String choice for a dark violin

July 15, 2010 at 10:29 PM ·

 I have a dark sounding violin with very strong undertones (sofia grande), and I like experimenting with strings, so I was wondering if I could get suggestions. Right now I'm using the best ones I've found yet for my violin, Vision Solo, and was thinking of trying out the Infeld Blue.

Thoughts, suggestions?

Replies (23)

July 15, 2010 at 10:39 PM ·

Infeld blues will make your violin much darker, I think.  I find VISIONS quite bright.

www.manfio.com

July 16, 2010 at 01:02 AM ·

Greetings,

its always unpredictable. In general I would agree with te above. However, on the rare ocasisons i use Infeld Blue they make my ten year old Italian much brighter.  It can even recite tables for a while.

Cheers,

Buri

July 16, 2010 at 01:11 AM ·

Did you try John Pearse Artiste strings? I recently switched from dominant to John Pearse and never been happier!

July 16, 2010 at 05:50 AM ·

This is bound to cause an uproar, but where I live (Paris France) the rage seems to be Dominants. I'm not into them myself, preferring Obligatos. Your question reminded me of what I don't like about Dominants. To me they are strident and too bright, I prefer something rounder. So, maybe that will work and they are not expensive!

I'm going to check out those John Pearse strings, ty!

July 16, 2010 at 05:52 AM ·

 sorry I don't have a suggestion but thought I'd post a question as it is very much about this subject and why post a thread which is virtually the same when this one is here?

My question is:

if you have a violin which is loud in nature and a little bright in tone (not too much though) would it be a good or bad idea to put Evah Pirazzi strings on it?

this violin is LOUD! well I think it is, I have 3 violins at present and this one really sticks out with it's volume! at the moment it has 'passione solo' on...

then in general, if you have a not loud/mellow violin should you 'respect its nature' and go for 'mellower strings' like passione or stick some pirazzi on to wake it up? what I mean is should we also choose strings which accentuate what the violin is?

I think it's probably preference?

I will try evah pirazzi on my loud violin when its due a string change (too much money to do it before), I'll warn the neighbours the day before! LOL

July 16, 2010 at 05:56 AM ·

I have a "dark" sounding violin. I changed from Dominants to Obligato. The sound is EVEN DARKER and now I simply wallow. It's like playing in a coal cellar with the light off. Sometimes it seems better to enjoy rather than fight against a dark sound. But I prefer an Infeld Blue on the "A" just to help the "A" match the "E".

July 16, 2010 at 11:19 AM ·

Hi,

If you are looking for bright strings, then Vision Solo is about as bright as they get on the market right now.  If you like that sound but want a little more richness, you could try Evah Pirazzi. Pirastro's Wondertone Solo are also on the bright side.

Cheers!

July 16, 2010 at 01:01 PM ·

"I have a "dark" sounding violin. I changed from Dominants to Obligato. The sound is EVEN DARKER and now I simply wallow"

Yup, just what I thought. Dominants would have been better, why did you change? What would be better than Dominants? I'm looking for new strings.

July 16, 2010 at 01:01 PM ·

July 16, 2010 at 01:57 PM ·

Christian, do you mean Vision Titanium Solo?  On the few violins I've tried them on, Vision Solo s(not Titanium) were less brilliant, more warm and round than Titanium Solos. 

July 16, 2010 at 02:53 PM ·

 Lisa, I had played the violin using Dominants since buying the instrument new in 1994. In that time I had never changed the set-up in any way. Hearing that Obligato gave a sound more like a gut string, I changed strings, as an experiment. At first, the fiddle seemed far too dark - but then - but THEN - I began to enjoy the result enormously. 

July 16, 2010 at 03:04 PM ·

Matthew:

It depends on how you want your instrument to sound. My violin is dark sounding and awhile back I wanted to enhance that darkness. I first tried Infeld Reds (which are designed to darken an instrument). Fingered notes sounded great; however, the overtones were soooo complex that open strings sounded out of tune even when they were in tune. I now use Obligatos, which added just the right amount of darkness.

If you want to brighten the sound on your instrument, then Infeld Blues are designed for that purpose, but some have stated that they sound shrill on the instruments. I always found the Vision strings to lack any tone color on my instrument.

Wayne

July 16, 2010 at 03:14 PM ·

David, I've had almost the same experience and am at the same place but backwards. The violin I bought recently has Obligatos (which I already loved on a previous violin), and I'm thinking about going to Dominants. But, I'm loving that deep sound!

July 16, 2010 at 03:30 PM ·

While everyone has given their personal opinion, different strings sound different on every violin.  Since we cannot hear how your violin currently sounds, it is really difficult to advise.  IMHO, the correct answer to your question, as to all questions involving what the "right" strings are for your violin, is to go visit your local luther.  S/he can hear your violin with your current strings, and make an informed recommendation after you describe the sound you are trying to acheive.  Good luck!

July 16, 2010 at 04:18 PM ·

Andrew:  Yes, I mean the Vision Titanium Solo.

Cheers! 

July 5, 2011 at 08:33 PM ·

Don't forget about the effect of a bow on your dark violin. You might try a brighter sounding bow. I have a dark violin and I find that when I want to lessen the darkness without going to the effort of changing out the strings, I use my carbon fiber bow. The bow tends be bring out less of the darkness and sharpens things up a  bit. It makes it mush easier when I want a bright sound, say for a certain piece of music. It's a more temporary effect and less committed than changing the strings.

Hope that helps.

July 18, 2011 at 05:34 AM ·

 I will second or third the suggestion of Vision Titanium Solo. They're a fantastic string and last quite a bit longer than Evahs I find. I personally don't have a problem with getting colors out of them. You could also try the new Tonicas. For the VTS I would suggest going with a Goldbrokat heavy E as it matches the other strings better. For $53.50 you can't really go wrong. IUStrings sells them least expensive :)

September 21, 2011 at 04:32 PM ·

I found this thread very helpful. I could start a new discussion, but I thought I'd add my experience with a brand not mentioned & then ask the question a tad differently to glean more input. 

My violin is a modern American-made fiddle, built in 1975. I have always been told that it has a bright sound, and I agree.  I have always used Dominants for all 4 strings, and I have never really experimented with different strings until now.  After almost 30 years away from formal study, I am a returning amateur/ student who loves playing more now than when I was "younger."  I find that now I seem to listen more critically than I used to, hence my desire to hone in on the best sound and tone and experiment with new strings.

To begin, I was not dissatisfied with the Dominants, I just wanted to experiment. I suppose I was (am) looking for a set to darken and sweeten it a bit.  Though my violin was already fairly bright and capable of real volume, my luthier suggested I give the new Peter Infeld strings a test-drive (he was pleased with results on a couple of fiddles in the shop). Yes, pricey, but I caved only because I wanted to try something new. 

As far as the PI strings on an already bight violin, HOLY COW!  My left hand fingers nearly tingle after a practice session. They are very bright, loud, and edgy, so much so that I prefer the sound of my violin with a mute on.  I almost can not keep from playing too loudly. Again, I am a "returning amateur". I tend to play with more emotion and I do not exactly race up and down the fingerboard and saw the fiddle in two.  Although I often play solos in church and smaller settings, I'd prefer something that would go just as well in an ensemble or orchestral venue.

I live in southeast Texas, USA ("warm" and humid most of the year) so I prefer synthetic core. I want to mellow the ol' girl down (not up). I thought my 1st step from here would be to try the popular Dominant/ Gold Label E combo, then perhaps Infeld Reds (darker tone?). One thing is for certain, I'm taking the PI's off & will try them on my back-up "beater" violin. (she could use the help)

#1: Any suggestions on a darker, richer, more mellow string for an already bright violin? and #2: As any of you have experimented, how do you describe an unpleasant experience with strings that just seemed to be a bad match for your particular violin and style of playing?  

September 21, 2011 at 05:04 PM ·

David M.,

Infeld Red should give you more warmth and will take away some edges on the tone, but with limited experiences on it, I recalled that it felt a little stiff than Dominants. Obligato will be more extreme than the Infeld Red - more power, and take away more edges at the same time. Not a bad string but I've always have an impression of Obligato taking away too much edges whenever I play those violins with Obligatos on it.

You may want to try Violino by Pirastro too. It's surprisingly gentle, unlike the Tonica/Evah/Obligato I've tried which has stiff feeling to them. It can sound very weak and slumber on some violin, but I think it'll work very well on yours.

September 21, 2011 at 05:15 PM ·

"Don't forget about the effect of a bow on your dark violin. You might try a brighter sounding bow. I have a dark violin and I find that when I want to lessen the darkness without going to the effort of changing out the strings, I use my carbon fiber bow. The bow tends be bring out less of the darkness and sharpens things up a  bit. It makes it mush easier when I want a bright sound, say for a certain piece of music"

This is a very good point. I've just had a French fiddle out on trial, and when I tried my cheap carbon fibre bow on it it sounded awful. Far too thin and bright. In the end I couldn't stand the sound anyway so its gone back.

For what its worth I now mix strings. Gokbokat E with PI A string, and D and G are Obligatos. (I like a reasonably bright sound, and I'm not so keen on very mellow fiddles).

September 21, 2011 at 06:26 PM ·

I've read two different approaches to string choice with respect to violin character - often people seek a string to compensate for a dark violin - make it brighter - and vice versa.  However, the other (and perhaps smarter) is to recognize your violin's strength and pick a string that enhances it - thus a resonant string for a dark violin.

That in mind, you might want to at least test a gut-cored string to see how it performs.  I'm using pure gut now and the tuning issues are far less of a problem than one might have thought from the discussions here.  Yes, I'm in canada and do not have the same environmental challenges as you do - but we probably do have just as extreme variations in temperature moving from house to outside as you do (air conditioning or heating).  I'd give passiones a shot - no loss in volume but a big gain in richness...

September 21, 2011 at 09:36 PM ·

Hi,

Just a thought about Dominants...  They react quite differently to different E strings, so before giving up on them, it is good to try different E strings and see if one of them matches and works for your violin.  The classic choices are the Gold Label E, the Goldbrokat, the Westminster, the Hill and the Jargar.  For the Hill and the Gold Label, medium seems the better choice.  For the Westminster, if the violin is already bright, then it is probably not a good idea.  For the Goldbrokat and Jargar, you can try both the medium and heavy gauges.  Various people have had success with both and it depends on the instrument.

Just an idea...

Cheers!

September 21, 2011 at 11:59 PM ·

Thanks for the input. I'll give the optional E a try, since I have a set of Dominant mediums needing to be used.  With the PI strings, they are very brilliant and the overtones are way too intense for my liking. Usually I, like most, love the overtones, but these strings on this violin are just not working for me.  I'll weigh in again after my experimentation yields more results.

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