Viola Strings

June 11, 2011 at 10:48 PM ·

I am in a bit of a string dilemna. I am using Passione Viola Strings right now, and I love them to no end. Just the past week, my D strings got a nick in its winding, and my A snapped. Not so great. I am thinking on changing the entire set, C and G included now. The whole set is about 4 months old now, which I do think is a bit of a stretch for them. I had tried Evahs before that, and used to like them, but they got too bright and I hate them after playing Passiones.

Here are my options:

Stick with Passione. I love them, and they seem to be great strings.

Or try something new:

Eudoxa? Have heard some pretty good reviews on them, but am not sure how they stand up to Passiones.

Vision Solo? My teacher uses these, but after trying gut, I don't really want to return to synthetics.

Evah Pirazzi? I don't really like these anymore. I have them on right now as a temporary replacement ( I had an extra A and D, luckily) and find them boring and brash.

Oliv? A bit expensive, and also known to be very temperamental. Have heard of them being great, but not sure how temperamental they are, and whether they would be too much to handle.

All in all, I am leaning either towards Eudoxa or staying with Passione. Which one is the better overall choice? I love Passiones, but are Eudoxas better?

Replies (54)

June 11, 2011 at 10:59 PM ·

It depends what you're looking for.  It depends on the instrument, but you'll likely find Eudoxas to be less powerful (perhaps significantly, depending on the gauge) and slower responding than Passiones - but darker and more interesting, perhaps. 

June 12, 2011 at 12:18 AM ·

 May I suggest a Pirastro Chorda gut set (plain gut  A and D, wound gut G and C) to see how they pan out for you. In fact, just get the A and D and then you won't have to worry about damaged windings! If ever you want to re-try synthetics then imo Obligatos with their tonal closeness to gut, reliability and stability are difficult to beat. 

June 12, 2011 at 03:39 AM ·

I'd suggest trying the Warchal Karneol set. It's only $38.95 from, and I was *very* surprised at how good it sounds.

I was previously playing on Pirastro Obligato C/G/D with a Larsen A (around ~$85-90 a set) and while the Warchal C doesn't quite have the punch that the Pirastro does, the G and D strings are stellar and the A quite good as well.

It's the best "bang for the buck" set of strings I've tried anywhere...

June 12, 2011 at 03:43 PM ·

I've seen more professional violists playing on Obligato, Dominant, Helicore, and Spirocore than any other kind of string. The Vision line of strings also seems to be pretty popular.

June 12, 2011 at 05:38 PM ·

 Thanks guys for all the info. Right now, I think I will do a bit of experimenting with the Eudoxas. They sound to be an interesting set. What gauge would you recommend buying? Right now, I use Medium Gauge Passiones. You had said that Eudoxas are significantly less powerful, so should I use a heavy gauge? or a stiff gauge? or just stick with medium? Also, do they last longer than Passiones, or around the same?

June 12, 2011 at 06:00 PM ·

The gauge really depends on your viola, but to come closer to attaining the power of Passiones, in general, I would use stiff and also heavier gauges.

Brian, I think lots of violists use Evah Pirazzi as well.

June 12, 2011 at 06:22 PM ·

Andrew, that's true!!!

Pirastro, on their website, recommends trying their "stiff" strings first.

June 12, 2011 at 10:13 PM ·

I've been really happy with Obligatos.  Good tone and response, long life, fantastic tuning stability.  Seems like at least 80% of the violas I see any more have the distinctive red & black stripes by the tailpiece.

June 13, 2011 at 10:32 PM ·


I've tried a lot of viola strings, but not the Passione.  The one good string not mentioned above is the Larsen, which many violists here like.  It is synthetic but darker than the Pirazzi (which I don't like all that much).  They might be worth some consideration.


June 17, 2011 at 01:52 AM ·

 Thanks for all the advice, guys! I ended up going with the Eudoxas. They sounded really tempting. I just got them in the mail today, and put them on 2 hours ago. They sound heavenly! I love them one hundred fold more than the Passiones (Although I still like them very much). While not as loud, they are very resonating, complex, dark, and beautiful. I think I have found my "dream" string.

P.S. FYI, I bought the Medium Gauge Stiff Set.

Thanks again for the replies! :)

June 17, 2011 at 03:22 AM ·

 dan larson from gamut strings has re issued the tri coloure strings heifetz used. i have them and they re amazIng. and i know he makes them for viola. they come wrapped or plain gut. and he is the best plain gut string maker hands down. the best part is theyre not too expensive i know my set was cheaper then my passiones and about as much as my eudoxas. just a thought if you love gut these are the strings to try.

June 17, 2011 at 12:31 PM ·

Erik - I'm waiting for my set (violin) to arrive in the mail!!

June 17, 2011 at 11:20 PM ·

PASSIONES produce a warm, lovely sound, but I found they lacked response, their response is slow...

The string choice for the violas I make are Evah Pirazzis with a Larsen A.

But the string choice must take in account the instrument and the players' style and technique.

June 18, 2011 at 02:03 AM ·

Luis - did you experiment with different rosins with the passiones?  I found my standard one did not work and I needed a darker one (shop recommended Larsen which fixed the problem, at least at my level of playing).

June 18, 2011 at 08:33 PM ·

I use dark, Pirastro rosin.  In general players use their bows while testing my violas.

June 19, 2011 at 12:36 PM ·

 If it is any help, I used Andrea Solo Viola Rosin with the Passiones, and they sounded wonderful. It is dark, just so you know. I used to like Evahs, but the tone was very violinistic, and I must say that I really prefer Eudoxas now.

June 21, 2011 at 05:15 PM ·

 Hello All,

I've lurked for years, but never posted much.  I figured I'd hop on to this thread and avoid clutter.

I've also just been done with a set of Passiones and while I love the chocolate prune covered warmth and complexity, they lack clarity for me on the c and g strings.  Also I wore through the winding of the d string within 2 weeks.  ??

My old viola was fond of Olives and Obligatos and sang beautifully, clearly, and *loudly*.  However I've been five years with the viola I have now and I still can't find anything that sounds/works properly to my ears and the work I do. I love the instrument, don't get me wrong, it is a dream to play on.  It is more mezzo than contralto and it  seems to be fond of high tension strings, which puts me a bit out of my reckoning as I'm not as familiar with those types of strings.

If it helps get a feel for the sort of playing I do, I'm a chamber musician playing in a string trio and sometimes piano quartet.  The type of playing is more 'soloistic' than one would traditionally run into with ensemble playing.  We mainly do 'modern' music like Schnittke, Penderecki, Villa Lobos and the like.  Lots of heavy playing, schizoid dynamics, and the folks I play with (myself included) are monsters.  (volume, etc)

Currently the best set up I've found for my current instrument are Evahs.  However, while they have the volume and clarity I need, *good lord* they are bright beyond acceptable!  I want to sound like a violist, not a violin on steroids.  

On this instrument I've tried Obligatos (medium and heavy/stark), Olives (rigid)  and both sound muddy and don't cut through the 'fodder' as it were.  I've also done Warchol 'Brilliant' and they sound too metallic to my ears and 'crack' under pressure.  It's a sad thing, as I've heard them sound lovely on other instruments.  I also did Helicore and we have a terrible relationship with one another, they break within a few weeks.  


Zyex=death to my sound


Prim=bright and loud and not to my taste

So, where do I go from here?  I feel as if my only option are steel strings, but my experience has led me to think they lack the warmth I need.  I've heard good things about the Larsens, but I've also read that they die out rather quickly, and I'd like to get at least a month out of my strings. (Evahs = 3 weeks approx) I've thought about Tonicas as well, but I've read they don't have much volume?  And also Sprirocore, which I know very little about.  

June 21, 2011 at 06:09 PM ·

I think Kim Kashkashian uses a full set of Tonicas on her viola.

A friend of mine uses a full set of Spirocores with a Larsen A to very good effect, with fine tuners, of course.

Yuri Bashmet uses a mix of Spirocores and Prims on his Testore - tungsten wound Spirocore on the C, silver wound on the G, and Prims on the D and A.

June 21, 2011 at 11:56 PM ·

Kim Kashkashian usually plays her modern Greiner viola now, and uses Evahs with Larsen A (all medium).

June 22, 2011 at 12:04 AM ·

Amber - I think I may have the same issue as you - my viola likes high-tension strings...medium-tension synthetic strings sound weak and flabby. 

Spirocores (mediums) sounded unacceptably cheap and metallic on my viola, except for the C - but they might work great for you.  Permanents are another higher-tension rope-core steel string.  Didn't work well for me, but could for you. 

Evahs (medium) seem to work better on my viola than any other string - a fast response, and a warm, full sound that's brilliant, but not too bright.  Stark-gauge Dominants were ok - I used a medium-gauge Dominant D because the stark-gauge (aluminum) Dominant D was too unresponsive.  Stark Obligatos were ok, too, though I like more brilliance than they had.  I might try stark Tonicas and Passiones at some point.

You might also play with the A-string - that can really affect the sound and response of the others. 

June 22, 2011 at 12:22 AM ·

 Thanks guys!  

I will investigate some of those.

In terms of A strings, the ones that have worked well are Larsen, Jargar and Evah.  I currently have all Evahs with a Larsen A.  Are there other A strings that I should be looking into?  I've used both medium and stark Larsen and Evah, and dolce and medium Jargar.  Perhaps I should also experiment more with gauge?  Is there a specific amount of tension I should go for or avoid with the A string to crisp up the lower register?

Thanks again!


June 22, 2011 at 12:27 AM ·


What specifically didn't work for you with the Spirocores ?

I've read that the C string is brilliant and clear which seems to be the case with most (all?) tungsten wound strings.


June 22, 2011 at 02:14 AM ·

I've also seen professional and conservatory-level violists using sets of Helicores, often with a Larsen A.

I've heard that the Obligato A is pretty good.

June 22, 2011 at 04:00 AM ·

Amber, Spirocores just sounded very metallic and harsh on my viola.  I've tried other violas that had them that sounded very good.  My Spirocore C was silver-wound and actually sounded nice - I wonder if it was ok because it was relatively thick (not in terms of tension).  The G I tried was silver...the D I tried was chromium.  As far as 'A' strings go - did you find that the stark/heavy A's that you tried made the lower register feel a bit firmer (i.e. more tense - which you might want)?  I've definitely found that.  But I've found them hard to play (for me) once you get way up the string. 

Brian - I've seen that some people like Obligato A's too.  They're just not my taste - I like a very brilliant sounding viola A, just like a violin E string (I know, imagine wanting that... ;-) 


June 23, 2011 at 01:07 AM ·


You know, I don't remember about the stark A.  I will have to fiddle with it some more.  Thanks for your input.  I may try Spirocores next...or perhaps I will try the Bashmet set up, as I just spent another rehearsal with all passages on my d string being obliterated by my cellist/pianist, perhaps something brightish but not as bright as Evahs...


Thanks everyone for your input, you've given me some directions to go in!

June 23, 2011 at 02:58 AM ·

Let me know how it works out.  I do wonder if you might find Prim A and D to sound too raw, though.  I'm amazed that Yuri Bashmet gets them to sound as good as he does. 

June 23, 2011 at 03:20 PM ·

Amber, Andrew, Others-- I'd like to suggest that you consider Sensicore strings from SuperSensitive. I use them as standard setup on my shop and handmade violas instead of Dominants. I find that they lie in character somewhere between middle to bright. They have a Perlon core and I'd call them medium tension. But they also come in long and thin sets, and extra-long, extra-thin. Except for the A, which the company is presently upgrading, they have a good sound, especially on the lower two strings. Probably not for everyone, but I am always a bit baffled why players never seem to consider them.

January 6, 2012 at 05:41 PM · Hi All,

I have an UPDATE and comparison of Evahs, Spirocores, Prims and Larsen.

For reference I play a 1999 Scoggins 16 5/8 Viola that hates gut strings and obligatos.

I did end up trying out the old Bashmet set up with a tungsten wound Spirocore C, Chromium G and Prim D and A.

The Prims are frightening strings, very bright, tense, clear and LOUD. I needed to bow them in a very sensitive way for them not to be explosive. That being said, once my lower end turned to mush (about three months) the Prims were still going strong, though they had settled down nicely by that point. I dub Prims the 'Apocalypse String'. Cockroaches and Prims will survive after the nuclear holocaust and zombie attack.

However, while I respect Prims as good strings, they're not quite my style and it takes too long for their character to develop. (for me)

I truly enjoyed the Spirocore Tungsten C. It's a great string with volume, warmth, and killer clarity and projection. The Spirocore Chromium G was meh. It plays well with others and was clear, but it lacked the chewy quality I like from my Gs.

My second attempt and currently on my viola are a Spirocore Silver C, Silver G, Chromium D, and a Larsen A.

Andrew, you were right, the silver wound Spiro C has a very thick diameter. Especially after having used the Tungsten wound C it seems giant. The C is reasonably easy to play on, even fast and low, and still has some great clarity. I am withholding judgement on which C I prefer for now. We'll see.

I like the silver wound G more than the Chromium G, it has a deep yet shimmering quality that is very compelling. Again, clarity, projection and ease of play are in line with the Chromium G.

The Chromium wound Spiro D is boss. After Prims everything seems dark, and yeah, this D is darker. If I were to compare it to my old Evah set up, I'd say it's darker than the Evah D as well. I was pleasantly surprised with the D because my viola's weak spot is the upper D, everything after a B on D sounds a little weak and with this string that is not the case. It's very pleasant not to have to work around that weakness. It projects well and is very clear and round.

The Larsen A. What can I say about this mainstay of an A string? I always thought of it as a bright string, though after the Prim A it seems tame. It mixes well with the Spirocores and I feel like I'm visiting with an old friend.

Now the comparison of Evah set up (Evah C, G, D and Larsen A) and Spirocore/Prim set up (Spiro C, G, Prim D, A) and Spirocore set up (Spiro C, G, D and Larsen A):

**as there was no appreciable difference other than right under my ear between the silver wound Spiro C , Tungsten Wound C, and the Spiro chromium wound G and the silver G I will not address them individually

For reference I average around 6-7 hours of playing a day in week.

Break in time and stability:

Evahs- Sound good within an hour of playing, stable after 4 hours of playing, nice character within 4 days. Last about 3-4 weeks.

Spiros- Sound heinous for first few days. *Stable after 3 hours of playing, nice character within 6 days. Last nearly 3 months.

*the exception is the chromium wound G. I rewound this string a number of times and it still behaved like a bratty, willful child compared to the others. The silver G gave me no such trouble.

Prims- Sound rough for first week of playing. Stable after 3 hours. Character within 3 WEEKS. Last forever.

Larsen- Old reliable. Stable within 1 hour, character in a day or less. I've never had a Larsen A go false or pudding on me.

Stability under 80 degree stage lights and sweaty hands-

Evahs and Spirocores behaved in a similar manner, need tuned after a half hour or so, stable after an hour. Neither of the Prims or the Larsen string budge.

Ease of Play:

Evahs require some coaxing with the right hand with a slightly slower bow change to sound their best, the lack of clarity on the C, especially low and fast, is super annoying and no amount of work on my part has made it as clear as I wanted it to be. Evahs do shred my fingers and my calluses 'molt' (I know, TMI) every week with them. If you push, they push back, they're a tense string and you've got to mean business all the way through the upper half. Rarely break under bow pressure.

Spirocores respond very quickly, require very little effort with the right hand to get the articulation I want and are easier on my fingers than Evahs. Slightly less tense than the Evahs, rarely break under pressure.

Prims- Gently...GENTLY!!!! Ack! Barely need to touch 'em to get a sound three times louder than I want. They feel hard, tense and unyielding under my fingers. Never break under pressure.

Sound, projection and blending with ensemble:

I did a series of very unscientific tests, recording myself with a Marantz PMD620 (great machine, but different post) at 3 feet, 10 feet, and 20 feet and with my string trio at 8 feet.

Overall Impressions:

The Evahs have a complexity of sound under my ear that the Spirocores lack. However, that complexity doesn't make it 10 feet. I am forced to ask myself how often I have an audience member or a mic on top of me. Not very often.

In terms of volume and projection the Evahs and the Spirocores are similar, with the Spirocores having a slight edge in the volume department. Tonally the Spirocores are darker. For me the biggest difference between the two are clarity. On my instrument the Spirocores crush the Evahs in that respect, especially the C string low and fast.

Putting the issue of clarity with the Evahs to the side, Evahs, Spirocores and the Larsen A blend very well in my trio. I have had an issue projecting with Evahs that I don't have with Spirocores. I think that extra bit of volume is what I needed. Prims, on the other hand, are far too bright. My cellist was grumpy and annoyed with me for the months that I had the Prims on. I get the appeal of Prims and if I were a soloist regularly playing with an orchestra or an especially bombastic pianist full stick I might consider keeping them. But I'm in no danger of doing either of those things on a regular basis.

Overall I think that the Spirocores surpass the Evahs for what I need them to do. They have the tonal characteristics, volume, clarity, ease of play, and stability I need, last more than twice as long as Evahs, and are easier on my wallet. They do not have the same complexity as the Evahs under my ear, and sometimes I miss that, but it's a small price to pay. For now I'm pleased with my set up.

January 6, 2012 at 05:57 PM · Have you thought of trying the aluminum wound Spirocore D?

I've heard that Helicore is also pretty good and along the lines of Spirocore, although the Spirocore tungsten C is much better than the Helicore C (which also has some tungsten in its winding).

January 6, 2012 at 07:13 PM · I haven't tried the aluminum D as of yet. Right now I'm very pleased with the chromium wound D. If it ain't broke...

On some sites I think there's also a silver D available, so that's also an option. I may try one or both in the future.

I like the sound of Helicore strings, but they always break on me.

and Helicore strings remind me of noodles. I like noodles.

January 6, 2012 at 07:26 PM · oops, nope, apparently i imagined a silver wound d.

January 6, 2012 at 08:39 PM · We use helicores on son's viola...and they ARE a bit like noodles before you put them on. Super stable, long-life...warm sound.

January 6, 2012 at 10:01 PM · Spirocores are used by some soloists, I think they impose their sound character to the viola. So, if an Amati viola is strung with Spirocores it will sound more Spirocores than an Amati... Just my two cents.

January 6, 2012 at 11:27 PM · Interesting post, Erica. Though they're made very differently, I find similarities between Evahs and Spirocores on my 16 5/8" Weller viola. They're both warm, responsive, and projecting.

However, I haven't liked Spirocores on most violas I've tried them on in the past - a hard and cold sound (I realize this will depend on which windings one selects, though) that wasn't to my taste...and in a few cases, they downright seemed to choke the viola, and I was surprised that they worked well on my Weller viola. I've only tried the silver G and C and don't have much interest in trying chromium/tungsten at the moment. My issue has been with the D. I found the chromium D to sound too hard and bright. I liked the aluminum D - fuller and less bright - but found it too tense for my viola. I could try a weich gauge aluminum D, but when I tune the medium D down a half or whole step, it doesn't sound good, so I wonder if it would work well. I tried a weich chromium D that sounded dreadful. So - I've been using a Helicore D, but the blend isn't ideal.

Also, I wonder if the 'lower' tension of Spirocores is deceiving. If you look at Thomastik's tension figures, you'll see that medium Spirocores are much more tense even than stark Dominants!

I tried a Superflexible D, too, and found it similar in feel and response to the Spirocore D, but with a less gritty, less brilliant sound.

Also - the Spirocore medium, silver G and C remind me of the Dominant stark G and C on my viola - relatively neutral sounding, warm and full. But the Spirocores aren't as resonant, yet respond more quickly (as one might expect).

June 18, 2012 at 09:37 PM · I have purazzi on my viola - Andrew, is your Weller a Frederick Weller from UK? If so our instruments are brothers! :-)

They are very good I think & I really like the way you can 'dig in' with them. However, they are also rather brash & stick out a little too much in an orchestra as it is difficult to play quietly.

I now need to decide what to try next. I don't like dominants, I find them difficult & unreliable. Eudoxa are nice but not very pitch stable or durable. I have one obligato on my violin & my husband has recently tried an obligato A&D on his cello to good results. I really don't know whether to try these or the Zyex OR Helicore! Zyex/Helicore have the huge advantage of coming in different sizes which may make pitch more stable on my small viola (about 15 1/3)? I really need the volume of the Evah's as my viola is so small, but with more control at lower volume! Maybe I should try Larsen?

Still can't decide!

June 19, 2012 at 03:11 AM · Hi Karen,

Mine is a 16 5/8" Michael Weller - he's a luthier in the Washington D.C. area. I think any of the strings that you mentioned could work well for you (Zyex, Helicore, Obligato, Larsen) - it may take a bit of experimentation. I don't think you necessarily need to try an entire set of each string to adequately experiment, either.

June 19, 2012 at 03:23 AM · I feel that on a well set up viola, Dominant strings will probably feel and sound the closest to gut... Pinchas Zukerman still uses Dominant viola strings, with a Jargar A.

June 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM · I'm going to say it yet again: when you have chosen a focused C, with a warm G & D, why ruin the tonal balance of this lovely instrument with a steel A?

Why should we expect the same resistance on all 4 strings? I actually prefer the Dominant A: with a longer, lighter stroke, it sings rather than screeches, right to the top of the fingerboard (and beyond!)

Why have golden tones, and then chromium-plate them? Don't we want folks to like the viola?!!

June 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM · Oops!

P.S. is it possible to remove a double post?

March 27, 2013 at 06:34 PM · I'm a violinist who just recently started to rent a viola for recording sessions. It came with Visions and I find the A string to be unbearably bright and harsh on this new German fiddle (Martin Beck). I'm looking for an A that is not trying to be a violin E string. I want the darkest sound I can find. I use Eudoxas w/Hill E on my violin. I play the viola much less than violin and I'm not sure I want to invest in gut if I'm not putting them to good use. Does anyone have experience with Tonicas? How do these compare with Larsen or Dominants in terms of color?

March 27, 2013 at 07:20 PM · Here is some empirical data for a number of different viola strings.

March 27, 2013 at 10:14 PM · a quest for the "best" set of strings is endless and totally subjective. i would say - without fear of dissension or contradiction - that it's purely a matter of horses for courses. what's best for your viola might not necessarily sound so hot on someone else's viola.

"zyex" (long scale) strings from d'addario are perfect for my 16" viola and (luckily) not that expensive.

good hunting!

March 27, 2013 at 10:47 PM · On my 16", slightly nasal viola, Obligato C,G&D, plus Eudoxa-Aricore A to replace the (excellent) steel obligato A. Good match! To my ears, steel strings "whine".

Before Perlon, (!) I used all 4 Spirocores, with those little rubber doughnuts to filter out the "fizz".

March 28, 2013 at 05:56 AM · If "whine" means complaining, then you are complaining about the complaining! Presumably thee's too much energy in the upper harmonics for your taste. I thought Seraphim's response to the previous poster a good one, as at some point it's good to go beyond a description such as "dark" which I'm thinking wants a sound weighted as much as possible towards the fundamental. There must always be a certain amount of energy in the overtones? Can anyone elaborate on this in technical terms?

I'm enjoying the D'Addario's Kaplan Viola String Set at the moment, released recently so not included in that survey.

March 28, 2013 at 10:58 PM · Nigel, I'll try to do a spectral analysis to see what it is I don't like about metal strings. It's not so much the high fizz, which can be filtered to some extent; I think it might be the lower even-numbered harmonics: "warmth" makes me think of the clarinet, which only makes odd-numbered harmonics.

Or, something in the transients? Or a stiffness in the response of the string to vibrato, or to varied figer pressure? But I'm impressed with your Kaplan set: I might get a set for more soloistic settings: with all four steel strings, I adapt my bowing, with a lower bridge to bring the strings nearer the fingerboard. With only the A in steel, the playing response is unequal.

Then again, the word "whine" suggests a nasal formant, so it might be, say, a 2kHz zone is common to all metal strings?

A suivre..

March 29, 2013 at 02:02 PM · Suite sans fin?

I have found my copy of "The Bowed String" by Norman C. Pickering (Amereon Ltd. N.Y.), full of spectral and temporal analyses of gut, nylon, and steel strings, thick and thin, with various bow pressures.

A (very) few of his findings, in my own words:

- Gut core: easy pianissimo, fortissimo Slightly less "bright" (!) but with little change in timbre; the lack of "ring" makes the string very controlable (because of internal damping).

- Perlon core: duller pianissimo, brighter forte, fortissimo saturates and must be played near the bridge; so lesser range of expression.

- Steel core: far more high overtones, which become "harsh" or "grating" (= impure?) with increased bow pressure. Less quick response in rapid passages. Pianissimo impossible. In contrast to Perlon strings, the thinner guage sound less bright than the thickerone!


In transfering differnt makes of LP (Supraphon, HMV,DGG, RCA, etc.) onto CD, I have noticed their different tone-colours. I have experimented with "equalizer" options so that the same artist has a similar tone on each recording (debatable!)


150HZ zone: "boom";

500Hz zone: "honk";

1kHz zone: "snarl";

2kHz zone: "squawk";

3kHz zone: "shrill";

4kHz zone: "gritty";

6khz zone: "silky";

10++kHz: rosin noise, for you youngsters!

Any counter-propositions welcome!!

March 29, 2013 at 02:59 PM · One of the things that I've learnt recently is that the winding has a profound effect on the timbre, for example this was apparent with the new Kaplan A (K411) when compared to the previous A (KS411), so the core type is only part of the story. (the K411 has a visibly finer winding)

I know there's a wound steel core, are there variations on the way a steel core is constructed? In any case the wound steel core Kaplans have a much more capable pianissimo than the Zyex, so I can't agree with his generalization there, and the response is very quick too.

March 29, 2013 at 03:24 PM · I forgot to mention that Dr. Pickering only examined the A-string in depth, and his steel A's had a solid wire core, like Chromcor or Jargar strings, not the spiral core of Spirocore, Superflexible, Helicore, or I imagine, the new Kaplan. The spiral core is much more responsive.

I haven't tried the Zyex C, but I did find Dominant or Aricore C's are much "woolier" than steel cored Cs, with no clear pianissimo.

There are doubtless new types of steel available to makers now, just as Perlon didn't exist when I started in the 1960's. I was told that guitar-type nylon stretched too much to be useful on the violin family.

March 29, 2013 at 07:08 PM ·

March 29, 2013 at 07:20 PM · Hmm, responding to a post I myself made a few years ago. :)

In the intervening time, I have actually bought a new viola and I have yet another string question. In your experiences, what is your opinion of a spirocore C?

I have Pirazzis on my viola and I like the sound, but the C is a bit "wooly" sounding. i.e. Not much clarity. Has the Spirocore C been clearer sounding to any one who has directly compared the two?


March 29, 2013 at 09:18 PM · You might find the silver Spirocore C "wooly" sounding, but I like the fullness. The tungsten C probably wouldn't be described as "wooly" sounding - it was thin in gauge and very powerful. But I don't know if you'd find it a great match with the other Evahs.

March 31, 2013 at 09:48 PM · Anybody try the Superflexibles?

How do they compare to Helicores?

April 1, 2013 at 03:21 AM · I have. They feel very similar to Spirocores to me - i.e. powerful, responsive, and relatively tense, but are less brilliant...rather clear and warm. Almost like a Jargar string with a rope core.

June 4, 2013 at 07:06 PM · Seraphim- thank you so much for posting that dissertation. It is refreshing to have "objective" data for such a subjective topic.

I think the question of string blending was the strong point of the document and I will consult the document next time I want to buy strings.

In the meantime, I am going to try a Helicore C string. For $14 I can take that risk. I am curious to learn if a string priced at almost half of its competitors is passable.

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