What's wrong with Dominant E?

June 22, 2008 at 11:21 PM · I don't see anyone using both Dominant E. On the other hand, I see a bunch of Pirastro Gold label and Goldbrokat users....

Replies (28)

June 23, 2008 at 12:56 AM · Dominants Es are not good, they are not used by professionals. I prefer Larsen or Jargar Es...

June 23, 2008 at 01:02 AM · The consensus is as Luis says, there are far better Es out there. With most liking the Gold label or Larsen or Goldbrokat.

Most people, once they try one of the other above E strings never string a Dominant E again.

June 23, 2008 at 01:09 AM · There are two Dominant E strings. One is a tape-wound string (look very closely and you'll see the winding), with a weak, slippery sound that's usually used only on problem cheap instruments that would act better with a decent setup but aren't destined to get one. The other is unwound, and isn't particularly special, there being many other better-sounding strings for less money.

On the other hand, the Pirastro Gold Label is a strong string with a firm, stable sound that nevertheless isn't out of balance with the others, and the Goldbrokat is dirt cheap with nearly the quality of the Pirastro. . . or better, on some violins.

June 23, 2008 at 02:03 AM · well,

for build-quality, I have found the Dom E to be durable and low squeek.

for sound-quality, I have found it to be powerful, but harsh. definitely something to avoid using.

as others say, the Jargar Forte has worked best for sound, but it seems to have more squeek and less durability.

given that no one seems to like the Dom E, I am mystified why Tomastik does not improve their E string! such lack of care of customers drives me to use other strings.

June 23, 2008 at 02:10 AM · It could possibly be that the low-squeek quality of the string works well for people who buy their strings in boxed sets from the music store, and more sophisticated buyers know to pick and choose their E. That way they capture the low end with a one-stop product that's seen on loads of famous violins but do so with a packaged product that works on any VSO. More sophisticated buyers simply buy individual strings and choose a better E. It's a clever way to catch a wider market share, while giving everyone what they need.

June 23, 2008 at 02:19 AM · I just don't like the dominant e on most violins I've tried it/heard it on.

I like Gold Label and Passione E strings best.

June 23, 2008 at 07:17 AM · Dominants are so overrated. I switched to Larsens recently and never looked back.

June 23, 2008 at 12:55 PM · I agree with Dominant being overrated. I tried Tonicas recently, and they're far superior on my instrument, IMHO.

June 23, 2008 at 01:12 PM · Why don't you try one? They are not that expensive. On my violin, the Dominant E was just too .. dominant. It was loud and its sound did not mix with the other strings.

But on yours it could be different.

Hope this helps,


June 23, 2008 at 01:20 PM · My violin first came strung with Dominants. After a month or so I switched to the Obligato Steel E string because I found the Dominant E was too harsh and tinny a sound. The Dominant had also started to unwind. As soon as I put the Obligato E on, the open string gave a richer, fuller sound that was balanced against the other strings.

There are better E strings than the Dominant E, and it's worth experimenting with different Es to find a string that sounds good on your fiddle.

June 23, 2008 at 01:52 PM · I thought the E that comes when you buy a a set of Dominants was essentially non-descript. Just you plain ol' average E. i don't use Dominants with any regularlity any more, but I tend to hand the E's off to kids playing on rentals if the set price is less than buying G,D,A individual strings. Sue

June 23, 2008 at 03:04 PM · i use the new dominant infield vienna and all of the strings seem to work well with my violin: a deep and rich warm tone.

June 23, 2008 at 07:13 PM · Eitan,

The Viennese Melange set uses a completely different E string than the Dominant E string. I think it's the Vision thick E? Glad it works for you!

June 23, 2008 at 07:56 PM · Dom E works for me, I always buy the full set and strung them up. A little on the edgy side and doesn't sound round/full enough but at the same time it doesn't sound harsh on my violin either.

June 23, 2008 at 08:23 PM · Lots of people here trashing Dominant E. However, I use the wound E because it minimizes squeaks. It works, has a nice dark sound, and lasts.

June 24, 2008 at 12:06 AM · Back in March I switched to Larsen Tzigane strings and gave them the benefit of the doubt. I lost warmth, complexity, fewer beautiful overtones.... I put the Dominants back on yesterday and low and behold, gorgeous sound! Gave eviolin by Thomastik... stiff and lost depth. Put an old Gold label Wondertone back on, need a new one. So far it's been the best combination for me.

June 24, 2008 at 08:58 PM · Hi Sora - thanks for posing this question. Ignorance is bliss, right? I've been happily playing (professionally) on dominant E's for at least a year now, as that is what my violin came setup with and I didn't think about it too much. I did try a set of Evah's, but my violin hated them, or maybe I didn't really quite understand how to use them... in any case I went back to the Dominants.

I also noticed the posts about string combos, but was pretty happy until I read about how crappy people think those E's are, then I started thinking about it, and realized I do want more out of the E. So.. I bought a Jargar medium and a Westminster Chime True under the advice of my friend.

So far... the Jargar. is. Wow. I also put on a Infeld Blue G string and... I don't know if my Dominants needed replacement or what, but the Blue is a really nice change of pace, a lot more lively. So I went ahead and got a Blue A and D.

I think I will still go in for my first annual soundpost adjustment though.

June 24, 2008 at 09:33 PM · I actually think the Evah is kinda overrated - none of the violin equipped with Evah pleased me, even the one equipped on a REAL Caccarssi (not sure which Caccarssi though but it's a fine violin, but I just don't like the way it sound with Evah). Am I missing something?

Oh and the infelds are very nice, and doesn't have that harsh sound with the regular dominant when first strung up, you know, that powerful but edgy sound which will disappear after a day or two.

Maybe I'll try the Tonica, since most of my friends moved from Dom to Tonica. How's the Tonic E anyway?

June 28, 2008 at 10:58 AM · Hm, I loved Evah until Pirastro came out with Wondertone. My favorite thing about Evahs were the E, though. Before Evahs, I tried Eudoxa, Olive (the entire set sounded awful and broke within a month. I hated the E I had at that time, but it wasn't of the same set) and Obligato, which all were too dark for my instrument. All were an improvement upon dominants for me, with the exception of the Olives, but I think I got a bad set. I absolutely love the Wondertone E and the entire set miraculously works well together on my instrument. That slogan Pirastro puts on their packages about being so happy you can't stop playing is right.

But if the dominant E is what suits you best, there's nothing wrong with that... just shop around a bit before you make up your mind. Es are cheap enough that if you don't like one, it's not a big deal.

June 29, 2008 at 05:42 AM · dominant e's are terrible strings.

get over it.

There are good string and bad ones. Dominant e's are miserable strings. Why they dont fix them is beyone me.

Just buy a better e string. Almost anything is better.

June 30, 2008 at 12:01 PM · Hi,

I've tried a lot of E-strings and have not yet found one I completely like. Currently, I'm using the Vision Titanium Solo by Thomastik-Infeld (Dominant is one of their brands) and find it very squeek-prone. I've read that in former times people would not play an open E-string (not so much for it's blatant sound but for fear of it not responding). In my experience, this string is the first that poses that problem.

I've tried Pirastro No 1, Evah Pirazzi Gold, the one that comes with the Eudoxa and Olive sets (both wound and unwound), Larsen and Nürnberger Künstlersaiten.

The one I like best (and will return to once the expensive titanium experiment will be over) is Pirastro Wondertone Solo.

The E I liked most so far is pure gut - unfortunately not an option since they break so darn fast; but again: what a treat for the fingers of the left hand.

My teachers swears by Dominants - but doesn't use their E-strings either.

Bye, Jürgen

June 30, 2008 at 10:17 PM · any kaplan users?

June 30, 2008 at 10:33 PM · Greetings,

you know, the thing that really has been intriguing me recenlty is the symphonic repertoire and its connection to the e sring...how`s taht for nerdy ness. It seems to me ther eare an awful lot of ather akward passages in the reprtoire that would be extrmeley easy and effective with open e`s assuming that a gut was being used. Not advocating gut e`s but it often striles me that composers such as Dvorak who knew the instrument of the time really well wrote passages that included open strings without a qualm and it is only at ths later date we now have problems becaus eof the obtrusive sound of modern e strings.



July 1, 2008 at 01:26 PM · Why doesn't someone make a really really good e string? Something combining the tension and feel of gut but using modern materials. It needs to be strong and durable and have a good sound.

It seems that change often occurs in the direction of correcting a deficiency or addressing a complaint.

I would imagine that violinists complained bitterly that their gut e strings broke all the time so the solution was a steel e string that was really strong. Everybody was probably very happy that they didn't have to worry about their e string breaking anymore.

Now, after how many years, we may have reached the point of seriously asking for a well designed good sounding e string that is way better than any existing e string.

Come on, string manufacturers, do it!

I would ask for everyone here to list the characteristics of their ideal e string. What you want to have, not what you don't like. The e string is already the cheapest string of the set so don't include cost. It probably won't be cheap. But it has to sound good. Very, very good.

July 1, 2008 at 02:46 PM · In response to Michael's suggestion, I list the following E string requirements:

1. Sweet

2. Projecting/clear

3. Ringing

4. Low tension (easy to play)

5. Not prone to squeaking

6. Blends well with lots of sets of strings (like Pirastro's Gold Label, which is my current favorite)

7. Sounds good on a variety of instrument types.

8. Colorful

I'm sure I should say another criteria, but I'm not coming up with any...

July 1, 2008 at 03:46 PM · There are plenty of good E strings. You just need to know how to use them. If there were not good E strings and all were bad then every time Heifetz, Stern, Perlman, Vengerov, Tetzlaff (and the list goes on and on)played on the E string we'd be bothered. That said, I play on a Vision Titanium Solo E string along with the rest of the set and don't hear anyone complaining that it's not sweet. Any tone can be brought out of any string, some just make it easier or already have particular characteristics.

Enough with that, a recommendation... a lot of people are using Passione Heavy Gauge E strings now. I haven't had a chance to try them but I would assume that they have a lot of volume but still have a beautiful tone. Worth a shot considering the $3 price tag at IUstrings.com


November 4, 2012 at 11:19 PM · I've said it in more recent posts: The plain Dominant E may be poor, but the aluminium-wound one is lovely - if you learn to bow it properly! And it blends well with the A..

November 5, 2012 at 02:52 AM · I use to use dominant E's years ago but for me they whistled far too easily and went false very soon. I prefer pirastro wondertone E's myself. No whistles.

Happy Practicing!!!

Heather Broadbent



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