GUT STRINGS

December 8, 2007 at 07:00 PM · I can't wait.. i have to try gut, i want to know the difference.

what gut string would you recommend for an old dark sounding violin? i have read that euduxa work well on old germans, and that is what i have.

and i'm curious, is there a difference when it comes to sound quality? if you use gut, please share your oppinion, what makes you wanna play them?

Replies (30)

December 8, 2007 at 07:07 PM · I've switched all my violins from Oliv to Passione...Passione are absolutely wonderful strings. For my violins, the strings sound nearly the same but do not need the frequent tuning that Olivs may need. I think it's always silly to chat about strings though as all violins and players are different. Grab a couple different sets and try each for a month.

December 8, 2007 at 07:13 PM · pirastro chorda pure gut a and e are like dominants for modern violins. They are widely used but offer a rich deep sound. Try them.

December 8, 2007 at 07:13 PM · I also would recommend Passione; they're by far my favorites of all the gut strings I've tried (I've also played on Eudoxas and Olivs.) Eudoxas were a little muddy on my violin and a bit too low-tension for my taste, while Olivs just went out of tune too bloody often. Passiones stay in tune as well as synthetics but have all the warmth and complexity of gut--absolutely fantastic.

December 8, 2007 at 08:51 PM · Sarah - you have gotten some interesting responses but remember that all strings sound different on different violins. Therefore, do not rely much on opinions about strings from people who do not have your violin.

December 8, 2007 at 09:02 PM · Although for what it's worth, Passiones sounded great on my old violin AND my new one. Worth a try, anyway.

December 8, 2007 at 09:25 PM · I'm with Mara Passiones are by far my favorite after switching from Eudoxas.

December 8, 2007 at 10:07 PM · Personally, I like Eudoxa far better than Olive or Passione. This can vary from instrument to instrument, as well as violinist to violinist.

The important thing, in my view, is to recognize that there is a learning period in going from synthetic to gut. Likely, many violinists have cheated themselves by trying gut strings for the first time, and evaluating them without first letting the strings teach them how they are to be played. Add to that--the strings take a couple of days to stabilize in pitch. So the impatient violinist wil get a completely wrong impression of them if he is in too much of a hurry!

December 8, 2007 at 10:29 PM · We have a late 19th century German violin that was converted to baroque. It came with Pirastro Chordas, but they just didn't cut it; noisy, whistling and generally unpleasant. Took the fiddle to Michael Weller, and he advised Eudoxa, and messed about with the sound post a lot. It sounds better now, but a lot of the early noise might well have been bow-related. I've been advised that bows that sound good with modern strings may well be unsuitable for gut. (This is not to imply that you must have a baroque bow; just that you might need a different bow to get a decent sound).

We have an old no-name violin with mouse-eated f-holes and ugly revarnished finish. Put a set of Passiones on it, and it is terrific. TERRIFIC.

Expect to experiment.

December 8, 2007 at 11:05 PM · Weller in VA? The one who works with Don Cohen?

I agree, Chordas do whistle a bit.

December 9, 2007 at 02:12 AM · Mr. Steiner, I completely agree. Gut strings require a different approach to bow technique in my experience. When I temporarily switched back to synthetics after getting my new violin last summer, I eventually found myself having to play with what I then felt was a somewhat crude bowing style.

December 9, 2007 at 02:17 AM · Brian Chordas for the most part are not very good strings. They come in very small gauges, you cannot get a sound out of them unless you special order the larger gauges. Perhaps many years ago they were made better when they were in greater demand. Pirastro makes excellent wound gut though (Oliv, Eudoxa, and Passione). If you want plain gut, I'd HIGHLY recommend Gamut Academie strings (www.gamutstrings.com). They stay more in tune than all the other plain gut I've used and have a beautiful sound! Also I'd recommend getting the strings varnished for the extra .50. The varnished plain gut strings last a little longer and have better pitch stability on my violin.

December 9, 2007 at 02:39 AM · Hey, thanks, Nate! I'll try those strings for my top two strings. What should I use for my lower strings-Passione or Eudoxa?

December 9, 2007 at 02:57 AM · I like Damian Dlugolecki's silver-wound gut G-strings but they are more "live" or "raw" sounding on my fiddle than the eudoxa, Also the eudoxa heavies are not as heavy as the 18-1/2 gage Dlugolecki as far as I can tell. I haven't tried Daniel Larson's silverwound gut G.

Nate: I know you've used both Damian's and Daniel's strings. What led you to choose the latter?

December 9, 2007 at 05:42 AM · Sarah,

Since you describe your violin as dark, I'd suggest starting with Passiones. They are the brightest of all the gut strings I've tried (I've tried them all except for Chorda and Gold Label) and that's on at least five separate violins.

I'm mostly using pure-gut (and mostly Gamut) but my darkest fiddle likes Passione. Pure gut are richer & fatter, but not as "zippy."

December 9, 2007 at 06:25 AM · "I like Damian Dlugolecki's silver-wound gut G-strings but they are more "live" or "raw" sounding on my fiddle than the eudoxa, Also the eudoxa heavies are not as heavy as the 18-1/2 gage Dlugolecki as far as I can tell. I haven't tried Daniel Larson's silverwound gut G.

Nate: I know you've used both Damian's and Daniel's strings. What led you to choose the latter? "

Two people over the summer recommended the Oliv G to me which I have been very happy with. As far as the reason behind my switch to Larson, I think the main one was the overall sound I was able to draw out from these Larson strings. I feel on my instrument there's a bit more focus and center with the Larson plain gut. Also as far as the left hand goes, with the Dlugolecki varnished strings, I felt the strings were a little too slippery for my liking, the Gamut varnished strings have a little more traction which I prefer.

December 9, 2007 at 06:39 AM · Brian Hong wrote, "Hey, thanks, Nate! I'll try those strings for my top two strings. What should I use for my lower strings-Passione or Eudoxa?"

Hi Brian, I personally don't like plain E's. For modern performance they aren't very realistic in my opinion. For the last 100-120 years or so, the majority of players have moved towards using steel E's even the ones using gut. If you want to play in the period baroque style, that's a different story. As far as a combination to try, the Heifetz set up (wound G, plain d&a, steel E) or the Milstein set up (wound G&D, plain a, steel e) are good choices. Oliv and Eudoxa are good wound gut strings. With plain gut I would not recommend getting small gauges if you are playing the standard lit. The thicker the gauge string, the more weight it will be able to take. The Chordas you were using usually come in 14 1/2 PM (A-string), 19 1/2 PM (D-string). Those gauges are for someone using a baroque bow! I would not recommend using anything much under 16 1/2 PM for the A or 21 1/2 PM for the D.

Unlike Dlugolecki, Gamut uses MM instead of PM (Pirastro Measurement) to measure the gauge so in order to find the PM divide the MM by .05 which will get you the PM of the string.

December 9, 2007 at 06:38 PM · Thanks for your concern Nate! I am talking about my baroque violin, though. Right now, the top two strings are Chordas. Sounds a bit tight, but if I draw the bow right a gorgeous sound comes out. I will try the Gamut Strings. Thank you so much for your help. But, with string has a darker sound-Passione or Eudoxa?

December 11, 2007 at 11:16 PM · Hi Brian,

I actually don't know the answer to your question. I've tried the Eudoxa but not the new Passiones. I would say compared to the Eudoxa strings, Olivs have a "darker" sound. Yes I'm glad to hear you'll try Gamut. Super strings! You'll be getting fresh new strings from them, whereas with some other places, I suspect the gut has been sitting around for years.

December 12, 2007 at 06:10 AM · Did anybody try Golden Spiral Solo? I've been using Evah pIrazzis and wanted to try gut because everybodysays that guts are the best strings. Golden Spirals are cheap and Pirastro gold label. Hows gold label? I might try the E strings of Golden Spiral or gold label with pirazzis

December 12, 2007 at 03:52 PM · I'm using the Pirastro Gold label "E" string and love it! It's been on for two months and still sounds fresh!

December 13, 2007 at 01:10 AM · I've heard good things about the Gold Label E. I have used the wound gut Gold Label G,D,& A. They do produce a nice warm sound, the drawback with Gold Label is the pitch stability which is extremely poor. The Pirastro Oliv and Eudoxa are much better strings.

December 13, 2007 at 07:12 AM · I know from experience that setup needs to change when switching between metal and synthetics.

What violin setup changes are needed for gut strings?

And the bow? do guts need a different bow from syntheitcs?

December 13, 2007 at 02:15 PM · I didn't do anything to my violin when switching to gut strings neither did I switch to a different bow. With the bow, I have found that you don't have to use as great a tension with gut strings to get a tone. In regard to the instrument, if anything the gut strings put less strain on the pegs and tailpiece than synthetics. The plain gut strings are much easier to tune than synthetics because the gut strings don't have as much tension. I did stop using peg lubricant made by Hill cause the plain gut would slip off while installing. If you use peg lubricant with gut strings use it sparingly.

December 14, 2007 at 04:04 AM · Brian; yes, Michael Weller of Alexandria. A wonderful helpful fellow, and extremely knowledgeable.

December 14, 2007 at 07:17 PM · Pirastro claims that you do not need to change the bridge if you switch from synthetics to the new Passione gut strings.

Other gut string, such as Eudoxas need a lower bridge.

December 14, 2007 at 07:54 PM · Whether the bridge needs to be lowered etc--wouldn't that depend on more than merely changing from or to gut? I would think the tensile stress on the string, and it's modulus would have more to do with it. If the string vibrates through a wider catenary, then the bridge would have to be raised--but you can have thick gut, or thin gut and everywhere in between ,and so the answer would be: "it depends". Yes?

(I didn't change nor feel the need to change bridge height when I put on real gut 2 years ago.)

December 15, 2007 at 02:29 PM · Bilbo, you are correct that it all depends. There is no set rule because different violins are different. However, a general rule is that the tension on Eudoxas and other gut strings are low and need a different bridge than, say, Evahs which have a high tension. But again, no rule is rigid.

Passione strings, however, are balanced enough between gut and synthetic so that you do not need to lower the bridge to use them. You can also more-easily mix Passione strings with synthetic string, in theory, than more traditional gut strings.

December 15, 2007 at 07:57 PM · Why would higher tension strings require a higher bridge?

December 15, 2007 at 08:18 PM · *I second what Bilbo just asked, why a higher bridge with higher tention strings?

*My 4/4 violin was manufactured about a year or two ago. I Have Dominants G D A & as mentioned earlier Pirastro Gold Label E. My violin is incredibly "Bright", as bright as brass sound wise. I would like the sound warmer and toned down. From what I have read in this facinating thread the Gut strings (Olivs??) may tone the sound down as well as warm it up? The E is fine as it is! Best sounding string on the damn thing.

February 24, 2010 at 12:28 AM ·

I know this is a late addition but Daniel Larsen has a set of strings with a demi-filee 3rd and a silk wrap G that is great. The problem is they rip you off on the shipping. Typical! The Obligato G is great even though it is not true gut. I have a Baroque violin and it is very bright and I love gut strings. I have gut strings on my modern violin and it sounds fabulous! Pirastro Chordas are garbage.Get into the specialty strings for Baroque players. Randy

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