Low tension strings

November 17, 2010 at 06:05 PM ·

My fingertips have become achy from playing violin.  It could be technique, but I strive to keep the left hand fingers light, and my teacher does not see an obvious cause.  I have found that Evah strings are really hard on the fingers and Dominants, with the lower string tension are much more finger friendly.  I have been using Dominants for the past few years and am interested in trying strings with even lower tension to see if it helps. 

Can anyone make a recommendation?  Is there a table that shows string tension for various brands of strings? 

PS, regarding my fingers, I took 2 months off, and got acupuncture treatment.  The fingers are better but still a bit sensitive. 

Replies (58)

November 17, 2010 at 06:41 PM ·

I have had excellent results with Pirastro Eudoxa, my usual choice for A-D-G on two of my three older instruments.  Never felt a problem with excessive string tension in using them.

I use the medium gauge -- with the stiff versions of D-G to withstand more bow pressure -- definitely better results for me than with the non-stiff D-G.  I ordinarily use Pirastro Gold Label E with this setup, because it gives more sheen -- more of a bright ring to the upper register.  Also, I notice that the A yields slightly more sheen and reverb with this combination than it does with the Eudoxa wound E strung beside it.  Evidently, the sympathetic vibrations are better with the Gold Label E -- although this may be just a quirk of my instruments.  As we know, each instrument is going to react differently.

I had some experience with Dominants in 2005.  I liked them, although I didn't use the E -- based on recommendations from other v.com members.  Still, I prefer gut.

I have a vague recollection of the table you mentioned, though I don't remember just where I saw it -- somewhere on v.com, as I recall.

One thing I do if I'm coming back from a hiatus in practicing -- e.g., after a road trip -- is to practice only 15-30 minutes a day for the first few days back -- so that I don't over-stress the fingertips and create soreness.  This works for me.  I can get back up to 3 hours a day after about a week or 10 days -- no ill effects.  My finger impact on the strings is quite firm; but after coaching from one of my teachers, I was able to back off excessive pressure to avoid excessive impact noise.

November 17, 2010 at 08:58 PM ·

I second Eudoxas.  They are soft and grabby, indeed, and very colorful.

November 17, 2010 at 09:28 PM ·

I  found that Larsen Tzigane strings worked well on a couple of my violins that had trouble (especially high up on the G string) with the more commonly know good-quality strings. However, the Tzigane strings were no good on my other violins - just not the right sound.

However, upon later trying the newest Peter Infeld strings with Pt-coated E string on these violins, the result was even better (but more expensive).

However, if you want lower-tension strings only for the comfort of your body, you might want to carefully look at the height of strings at the nut, and the amount of dip in your fingerboard - as well as the clearance of the strings near the bridge. The small %-age of tension difference in strings is minor compared to very slight differences in string clearance. The difference between one and two-business cards clearance at the nut is a doubling of the finger force you might find yourself using to play in first position.


Andy

November 17, 2010 at 09:37 PM ·

Are these string tension charts of any help?

www.rdebey.com/string_tension.htm

Also, you might see if there's room to lower the strings without running into problems. And if you like Dominants, you might try the "Weich" if you haven't already, which are lower tension.

November 17, 2010 at 10:14 PM ·

 Tziganes are pretty far down there in tension, but way up there in volume. I used the mediums once and liked their soft pliable feel, so I tried the 'soft' version and I like them even better.

November 17, 2010 at 11:11 PM ·

David,

Thanks for providing that link.  The Eudoxas really are low tension.  I will definitely give them a try.

I went to goStrings.com and didn't see anything about "Weich" strings?  Where do you get them?

From David's link, it looks like the E strings are all about the same tension.  Any recommendations on a low tension E?  And don't tell me to switch to viola. :-)

Regarding adjustments to my violin.  I might try that as a last resort, but it is a professional instrument and I think the setup is already pretty optimal.

 

November 18, 2010 at 12:14 AM ·

 Don,  I buy mine from either Quinn Violins or String Mall, whichever happens to have the Soft tension versions in stock around the time that I'm due to change out. Larsen's site isn't much to look at so don't worry about that.

www.quinnviolins.com/qv_larsenviolin.shtml

www.stringmall.com/store/strvn11.html

November 18, 2010 at 12:40 AM ·

Smiley, the normal tonica wounded E (not the new formula who is high tension) is my favorite.  It is dark, easy to play, non whisling and mix well with darker sounds (like Eudoxa or Obligato etc).  If I don't have this E, I become crazy! 

Maybe you could try this E and be happy with it? Strings are experimentation... Good luck!

Anne-Marie     

November 18, 2010 at 12:51 AM ·

Smiley, on the gostrings website, it says the following:

"All strings will be shipped in regular/medium gauge, with loop E strings for violins, unless otherwise specified. Add special requests in the comments section at time of checkout."

The "weich" Dominant is the thinner, or low mass, or low tension version. Sounds like they don't list gauges separately, but rely on you to specify in text when ordering. I'd be surprised if anyplace carrying a lot of strings doesn't stock it.

On the setup and string heights, while there are dimensions which are considered normal or standard, there's nothing all that sacred about them. It happens to be what's common, and sometimes is no more than a starting point. We frequently use other dimensions according to player preference. Accomplished players can want strings either a little higher or a little lower than the standard, sometimes in combination with altered scoop in the fingerboard. Within a certain range, there's really no right and wrong. It's about what works for the player.

November 18, 2010 at 01:34 AM ·

Oh, one other thing: If the violin was newish when you got it, it's normal to have things move around a little in the first year or so. If you haven't already done so, you might check to see if the strings are higher than when you first purchased it.

November 18, 2010 at 01:35 AM ·

David,

That is great information.  I just want to say, this web site is awesome.  You can ask a question and someone like David Burgess will take the time to give an informed answer.  Thanks for all your feedback and help guys.

November 18, 2010 at 04:05 PM ·

Love those graphs David. Thanks!

November 18, 2010 at 10:03 PM ·

@Emily,

I am on the GoStrings web site and Eudoxa's come in 3 gauges, soft, medium and firm (gauges are from 13 1/4 thru 14).  Are you using the medium gauge?  Do you know if they are softer than the medium gauge Dominants? 

The table that David B provided doesn't say anything about gauge.  I assume they are testing medium gauge strings for all the sets.  I'll find out; I've left a message for Randy DeBey (the guy that did the tests).

@David,

Weich is just German for soft and it is how Thomastik classifies its strings.  Seems each string manufacturer has a different way of denoting high and low tension strings.  For the Eudoxa's they come in 3 different gauges, but basically the same thing as soft, med or firm.

I will try the low tension Dominants as well as the Eudoxas (after I figure out which tension to order). 

November 19, 2010 at 03:50 AM ·

Designations like "weich, mittel, stark" and "dolce, medium, forte" typically refer to the mass of the string over a given length. A higher mass (weight) string will require higher tension to bring it up to playing pitch.

As far as a "forte" being louder than a "dolce", it ain't necessarily so. A heavier string has the potential to move the body of the violin more, creating more sound, but a lighter and thinner string with lower bending stiffness has the potential for better harmonic alignment, which can also contribute to the impression of a louder sound.

There is an engineering term called "the ideal string", which has perfect mathematical harmonic alignment. In the real world, there is no such thing. String engineers experiment with how close they can come to "the ideal string", and still come up with a marketable product.

Sorry for digressing into the technical world. The bottom line is that there are so many variables, that one really needs to experiment to see how a particular string works on a particular fiddle. If I was trying to save money by trying only one string, I"d start with the G, and move forward from there.

Example: Evahs (high tension) will kick a$$ on some fiddles, and choke others down.

November 19, 2010 at 10:21 AM ·

I've never tried anything but medium gauge, and they are slightly softer than dominants.  Those charts seem to accurately describe the medium gauge tension.  They are the softest, grabbiest string I've played on, but be warned: you may have to adjust to their sensitivity. 

I currently use Passiones, but only because re-tuning was such a huge issue for me with Eudoxa.  I never tried the rigid A and D, and may go back and try them out after my upcoming recital.  Passiones are slightly higher tension, but more stable.  Living in Alaska, pitch stability is crucial when dealing with large temperature and humidy changes, which is why I went to Passiones.  I liked Eudoxas better for expressiveness, though.

November 19, 2010 at 06:25 PM ·

FYI,

I started to order the Weich Dominants, but got the following response from a string vendor.

... If your fingertips are sensitive, I would consider ordering Obligato strings.  I don't think that the weich strings will give you any relief and they also will not be very responsive.

Any opinions on Obligato?  Apparently, they are easier on the fingers (maybe the same as Eudoxas), but stay in tune better.  I'm going try different strings first, and if it does not work then I'll consider doing adjustments to my fiddle.  If I still can't figure it out, then I'll just have to commit suicide (just kidding). 

November 19, 2010 at 06:38 PM ·

As I recall, you like a rather focused and bright sound, so I think you'd be disappointed with Obligatos. They are generally used to "take the edge" off the sound.

I'll disagree with Weichs being less responsive. Depends on the fiddle though, and what one means by "responsiveness".

November 19, 2010 at 06:49 PM ·

The Peter Infelds have a very soft feel under the fingers...amazing strings.  Amazingly $$$ at $109...

November 19, 2010 at 07:05 PM ·

FYI,

Just got off the phone with Randy DeBey, the guy that did the string tension measurements in David B's link above.  All his tests were done using medium tension strings. 

November 19, 2010 at 10:05 PM ·

Other things I like about the low tension of the Eudoxas is that it makes peg-tuning so easy (you couldn't use fine tuners with them, anyway), and tuning them doesn't pull the bridge about anything like high tension strings can do.  The only improvement I'd make to the Eudoxa setup is to use a plain gut A.  My experience is that the plain gut gives a better and slightly more projective tone than the covered gut.  The downside is that plain doesn't last quite as long as covered, but then it is substantially less expensive and you get ample warning from fraying when it is on its way out.

I have tried a gut E in the past.  It gives a better tone far higher up the finger board than most metal Es, but its working life is short – no more than 6 weeks at the most – but, like the plain gut A, it is inexpensive.

I think now is the time for the string makers to start research (if they haven't already) into nano-fibre strings, which would be unbreakable (but extremely expensive, no doubt!)

November 19, 2010 at 10:22 PM ·

Any thoughts on the Pirastro Violino strings?  Here's a useful fact sheet I came across which compares Evah, Obligato, and Violino

www.pirastro.com/pdf/flyer/engl.pdf

 

November 19, 2010 at 10:24 PM ·

Smiley- As to what David said several posts ago, I had to have the neck reset on my current violin about a year after I bought it.  It had just  "settled" to a point where it was affecting the sound.  Something like that can happen too gradually to notice consciously, but your fingers could be (painfully) aware of it.  You might want to have that looked at.

My violin hates Obligatos- they were just awful on it.  My viola, however, loves them, and almost every violist I know is using them.  For comparison, my favorite violin strings are Infeld Reds, with a Kaplan wound A.  My violin loves Evahs, too, but I get ticked off at how quickly they die.

November 20, 2010 at 12:21 AM ·

Yeah, most of us try to anticipate changes over time, and the result is that a violin may not sound its best right off the bat. This is not to say that one should purchase a bad sounding violin, counting on it to improve.

November 20, 2010 at 12:25 AM ·

I've found that Violonos can sound very beautiful...extremely warm, complex, and responsive too.   I think they come closer to the 'gut' sound than Obligatos tend to.  They aren't the most powerful strings, but if your violin is very powerful, this may not be an issue.  I had an issue with the A cracking easily, but I wonder if that might have been due to my setup. 

November 20, 2010 at 03:23 PM ·

I agree with the Violonos string, esp. the G and D. It has a very warm and little dark sound. I can't tell you the A and E though, because on my violin it didn't sound that good. I have Vision A and Jargar E, and it sound pretty good and good underneath my finger.

December 2, 2010 at 03:20 AM ·

Just an update.  I put on a set of Obligatos two days ago -- medium gauge.  They are noticeably softer than medium Dominants.  But after about 1 hour of practice this morning, the fingers were a bit sensitive.  I think it is a step in the right direction, but in the long run, I think I will need something softer, or perhaps get some adjustments on my instrument.

Regarding the sound of the Obligatos.  They are surprisingly loud on my instrument, and as advertised, they are quite focused.  They have a bit of a metalic edge, but if they are like Dominants, it may be something that will subside over time. 

I still plan to try the Weich Dominants, and also Violino.  For now, I'll put the Eudoxas on hold because I don't feel like fussing with the intonation issues associated with gut.

 

December 2, 2010 at 03:36 PM ·

Forgot to mention -- the "softer" Obligatos have a surprisingly big effect on the right hand.  After finding the right strings and adjusting my violin, I may need a new bow :-(

December 2, 2010 at 04:25 PM ·

"I still plan to try the Weich Dominants, and also Violino.  For now, I'll put the Eudoxas on hold because I don't feel like fussing with the intonation issues associated with gut."

Is that another way of saying that people who play on gut strings never play in tune? <wink>

December 2, 2010 at 08:13 PM ·

Gut strings are not so difficult and you are still in the bush leagues if you can't deal with them. For me, I like gut, but I haven't even tried out for the bush leagues yet :-D

December 2, 2010 at 08:39 PM ·

I agree with Bill; you mustn't be afraid of using gut. I believe the bowing skills needed for playing on gut transfer very well to modern strings.

I fitted a new set of Eudoxas on my old fiddle a few days ago. The weather here is quite brisk (hasn't been above -5 in the daytime for a week) and is dry (little snow), so the strings have taken 4 or 5  days to settle in, as against the usual 2/3 days. Based on past experience I'm confident they'll be ok for a 2-hour carol concert on Sunday in Bristol Cathedral, which isn't known for being a hothouse, even in the height of summer. 

December 2, 2010 at 09:39 PM ·

Is that another way of saying that people who play on gut strings never play in tune? <wink>

No, I'm never in tune and I don't use gut.  But the truth is, I don't have the guts to use gut.  :-)

December 2, 2010 at 09:52 PM ·

 Smiley, no, I wasn't thinking of intonation (if anything, my impression is that gut is a shade more forgiving in this respect than the more focused modern materials), but bowing and tone control generally.  

December 3, 2010 at 02:13 AM ·

Definitely bowing and tone control. And for that, plain gut is the real deal. Wound gut is easy afterwords, and synthetic you can play like _____ :-)

December 4, 2010 at 03:20 AM ·

 I hope you fingers like the Obligatos. Another option could be the Pirastro Passione. With Dominant  and Evahs it was painful to tune without fine tuners. With the Passione I can easily tune as they are really soft but reach and very pleasing.

December 4, 2010 at 04:15 PM ·

Marc, thanks for the suggestion.  I will give the Passiones a try.  I bought a set about 2 years ago and put them on my old fiddle, a 1906 Heberlein and it hated them, but have not tried them on my new fiddle.  I'll dig them out and put them on to see how they sound -- will let you know.

Another update for anyone that is interested.  I replaced my E string last night -- changed from a Pirastro Gold Label Wondertone (standard gauge) to a Pirastro thin gauge, and it has made an enormous difference.  The E string which was giving the most problems before, is now the most comfortable string of all.  I was going to get my bridge lowered but now I'm wondering if it is necessary.  The only downside, I give up a little power on the E, but well worth it for long term comfort.

For A-D-G, the Obligatos are starting to settle in now.  The metallic edge was less noticeable this morning and the strings are almost fully stretched (took about 5 days).  Though they are softer than Dominants, I think I want something softer.  Still on my list to try:  Passiones, Dominant Weich, Violino, Eudoxa.

 

December 5, 2010 at 10:54 PM ·

I put on Passiones this morning and they sound really nice -- warm and smooth.  And they are a bit softer to the touch than the Obligatos.  It's funny how the same strings can sound awful on one instrument and great on another.

One thing I noticed though, the Passiones require a more delicate bow arm; if you attack the notes, it is easier to crush them so it requires a "softer" right hand to stay out of the "crush" zone; perhaps this is a common issue with gut?

December 6, 2010 at 12:34 AM ·

My post on December 2 said "... Based on past experience I'm confident they [a set of new Eudoxas] will be ok for a 2-hour carol concert on Sunday in Bristol Cathedral, which isn't known for being a hothouse, even in the height of summer."

I am happy to report that the new Eudoxas behaved magnificently in the carol concert and the full rehearsal which preceded it, requiring only a tiny tweaking of the A and D about halfway through, which is no more than other types of string would need.  The Cathedral lived up to its reputation, the temperature within being somewhere between 5 and 10, and outside about -5. When I got home at 10pm it was -8 and falling.

 

December 6, 2010 at 12:41 AM ·

 Smiley, you're correct that gut needs a different kind of bow control otherwise it is easy to crush a note.  I wouldn't call it an "issue" though; gut is just another material that needs a different approach.  The answer I find is to use a lighter and faster bowing stroke and to bow just that little closer to the bridge.

December 6, 2010 at 01:12 AM ·

Yes I agree.  The word "issue" is probably not the right word.  Perhaps "difference" is more appropriate.  But, I believe it takes a bit more skill to make gut strings sound good under ear.  Maybe, the scratch will not be audible in a concert hall, but then again, gut probably doesn't have the carrying power so perhaps a non-issue.  Are any soloists playing on gut?  I would think the majority are using bright strings like Evah or Vision; not particularly pleasing under ear, but they give the extra focus to carry the sound in a large hall.

December 6, 2010 at 01:29 AM ·

If you look at videos of Heifetz's workshops I think you'll find he was using what looks like a plain gut A (I don't know about the lower strings, but I'd guess they were almost certainly covered gut), even though non-gut strings were easily available at that time.  There probably are a few soloists today who still use gut (excluding the baroque and early music players, for obvious reasons).

I believe, from my own experience, that what I said about bowing light and quick, and being careful about how far away from the bridge you play, are the bases for successful playing on gut. However, it seems gut is quite capable of making its own interesting little squeaks and burbles without much input from the player, but generally only the player or a close microphone will notice.  My new Eudoxa A squeaked a bit in the first 48 hours, but it settled well in time for the concert (compare the "metallic" sound of new Dominants for the first few days).

Gut actually does have considerable projection, particularly a plain gut A over the covered variety, and a gut E in my opinion (I've used one) outshines almost all metal Es, but I wouldn't use a plain gut D unless it was part of a baroque set up.  I suppose the main reason for not using a gut E today for post-baroque orchestral playing is that you'd be changing it every 3 or 4 weeks on a regular basis, not that plain gut is all that expensive compared with most other strings.

December 6, 2010 at 01:31 AM ·

Actually, I really like Dominants, but I agree, it takes a good 1-2 weeks for them to really settle in, and lose that metallic sound. 

December 6, 2010 at 01:56 AM ·

what timing-- i just put Passione G, D, & A on my instrument this weekend.  I learned violin on gut strings (with an occasional naked one), so while it feels a little like a homecoming, it is a definite change from the Dominants & Infeld Reds I had on previously.

They are still stretching out.  :-)    I, too, noticed they require a bit more finesse with the right hand, and bowing closer to the bridge.  Perhaps one can be a bit more lazy with the other strings.  Passiones seem to have a much greater dynamic range under the ear-- or-- it is easier to pull out the loud dynamics on them-- less work than on the I.Reds.  They also seem to be more generous with overtones than the I.Reds, rather like the Dominants were.  

Assuming I'll be able to adjust my technique adequately, I think I'll prefer them to both the Reds & Dominants.  But on day 2, as I'm hacking away at the double stops of Kriesler's Preludium & Allegro, I'm thinking this might not have been the best time to try them. lol.   

Interesting comments on the welch E string.  The E always hurts my fingers in higher positions and last week I discovered my bridge raises the string 4.5mm above the end of my fingerboard.  I was thinking of having my bridge lowered 1 mm, but you've convince me to try a welch E first.

December 6, 2010 at 03:34 AM ·

Hi Helen,

That's Weich (with an "i"), which is german for soft.  But the Pirastro E string I picked up the other day just said "thin" on it. 

December 6, 2010 at 04:06 AM ·

uff-da- not so young eyes anymore!

does this mean you're turning into a softy?

December 6, 2010 at 02:17 PM ·

Helen,

I guess you could say that I'm not as "gut-less" as I used to be. :-)

December 6, 2010 at 04:50 PM ·

"Passiones require a more delicate bow arm; if you attack the notes, it is easier to crush them so it requires a 'softer' right hand to stay out of the 'crush' zone; perhaps this is a common issue with gut?"

I ran into this problem some years back with regular Eudoxas, non-stiff D-G.  As mentioned above, I now use the medium gauge -- with the stiff versions of D-G, which withstand more bow pressure.  On them, I can dig in considerably and make strong sul G and sul D attacks without the crushing effect.  And they give a bigger, more robust sound and stronger projection than the non-stiff D-G -- so a noticeable improvement on at least three counts.

I don't yet have experience with Passiones, although I did look them up on the Net out of curiosity.  I notice that the regular Passiones have different gauges -- didn't see any stiff versions listed.  The solo version comes in only one gauge.  The higher tension with solo would put a dent in the crush effect, but I guess it would also defeat your purpose in getting lower-tension strings.

One other thing that helps me reduce the risk of crush is to be sure that the bow hairs are sufficiently taut to take up the slack.  I tighten my bows only that much, maybe just a tad more.  Too tight -- less flexibility, e.g., in 3- and 4-string broken chords; too slack -- less ring to the tone and more tendency for tone to break.

December 6, 2010 at 10:05 PM ·

I am really liking the Passione strings.  Yes, they crush more easily, but man do they sound nice.  I don't think stiff strings would be a good choice for me right now because my main goal is to find a solution for my achy fingers -- and the softer, the better.

 

December 15, 2010 at 11:21 PM ·

So, I threw on a Violino D a couple of days ago, and it seems to blend in nicely with the Passione G and A.  Like the Passiones, the Violino is warm and low tension, but more pitch stable and cheaper.  One thing I have learned, the "crush" factor is not so much a characteristic of gut, but rather a characteristic of low tension strings.  The Violino is a synthetic string, and it too crushes quite easily.  I can't explain the physics exactly, but it does make intuitive sense that the crush effect has something to do with the bow not allowing the string to vibrate properly, and one might expect this to happen more readily with a lower tension string.  Any other thoughts on this revelation?

 

December 16, 2010 at 12:13 PM ·

In order to get tone and volume with low tension strings, which for me are usually Eudoxas, I use bow speed in combination with playing closer to the bridge.

December 19, 2010 at 08:51 PM ·

 Smiley, i am intrigued that the Violino seems to blend in nicely with the Passione G and A. I love the Passione but never tried the Violino. I would certainly welcome cheaper and more pitch stable strings. Are they very similar in sound? Why did you feel the need to need to change the D? 

December 20, 2010 at 05:14 AM ·

Marc,

I am trying to find strings that are easy on the fingers, so I am trying as many options as I can.  I really like the sound of the Passiones, but as I mentioned before, they crush rather easily, and do not have the carrying power of other strings I have tried.  I thought the crush effect was a characteristic of gut, but now I am finding that it is probably more because of the low tension because the Violino strings are synthetic and they also crush easily. 

I am also coming to the conclusion that lower tension = warmer sound and higher tension = brighter sound.  I have not tried every string on the market, but so far, of all the strings I have tried, the lower the tension, the warmer the sound.  Evah Pirazzi, being the highest tension strings I have used are the brightest, while Dominants with medium tension are warmer, and Passiones, Obligato, and Violino have the lowest tension and warmest sound. 

If you have not tried Violino, it might be worth a shot.  I don't know how long the strings last, since I've only had mine for about 1 week, but it is more pitch stable than Passiones (I would say comparable to Dominants) and if it works for you, you will save quite a bit of money in the long run. 

 

January 5, 2011 at 01:06 AM ·

to answer your question about E's...they all seem to be the same except the gold ones which i feel offers a nicer soft touch, unfortunately they don't work on my instrument, but I always notice when i try someones violin with a gold E it seems softer and easier to press down.

January 5, 2011 at 09:12 PM ·

Hi Pierre,

My fiddle didn't care for the Obligatos.  They sounded a bit metallic, like a new set of Dominants, but after a week it didn't go away, so I took them off.  It is possible I didn't keep them on long enough, not sure.  I may throw them on my second fiddle (a Hiroshi Kono) to see how they sound.  Trying out strings is a crap shoot.

The Passiones which sound awesome on my main fiddle, were awful on my old German fiddle.  My old German fiddle was a bit harsh and I wanted to make it warmer, but the Passiones made it sound even harsher -- go figure.

I'm still having a tough time with the "crush" problem with the Passiones.  It is possible I don't yet have the chops to deal with it.  After trying out so many strings, I may end up going right back to where I started -- Dominant A,D,G and Pirastro Gold E.  That combination is hard to beat.

September 24, 2012 at 05:34 AM · I have also found that the Violino A tone crushes easily, especially in double stops above third position, even when matched with all 3 other Violino strings. The Violino E seems to match well with a Vision Titanium Orchestra A, which solves the problem. The Tzigane G gives a more robust tone than the Violino G on my violin, more noticeable across the room or on a recording than under the ear, but I'm less fond of the Tzigane D. Still experimenting. Curious about the new Evah Pirazzi Gold G, which is lower tension than regular EPs or even the Peter Infeld G, but is also very expensive. Lately I have heard three fine violinists who have switched to the PI G with excellent results; one had switched from Dominants and another had switched from Vision Ti Solo.

September 24, 2012 at 09:07 AM · still people chosing PI are mostly coming from Dominants... ;)

September 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM · I had forgotten about this old thread. Here's an update for what it's worth. I am back to using good old Dominants; medium gauge, with a mince (thin) Pirastro gold label E.

I found that low tension strings are a little easier on the finger tips, but all the low tension strings I tried suffer from the crush problem. That is, if you push hard on them, the sound cracks. That is especially problematic in pieces with lots of chords like solo Bach.

Regarding the finger tips, I adjusted my technique to use the side of my fingers rather than pressing down along the center line of the finger tips. For now, I am able to play with minimal discomfort.

September 25, 2012 at 05:02 PM · I don't have problems with finger pain, but due to pointy fingertips with little natural padding, I find it hard to play on high-tension strings. I also play more on the sides than the tips of the fingers. I've been using Warchal Ametyst strings for the past couple years. They are low-tension and I don't have to press my fingers too hard. An added benefit is that I don't have to work as hard with my right arm.

September 27, 2012 at 07:55 PM ·

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Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

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