Dominant or ............

August 22, 2011 at 02:17 AM ·

 I have used the Diminant strings (both G D A E) for 8 years. Recently, when I play a four violin concerto with my friends in Music Camp, I find my violin is not powerful enough. I have try evah from Pirastro but it doesn't change a lot and evah is expensive. I am now thinking about use Vision or Tonica. I there any other strings have a powerful sound with a reasonable price? The price of Dominant is very reasonable.  I am a student from Hong Kong.

Replies (21)

August 22, 2011 at 10:18 AM ·

It's not the strings that will make the difference.

August 22, 2011 at 10:39 AM ·


Michael is correct.  Assuming that you are producing te bes possible sound for an instrument then the strings will only improve things to a limited extent if that is all the instrument has in its bank account.  A simple way to check this is to listen to othe rpeople playing their own and your instrument.  I am assuming you did this.

One problem I can see sraight away is that you are using the Dominant e string.  This is basically a piece of junk which bears no comparison with the desrvedly respected lower strings.  Just changing that string may make a lot of difference.   then I would suggest you try the Vision (Solo perhaps).   Also experiment with Infeld red and blue.  Both of these kinds of strings have different effects on differnt violins although blue errs towards brightness and red a darker more mellow sound.  They can be used in combination with each other and dominats which is also good news.



August 22, 2011 at 11:14 AM ·

Dominants are quite good strings, I know several top tier professionals who've tried other, "better" strings, and went back to Dominant. If your violin can't be heard with Dominants on it, it's not the string's fault, it's either your violin's fault, your setup's fault, or your fault.

I'd suggest using Dominant or Vision regular; I consider those to be the best for the price. Maybe try a heavy gauge E string, that has positive effects on many violins. Whatever strings you end up on, take it in to a good luthier to have it adjusted to bring out as many overtones in the sound as possible; this'll help you to be heard better in a large space.

Try using the Dominant G D and A, but with a heavy-gauge E from a brand such as Jargar, Westminster, or Goldbrokat.

August 22, 2011 at 03:18 PM ·

Hello, I think the problem may lie with your violin or the set up :)

I remembered I had the same experienced with you, so I decided to bring it to my luither and he found out that the violin has grown "fatter" so it needs a longer soundpost :) haha, I also decided to change a higher quality bridge. After that, the projection is amazing!! :) 

I suggest you bring it to your luither and have it take a look at it :). I use infled blue and red on my violin. in the end i red to play romanze pieces however for more modern pieces and in a orchestra setting I would prefer using the blue :D

Hope this helps :) do keep us updated regarding what happened to your violin :)

August 22, 2011 at 04:24 PM ·


I switched from dominant to evah with golden E. I found a very distinctive difference in my sound..much brighter. I thought it's worth the price. my suggestion would be ..if u hafn't done so already, find a good luthier, haf him/her check it and adjust it. I mean there's only so much u can do to make ur violin sound better. I mean i love my violin but it's still pretty crappy...

August 22, 2011 at 07:59 PM ·


I have tested about every string out there.  I am expecting Tom Holzman to walk in and say that it depends on the instrument, and he is right.  Different instruments respond differently to different string types and tensions.

About Dominants... Dominants react differently to different E strings which change the balances of tension/weight on a violin.  Therefore, before giving up on them, it is worth trying different E strings to see if one works differently for a particular violin.

In the end, it depends at what one is looking for.  As a personal goal I look for color and projection which doesn't necessarily mean loudness.  I try different things based on those elements which are my musical goals and suit the way I play.

I think that one has to find strings based on their playing, their goals, their instrument, their objectives in performance.  If not, then it is therefore very difficult to achieve satisfaction.

In my experience, experimentation is the only way.  Yes, it is expensive in time and money, but it is the only way to find yourself as an artist/musician/string player and no matter what one says, or what solution works for them, only you can find the solution for yourself.  If you make a mistake, there is always room for change.

My own two cents on the matter...



August 22, 2011 at 08:07 PM ·


you don`t have two cents.  You spent them all on strings...



August 23, 2011 at 01:38 AM ·




August 23, 2011 at 03:16 AM ·

I definitely don't agree that a 'good' violin must necessarily sound loud enough with medium-gauge Dominant strings - or else it's not a good violin / it's the player's fault.

I think some instruments really do seem to prefer higher or lower tension strings - and I don't think this makes them bad instruments. 

I'd get your setup inspected - but definitely try different strings if a luthier determines it looks reasonable.

August 23, 2011 at 03:50 AM ·

 take at look at your bow arm....  you can do alot with any string with a good right arm technique.

August 23, 2011 at 11:52 AM · Someone on this forum said not long ago that "loudness" is what the player hears, whereas "projection" is what the audience hears, and that they are not the same thing. For instance, the "loudness" will probably have a "noise" component, most of which dissipates and is inaudible a few feet from the player. This may be one reason at the Royal Albert Hall Proms why the violin soloist's mic is high up enough to be out of camera shot most of the time. I'll wager that if you were able to stick your head over the soloist's left shoulder when they're on after-burner you'd be in for a shock!

August 23, 2011 at 12:01 PM ·

so how does one work on projection?  I wondered if it would be a good idea to have a microphone positioned at the opposite end of a hall feeding back to your earphones - and then try playing the violin for 'projection'.  

I finally managed to confirm (repeating eons of students before me) that pressure has a rather limited relationship to sound volume - the string sounds because of maximum friction with the bow - and that is not achieved by force but by a perfect match of motion, sound point and hair area, in addition to contact pressure.  The latter is the most tricky since it has an optimum that varies according to the other three factors.  However, once you hit that sweet spot it becomes the most important thing in playing - and I believe its also the factor that sets maximum projection for that violin (and bow).

August 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM ·

Talking about projection, when I was in my 'teens (as a cellist) I was playing in a rehearsal by the Bristol Schools' Orchestra in Bristol's 2000-seat Colston Hall. After the rehearsal the conductor, Arthur Alexander, himself a professional cellist, and my teacher as well as that of a couple of others in the orchestra, asked the first two desks of the cellos to stay behind for 20 minutes for a little workshop.

He used this Colston Hall opportunity to show us how to project our tone individually so that we could hear the echo coming from the back of the hall. He made the point that what we hear is not what the audience hears, and how he was once in the front row of an audience immediately in front of the cellist Piattigorsky and how noticeably rough the tone was at that distance; three or four rows further back the sound of the Strad was golden.  That little workshop has always stood me in good stead.

August 23, 2011 at 10:06 PM ·

I'll concur with others here. The Dominants probably aren't the source of your problem with volume.

BUT...if you feel like trying different strings anyway...

Ever try...(dare I say it?)...steel strings? I use Flexocor-Permanent and they're actually warm sounding, but they can project with the best of them.

August 29, 2011 at 05:29 AM ·

I have changed a new set of dominant with a gold label E, they sound much more better^^ Dominant sound excellent for few weeks but turn down after 6 weeks. Do the Vision or Tonica have a longer life?

August 29, 2011 at 06:08 AM ·

 Vision seem to me to have a shorter life than Dominants. Much shorter.

August 29, 2011 at 06:27 AM ·

How about tonica?

August 29, 2011 at 08:30 AM ·

have you tried heavy guage pure gut?  I have them on now and I've never heard anything louder - and if you search I think you will find they last long too.

October 8, 2011 at 02:52 AM ·

Old thread... but try Zyex from D'addario

October 8, 2011 at 01:37 PM ·

Someone changed the row during a piatigorsky concert? I doubt that!

String choise is very important. People who stick with dominants usually have very good violins. So if you have a problem with projection I would recommend you to change strings more often or use brighter strings such as Larssen Tzigane ( In the beginning very metallic, later warm and mellow, but with a metallic sound in it). Zyex maybe a good choice too, but I have just experience with the a string wich is quite ok, for me a little harsh. I would definetely try infeld blue in your case. I don't know how the whole set feels but I play the e-string with pirazzis and it gives lots of brightness and power to the whole set. I think about trying a set once too.

Of course projection depends on your violin too. And on your playing... and on the weather...

October 8, 2011 at 02:02 PM ·

I have two violins and tried on both dominant strings with different bows. I found the sound very "similar" on both violins and also found they both tend to sound scratchy with them on especially in small rooms, is this normal or dominant doesn't fit them? because I had really cheap strings and my second violin just sounded amazing but I was seeking more and ended up with scratchy sound!

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