Helicore Strings

March 5, 2008 at 04:41 PM · What does everyone think of Helicore strings? What are its pros and cons compared to Dominants?

Replies (22)

March 5, 2008 at 07:29 PM · Sean,

I started with Dominants, and switched to Helicore strings on the advice of a local luthier. I then went back to Dominants before switching to Eudoxa gut strings for good.

Helicore strings are extremely pitch stable and, for a metal core string, have a pretty warm sound. On the violin I was playing at the time, Dominant strings were more bright and more open than Helicore strings, but there really wasn't a clear favorite between the two.

I guess that, were I in your position, I would go with Dominant strings simply due to their popularity, which must say something about the merits of Dominant strings. However, if you play old-time fiddle more so than classical music, Helicore strings may be the clear choice as in that realm I believe Helicore is the more popular option.

Chris

March 8, 2008 at 02:11 AM · The width of the Heliocore's,I could not accustimize to.

They are half the width of a *normal* string.

Since they are thinner than normal,they have a tendency to sink into the bridge and in this way are somewhat difficult to play.

They sound great,but to adjust to a much narrower width seemed unbearable to me.

March 8, 2008 at 02:43 AM · I don't generally care for steel strings, but I will say that Helicores worked exceptionally on my childrens' 1/2 and 3/4 size violins. They had a nice warm sound that I don't usually associate with steel strings.

March 8, 2008 at 02:51 AM · Chromcor [Pirastro] work very well-for a set of steels.

March 8, 2008 at 04:55 AM · It depends on the instrument, and the player, and what he/she wants to do. Different instruments respond differently to different strings. No one string is the "perfect" string for all instruments. Some strings are more stiff and resistant, some more flexible. Some have brighter tone, some darker. As far as Helicore are concerned, they are fine strings. I use them on one of my violas. I also use Dominant, Corelli, Prim, Kaplan, and Eudoxa. Different strings for different instruments. When I get an instrument I start out with what's already on it. If I'm not satisfied with the sound, I may try other strings untl I get the desired result.

March 8, 2008 at 03:07 PM · I'm trying Helicore now. I had Dominants on before, and I've been disappointed with the G of the Helicores.

March 10, 2008 at 09:40 PM · It seems like there are no such thing as a "perfect string set." I've tried Tzigane recently and I've only kept the A-string with Dominant G&D with Hill E. At least it wasn't total waste of $60. lol

March 11, 2008 at 03:37 PM · I have Helicore medium-tension strings with a wound E string, and I love how they sound, respond, and feel.

They're very pliable, easy to stop, and on my rather dark-sounding instrument, they produce an almost breathy, saxaphone-ish voice in the lower registers, yet they don't become ear-splitting in the higher registers. They seem well balanced in their tone, and I've found I get quite a bit more projection with them than I did with Dominants.

For pitch stability, they're excellent. When I play a lot, I might have to tune them about once a week, but when I go long periods without really playing beyond practicing, I can go as long as a month without having to tune. Granted, there's about a month of break-in time for them to reach such a point of stability, but even during this time, you don't have to tune them nearly as often as you do other strings.

Their thinner gauge also makes it easier to do double-stops without accidentally stopping the adjacent string when performing them close to the nut, where my somewhat wide fingertips tended to have problems with thicker strings.

Of course, their power might not be suitable for many classical pieces, as it is admittedly difficult to pull a very quiet, soft tone from them when needed (it's not impossible...just difficult), but I'm more into other styles of music anyway, and they work great for all of those.

I was very surprised that metal strings (I say metal, because, though the core may be steel, they're wound in silver--G, titanium--D, and aluminum--A and E) could produce such a velvety sound, and where such strings go, I have to say it might be hard to beat Helicores. I haven't tried the heavy or light tension varieties yet, and perhaps will never feel the need, but I definitely recommend giving Helicores a try, no matter which tension you choose.

March 19, 2008 at 02:23 AM · I think the Helicore engineers are geniuses. I just bought more! They're not like any other metal core-- I think it's a weave of thinner, extra pliable strands, but I don't really know. Extraordinarily comfortable, easy-playing, versatile, colorful, resonant, responsive strings. Yet, despite all the flexibility, which I imagine would wear out and change pitch rather soon, I've found them very stable and durable as well. I have a pretty nice 1929 American-made but somewhat bright and stiff-souding violin-- helicores saved it!! I love their ease of grab by the bow-- the rich, extra-vivid, tactile three-dimensionality of their large playing arena under the bow... :-)

Yeah-- nearly worthless to talk about strings... depends how and where and why you play, what sound you want or need, and profoundly on what your other equipment is...

Meanwhile, Helicores are domestic and almost downright cheap, so what excuse is there for not experimenting with them?

Oh-- yeah-- I'm still using Hill e strings with the Helicore G-D-A's... except when I was using complete sets of Dlugolecki gut strings (on this same violin) (I loved talking and working with Dlugolecki-- I found him a great guy, albeit twelve years ago-- who knows-- things happen) I haven't been satisfied with e's that came with a set for nearly twenty years now...

April 1, 2008 at 09:37 AM · I use Helicores on my violin, I am impressed with the response and the stability of the strings.

As for being domestic and cheap I wish I had that privilege, the cost of strings domestically is prohibitive and it is not unusual to pay $170 for a set of obligatos or helicores.

The responsiveness is important as my violin is a little different than most, it was made to be played as a soloists instrument and by sheer luck the bass bar has never been adjusted.

The helicores allow me to play fff and ppp with great emotion without sacrificing sound quality.

April 11, 2008 at 10:08 PM · Helicores have a robust sound, flexible like a synthetic, and are priced right. One caveat for me is the relatively short life span. The A and D strings have a tendency to unravel or flat out break within a month or two, tarnish quickly, and lose their warmth during that time also.

I much prefer Thomastik strings in general. They always seem to last forever for me, although, I've heard others say they have been just the opposite for them. Dominants can be a be "thin" or "metallic" sounding for some, but generally do pretty well on most instruments.

The Thomastik Spirocores are in the same category as Helicores, but are a better quality string in my opinion. A bit more refined sounding and longer lasting. I've got a set on right now and it probably won't be my last. If you like Helicores, there's a good chance you'll like Spirocores more.

April 16, 2008 at 11:37 PM · In my taste, They sound horrible. Yes, they're very loud. But it lacks the sweetness and the range of sound.

April 18, 2008 at 10:27 AM · I have a student who showed up one day with Helicores that someone else put on for her. Neither of us knew what they were, but I kept asking her what they were because they were very stable and playable, plus they still haven't worn out (she tends to go through strings quickly).

I'm not ready to try them on my own violin, but I thought they were a great match for smaller, less expensive violins. ...not to say they wouldn't work on full size, it's just I haven't tried them yet.

April 18, 2008 at 02:08 PM · My 5-string violin from International came with Helicores and they seem to be very playable strings, even the G sring can be played all the way to the top. I even used the 5-string for one rehearsal of the Mendelssohn "Midsummer Night's Dream" suite to see how well it could handle the pianissimo spiccato passages of the overture. At least on this fiddle, the Heilcores are fully capable and sound good. Perhaps not the same overtone strength (and possibly carrying power) of European-made strings costing twice as much or more, but I have not tested that at all. The fiddle does have a very sweet sound that seems strong enough.

Andy

April 18, 2008 at 09:30 PM · I have had generally good experience with Helicores. I have a Wiplstix travel violin (www.wiplstix.com), and it came alive (well, as much as a violin that's 2" wide can come alive) when I installed Helicores. Much better quality sound and clarity. Dominants are too thick and fuzzy for that instrument, and other steel strings sounded whiny and shrill.

After doing some research, I also put Helicores on a student viola to decrease its response time. The viola sounds fine, but there's much less of a tonal difference between the Dominants it had when I got it and its new Helicores. On the other hand, since I'm a confirmed violinist, not a violist, the thinner gauge Helicore viola strings feel very nice. And the Helicore C string has some pretty good "oomph" to it, given the modest characteristics of the instrument it's on.

And yes, on both instruments, once they've settled in, these are *very* pitch-stable strings.

April 19, 2008 at 12:10 AM · the helicores gauge of width

is way too narrow for me

to accommodate

i rest my case.

January 8, 2017 at 10:08 PM ·

January 8, 2017 at 10:15 PM · The Helicores have been steady, reliable and less likely to do the e-string squeakidy squeak squeakin. I was marketed towards the more expensive Dominants and Eva's but the Helicores work well from Classical to Fiddling on most of my instruments without the extra expense. They tend to be very stable and last without losing their integrity for a good year or so. Longer if I remember to wipe them down after playing. They haven't dug into any of my bridges or nuts more than any other strings and they are inexpensive enough to share with other players who inadvertently break a string. They have often commented on "that is a really nice string, what kind was it". Perhaps more because their other string was about to give up the ghost but the Helicores have never disappointed.

January 8, 2017 at 10:34 PM · Personally find the helicores to be too bright on violin, I'm partial to a dark sound. I run helicores on my viola and Peter Infeld with gold-plated E on my violin.

January 9, 2017 at 01:38 PM · They seem to have ousted Spirocores in terms of poularity. According to Shawn Broucke's chart they are amongst the highest tensioned strings.

January 11, 2017 at 02:37 PM · The tension of the violin strings might be considered high, based on the numbers on D'Addario's site, but I wouldn't say that's true of the viola strings, even compared to many synthetics.

January 11, 2017 at 11:36 PM · They certainly make my viola "boom"! (It's a wide 15.45") I've put Tonicas on it now, so it can breathe.

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