Back to Strings

February 11, 2008 at 06:20 AM · Hi guys,

a little while ago I wrote in another thread that I thought a well adjusted violin doesn't need any mixing of string brands. It should sound good when you use a whole set of a brand.

But now I am questioning myself a little bit for the sake of it and would like to find out from you in a little survey how much you actually mix and match strings.

If you could let me know, that would be great!


Best regards, hans

Replies (20)

February 11, 2008 at 01:34 PM · I have been trying and trying strings for years. I just got a new violin, and the process started all over again. Here's my findings for my 2007 German Guarneri copy that I am almost completely satisfied with:

Passione E: excellent sweetness, projection, and ring

Dominant A: colorful, woody (in a good way), focused, but rich

Infeld Blue D: extremely colorful, rich, warm, great complex harmonic overtones

Dominant G: juicy, rich, medium-loud

I'm not quite happy with the G, although it does sound quite rich, so I've left it alone for now. If anyone responds with suggestions for me, I'd really appreciate it!

February 11, 2008 at 02:04 PM · when mixings strings, is there a concern for creating harmonics that are shades off here and there?

to put it another way, lets say you have used one particular D strings, thus your mind/body has developed a set of "positions" for each pitch along the D string. when you switch to a new D string, does the interpitch spacing change a little?

February 11, 2008 at 01:52 PM · Seems to me that the whole problem is obfuscated by the lack of information and understanding about the actual tensile loading of the various strings, as well as zero information regarding the tensile stress of the core of wound strings.

Instead of a rationally based analysis of string behavior based on these important fundamental physical aspects, we have to muddle our way through anecdote after anecdote.

Furthermore, "brands" of strings rarely come in more than three gages available, and often fewer than that. By comparison, plain gut strings are available in an infinite range of gages. And as brand x isn't giving enough information to compare to brand y on tension aspects, you are lkeft out in the dark. In other words, a "stark" isn't always as "stark." (Stark means heavy).

I don't know that there will ever be a solution to this obfuscation problem. Open information works against the "proprietary special nature" marketing aspects.

February 11, 2008 at 06:22 PM · Bilbo, I know the issue is quite confusing, but I would just like to get sense of what people use like Tasha wrote (thanks!), What combinations do you play? You don't even need to write much, just the string names.....

Thanks, hans

February 11, 2008 at 07:20 PM · Glad I could help, Hans!

February 11, 2008 at 08:15 PM · I use Dominants with a Larsen E in my violins. For my violas I use Evahs with a Larsen A. I don't know a professional who uses the Dominant E on a violin and the Dominant A on a viola. But some musicians are using the 4 Evahs.

February 11, 2008 at 08:43 PM · My current set up is Kaplan Solutions for the E, Evah Pirazzi A, and Oliv D and G.

I feel most strongly about the E, because with any other brand I whistle like crazy while playing something like the Brahms Concerto. The Oliv D and G are the best compromise, in my opinion, of tone and power. I briefly tried a Dlugolecki G, but then the tone of D and G were too different. (I believe Dlugolecki only offers D as open gut--correct me if I'm wrong.) I use a synthetic A because I already have to tune the violin every twenty minutes for the D and G, and I don't want to have to take a new A every time I do this as well. Pirazzi is really just a remnant of my old all-Pirazzi set up, rather than a specific preference for that string.

February 12, 2008 at 12:48 AM · For my violin, I use Infeld Red G, D, and A and a Goldbrokat E. The sound is rich and warm and is nicely complemented by the E.

Another nice combination I have used on a different violin has been the Goldbrokat E with Dominants.

The challenge is that strings that the violin plays a major part in pairing with the strings for sound and tone production. So each violin may perform best with different combinations.

February 12, 2008 at 12:45 AM · I know quite a few luthier's that "cross brand" their strings.


C -- Spirocore

G -- Corelli Alliance

D -- Corelli Alliance

A -- Larsen


Cellist wise

C -- Spirocore or Helicore

G -- Spirocore or Helicore

D -- Larsen or Helicore

A -- Lersen or Helicore

February 12, 2008 at 12:25 PM · Great! Please keep them coming in.

Luis Claudio, I agree about the dominant E.

(and the A for viola)

When I mentioned having used Dominant on my new violins I actually ment the 3 bottom strings. I keep changing the E strings.

cheers hans

February 12, 2008 at 01:07 PM · Hi,

I am not a fan of the Dominant E, but it works on some violins. My experience shows that most often, on most violins, it is best to use the same brand and gauge for the A, D, G and find an E that works for that combination on your instrument (can be from the same brand or another brand). But I guess with some violins, different matches might work.

The issue with gut strings is different, especially plain gut, where you have to find a combination of gauges that bring the instrument to life through the proper combination of tensions in the right places. That was/is acheived through experimentation. I guess that is what Bilbo was refering to.


February 12, 2008 at 02:46 PM · Christian is correct in his interpretation of what I said regarding tension balancing.

The strings I currently use:

E: Varnished gut, Dlugolecki 12.5 ga.

A: Varnished gut, Dlugolecki 16 ga.

D: Varnished gut, Dlugolecki, 21 ga.

G: Silver-wound gut: Eudoxa 15.75 ga.

February 12, 2008 at 03:02 PM · For my Strad model:

Synthetic - medium Dominants with a medium Goldbrokat E.

Gut - Larson Academie Heavy+ E, Heavy+ A, Heavy+ GIMPED D, Pirastro Gold Label G. WOW, what tone! Practical in changing enviromental conditions? Don't know, yet

February 12, 2008 at 03:47 PM · I use for A,D,G Obligato and for E Larsen.I can recommend it.

p.s.Do you know some music shops from Chicago(which are also the online shops)where I could buy strings?especially in lower prices.


February 12, 2008 at 03:47 PM · I use for A,D,G Obligato and for E Larsen.I can recommend it.

p.s.Do you know some music shops from Chicago(which are also the online shops)where I could buy strings?especially in lower prices.


February 12, 2008 at 09:02 PM · Thanks for the new string cominations, it is interesting to read. Any more out there?


February 12, 2008 at 10:24 PM · Tasha,

I really like the Obligato G. In fact, I think it is my favorite G for my violin. Maybe you should try it with your current combination. Maybe it will work well.

P.S. Tasha,

I had posted a question in the last string thread about my bow sliding all over with my new tonica strings, and you had suggested the problem might have been my rosin. Well, I got new rosin and everything is fine. I think my old rosin was pretty dried out. Thanks for the suggestion, you saved me quite a bit of violin smashing!!

February 13, 2008 at 03:13 AM · Hope,

I have been considering Obligato... my only concern is the variant in tension causing the set to go out of whack, but it might be worth a try! However, my violin did sound very good today in my lesson... who knows! What's your string setup?

I'm so glad the rosin tip has helped! Congrats on conquering that particular demon.

February 13, 2008 at 09:59 AM · I use Dominants, but I have never been satisfied with the E, on more than one instrument. I'm getting ready to try out a Goldbrokat E. I feel pretty cool about that. Famous dead people used that string, or so I've read.

February 13, 2008 at 02:51 PM · Hi everyone,

I appreciate your efforts writing your choices of strings, but I don´t quite want to give up,

there must still be hundreds of you out there mixing strings......

Wouldn´t you like to share it with us?

thanks hans

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