Saving tips?

May 31, 2009 at 03:32 AM ·

The economy is in a state of trouble still and consumers are holding on to those major purchases. But us string players we need to buy occasional items like strings, rosin or get our bows rehair. As a student working part time job I have found it's rather hard to be able to afford to string 2 instruments every 2 to 3 months. Considering it cost $280 for both.

So my question is, what have you done to save some money? Would it be better to just buy cheaper products? Do you negiotate prices with the shop or buy in bulk? 

Replies (26)

May 31, 2009 at 03:35 AM ·


what prey tell are you using?

May 31, 2009 at 06:55 AM ·

There have been a number of discussions on this site regarding what strings different violinists prefer. If you look through the discussions, I am certain you can find some that cost significantly less than you are currently paying, and will also possibly sound more to your liking.

June 2, 2009 at 01:32 PM ·

one of the sponsors of this site is

I really like dealing with Sokol at gostrings.

not a single set of their violin strings are $140. in fact, their most expensive are the Oliv at $87 and Passiones at $71.

Really, which strings are you using??

June 2, 2009 at 02:02 PM ·

Buy online. The shop prices are often marked up quite a bit. On the Shar website you can get obligatos for $51. I once bought obligatos at a shop that were over $100. Try ordering from Shar or Johnson Strings, they have good prices.

June 2, 2009 at 02:25 PM ·

and, when shopping online...just do comparatives...sometimes  the few extra moments can save quite a bit...special sales, shipping included, etc. 

June 2, 2009 at 03:46 PM ·

I like Shar because strings-only purchases have free shipping. And they sometimes have promotions for low flat-rate or even free shipping on items other than strings. If you plan ahead you can stock up during such promotions and save significant $$$.

June 2, 2009 at 06:02 PM ·

All well and good, but Shar isn't a sponsor of this site. c'mon people! 

Gostrings will match competitor prices. free shipping on $20 or more I believe.

Anyway, back to Vincent - really curious, what strings are you getting for $140 a set?

June 2, 2009 at 05:16 PM ·

Allan - Nobody mentioned Shar being one of the sponsor. :-)

For me, a set of dominant that cost around $39 will keep me happy for 6 months on my one and only violin, glad that my violin like dominants, which is not the most expensive strings.

$140 a set is basically a scam for any type of violin strings.

June 2, 2009 at 05:48 PM ·

What I think Alan meant is that we should support the vendors who sponsor this site. I had never heard of GoStrings until this thread, so now I'll go take a look. Shar is a great company-- maybe they will consider becoming a sponsor on 

June 2, 2009 at 05:53 PM ·

Talking abt advertisers, have you guys noticed "more varied" advertisers recently? An interesting mix indeed!

June 2, 2009 at 07:28 PM ·

Exactly right. I believe we should support those that support this site..


btw... gostrings is really Gradoux-Matt Rare Violins here in NYC. I have no affiliation with the store, other than purchasing strings and other small accessories from them in the past, both online and in person.


June 2, 2009 at 07:44 PM ·

I'm using Oliv G stiff, Passione D, A and Oliv E. All in heavy gauge which I don't think online retailers have like shar the last time I check. So I have to order them from my violin shop and the Oliv G is already 60 bucks on it's own.

June 2, 2009 at 07:58 PM ·

I also recommend checking Concord Music ( which has excellent prices on strings, and $1.50 flat-rate shipping. I've seen many places with free shipping in which it still ends up costing more than Concord.

June 2, 2009 at 10:31 PM ·

I've always had nice experiences with Quinn violins. They appear to carry the strings you need and are significantly less expensive than what you quoted.

I also second those who recommend Johnson strings--nice people.

June 2, 2009 at 10:42 PM ·

Hi Vincent, if you were looking to try something a little cheaper....well alot cheaper but still get a great sound I'd suggest you give Visions a try. They're only $35 a set at (or $65 for two sets) Shipping is free and we also offer them in Heavy gauge. Of course they are quite a bit different than the gut you're used to but I think they're worth a try as after trying a lot of strings I've come full circle back to them. And I can change them as often as I need at this price. The other sites mentioned are great choices though if you plan to stick with your string choice.

June 3, 2009 at 04:50 AM ·


Gostrings certainly has those guages for sale, and I'm pretty sure shar does too.

Oliv G (rigid) 16-16.25 (thick) $44

Passione gut/silver D 13.75 (heavy) $24.60

Passione aluminum/silver A 13.75 (heavy) $20.70

Oliv gold E $8.30

By my calculations, that total is:  $97.60, free shipping, saving you $42.40, ($84.80! - you can almost get 3 sets for the price of two!) and you're helping out by buying from a sponsor.

Still another way to save, since you were asking for saving tips... would be to have a primary instrument on which you put these more expensive strings, and string up your secondary instrument with the Visions that Emmanuel suggests, or a set of Dominants. you could even go with Eudoxa or Obligatos on your secondary instrument and still save... And/or, change strings every 4 months instead of 3 :)


June 5, 2009 at 08:03 AM ·

I ALWAYS buy my strings online.  I get them for around 30 dollars online (though sometimes it's more...) and I see the same strings for over 80 dollars in stores.  Insane!

Gostrings is great.  Woodwinds and Brasswinds is also surprisingly competitive sometimes, especially for things other than strings.  I think people have already said Southwest Strings, Shar, and Johnson...I also pay attention to when there are sales, etc.

June 5, 2009 at 08:37 AM ·

 PIRASTRO OLIVs are worth every penny of their $80+ price tag...Fifi likes them

June 5, 2009 at 09:04 PM ·

Thx for all your advice. I'll be shopping online more often now and looking for sales. Is it me or synthetic strings go on sale more often? 

Sam- Yes I love the Oliv G, cannot find anything that is the same : )

June 6, 2009 at 01:11 AM ·

I have been buying strings by mail order (and more recently on line) since the 1960s. I have never had any trouble with any seller - including a couple of ebay ones.

Over the years I have bought from SHAR, Soutwest Strings, Johnson, internationa,. Quinn, Concord Music, and IUstrings, Ifshin and a few others for such products as Warchal and Dogal.. All have come through. As a music teacher my local music store sells me strings at half of their list price, which is just about the same as the internet prices (plus state sales tax of nearly 10%). The local store's selection is very limited. My luthier/dealer has a broad selection that matches internet prices (including his own -- Ifshin Violins).

I am an equal-opportunity buyer - lowest price gets my money.


June 6, 2009 at 04:36 AM ·

Anyone shop from Canada here? I find it really hard to get good prices on strings online....with the added shipping charges (since most companies are in the US), it ends up being WAY more expensive than at the local store

June 6, 2009 at 01:29 PM ·

Mandy- I live in Canada, Toronto to be more exact and I found the same problem. It was better when the dollar was higher but now with taxes, shipping, and converting from USD to Canadian it is almost more expensive.

Andrew- You just gave me an idea. I should get my highschool to order me strings since they work with a local shop and get discounts since they buy in bulk.

February 22, 2010 at 02:11 PM ·


I've just brought my first set of Dominant violin strings online. I used a website called StringMail ( and they shlp all over the world. I ordered my strings Monday morning, and they arrived Tuesday afternoon.

The set of Dominants cost me £32.10, which is the cheapest price I've found for that set of strings.

Also StringMail do heavier items such as bows, shoulder rests etc for violins, violas, cellos and double basses, but they also cater for guitars as well.

Also if you have any problems or enquiries they are more than happy to help you, you can either contact them through their contact page, or by ringing the telephone number on their homepage.

Hope this information helps


February 22, 2010 at 04:21 PM ·

Considering it cost $280 for both

You pay $140.00 for a set of strings?????????????????????????????

February 23, 2010 at 02:55 AM ·

 I have it easy... I'm a music teacher, and there's only one supplier around here that we go to. I send all my kids there, and our district buys everything there, so I get a nice discount. Everything at cost, and loaner instruments when I need it (I have no violin, just a viola).

February 24, 2010 at 12:26 AM ·

Well, if you practice that much to the point where your strings need changing that often, buy cheaper strings than this $140 set. There's really no other way.

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