Another string question

January 22, 2009 at 12:20 AM ·

I recently broke away from Dominants and started trying out different strings.. I've tried Tonicas and Evah Pirazzi so far, and I've decided that I need something with a warmer/darker tone, less edgy(?) sound, and possibly less tonal volume. Basically, I need to "tame" my 7-year-old, very bright instrument. Can someone suggest good candidates that might fit the job description?

And yes, I'm fully aware that there may be all sorts of surprises when I actually put the strings on my violin. :-)

Replies (22)

January 22, 2009 at 12:39 AM ·


if you want to stay with synthetics then I suspect obligato might work for you.

Yu could take the plunge and switch to Passione whihc are a gut wound string .  Keep in mind thta gut strings require more care and attention to bowing technuqe.  You will have to adjuts the way you play slightly which might be disconcerting at first,  although arguably it is simply an extension of what one does automatically- take care of speed,  weight and sound point.

If you don`t like the price consider this-  I had to change Dominant (a fine string) eveyr three weeks.  I have had the same set of Passione on for at least four month and am only just beginning to think about changingthem. That makes the price equal.



January 22, 2009 at 02:03 AM ·


In the amount of time you have had the Passione strings on you would have gone through 5 sets of Dominant. Providing you changed them every 3 weeks like you said. That would technically make the Passione much cheaper. I think the money and switch to gut would be well worth it!

Just my thoughts, Hope

January 22, 2009 at 02:17 AM ·


Hope, your mathematical sense inspires me.  A point to bear in mind is the e string. I cannot stand the dominant e string and have alwys use da goldbrokat with them.  That would make the set even chepae ri think!  Othersmay adopt a more expensive e string such as wonder tone which would vary things a bit.  I also note thta although the Pssione e is excellent it actually should have been changed about amonth back.  I do not expect e strings to last as well as the rest.



January 22, 2009 at 03:01 AM ·

Eudoxa's are nice warm string and aren't to bad. I recommand full set of passiones as a set to try also. Wonderful strings! Pirastro also said "The accuracy of contact point is easily manageable, similar to Obligato, Wondertone Solo and Evah Pirazzi." which I think is kinda true but still you have to adapt just a little.

January 22, 2009 at 04:15 AM ·


I agree the contact point issue is notsuch a big deal. Eudoxa are a very good string.   I dn`t agree with comparisons with Evah Pirazzi. I don`t just dislike that stirng onmy violin- in general I am unhappy with the extra stress it puts on the bow arm.   It is being recommended more and more to young children here in Japan and I am seeing a concomitant increase in high tension bowing at an unhealthy age. It is agreat string for players who really know what they are doing.



January 22, 2009 at 07:00 AM ·

You might also think about Pirastro Aricore (or as a MUCH cheaper solution) Corelli Crystal. They're both warm synthetics. I just got a set of Passione Viola to beta-test from Pirastro, and the C and G are the warmest I've ever played, though I didn't quite like the D and A. Aricore has a very warm sound, not as complex as the gut-core passione strings, but they do take a lot of edge away from the sound. If you have a bright, slightly nasal instrument with a harsh edge, and no projection problems, they might be a good solution. I'm currently using the medium D and A from Aricore, and the tungsten C and silver G from Passione and it's balanced out very nicely.
You can take the above with a grain of salt, since I am just a violist :-p


January 22, 2009 at 08:40 AM ·

I love the Infeld Reds (EAD) and Blue (G).  They are described as "dark," but I would call them warm, full, rich and resonant.  I used to use Dominants, too, and I was surprised at what a difference the Infelds made.

January 22, 2009 at 09:22 AM ·

In my experience, Obligato sounds really warm and woody but it's a hell lots of volume which you may or may not want.

I'd recommend Pirastro Violino, it'll take away edges and yet it feels like dominant/tonica.

January 22, 2009 at 01:58 PM ·

Thanks everyone for your posts - I'm not sure if I want gut strings (unexpected, drastic humidity changes are common where I live), but I'll definitely keep all the suggestions in mind.

Any other recommendations will also be appreciated :)

January 22, 2009 at 04:00 PM ·

Phillip - I will make the same suggestion that I make every time someone asks about strings.  Go see your luthier, let him/her listen to your violin with the current strings and suggest something that will better achieve the sound you seek.  Different strings sound different on different violins.  What works for me may not work for you even though we may perceive the same problem with certain strings on each of our violins.  As is usual with these posts, you have gotten at least one vote for a bunch of different strings.  Take your violin to someone who can actually hear it with the strings you have on it and make a recommendation.

January 22, 2009 at 10:20 PM ·


Philip, I have drastic humidychangeswhere I live but the Pasisone strings remain veyr stable. It`s a non issue.



January 22, 2009 at 10:42 PM ·

The bad reputation that gut has for tuning stability is a myth. They are a bit of a problem for the first day or so but then they become very stable  almost more then synthetics. I use plain gut strings and they are very stable and last for a long time. It has everything you are looking for but they are very powerful. You can get all the possible colours from these strings.

January 23, 2009 at 03:34 AM ·

January 23, 2009 at 12:47 AM ·


the strick with any sring,  but especially plain gu (a whole new ball game) is to have them pre stretched.  If you read the Heifetz article cited ona recnet thread it seems he changed his plain gut strings every three or four days (not ursprsing given his punishing schedule for the tropps) and had a new set pre stretched on anotehr isntrument.



January 23, 2009 at 09:16 PM ·

I also don't think tuning is an issue with gut strings anymore. Passiones are so stable. Maybe Oliv and eudoxa not as much but it only goes down a little. That's because I move from my house 35% to 50% school class room. If you can tune with pegs, Gut string are always an option.

January 24, 2009 at 06:11 AM ·

Hi Philip,

The strings already recommended above are definitely good choices. I will vouch for the Passione being amazing strings. Beautiful tone and they still manage to project easily.

I haven't tried Obligato on my own violin but people that use them do so for exactly the reason you are looking for other strings; warmer tone but while maintaining good projection.

You can find Obligato and Passione at for prices far below anywhere else. It's quite a popular source of strings here (and all around the world for that matter)

You can't go wrong with either choice really.


January 24, 2009 at 02:39 PM ·

What I have found with my violins is that there are definitely strings that match the instrument and strings that do not match the instrument.

While I have liked OBLIGATO strings - started using them when they were first sold, I find that there are violins on which they do not do what you want. For example, they are a dark string and have the potential to bring out all the "nooks and crannies" of dark instrument. But on a bright instrument they may not be able to match some of the instrument's natural overtone peaks, and thus be somewhat dead, rather than making a bright instrument sound more mellow.

I don't mean to single out OBLIGATO strings in this regard. I have found this to be true of every string I've tried (over the past 60 years that I've been conscious of trying different strings). So far, the closest I've found to a universal string is either the newest ones I've tried - Vision Solo or Thomastik Infeld Blue/Red - but that is really a mix/match choice among 8 strings.

In general I have been most pleased when i find a string that brings out the best of an instrument, regardless of whether it is bright or dark. Therefore, I have bright violins and I have dark violins. When they are strung "right" they are more playable and the natural and artificial harmonics work much more easily. The music, the bow ,and the venue are three other variables that affect how and instrument will do in a particular performance.

And - YES - there are an awful lot of unused of briefly used strings in my string drawer (yes, realy, a string drawer - and it will barely close. I've go enough unopened E strings for the vln sections of the NYPhil. It's taken that kind of dedication to finding the right strings for each fiddle.

That said, there are some instruments that seem to be extremely tolerant of almost any kind of string, and that will change character with the strings chosen and still seem to play well - just differently. But with my limited experience with my own 3 cellos, 2 violas, and 8-10 violins, I've only had one cello and one viola that seemed to be close to "universal string holders." Out of total ignorance, I state my "belief" that to be that universal an instrument has to have a fairly regular and well-populated distribution of natural high-frequency resonances (i.e. peaks in its vibration spectrum).


January 24, 2009 at 06:50 PM ·

I go with Buri on this! I switched to Passiones and simply love them! And what he has posted so far is right on with my expirience with them.



January 25, 2009 at 10:20 PM ·


you should always go with your passion.  Incidentally, if you are still worried about naming your first born after me you don`t need to feel guilty about prioritizing the computer geek.  Just have twins.



January 25, 2009 at 11:12 PM ·

To all,


I am currently using Evah P's and have for about the last  six months. I like them. They seemed to be at their best at the 4 month mark. 

I recently purchased some Warchal Brilliant Vintage strings and should get them next week.  Has anyone used these strings before and can offer any comments on them?



January 25, 2009 at 11:22 PM ·


do a search for warchal Strings.



February 15, 2009 at 09:19 PM ·

On most of my violins I use Dominants, but when I need to make a bright sounding violin or viola softer I go for Obligato.  On a violin the A-string is the most critical in this sense and sometimes I only change that one.  On modern violas I found Obligato to work best for me.

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