked, sounded fine, but looked goofy.

* but the A and D were just put on with a figure of eight knot that formed a 'blob' like the ball on the end of a covered string. In other words, the A and D just popped straight into the tailpiece slots. Is this the way to go about it?

Yup. But the string makers solved that problem for me (see above).

Try both of the major US gut string makers' web sites for a lot of information:

http://www.damianstrings.com/ (Dlugolecki)

http://gamutstrings.com/ (Larson)

There are also several past threads on gut strings archived on v.com. Good luck, Jon!

December 17, 2006 at 01:35 PM · Hi,

Jon - to add to Eric's post. I think Mr. Steiner pointed out the gauges used. If you are tuning to modern pitch, you may want to use late-19th early-20th century gauges which are much larger than those favoured by baroque specialists.

If you Email Damian Dlugolecki, he will answer all your questions and make recommendations for gauges.

The Goldbrokat E (the old favourite from yesteryears) is a good match for a setup with plain gut.

Cheers!

December 17, 2006 at 03:20 PM · Well, my Oliv A has nearly completely disintegrated. Report on Larsen A is forthcoming. :)

Anyone suggest a really good E string to go with the Oliv-Larsen combo? I've been using Gold Label for the past few years and it's fine, but I'd welcome any suggestions.

December 17, 2006 at 03:40 PM · Hi,

Maura - When I used Oliv, I used Hill (like FPZ). Worked great. I have heard that some people have also had success with the Goldbrokat Es or the Kaplan. Depends on your fiddle, but that is a place to start.

Cheers!

December 18, 2006 at 12:38 AM · Hi Maura. Try using a Golden Spiral medium E with your other strings,they really have a fantastic sound.cheers!

December 18, 2006 at 03:55 AM · Non-Titanium Visions, thick, with a wrapped Eudoxa E. Arcus carbon fiber cadenza bow really gets those sluggish starks going....

December 18, 2006 at 02:06 AM · Larsen A is working pretty well with my Olivs--usually when I put on a new synthetic string it makes my violin sound like a banjo for about a week, this one only got mandolin-sound and even that only for a few hours. It feels somewhat different to play, so that will take getting used to, but the sound blends surprisingly well.

The only unfortunate side effect is, my E string is suddenly whining and screeching like a thin, malnourished banshee. Definitely need to try something new! Is there anything out there that gets a brilliant, but also rich sound?

December 19, 2006 at 01:23 AM · Hi Maura,

With the combo you have on now, try a Goldbrokat 0.27 E (the Heavy Gauge). Should work well.

Cheers!

December 18, 2006 at 11:56 PM · Thanks, that's what I was leaning towards...looks like they're pretty cheap too. :)

December 21, 2006 at 03:03 AM · Eudoxa G, Pirastro Chorda D (19.5) and A (14.5), both plain gut, and gold label E (with the loop). I'll go with these for now -- might try some other plain gut brands a little bit later.

Thanks Eric and Christian for your helpful advice!

Jon

December 21, 2006 at 03:08 AM · I use all Dominants.

December 21, 2006 at 03:12 AM · woops. Double post.

December 21, 2006 at 06:15 PM · Hi,

Jon - you're welcome!

Cheers!

December 22, 2006 at 06:54 AM · I'm currently using Vision G, Vision D, Chromocor A and Jargar forte e (they are now available at Concord Strings!). I like the quick response of the metal A string, and they last a long time too.

December 22, 2006 at 04:34 PM · Elixir Nanoweb light-guage. I'm planning to try their Phosphor Bronze when I run through my stock of the others.

Oh, wait a minute, you mean *violin* strings, don't you? Well, as I've said elsewhere, I don't know enough yet to have much of an opinion, but my violin is currently fitted with Dominant G, D, and A, and a Pirastro Gold Label E.

December 22, 2006 at 05:24 PM · On my old violin I used obligatos which I liked because it gave it a very sweet sound. My new violin has dominant G, D, A and Gold label E. I haven't changed the strings yet, but I love the violin as it is, so if I don't keep using this string combination, I'll try Evah Pirazzis.

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