September 11, 2008 at 04:41 PM · Well,

I am really getting annoyed of the 'steely' sound my violin is producing - so I am thinking of investing into some new strings, don't care how expensive - I have my eye on this $130 synthetic core set, but I am REALLYYY concerned if it will just leave me disappointed - because I am clueless as to what really produces the tone in a violin - is it primarily the violin itself, or the strings?

I bought a synthetic core A string, but it sounds no different from my previous steel A string - except less piercing (Before I wanted to projectile vomit)

I know the 'steely' sound I can hear is definantly from the strings itself, but am I honestly just better off buying a better quality violin?

If any of you are aware of what an 'ALDI' store is then..yup, I bought my first violin from an ALDI store. Over the time the tone has matured a bit more, or that was due to the water I poured into the f hole - I don't know, but I paid essentialy for the violin around.. $130(AUS) I've been playing on it for 9 months, and I feel like spoiling myself a little bit.

Replies (27)

September 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM · Sorry for not adding paragraphs to my post, but I can never seem to send anything!!!!

September 11, 2008 at 04:51 PM · Why don't you try Dominants with a Jargar E? If they don't sound good the problem may be with your instrument, not with the strings.

September 11, 2008 at 05:21 PM · Why not step up to a better violin? For what you paid for the one you have sounds like the one I bought a year ago. A Chinese cookie cutter factory produced 4x4 for $99.99 USD. It sounds like what you describe yours as sounding. Dominants with a wondertone E made it soud a whole lot better, but it doesn't come close to sounding as good as my Eastman 4x4 that I adore!

September 11, 2008 at 05:25 PM · It sounds like you know the answer yourself... If it was me, I would get a new violin.

As for strings.... If your violin isnt too good, good strings wont help very much.

I use Pirastro Oliv. Pirastro oliv are the most expensive on the market, but that doesnt make them the best.

Pirastro strings are in general the best. Everybody's instrument is different, in fact, I read that Hilary Hahn uses dominant strings, which were what I used when I played on a student violin!

September 11, 2008 at 05:49 PM · 1. I hope you are joking about having poured water into the instrument! If you are not joking, I would advise that you never do that again.

2. On just about any instrument, the tone will be more vocal and less steely by switching to gut core strings (Eudoxas are my favorites). However gut core strings are more demanding of the player, particularly with regard to precise contact point control, so one must have the patience to let the strings teach you how they want to be bowed. Also, one must have the patience to let them stretch out, from three days of vigorous playing and very frequent tuning, before jumping to conclusions about their pitch stability.

September 11, 2008 at 07:47 PM · Did you really say $130 for a set of synthetic strings? In US dollars? That's outrageous and yes, you will be disappointed. As our next (hopefully) president said recently (with much lying and out-of-context-quoting from the opposition), it doesn't help to "put lipstick on

a far-right book-banning small-town loves-earmarks-when-they-help-her-at-home for-the-bridge-to-nowhere-then-against-it-but-kept-the-money-any-way pitbull.

September 11, 2008 at 07:57 PM · Scott,

There seems to be something somewhat political about your post....yet I can't quite figure out what........

PS-I presume the OP is speaking of Aussie dollars, not USD

September 11, 2008 at 08:55 PM · AUD130 is about US$104... It's still a lot of money for a set of violin strings. I believe that's about the price of a set of Pirastro Oliv (ouch...)

September 11, 2008 at 09:03 PM · Regarding gut strings... If Dimitri's Australian demographics is as dry as it is here in Wyoming gut strings may not last very long. They turn into sheep-jerkey and break!

Dimitri- What is the humidity % where you are at? Your violin could be either too dry or too hydrated?

September 11, 2008 at 10:39 PM · Yup sorry about that, I'm from Australia.

Polotics scare me :(

I copy and pasted this from a weather website

temperature 13.0°C

dew point 3.7°C

relative humidity 53%

53% seems fairly even! XD


Still, new violin - or new strings... I don't know. My G and D string sound really mellow, my teacher commented it sounds like a viola (still sounds steely though) But A and E... different story. I just wanna sound pretty like a blue song bird, not some cat stuck on a barbed wire fence.

I guess it really is the violin then hum.. I went to the store in the CBD and played on the violins there... They don't sound much improved, some sound even worse (And they were like $1,000+). I have no idea where any string shops are located.. only major franchisors with 'string sections' ... they have no heart!

*edit* holy! I can actually send posts through :D

September 11, 2008 at 10:54 PM · ditto what Manfio your money for your new the meantime, practice practice practtice, and if you really need a new set of strings, Dominant or Tonica would be my choice.

September 11, 2008 at 11:12 PM · 'practice practice practtice'

Its all I do :P

September 11, 2008 at 11:12 PM · Politics-

Poly- Many

Tics- a blood sucking arachnid!

September 11, 2008 at 11:26 PM · I vote for a new violin.

Don't know where you are in Australia, but you may want to check out:

They have a reputation of selling a wide variety of violins with a good set up, e.g. strings and bridge.

September 11, 2008 at 11:58 PM · Hmm they have some nice violins, I fell in love with one thats around 7,000 however =[[[

I'm not really too sure what kind of violin to purchase, my range of $$ I am aiming for is probably 1,500 ~ $3,000

I'm not too smart with choices.. It just looks good T.T It really is love at first sight.

September 12, 2008 at 02:26 AM · I have two fairly inexpensive violins. One is fairly mellow sounding, and I like it. The other had a misplaced soundpost, etc. and most of the sound generated is from the strings, not the instrument. I suspect that nmay be the case with your violin.

What I would suggest is going down to some nearby violin shop that will let you try out the violins. Play something you really like to play on a $99.00 violin, a $599 violin, and a $1000 violin. Once you see the difference, I suspect your expectation of what to pay for a violin will change. You may opt to stay in the middle price range, but I'll bet you will at least stay there.

You may want to take your violin to a luthier to be properly set up, but that may cost near as much as purchasing a mid-level violin that is already set up.

September 12, 2008 at 09:59 AM · Hi All,

I live in Australia also. Strings here tend to be more expensive even with the exchange rates. A set of larsens is about $100 with evahs and obligatos at about $150, and dominants about $80. I use the larsens, they seem to suit my violin and the climate.

The weather here also tends to be quite humid (depending on where you are) and can be quite variable(again depending on where you are)

Strings specialty shops tend to be hard to find unless you know where to look. Dimitri, i suggest talking to your teacher about where they suggest you buy stuff from.

As to the new violin new strings thing?? Well, a set of strings is cheaper than a new violin. With your description tho, you may be able to get an improvement in tone with a sound post adjustment...

September 12, 2008 at 12:51 PM · Hm yeah I live fairly close to Sydney City CBD (Probably 30 minutes away from it)

Anywho, how would I get a sound post adjustment peformed and how much would you estimate it to be?

I'll bring it alll up with my teacher hehe.

Thanks very much!

September 12, 2008 at 09:10 PM · Dimitri, could you try getting into the Sydney STrings centre (north shore Artarmon I think) David Glanville is good. Or the violinery at Lindfield. There's also a great luthier in Auburn - I'll get you his name if you're closer to the Western Suburbs. Any of these will look at your violin and do an adjustment, and they can probably advise if its worth spending the money on the strings. If you change strings and the violin doesn't improve, then at least you can put them on your next instrument, so all is not lost.

I buy strings online from the US, getting a few sets at a time, which works out much cheaper than buying in Australia and gives more choice. I'm not going to travel into north sydney for less than $15.00 and thats about what postage is.

September 14, 2008 at 10:43 AM · I've been hating dominants cause they sound bad of any violins I've owned in the past.

And I absolutely love dominants on my currect violin, which I can't really believe. Anyway it's a good thing cause they're not expensive to replace once or twice in a year.

September 14, 2008 at 02:36 PM · Casey,

FWIW, Dominants should sound at least decent on any violin (not great, not bad, but decent). If they don't-often there is something wrong with the violin.

September 15, 2008 at 02:26 AM · Haha, well I know I have a few choices now.. but I think I'll go with new violin. This one is driving me bonkers.

September 15, 2008 at 02:02 PM · Marc,

Yes I know they sound decent on most violin that's why I'm hating it quite a bit, and I don't want to spend too much money on strings.

I'm glad they sound gorgeous on my violin, exactly the feel I want. I'm happy with it and don't think I'm going to try other brand as for now.

September 15, 2008 at 05:04 PM · A better violin will definitely help but I have a friend that put a set of Vision on his cheap Chinese fiddle and it's now louder than my Bernardel and actually sounds very nice.

You can't really go wrong with Visions considering their low cost of $36 at

$130 for strings is robbery.

September 15, 2008 at 10:27 PM · Dang,

I have an idea. It will not suport the Australian Market, but why not have someone here in the U.S. buy the strings and mail them to you folks 'Down Under' and you just reimburse expenses? would it not be cheaper?

September 15, 2008 at 11:50 PM · Greetings,

I just did a US dollar /yen conversion on a set of Passione strings. Turns out I paid 190 dollars.

New approahc needed I think.

Fantastic strings though.



September 17, 2008 at 02:55 PM · $190 for Passione? You've got to be crazy.

The other alternative is to just order from a site that ships internationally for a reasonable price.


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