Passione strings

March 27, 2007 at 05:13 PM · It seems that string manufacturers are reading violinist.com as well. Pirastro has launched a new set of gut strings called Passione as a response to young violinists experimenting with gut strings.

www.pirastro.com go to news

Replies (100)

March 27, 2007 at 06:10 PM · That's great news, always nice to have more choices, and theoretically the competition will keep prices down & innovation high. (can there be innovation with a 400 year old product?)

Regardless, my "gut" tells me to support the small artisans, such as Damian Dlugolecki. It's also nice that you can talk with him on the phone & kick ideas around. I'm not sure if you can call up "Mr Pirastro" and have a pleasant chat!

Still, this is indeed good news and quite interesting for several reasons.

March 27, 2007 at 09:40 PM · Considering Pirastro's been around since the 18th century, I doubt "Mr. Pirastro" is available for inquiry.

March 28, 2007 at 12:44 AM · Hi,

I wonder is these are the same as the prototypes that they sent a few months ago for me to try...

Curious...

Cheers!

March 28, 2007 at 05:31 AM · Christian,

I missed your review of those (love your string reviews)

How did you like them?

Did you compare them to other brands of pure gut, in the same gauges?

April 2, 2007 at 01:10 PM · The new Passione strings are quite interesting. They are not pure gut though. They are silver (d and g) and aluminium (a) wound.

They have an extremely short break in time compared to other gut strings and have a projecting, full bodied sound. The first real innovation in wound gut strings for many years. You have to try them to believe it.

The ones I am using are very playable and give the full tonal range you can expect from gut strings. I have always played gut strings, and for many years Olive has been my string, but these have a more powerful and rich sound.

By the way, you can actually call "Mr Pirastro". They are much more open to questions from players than you would think.

April 3, 2007 at 01:43 AM · OK, so where did you get them? I can't seem to find them on the Internet.

______________________________

Yikes! I just saw them on one site in Germany for 104 euros!!!$$## Are they really going to be that expensive??

April 3, 2007 at 12:20 PM · Hi,

Allan - I didn't review them because what I had was a prototype, not a finished product with no name or anything. So, silence was best. Plus, the current final product could be different then what I got.

Cheers!

April 3, 2007 at 01:01 PM · Interesting! I'm looking forward to trying them. I love Olivs, but the break in time is excessively long.

April 4, 2007 at 08:17 PM · So I just looked these up, I love this quote:

"The combination in manufacturing of modern synthetic and traditional gut technology made it possible to retain the sound beauty of gut core strings and to increase significantly the tuning stability and the break-in-time."

Gut strings with shorter break in time, and more tuning stability? I have to try these strings, anyone know where to get them?

April 4, 2007 at 08:30 PM · Amy F. wrote: "I love Olivs, but the break in time is excessively long."

If you happen to have a second violin you can do what Heifetz and others did: Use the second violin as a string stretcher. Put the new gut strings on the second violin and tune them periodically (often at first). Then you'll have a pre-stretched set of strings ready to go when you need them. I bought an inexpensive factory fiddle for this purpose.

April 4, 2007 at 08:35 PM · I don't find the break-in time for Olivs to be that long. A few days...no longer than Dominants take to sound decent.

April 5, 2007 at 07:39 AM · About stretching:

I made myself a string stretcher.

It is a simple piece of wood, as long as a violin string, with tuning pegs. The vibrating length of the string is as long as the string, longer then the playing length. This is to avoid the 'folding points', made by nut and bridge when you put a string on a violin. How to tune: make a mark at 32,5 cm (or your violin's specific playing length) from the 'nut' of this tool, put a left hand finger on it and pluck and tune it. Simple!

Personally, when transporting the strings, I count the unwinding of the relaxing string, and when putting on my violin, I twist the string back.

April 5, 2007 at 10:30 PM · So, are these strings available anywhere yet?

May 5, 2007 at 02:12 PM · The new Passione strings are available from Southwest Strings. I just ordered a set for my violin, and of course, bugged Pirastro right away if they were coming out with a viola version. Maybe they'll let me be a beta tester again!!

May 9, 2007 at 02:14 PM · OK, so is the jury in yet? I'm very interested in these strings (especially since one of my Olivs snapped right in two the other day...grrr.) If anyone has tried them yet, let's hear about it! :) I'd be specifically interested in your impressions of how they compare to Olivs.

May 9, 2007 at 04:27 PM · They're expensive but not as much as might have been expected. About $70 for a set at Southwest Strings. That's cheaper than Olivs, which go for $78 a set. Surprising considering one German website was offering them for $100+ euros.

http://www.swstrings.com/Store/Shopping.jsp?Category=Strings&SubCategory=Violin&Group=321S

May 9, 2007 at 08:28 PM · For reasons I can't fathom, strings produced in Germany and Austria are generally much more expensive than in North America. Defies logic, but hey, we're artists not scientists!

May 9, 2007 at 09:09 PM · Have you seen the exchange rate of dollar to euro lately? :)

May 9, 2007 at 10:22 PM · Are you sure that's the case? Dominants are made in Austria and they are dead cheap.

I do agree that Pirastro strings are really expensive in general though.

May 9, 2007 at 11:32 PM · Well I hate say it, but you get what you pay for with Dominants..These 'Passione' strings look kind of interesting but the gauges are really too small in my opinion, for that price there should be more of a selection I think.

May 9, 2007 at 11:48 PM · According to the Pirastro website, they come in several gauges. Not as many as Olivs, but at least there's some variety.

So has anybody actually tried them yet??

May 10, 2007 at 02:20 AM · Just put on a set this afternoon. Even with only a couple of hours playing in I can say RUN do not walk to the nearest violin shop before word gets outs. I put them on a very powerful, dark and sonorous Kriesler Del Jesu copy and as much as I love the tone of Pirastros Eudoxas the new Passione strings have brought out amazingly complex overtones the the Eudoxas just can't match not to mention they stay in pitch much better. They offer complete control at the contact point, very light under hand and have a feel very similiar to Pirastro Obligatos. I'm already impressed and sure they will only get better over the next couple days.

May 10, 2007 at 02:35 AM · Cris - what gauges did you get and where did you order these strings from?

May 10, 2007 at 07:05 AM · Ordered the set from SW Strings which came with the following 16 1/2 G 13 1/2 D 13 1/2 A. Can't stop playing just like they say. These strings seem not to need a lot of gauge to get very strong projection. The aluminium A seemed a bit sharp when I first put it on this afternoon but with more playing it is opening up suprisingly well and what was a bit sharp is now developing into a sweet mellow undertone that neither the Olivs or Eudoxas have and balances out a light and delicate E-string very nicely. As far as bow response these strings are much faster reacting than Eudoxas or Olivs, ricochet has easily controlled bounce with good volume in response. Sautille requires little effort to get clear ringing notes. The range of charming effects that can be achived across all strings with a sharp staccatto is also quite suprising. Most suprising is that they have the light feel and quick movement of a full synthetic yet also have an even greater range of tonal capabilties than tradtional gut. A wonderful new sound for the violin in the 21st century.

May 10, 2007 at 04:28 PM · A quick update on the small door mouse living in my Guarneri. The thing I liked best about Eudoxas is thier tremendous bite at the initial contact and drive of stacatto, so much so that you can feel the string defelection just before the energy release in the bow. With a very fine bow and good control while stopping string energy of stacatto a small mouse chimes out on an even smaller glockenspiel in response. The Passione did not seem to have as great a bite as my favorite Eudoxas do but they do not seem to need it. The sympathetic stacatto ringing is not as brilliant but has a longer sustain after stoppage as if the mouse switched over to an instrument made of pure silver. But hey what do I know? not even worth 2-cents at this point don't blame me...

May 10, 2007 at 05:45 PM · Sorry--you have a mouse living in your Guarneri? What?

May 10, 2007 at 05:53 PM · Cris, that's an interesting point (odd metaphor, though!)

Has anyone compared the Passion to pure gut strings? I ask because I compared pure gut to Eudoxa, and found the wound Eudoxa's to basically have less of everything tonally, though easier to play. I'd love to have the sound of pure gut without the scratchiness.

May 10, 2007 at 05:54 PM · Not a real mouse just me being goofy trying to explain some of the magical things that violins can do. Sorry for any confusion please accept my apologies. New to this site and will be more serious going forward.

May 10, 2007 at 06:15 PM · Cris, don't worry about it--we're not a very serious group here, so please do continue to joke. :) Welcome to v.com, and thanks for the input on Passiones....looks like I may have to get myself a set of those....

Have you tried Olivs? How do Passiones compare in your opinion?

May 10, 2007 at 06:05 PM · That is one of the short commings I found with Eudoxas as much as I like them. It seems they are very sensative to the bow not being perfectly square to the string and they kind of make my bow drift during long slow Legato which does not help any. The Passiones have a very round sound and my bow tracks better down if length, with very little scrathyness if bow speed drops to much in realtion to pressure on the G and D. The A although now stable in pitch is still changing in tone there is some scratch and like the sharpness I first heard seems to be mellowing and melding in to the most complex sounding string of the bunch won't really until they have a few more days to really get played in

May 10, 2007 at 07:21 PM · I really like Olivs and played them for quite a while before changing over to Eudoxas. After finally playing in a 2000 Guarneri with some of the biggest/highest arches I have ever seen it began to really open up and found that the Olivs did not have the low end power the instrument needed. After switching to Eudoxas I found a string with enough upmh to pull all the complexities out, with really good projection but not a clear bright ringing tone. I began to wonder if it was just the limit of my violin. These strings have been on for about a day and like a new instrument that may sound a bit woody at first there is no mistaking one with a beautiful tone. The first time I broke the opening chord to Chaconne I knew I had finally found the string I have been looking for. I will have a stunning 2005 Strad Betts copy here in the next couple weeks and can't wait to try them out too see just how sweet a tone they can generate in comparison.

May 10, 2007 at 07:43 PM · Any thoughts on string gauge?

With synthetic strings, I found that a heavy string had more body, and was louder, but was also typically too "hard" and not worth the trade-off.

With pure gut, I find that this trade-off doesn't exist. No hardness at all with super-heavy gauges, and actally less bow-grit. However, it is harder to control the bow. Still, for me this is a good trde-off.

So what about with wound gut? I realize no one has yet been able to try various gauges of Passione, but any experiences with Eudoxa or Olive?

May 11, 2007 at 01:26 AM · I agree Allan, I have to say, smaller gauges at least for plain gut are more appropriate for period baroque performance rather than a solo performance in a large venue.

May 11, 2007 at 03:37 AM · I DARE you to do this with any gut string... I play without a shoulder rest so my instrument builds up a good ammount of heat. Tonight it is 64 degrees out and 72 in my apartment. After playing a bit to warm up your instrument tune up real good, then take it out side and let it cool off. I even waved mine around a bit in the cool air just make sure. Then come back inside and talk to your tuner again. Passione strings are Still In Tune. Don't miss a single dollar of the seventy I spent.

May 11, 2007 at 04:25 AM · Ooooh. I like the sound of that. My Olivs (plus a Tzigane D to replace the Oliv that broke) have been going out of tune like nothing else, it is SO maddening.

Little question: Hypothetically, let's imagine I have a big recital coming up on the 30th of May. If I were to hypothetically order a set of Passiones, say, Monday, would I get them, be used to them and have them in tune and stable in time for the recital?

May 11, 2007 at 04:43 AM · Well I don't know about Passione strings but most good gut takes about 4-5 days at max to stretch, so yes I think that is plenty of time Maura. One way to expedite stretching is to purchase a student instrument for a couple of hundred dollars and use it to stretch the strings to concert pitch for a few days before putting them on your main violin. When you put the gut strings on your main violin they will already be stretched this way.

May 11, 2007 at 05:35 AM · Question about pre-stretching:

1: Is it enough to stretch the strings for a week, then remove them and store them in an air-tight bag, or must they stay stretched -to-pitch until you are ready to use them?

2: If you keep them on the stretcher device, won't they go bad after a while, either from humidity absorption or from loss of resiliency?

-Note that Pirastro suggests tuning gut strings down 1/4 tone at the end of the day. It might then be wise to keep the pre-stretched strings at a slightly lower pitch.

May 11, 2007 at 07:39 PM · You've mentioned that Passiones have a good depth of sound...lately I've been finding it harder and harder to draw a really good, solid, rich, forte sound out of my Olivs. (I'm rehearsing sonatas with my pianist, so I've suddenly become more sensitive to the need to play louder than mezzo-forte!!) The problem I had with synthetics was they were just uniformly loud and brash with no ability to play pianissimo or get any real tone colors. Now apparently the Olivs have an opposite problem, great in pianissimo and plenty of tone colors, but not really enough power. Would Passiones perhaps be the best of both worlds??

May 11, 2007 at 08:08 PM · Maura specifically which strings are you having trouble getting a powerful sound out of? I would really suggest experimenting with the gauge. A 14 1/2 a-string is a world of a difference less power than a 16 1/2 or 17 gauge.

May 11, 2007 at 09:44 PM · 13 1/2, 13 3/4, 16. (that's A, D, G.) I had this random 17 D sitting around from a mixed-up order a few months back, tried it last night and while I liked the warmth and richness of the tone, it was kind of muffled, and muffled everything else. (It should be mentioned here also that my violin is a spoiled, high-maintenance drama king with a bad attitude, who refuses to sound good unless everything is *exactly* right....)

But, I succumbed to curiosity and ordered a set of Passiones about an hour ago. I'll report back as soon as I get to try them!

May 11, 2007 at 11:29 PM · Maura I know your plight. With the Passiones I have Finally the tamed the withering ammounts of power my Guarneri can summon up with the new bow I found earlier this year. I have tried so many strings in the last five years it's not even funny. I have been happy with Eudoxas but they never had a really clear G. I do like Olivs but my violin it so finicky that if you set it down to drink a glass of water it'll be out of tune by the time you pick it back up again. Have even kept using the Oliv gold E with the Eudoxa G/D/A. I have tried using a lighter gauge D with the Eudoxas as it was so strong it on my violin it would upset the balance of the whole instrument. But all that did was give the D a head cold. My violin just laughed and said try again. This is the second day I have had these string on and this is the first time I have heard the G ring true and clear. These strings are very deceiving they really do feel like a Obligatos under hand and have the light and quick response of say Larsens. But thier tone just keep getting better the more I play them. I really questioned the A at first but it is the most complex sounding of the lot especially in higher positions. My violin is so well balanced now all it said was ahhh what took you so long, wether it be light Flautando or the grandest of Fortes.

May 11, 2007 at 11:54 PM · OK, I'm excited now. Can't wait to try them for myself!! Thanks for your comments, Cris. :-)

May 12, 2007 at 02:20 AM · Maura, I thought that same thing about the Olives. They sounded very soft under my ear. The thing is that somehow their sound carried much better than strings I thought were more powerful right under my ear. Have someone listen to you in a hall and see if they project better than you think they do.

May 13, 2007 at 12:34 PM · Allan!

In my opinion men should stretch the plain gut strings for not more than a week on the device. When you leave them longer on it, they loose their 'new string' quality. Personally I put them on the stretcher a week before an important concert, tuned at normal pitch. One day before the concert I change the strings to the violin. I use the stretcher only for the D and A, my G string has his own (much longer) life and the gut E is a bit to fragile to get put on twice, I think. Greetings!

Finn

May 13, 2007 at 09:16 PM · Thanks, Finn. I'm glad someone has a strong opinion on this, based on some experience.

It raises a conundrum, though, to some extent: You are doing this to prepare strings for a known performance. However, many people would want to prepare "emergency" strings, in case one breaks. -Or, in my case, in the event I have a surprise recording session come up and my current strings are half-gone.

I have noticed that pre-stretched gut strings (pure gut, at least) do settle-in faster than new ones, even if they were stored NOT under tension, so maybe that's the best trade-off: Pre-stretch them for a week or so, then store them in a sealed plastic bag.

I also know what you mean about the E-strings. They clearly get harder each time they are removed and then re-strung. This is true of all synthetics, G through E, but only seems to affect the E's with pure gut. (and it's a somewhat minor phenomenon) I have yet to experiment much with wound gut, but it seems your experience with them is the same.

May 14, 2007 at 10:21 PM · I just got a set of these new strings but I am totally new to using gut strings. I just know that they take a while to stretch and that they're really sensitive to humidity and stuff, but is there anything else I should be aware of at this point and on (for instance, any special maintenance stuff I should know about??)? Also, why is it that many contemporary violinists don't really use gut strings--is there a disadvantage to gut strings that I don't know about??

May 14, 2007 at 10:50 PM ·

May 14, 2007 at 10:46 PM · As far as I know, the main reasons for the mass shift to synthetics were:

1. Synthetics have greater tuning stability and don't take as long to break in (at least until these Passione things came along.)

2. Synthetics are louder--they don't necessarily always *project* better, but for pure volume they do have an advantage. This became important midway through the 20th century when orchestras and concert halls had gotten huge.

3. Synthetics were the cool new thing and everybody had to try them. :)

Ok, maybe not that last one, but the first two probably. I'm not sure what exactly is fueling the current trend toward experimenting with gut again, but I'm not complaining.

May 14, 2007 at 11:11 PM · agree with you Maura on point 1. I do think that gut strings can be just as loud and project the same amount that synthetics are capable of doing. Just listen to Jascha Heifetz's Sibelius recording or Milstein's Goldmark as an example. This cellist I know (who uses gut strings) told me how a friend of his decided to switch to gut strings. A certain few people that knew this friend and about his switch to gut strings told him his tone was "too small" after listening to him for a little bit. This cellist soon after, decided that he wanted to test his friends and made a switch back to steel strings without telling them and again played for them. According to my friend, these people were oblivous to the change, and again remarked how small his tone sounded. He then revealed to them that he had switched back to steel strings.

May 15, 2007 at 12:30 AM · I agree with Nate, though my experience is mainly with pure gut, not wound.

I prefer the softness of Gamut's strings, but if you want loud & cutting, Dlugoliecki's will rip your head off. His 13 pm E is louder than any synthetic I've tried (and I've tried virtually all the expensive ones).

I'm quite excited to try the Passiones, based on the reviews here. I would love to have the fullness and expression of thick-gauge Gamuts, but without the surface noise. I have a feeling I will stick with the Gamut, but still I can't wait to try the new kid in town.

May 15, 2007 at 12:35 AM · One warning to those about to try Passiones as their first-ever gut string. Again, this is based on my experience with pure gut, but it may apply:

I have around 12 decent bows right now, and maybe 9 violins. When I was auditioning various synthetic strings, I had a pretty strong idea of which bow was best for each violin, based on the sound I'm typically after.

With pure gut on these violins, all that flew out the window. Every violin now has a new "best mate," some of my favorite bows now sit on the shelf, and one that I was going to sell is now my favorite on two violins. The formant structure of gut is SO different, that your bow may well react in an unexpected way, as mine all did.

Bear this in mind, whether you end up loving gut or disliking gut. Make sure you have other good bows to try when you audition the strings.

May 15, 2007 at 12:48 AM · Nate,

I was referring more to sheer volume, not projection capability. In my experience (and on my fiddle), synthetics like Evah Pirazzi were really loud under my ear (made my ears ring sometimes) but a little scattered, I couldn't get a real laser-beam focus, much less subtle tone colorations. The gut strings I've tried were not so brashly loud under the ear but I felt I had better control over what the sound was doing and where it was going. If I went back to Evahs now I'm pretty sure they would just sound like noise to me.

May 15, 2007 at 12:57 AM · Lauren asked, " is there anything else I should be aware of at this point and on (for instance, any special maintenance stuff I should know about??)"

There is no hard and fast rules on this, but some of the thoughts I've collected are:

1: You might want to have your nut raised a little. It should err on the high side of acceptable, because gut gives slightly less vibrato swing than synthetic.

2: Your bridge should be about 1/2 mm higher (I'm not sure why, but possibly related to #1)

3: Sometimes a different soundpost location or thickness will optimize the violin when you change to gut.

4: Some say the A0 tuning will be slightly different, but that's getting into major surgery, and it is not 100% agreed upon.

5: You may want to look for a new bow. (this based solely on my own experience, with 12 bows and 9 violins)

----------------

As for maintanence:

1: I believe it's Pirastro that recommends (on their website) detuning by 1/2 step or so when not playing. Actually it might be 1/4 tone. I have no idea why.

2: Don't use alcohol to clean the rosin off (a bad idea, regardless of string type, if you value your finish)

May 15, 2007 at 01:26 AM · Three words... What me worry? Now that the new string creep is done, Haven't had to tune up since some time this weekend, been too busy enjoying playing to even remember.

May 15, 2007 at 02:57 AM · Yeah I agree with Allan, Dlugolecki strings are so powerful and extremely piercing, I couldn't imagine getting as much volume on synthetics. I never tried Gamut, but apparently Mr. Larson the owner of Gamut strings uses the same Tricolore machines that made Heifetz's strings. One thing to add onto Allan's suggestions: make sure to apply pencil graphite in the grooves (using a sharp pencil). This will better spread out the tension and act as a lubricant.

May 15, 2007 at 05:23 AM · Ooh thank you for the notes and advices. I tried the Larsen tzigane strings (after using dominants for a hwile) and I was like wow, these sound amazing. And today I just put on the new passione strings and surprisingly, they were even bettter! Unbelievably loud and well projecting on my violin... I really like the sound quality... I don't really have many other bows to try, but I don't think I've ever heard my violin sound this great before so Im satisfied : )

May 18, 2007 at 05:59 AM · I just recieved a set of Passiones in the mail. I won't be putting them on just yet as I have a couple weeks of concerts and a competition, but after that things slow down for a bit and I will try them out. Then the world shall receive my $.02 on the matter. Or my 0.014821 euros, if you prefer.

May 18, 2007 at 01:24 PM · I put a new set on two days ago. My immediate reaction was "OMG, these are THE strings", then they must have noticed they were brand-new because they picked up some of that obnoxious new-string sound. It started going away by mid-rehearsal yesterday, and the sound seems to be getting quite nice. I'll give a more detailed report once I've played on them even more.

May 18, 2007 at 02:29 PM · Nicholas and Maura, we await your expert report.

May 18, 2007 at 03:03 PM · OK, here goes:

As of five minutes ago, they have officially settled in. I expect they will continue to improve today and tomorrow, but that nasty new-string sound is gone. It took about 5-6 hours of playing and a day and a half of just sitting on the violin stretching for them to get to this point. Tuning stablilty is now better than any new set of synthetics I've tried, never mind gut.

Sound: very clear and focused, but I would not describe it as "bright" or "brilliant"--to me those words imply a certain shrillness, a metallic cast to the sound, which these strings are mercifully lacking. There is a real smoothness and warmth to the sound, not quite the husky, chocolatey sound I could get with a good set of Olivs, but the upside is they don't have any of the fuzz or muddiness I also sometimes got with Olivs. Basically, if Oliv and Evah Pirazzi got married and had a kid, the resulting combination of their respective best genes would produce Passiones.

I must also add that they feel very nice to play: quick response under the bow, tension just right for clarity and precision while not compromising richness of tone, and something about the purity of the tone makes everything resonate just right--it feels like the Classical ideal of balance, reason, harmony in the universe, but with those tantalizing hints of the approaching Romantic era.

Oh God, you know they must be good when a set of STRINGS can make me that poetic. *slaps self in forehead* I'm going to go practice now....

May 18, 2007 at 04:02 PM · Wow.

May 19, 2007 at 05:40 AM · Maura, your post had me mezmerized.

I hope the strings can do the same!

May 19, 2007 at 03:04 PM · They will. Hmm, maybe I am a poet! ;-)

May 20, 2007 at 12:50 PM · I would like to try these strings but I always thought olivs were expensive and these are another 50% more even than olivs on the only shop I can find them! Guess they must be good!

May 20, 2007 at 02:49 PM · Has anyone tried Pirastro Gold Label? I remember I used them back when I was a student of Friedman and was quite impressed by them. I hardly ever hear them mentioned in the same category as Olive or Eudoxa.

How do these new Passiones rank against plain gut?

May 20, 2007 at 07:55 PM · southwest strings has them for 70 dollars and their olivs sell for 78 dollars. however, prodigy instruments said that theyd get the strings on their website by early to mid june so ima be patient. concord music also said that they would have them a week ago, but they still dont have it. prodigy instruments said that pirastro was WAY behind on its shipments so just be patient and put up with another month of your non-passione strings. thats my $0.02

May 20, 2007 at 08:21 PM · Excellent strings. Stretched about a quarter tone seven or eight times over four days and then stabilized. Full focused tone, very responsive.

May 21, 2007 at 07:19 AM · I agree its best to wait for a while and see what prices develop. Just to give you an idea: the one place I have seen them so far here in the U.K. they are £62 for a set. Thats about $120 U.S. !

May 21, 2007 at 02:19 PM · @dwj

are you based in europe or the US? i heard somewhere that pirastro strings are actually a lot cheaper here than in europe. that said, it might take just as much to ship it over there.

May 22, 2007 at 06:03 PM · Nate--I just put a set of Pirastro gold label on my violin on Friday. If you remember my dilemma in my blog, I had a recital and needed new strings. My luthier suggested the golds b/c he felt they would settle in fairly quickly. They were ok by the recital, I think they would have been better but I didn't have a whole lot of time to practice between the string change and the recital. I have never used these strings before and am very happy with them so far. The send out a very deep, warm sound from my violin, which can be sometimes violently loud. I will hopefully get a set of passiones next and be able to compare those to the golds back to back.

May 22, 2007 at 09:27 PM · Glad to hear that the recital went well Hope! Yes Gold Label is in my opinion the most underrated Pirastro string. It has the sound closest to plain gut and is on another level in my opinion from Pirazzi in terms of volume and quality.

May 22, 2007 at 11:46 PM · Being human and subject to the 'human condition' implies we are basically restless creatures,not fully satisfied with our talents OR our material accumulations...A new string on the market--such as Passione from Pirastro excites our restless spirits to play our violins ever better than in our past... In the meantime,be happy with the strings you already have--for the idea of a new set is not a panacea for our current ability AND the strings you already have are probably more than adequate for at least a few more weeks.

Appreciate the strings that are on now--LATER on you can try others....

HOWEVER,I'll probably try the Passione's also...

I'm looking forward to hearing further reports on these 'new' strings,but maybe in 1 year these strings could just be another chapter of the eternal quest for excellence and the alleviation of restlessness...

In the end--tis the individual player who makes the difference----not the strings involved...

May 23, 2007 at 02:04 AM · i agree. BUT, it is really exciting to get hyped over these while the hype lasts. youre probably right about this just being a fad, but whatever.

May 23, 2007 at 02:32 PM · I have been using Pirastro Chorda gut strings D, A, E, with Olive G and they can make a wonderfully rich and varied tone. But they do change pitch with different temperatures as one might expect. Has anyone here used them?

I use the new Andreas Rosin, which is said to be an improvement and development on the Tartini Rosin, which gives a clearer and more brilliant sound with reduced surface scratching.

My problems are many, being a 'young' violinist of only two years experience, but I'm 55 years old! One main problem I have is getting an instant sound from a new bow stroke rather than a scratch and delayed note; changes of bow direction are never smooth. The string seems to need a deal of nursing. I find bow pressure and lightness of left hand finger pressure difficult to match, but when it comes, it's wonderful, but these occasions are rare. My violin also seems to take 30 minutes to warm up; it likes being 'warmed' in front of a fire and plays best in higher temperatures. It's a hybrid 18th century instrument.

Does anyone have any comments that might be helpful? Thanks so much. Noel

May 25, 2007 at 07:20 AM · I bought some Olives yesterday and changed over last night and suddenly my instrument has come to life, it's a hundred times more responsive with a wonderful rich tone. The instrument seems far easier to play. Within minutes of putting the strings on, there was a marked difference.

It would appear that some strings are not necessarily better than others, but different, and each instrument will have their own preferences. It seems that my violin just love the Olives, despite my wish to stick with plain gut. Horses for courses. I can't wait to get playing again this evening as the change in responsiveness and tone is so exciting.

May 25, 2007 at 08:17 PM · So Noel:

Which gut strings & what gauges were you using?

How old were they?

What specifically do you prefer about the Olivs?

May 25, 2007 at 08:17 PM · Noel,

Bear in mind that pure-gut string vary tremendously between brands, types, and gauges. I am just finishing-up a detailed report on this, but this is not the proper thread. look for my post regarding my pure-gut shoot-out soon. (hint: Gamut super-heavy are probably the best overall trade-off between tone & playability)

Still waiting for my Passione care-package to arrive. I am VERY interested to see how the Passione wound-gut compares to the Dlug, Gamut, Aquila, & Eudoxa wound-G's. I never tried the Oliv, since tht is theoretically too bright to match a pure-gut D-string.

May 25, 2007 at 09:42 PM · For those who HAVE tried the Passiones, how about the E string? Is it any different than any other steel E string?

May 26, 2007 at 02:46 PM · I might be wrong but I don't believe these strings can capture as many colors as plain gut can. Just by looking at the gauge sizes available, I know these Passiones would crack on my fiddle when playing loud.

My Dlugolecki strings (with a Goldbrokat e-string) are extremely stable with pitch and louder (yes louder!) than synthetic Evah Pirazzi strings (made by Pirastro). I suggest to whoever is interested in gut, to go the whole 9 yards and try some plain gut for d&a strings. It will be less costly also, you won't be paying 70$ for a set.

May 26, 2007 at 03:00 PM · I was not happy with the set of Passiones I ordered. Lacked power...

Nate, can you send me a link to Dlugolecki strings? Are they plain gut?

Thanks.

Meanwhile, back to Pirazzi, with a Passione A (although I'm already getting tired of the Pass. A, as well.

Looking for more colors WITH power for my A string.

The Passion E is ok, similar in sound to a Hill. I use a thick Hill, anyway, so I'm back to that. Perhaps if Passion E's came in a thicker guage I might try it.

May 26, 2007 at 02:58 PM · OK, well I found the site for the Dlugolecki strings.

What is 'varnished gut'? and what gauge do you use for your A, Nate? If you don't mind sharing. Thanks!

May 26, 2007 at 07:20 PM · Hi William, I just wrote you an e-mail with Dlugolecki's contact info (www.damianstrings.com).

Regarding the strings, yes they are plain gut d,a, & e strings. He makes a very good silver wound gut g-string. I don't use a gut e-string, he does however make good ones. Goldbrokat is what I use for my e and it goes well with the 3 other gut strings. If you order varnished gut (which I recommend if your hands perspire or you live in a humid climate) Dlugolecki coats the plain gut with a varnish which prolongs the strings life and makes it a bit more durable. I believe the other well known gut string maker (Gamut) does the same. If you order a Pirastro Chorda plain gut string it will not have varnish applied.

For gauges I use the largest ones possible. 18 1/2 (g-string), 22 (d-strings), 17 (a-string). I would not recommend going under 16 1/2 gauge for a-strings or 21 1/2 for d-strings. Thicker gauges I have noticed last longer, are more powerful, and have a great response. I hope that helps.

Nate

May 26, 2007 at 08:09 PM · Yes, Nate! Helps a lot!

One more question: Do they stay in tune?!

Olives are worthless to me, for example, because they don't stay in tune. Maybe I'm just impatient that way...

May 26, 2007 at 08:22 PM · William yes they do stay in tune. Dlugolecki's strings are really a lot more well made (better craftmanship) than some of these string companies (not naming anyone specifically :) ). I just put on a new Dlugolecki set (May 13) and they are very pitch stable. I had that same fear when switching to gut. If you have a back up fiddle I would recommend stretching them maybe on the instrument for a few days before putting them on your main one. When stretching I usually tune them up about a 1/2 tone. After that period they should stay in tune. Also applying graphite to the bridge and nut grooves will improve stability. I remember someone telling me (maybe on here or another board) that his strings are made out of beef gut. That is not true! Dlugolecki's strings are made out of sheep gut. I read the article in Strings Magazine from 1991 about him and it mentioned the materials he used to craft the strings. He also told me first hand he uses sheep/lamb gut.

May 27, 2007 at 12:40 AM · quote: "Dlugolecki's strings are really a lot more well made (better craftmanship) than some of these string companies (not naming anyone specifically :)"

Nate, if you're going to make a statement like that, you really SHOULD state specifically which company you're referring to. Otherwise folks might think negatively of the wrong company.

FWIW, I much prefer the Gamut E to Dlug's, as the former has MUCh less scratchiness.

That may be a moot point as I am considering going back to a steel E. Not sure yet, but if I stick with a gut E it would HAVE to be te Gamut. The Dlug wound-G is abysmal, IMO.

I do like the Dlug D & A, as they are bright & cut well. They are VERY different from the Gamut & Aquila's in the same gauge, but certainly not made with "better craftmanship." The others are softer, with less surface noise and a fuller sound. The Dlugs are a bit more powerful and tight. Neither is better. Depends upon the application.

May 27, 2007 at 04:32 AM · Allan,I'll put it this way, I do not think a gut string can be made any better than Dlugolecki's. I guess I was comparing Dlugolecki's strings to Pirastro Chorda. Dlugolecki's gut strings are far better than Pirastro hands down. There is no comparison. The craftmanship is much more meticulous and detailed on his part. His strings stay more in tune, they have a greater power, come in different gauges -- all things I could NOT find with Chorda. I have to say I've been quite upset with the Chorda strings I have tried they are very frustrating to play on and do not compliment a player very much at all. Perhaps at one time Pirastro manufactured plain gut better, but now there is more of a market for wound strings or synthetics and it seems as if they do not put as much effort into making a really good plain gut string.

PS Allan I wasn't really reviewing gut e-strings, I have not really tried them out enough to form an opinion either way.

May 27, 2007 at 12:05 PM · Hi,

William, past the initial couple of days the strings stay well in tune once warmed up. I think the difference vs Olivs for example is that you are not dealing with seperate materials here, just one.

Cheers!

May 27, 2007 at 07:02 PM · I agree with Christian & Nate. Pure-gut strings are as stable, perhaps even moreso, than wound synthetics. They also break-in almost immediately, tone-wise. You can string-up a fresh set and literally be recording an hour later, though 24 hrs is still a good idea for the most open-sounding 5th position notes.

I wonder how they solved the problem with Passione? Maybe they found a way to cut the winding so that the inner-gut can "slip" a little, thus stabilizing more quickly?

May 27, 2007 at 08:51 PM · I've noticed that Passiones are very sensitive to choice of rosin! A few days ago I was using the very dark Pirastro Oliv/Evah rosin (the kind the Pirastro people themselves suggest for Passiones) and I was really unhappy with the sound and feel of things, I could never find that perfect balance of not too much/not too little rosin, the contact of the bow on the string felt clumsy and awkward...it was just terrible, I was just inches away from falling into the Existential Black Pit of Doom, huddling in the corner and sucking my thumb while whimpering, "it's no use! No strings will ever sound good! My violin hates me! I should ditch the violin, run away to Prague and become an absurdist underground playwright!"

Instead, I tried Pirastro Goldflex rosin, and...zing! Feels better, sounds better, everything works and I love the strings again...

May 28, 2007 at 04:06 AM · greetings,

with all due respect, these days the argument that gut strings are as stable as synthetics is turning rather too emphatically for my taste. There also seems to be a tendency to confuse what is being discussed.

For what my two cents are worth, ther eis no way that plain gut strings are as stable as the established synthetics such as Dominant or Vision. This is not a particlarly negative criticism to my mind. All I see it as, through a long experience of using both kinds, is that all things being equal pure gut will go out of tune by a small amount during the duration of a work much more than dominant , vision or Infeld. Do you seriously belive that gut string will hold their pitch better than the aformentioned synthetics through the first moevemnt of a major cocnerto like the Tchiak, especi9ally in humid conditions. Sorry. It doesn`t happen. See Milstein tuning up his instrument many times during orchestral interludes. This is typical of player susing gut strings.

There is plenty of documnetd and anecdotal evidence to support this. Flesch dicsusses the problem in his ARt of violin playing inlcuding places to retune in the Chaccone. Ricci was a big supporter of Dominant when they came out, famously remarking `Now I cna get through to the end of the Pagnini cocnerto without worrying what my strings are doing.` Thats why one of Heifets`z teaching tehcniques was to readjust studnets strings and make them learn to play in tune whatever the violin wa stuned at. Indeed this technique was a very common part of teaching practice when gut wa sthe main material.

None of this is a refelction on the quality and beauty of gut strings and I also think it has some pedagoci advantages in forcing the player to use his ear at all times instead of relying on muscular memory with a rock hard synthetic string that is not going to budge.

Oliver Steiner wrote about using a gut a and d a few yeras back. He said roughly` just a gut a is great but two gut strings is just too much like walking on eggs for me.` That comes from an experienced performer.

One things for sure though. Mr Dlugolecki is making such a good quality string he has reducd the problem to a minimum and thta makes his product well worth using, but lets not get into fantasy land about what gut can and can`t do.

Cheers,

Buri

One of the i

May 28, 2007 at 06:06 AM · Is the E string on the Passione set "wound"? I have a problem with whistling E's on my favorite violin, and usually have to get a special "wound string". I have heard of some string by Pirastro called a No. 1 "non whistling" string. Has anyone heard of this"

May 28, 2007 at 02:36 PM · Gary the Passione e is steel I believe. I believe the string you might be thinking of is the Kaplan non whistle e. I too had a whistling problem when I lived in humid New Haven and tried this string. It does not work and it has half the sound of a Goldbrokat or Jargar e on my fiddle.

Buri I agree somewhat with what you said about plain gut. I have to report however that Dlugolecki's strings on my fiddle are as stable in pitch (once stretched) compared to the likes of Evah Pirazzi, Dominant, and Infeld Blue (which I have used). I must warn players interested in plain gut that Pirastro Chorda strings do not have that same stability in pitch. The sound of Dlugolecki's plain gut strings blow away any synthetics I have ever used in tonal quality and volume. You brought up a good point on how these gut strings make the player listen more rather than rely on muscular memory to position the hand. That is right on the money.

May 28, 2007 at 03:48 PM · Gary The Passione E is called "Silvery Steel" on the package. I have always liked the Olive gold E and at first though the name was just marketing. I had these strings on a Guarneri copy for a couple week them put them on a 1704 Betts clone I just got. The E string is very sweet and the action much softer compared to the steel e (green black spiral synthetics?)that came with the violin when I bought it. Somehow it feels a little different than other plain steel or gold E strings I have tried also. Could just be the instrument but that's what they are callin it anyway.

May 28, 2007 at 04:41 PM · Many thanks for those comments. I think I will just get the G,D,and A Passiones and keep the E I have (can't remember what it is, but it's a wound E)

May 28, 2007 at 05:07 PM · I liked the sound of the Passione E quite a bit, it had a very sweet sort of cantabile quality, but for some reason my violin absolutely demands a heavy-gauge E or the lower register sounds thin and nasal. So I'm back to Goldbrokat (and actually it sounds better than I remember it.)

May 28, 2007 at 07:57 PM · Pirastro makes the Passiones in 5 different thicknesses, but Southwest Strings seems to sell only the mediums. Also, Pirastro makes ONLY the mediums available as a set. The other weights have to be purchased as individual strings.

Concord Music just started stocking them and sells individual strings in medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy gauges (although they call this gauge "thick"). Alas, they don't seem to have the heavy gauge (17 gauge G string) on their site.

May 28, 2007 at 09:00 PM · So who has the 5 different thicknesses?

May 29, 2007 at 03:04 AM · Buri,

You're right, of course. I should have qualified my statement since I am talking about rather controlled conditions (not much humidity swing.) My bad.

Still, pure gut does stabilize very quickly. That, for me, is a big plus.

May 29, 2007 at 06:15 AM · I will check out Concord Music. I wanted a heavy guage G string, but medium heavy will work. This is a very useful site! I'm glad I signed up. Thank you for the info. When I get my strings, I will post my impressions.

May 29, 2007 at 06:58 PM · I haven't seen all five thicknesses for sale yet. I got the info from the Pirastro website:

www.pirastro.com/homeset.html

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