Quest for best E string

November 5, 2011 at 08:38 PM · What E string is your favorite-- which do you find to have the warmest and most beautiful sound?


November 5, 2011 at 09:16 PM · "Warmest and most beautiful sound?"

Does one really want a warm sound on the E?

At the moment I use the Goldbrokat E, as it suits my instrument best.

November 5, 2011 at 09:29 PM · Goldbrokat E, GREAT E string, since I've discovered it I don't want any other E string :)

November 5, 2011 at 10:28 PM · I am not a violinist, but I do sell a lot of Goldbrokats in my shop and it's my favorite for setting up violins.

If you want something different, an E string that sounds like an extension of the other strings, not something different from them, like most E strings (something you won't realize was the case until you try this string), the wound Pirastro Eudoxa, about $9 from Shar, will surprise you.

November 7, 2011 at 02:45 AM · Elizabeth: I'm not a professional but I've tried a lot of E strings over the years and take E's very seriously. You mentioned warm/beautiful. Is your violin on the brighter side and would like something warmer? What are some E's that you've already tried? I find a lot of gold E's like say obligatos or especially Infeld gold Reds to be over warm. With Pirastro Olive gold E's you can hear that gold warmth but not over done. and you might call them beautiful, I think they sound very nice, if perhaps not really loud. Larson Gold are not syrupy either, you can certainly hear the gold, but some consider them to be somewhat bright/aggressive for gold on certain fiddles.

I use a Jargar Forte E and have yet to find one I like better. They are clear, round, not shrill, not silvery (I don't particularly like silvery) good volume, and what I would call a beautiful singing voice.

and finally... the sound of the E in itself is only half of it imho. the other half is the influence in sound and tension that they exert on the other 3.

Scott: just saw your post go up. Never tried Golden Spiral. Are they "Gold"? If you feel like it, please describe them a bit more?

November 7, 2011 at 02:51 AM · Golden Spiral. Only problem is they don't last more than 4-6 weeks.

November 7, 2011 at 05:55 AM · I recently tried out a set of Tonica strings which came with a wound E (presumably the same string as the Eudoxa in different colour). I was surprised to find that it's a really good string, blends well and sounds good. The set works well too.

I had given up on wound Es a long time ago. Not sure if they've improved or perhaps they just suit my present violin better.

November 7, 2011 at 01:23 PM · A very good and warm E-string is the Infeld Red! I tried it on my violin, but it was too warm and dark, but really really good! Now I play infeld Blue E-sting, wich is also good, but much more bright and... not golden, wich is important to me, because i cannot deal with the squeaking of gold strings in some chords permanently.

I personally like the Eudoxa E too. wich sounds very silver-shining but at the same time some kind of warm with great variety of colour. unfortunately not good for my violin.

November 7, 2011 at 03:44 PM · I like the thick gauge Goldbrokat E on my current main fiddle best.They don't last very long for me but they're less than two bucks so I order a bunch at a time.

I've also used the Pirastro Gold thick gauge but there's a trade off I get a more buttery tone from my violin with this string but slightly less projection.

The Hill thick gauge is also great if it works on your fiddle.


November 7, 2011 at 04:19 PM · Maurice: I noticed you mentioned heavy gauge for a few strings. I also prefer a heavier E. The Jargar Forte I use is heavy gauge. I have a feeling that there are some E's I could go with in heavy gauge, but that would be special order and open up a whole 'nuther can of worms. I don't think I'm prepared to go there.

November 7, 2011 at 06:02 PM · Hi Dave-You make a great point in your earlier post

"the sound of the E in itself is only half of it imho. the other half is the influence in sound and tension that they exert on the other 3."

How the fiddle sounds overall is most important. I like an E that projects but I want an even sound across the strings. When I use the Pirastro Gold E my fiddle has a richer, darker tone and I have to sort of push and pull the sound out of it a bit more but there is definitely less on the high end. With the Goldbrokat the clarity and responsiveness seems enhanced I feel like I can draw a faster bow (this could all be in my head of course). Gosh, this thread has got me wanting to experiment with some different E strings now!


November 7, 2011 at 07:07 PM · Do most people here change out their E string? I often am content with the one that comes with the set. I'm playing on Passiones currently, and will be ordering my next set this week. If I want a clear, focused E that blends with my other strings, would I just stick with what I've got? Or is there possibility for improvement? Not to hijack the thread, but I love hearing everyone's experiences because it saves me time and money.

November 7, 2011 at 10:11 PM · apologies if I'm "hogging" the thread, but I did say I take E's very seriously... further to the E influencing the other 3, when I change out an E, I try and pay close attention to how it has changed the other 3. Suggestion: If you are happy with your set but wishing for just a bit more brilliance/darkness or focus/openess, and a complete change of set may be too drastic a change...a bright E will brighten everything, a warm E will darken everything. I also find that different E's can make fairly significant differences in tension & playabilty over all 4 strings, whether positive or negative.

I got to the point with E's that I was using them more as a tweak on the total sound rather than for their own sake, and I consider the E influence on the others to be at least as important, if not more so.

November 7, 2011 at 10:18 PM · I think the most amazing E string is the new, platinum-coated one that comes with the Peter Infeld (PI) set from Thomastik. I have found it important, when using that set to use the Pt E rather than the Tin, alternative, because as Snow suggests, the quality of the E affects the voicing of all the other strings.

I've now got PI sets on 4 violins of very different tonal qualities, and they all sound better than they have with any other strings. And I never before found a single brand that would work well on all these violins. I previously played with mixed sets to optimize the sound, but that is no longer necessary.

Unfortunately the PI E string costs at least 5 times more than I would like.

Personally, I want an E string that I can hear in orchestra.


November 7, 2011 at 10:26 PM · The E that comes with the Larsen Tzigane set is by far the best fit for my old Pierre Sylvestre fiddle. It does hiss, like most, but not excessively. Wound E's don't give me that smooth, meaty high sound. They sound sort of fuzzy on my violin.

November 7, 2011 at 11:00 PM · I share the above opinion on wound E's, and I second the observation on the choice of E influencing A-D-G response.

Re: Pirastro Eudoxa E, mentioned earlier -- I frequently play on Eudoxa A-D-G -- the D-G being the stiff versions; but the wound E doesn't give me the ring and sheen in the upper register that the Gold Label or Jargar gives. I've done a comparison tryout on two of my three older instruments, and the wound E also cuts down on the sympathetic vibrations I get when playing on A-D-G.

I'm pleased with the Eudoxa E sound itself, but the overall effect with the other strings is as if someone took a little knife and sliced off some high overtones. The trade-off is that this E very seldom whistles -- at least for me. In an over-reverberant room, I might find it better; but in most venues, I prefer something with a brighter ring to it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To the OP: It's undoubtedly going to be a matter of trial and experimentation. I've done tryouts that took 2 weeks, but keep in mind that I'm comparing responses on three older fiddles. I don't know that I have a favorite E -- it really depends on which fiddle I'm using, what repertoire I'm playing, and the room acoustics.

Quinn offers a 6-pack of popular E strings that you can try out to compare -- not sure if Shar or SW Strings offers the same; would need to check. I made note of those offered -- medium gauge: Westminster, Goldbrokat, Pirastro Gold Label, Hill, Pirastro Oliv, and Kaplan Golden Spiral Solo. As I recall, I've tried all but Oliv and Westminster E's. Goldbrokat and Gold Label worked best for me.

November 8, 2011 at 06:14 PM · Emily-I don't think you're highjacking the thread at all your comments are right in line with the overall discussion. Six years ago when I bought my current main fiddle it was set up with Evah Pirazzi A D G with a Pirastro E a combination I'd used on my previous fiddle so I stuck with that.

Somewhere along the way I decided to try using the complete Evah Pirazzi set and while the set had a nice blend I felt that the E lacked "personality" and punch it was just kind of blah (on my fiddle).Before this the only time I'd used a complete set of anything was Dominants and that was waaaay back as an under grad and I remember breaking several E strings but that could have been a perfect storm of youth, technique, and Lalo.

So...The same year I bought the my current violin I was preparing for two performances a quartet recital that included Shostakovich Quartet #1 and an orchestra concert where I was playing 1st on the Bach double. I definitely wanted more on the upper end for Shostakovich. The Goldbrokat was what I used to throw on a couple days before solo performances so that's what I went with and it worked out fine.

The only other factor is that the fiddle was still quite new I purchased it the same year it was made that December and these performances were in April so there was still some waking up and I was also adjusting my technique and getting to know him.

To make a long story longer I've ordered a Hill Thick E and a Pirastro Gold Thick E to try on my fiddle six years later to see if things have changed.We'll see.

Sorry for the rambling post! :c)


November 8, 2011 at 06:37 PM · I absolutely love the Kaplan E-strings by D'Addario. One, they don't whistle. Which is fantastic if you're working which chords, string crossings, etc. And two, they are on the warmer side. The only thing is that they are very sensitive and can break easily if you don't wait for them to stretch out a bit..Other than that, I think they're worth a try :)

November 8, 2011 at 08:02 PM · @ Emily: so far on this thread there are 3 advocates for matching E's for Tonica, Larsen Tzigane, & Peter Infeld Platnium. As Passiones are one of the few sets I've never tried, can't offer an opinion. But the matching E may very well work fine. My slogans are "buy 'em & try 'em" and "you pays your money and you takes your chances"

...more talk about thick E's from Maurice, so unless I'm missing anybody, that makes Maurice, me & Brian Lee down for heavy E's. Wondering if there may be more...

woops, I think maybe Michael Schallock meant he just used the E from Larsen Tzigane and not the whole set?

November 8, 2011 at 08:52 PM ·

November 9, 2011 at 12:14 AM · I'm not a professional string player, but I am a tone hound. I'm trying out a set of Passiones though I am using a Eudoxa wound E string. Using a wound E started with trying to solve a whisling problem on the plain steel E when crossing from the A to the E. However, I found that the wound E also balances the tone more evenly with the other 3 strings. Since I prefer the instrument to be NOT so bright the Eudoxa wound E works well for me.

November 9, 2011 at 09:41 AM · after ordering a set of 7 different e strings. (From wich I tested just 3 yet) I really have to consider thinking about buying some of them in heavy gauge.

For me the Larssen tzigane and the Eudoxa E are the most appealing strings in terms of sound quality and modulation. But at the same time they are not the brightest ones and my very dark sounding violin needs something strong in the upper register on the e string. I will try them out in heavy gauge soon, while now sticking to infeld blue E.

November 9, 2011 at 11:53 AM · Most beautiful? Easy answer for me, a gut e. I've used them for several years. I'll supply the details by PM if anybody is interested in trying one.

November 9, 2011 at 08:22 PM · Thanks for the info, Kevin!

November 15, 2011 at 12:08 AM · For what it's worth, I oredered a new set of Passione strings for my violin, which came in the mail today. I tried the original E as I broke the strings in. After about an hour of scales, after the pitches had become mostly stable and I was getting a pretty good response out of the strings, I switched out the E for a Goldbrokat (never tried one before) and heard an immediate improvement on the D string. Goldbrokat has a nice blend, bright without sticking out, and very clear and sweet in tone. The entire setup improved in singing quality.

I switched it out for Jargar forte E, one I've liked in the past, and it didn't get along with them very well. Overall sound deteriorated, and it came across with a mean personality, which sirprised me because I've liked it so much in years past. But that was a different instrument, and I was using Dominants back then.

So, for the record, on my modern Italian, Goldbrokat was the best pick today to pair with Passiones. I'm very pleased with this setup and can't wait to see how it settles over the next couple of days.

November 23, 2011 at 06:02 PM · So has anyone tried the Evah Pirazzi thick gold plated E? I've decided to switch back to the Pirastro Gold Wondertone thick E for now it balances a bit better with the other three strings (Evah Pirazzi) than the Goldbrokat E and does seem to give my fiddle a warmer quality.Most of my immediate upcoming gigs are holiday stuff and small ensemble so I can experiment a little.


November 23, 2011 at 06:48 PM ·

December 23, 2011 at 10:31 PM · I am curious to learn about the thick e strings as compared to medium or light.

I am about to start the long process of finding the holy grail of e-strings for my violin. :)

My situation is quite unique.

Although I've been playing my current fiddle for almost 30 years now, I have yet to learn of its tonal capabilities. The reason is simple.

Because I am so sensitive to sound, I practice 99% of the time with a mute.

Today when I took off the mute, the GD and A sounded fine, but the e string was extremely shrill sounding and annoying. Way too bright, with an ugly sound. The antithesis of the warm sound I'm looking for.

It's a bit ironic too, because a few months ago I made a startling discovery when I changed my e string from the Pirastro Violino to an old Dogal R31 red label e string I had lying around.

I was still using my mute, so I didn't notice any tonal difference really, but there was an immediate difference in playability!

Much softer and easier to play the Dogal.

That got me thinking about the rest of my strings.

Eventually I cut a new bridge myself, lowering the action a fair bit and now the other three strings are at a height that I should have been playing at for the past 30 years!!!

Back to the e strings.

When you move from a light to a medium or thick e string, the tone should darken accordingly, correct?

Would the tension of the e string also be looser with the thicker e string?


December 23, 2011 at 11:37 PM · I like Hill E

April 19, 2012 at 08:21 PM · Bumping this thread because I'm curious if anyone knows the answer to Mark's question:

"When you move from a light to a medium or thick e string, the tone should darken accordingly, correct?"

April 19, 2012 at 08:27 PM ·

April 19, 2012 at 09:00 PM · I really like the Zyex E-string (well I like all their strings actually). But mine almost never squeaks or had a very nice tone too!

April 20, 2012 at 07:57 AM · with thick strings maybe "darker" is right in the sence that the sound gets more core. but also a kind of sharpness, especially in piano and pianissimo. its quite nice, but not really something for old fashioned sound taste.

April 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM · Technical point:

All four strings have the same length, and similar, if not identical, tension, and so the differences in pitch come from their weight, and not their visible thickness.

My own prefered E - Dominant(!) - is aluminium wound on very fine steel: sweet and silky, and with less tension than many thinner-looking plain steel E's.

A plain gut D is thicker than an aluminium-wound gut or nylon D, which is thicker than a silver-wound D etc. etc.

For solo work I put on a stronger, plain steel E, and a Helicore or "Chromecore-Eudoxa" A to reduce the contrast between A & E.

July 3, 2012 at 11:09 PM · Regarding E strings, clearly what works for one may not work for another.

I have been playing in this Wilfred Saunders violin for nearly 20 years now. It is very solid!

Until I put on some solo strings (Pirazzi) it was just too quiet. As it has a naturally round tone the brashness of the Pirazzi was not too bad, however they do not last very long.

So I changed to Zyex which were half the price, lasted MUCH longer and were significantly less brash, so on my violin (YMMV) sound very sweet as well as loud.

EXCEPT the E-string. It has always been inadequate, too quiet and not matching the rest of the strings. The violin has been to now three quality luthiers for adjustments to bridge and soundpost and may well be as good as it is going to get bar thinning the plates.

I had been using Olive Gold E strings for years. Sweeter than a plain steel, but whistle too much.

Then I read about Jargar Forte. Definitely a jump in volume without a loss of sweetness.

Keen to try new stuff I also tried:

Infeld Platinum, put it on for about an hour and took it off again. It was less powerful than Jargar (on two very different violins) and in comparison made a nasty noise.

Titanium solo (dark coloured steel). The first two E strings I used were fabulous, ever so slightly more powerful than the Jargar Forte and slightly sweeter too. But the last one I bought was a dud and came straight off again.

Since I was using Zyex heavy on the G D and A, well why not give it a whirl. YES! power back again and still pretty sweet. Incidentally, the Zyex G also was much more playable in high positions than was Pirazzi.

I have some more Zyex Es on order, but having read about Westminster, am keen to try them out too.

Lastly, the bridge and soundpost weight make a huge difference. If I am finding my E a little too shrill I have a minute (lentil-sized) blob of blue-tack I keep on the E adjuster to add to the bridge just under the E string. Reduces the power fractionally but takes off the shrill edge.

July 4, 2012 at 01:12 PM · I have the Evah Pirazzi GOLD E on my violin and I LOVE it!

August 27, 2012 at 06:45 PM · I've played with quite a few different E strings, and it would be tough to tear my away from Oliv's golden E. While it does occasionally whistle, the tone is superb and lasts longer than most E's I've used.

October 8, 2012 at 12:55 PM · I like Prim new stainless steel "Lisa e string". The string sound sweet and rich in tone, and less "whistle" compare to others "corrosion free" E strings.

October 9, 2012 at 04:16 AM · I agree with Jake - Olive gold E is terrific. And keep the heavy one in reserve if you need soloistic power!

October 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Jargar forte and Titanium solo E, are for me the best! But I like more titanium solo =D, it was more powerful than Jargar.

Try it.

October 9, 2012 at 02:42 PM · while everybody prefers forte strings I am more happy with the response of jargar middle and westminster middle. Westminster heavy is a true bomb, makes your whole violin more powerful, for ensembleplaying it lacks too much sweetness and modulation qualities. For a solistic event, I probably would change to heavy E-String. Otherwise middle is more than enough!

I like Jargar middle more than westminster middle and Wetsminster heavy more than jargar heavy...

December 18, 2012 at 03:08 AM · I too am on a quest for better E strings. I ordered a Passione (it hasn't arrived yet), before discovering this thread, but it looks like there are many options.

My E strings (on two different violins) are quite jarring. I'm getting resonant and smooth tones on the lower registers and then I move to the E string and it's shrill and, to my ear, far too harsh a transition. It's like I switched to a different instrument.

I noticed, when listening to one of Stepan Grytsay's pieces (it may have been the Vitalli) that the sound on the E was far more mellow and smooth than my shrill E and now I won't be satisfied until I can find something similar.

December 18, 2012 at 07:24 AM · Hey J. I think its much more the instrument than the string... unfortunately. I also made the same discovery, wich is, that some other very good violins have a smooth transition to the e string and sound somehow mellow and wooden even in the opper registers. Turned out to be a strad ;) So don't expect too much from strings. Anyway in your case I would try the eudoxa E. Wich is a good string overall and with a nice resonance and less sharp. On the other hand not my favorite string for playing solo, but that also depends on my bow technique.

December 18, 2012 at 01:47 PM · Perhaps try a wound E string if the others all seem too shrill?

January 6, 2013 at 04:14 PM · Two trials:

1) I have tried the Despised Dominant E's: the plain steel one sounds thin and metallic but I like the aluminium-wound E if I dont need to go to the end of the fingerboard. It has more "complexity", matches the A better, and the open E doesn't whistle.

2) PI, on a dull-tone fiddle: I have only the tin-plated E: bright and clear to the top, but too brilliant for the rest of the set. I use a Golbrokat, and the lower tension seems to allow more colour from the PI A,D,&G.

The gold plated Obligato E (on a brighter violin) mathes the other Obligatos well.

This said, as a violist at heart, i have a problem relating to E-strings...

September 13, 2015 at 06:19 PM · I am reviving this thread since there are some new E strings on the market. I need something to get a "thicker" sound on the E string to match the Vision Solos that are the lower 3 strings. The fiddle has plenty of power, so doesn't need shrillness. Thanks

September 13, 2015 at 06:46 PM · Extra heavy (0.28) Goldbrokat should do it.

Blends well and is powerful but not shrill. :)

September 13, 2015 at 06:46 PM · Amber heavy E is something that I want to try next. But I have Wondertone E next in line sitting in my drawer.

September 14, 2015 at 12:26 AM · The Peter Infeld platinum E, perhaps?

October 22, 2015 at 12:30 PM · I have gone through the Pirastro No.1 E, Goldbrokat, Warchal Amber, and PI Platinum E. For my violin, I would say my favorites are the Warchal Amber and PI Platinum E.

For my back up violin it was the Goldbrokat!

October 22, 2015 at 06:40 PM · I have used Goldbrokat in past 2 years only to discover Jargar as even better, especially in combination with Obligato!

Then again, tuned to 432Hz, the Kingdom of overtones opens may not be the e-string you are unhappy with.

As someone stated "there are no right stops on a wrong train".

October 22, 2015 at 07:46 PM · Of course, violins were designed to use a gut E...

When I get round to it, I'll try removing the windings of a dicarded synthetic A to see if the core will behave like a plan gut E.

October 22, 2015 at 10:39 PM · Most well-known Es are fairly good, it just veing a matter of what works best for your instrument and particular needs and preferences.

Tonally-wise, my favorite is Oliv Stark, and then, in no particular, order the medium Gold Label, Westminster 27.5, Jargar Forte, Goldbrokat, etc. The Oliv may not be for everyone, even though it hardly whistles for me and/or my violin-the amazing sound quality and wonderful volume+clarity are really good, though-only the Westminster E may be louder.

In the end, I've rarely used Es that disappoint, the quite notable exception being the Kaplan "solutions" years ago. The Eudoxa Wound Steel, while also wound, is much better than that, but it does tend to make the violin slightly less resonant, despite it's great tone, and somehow loses some oomph when playing up top (but as aforementioned, some people love the Kaplan string, so it's all needs/preferences, rather than "best Steel E.")

October 23, 2015 at 12:04 AM · I've tried out many E strings and many string combinations on my violins. Warchal Amber E is my current favourite for its warmth and clarity, and the fact that it almost never whistles. I also like the Westminster and the Gold Label. But I keep switching them back to the Amber.

October 23, 2015 at 12:28 AM · I completely agree with Warchal Amber fact I love the set itself so much, but yes the E is something else!

October 23, 2015 at 10:41 AM · I agree! I'm using the Amber E with a set of Passiones. Perfect match on my violin. I was excited to discover this lovely string.

October 23, 2015 at 12:00 PM · How can one buy a heavy gauge Amber E in North America? It seems like shops only carry the medium.

October 23, 2015 at 03:43 PM · I checked the website of Lenzner ( and see no mention of a Goldbrokat string, only Goldtwistle, Quinton, and Supersolo. Have they changed names?

October 24, 2015 at 11:08 AM · My fall 2015 Shar Music catalog lists a flatwound aluminum on steel E Goldbrokat string for $1.60.

October 26, 2015 at 08:40 PM · I use a Parazzi Gold E but I also very much enjoy playing with a Obligato Red.

September 10, 2016 at 04:47 PM · Wow! What a fascinating thread on this quest for the "best E string"! The idea was to get as many recommendations as possible, you all did NOT disappoint!!! Thank you so much! This question was posed back in 2011 still searching but appreciate immensely all of your suggestions, many of which I have tried. The PI platinum is pretty impressive immediately, but the cost has prohibited this violinist from trying it more than twice since we have to purchase at least four strings at a time. Now, that we're in 2016, wonder whether some new strings have been created worth mentioning. Doubt that there are other ideas from what's already been listed here. I will go back to this thread when experimenting. Going to retry the Westminster, can't lose bc it's also very cheap, in addition to my usual Infeld Gold E. PLEASE let us know, if any of you have a new suggestion!

September 11, 2016 at 07:39 AM · You could try the new Optima Goldbrokat, different material. Manufacturer commented that it should be longer lasting. I like both the Brassed and 24k coated version. I like the Brassed version slightly better because the 24k was slightly too sweet and mellow for my taste. My current favorite remains PI, Gold Label, and Jargar. Have yet to try the warchal Amber.

September 11, 2016 at 09:04 AM · Warchal amber is a nice E string

September 11, 2016 at 01:39 PM · Warchal Amber E is a great E string, and cheap, too.

September 12, 2016 at 09:51 AM · My 5c:

Westminster medium is the pinnacle of price/performance.

I tested Peter Infeld platinum E, which is arguably as expensive as a vestal maiden's hear (plucked under a blue moon) and it was - sory to say so - weak and thin. With the price tag almost 5 times the Westminster - it's a ripoff.

September 12, 2016 at 10:07 AM · Tony's experience is really unusual, I think, but of course every violin reacts differently to different strings, and the E string is the one that most changes the sound of a violin.

The PI platinum E is a highly brilliant E string on most violins, as far as I know. I love its sound but it is actually too brilliant on my current violin, but it was fantastic on another instrument of mine.

For me, one of the best aspects of the PI E is the fact that it lasts forever. My sweat usually corrodes E strings in a matter of weeks, and the PI E lasts for many months for me, so the price tag balances out.

September 12, 2016 at 11:29 AM · Shawn, one of our own, has done a great job collecting reviews online:

Claiming that one E is superior than another reminds me on that old story of blind people touching different parts of an elephant and describing it afterwards.

Just last night, I learned from the above link that Westminster can help tame a bright violin, which concurs with recommendation I got a few years ago. Use it on a dark violin and you might report here that the string is poor.

September 13, 2016 at 11:24 AM · Lydia: I too have sweaty hands and fingers, and the e string plating (PI tin, or Pirastro Gold) would be worn off in matter of days. PI platinum seems to last much longer, but do you have other e that you have good results for sweaty hands?

September 13, 2016 at 11:30 AM · Warchal Amber E, interestingly, also lasts. As does the Avantgarde A.

September 13, 2016 at 01:35 PM · Thanks, will definitely give that a try.

September 14, 2016 at 11:35 AM · So where do you buy them? I went to Fiddlerman and saw no Warchal single strings. Shar had no Warchal and neither did Concord. Where?

September 14, 2016 at 11:41 AM · has them I believe...

September 14, 2016 at 01:21 PM · Yes they do. Thank you.

September 14, 2016 at 05:32 PM · I have posted { "String Thing V E string folklore" ) a few weeks ago and the joke is on me. I carefully listened to all the wonderful things that different E strings can do but I found none of the 12 popular brands/types that maintained the initial installation characteristics.

( I'm talking about the net effect on the violin, not just E string differences.)

However, some dramatic volume differences did survive. Again, that is for the whole violin.

My tests ran perhaps a few days up to 2 weeks.

I am very suspicious about the life of strings. How long do strings maintain best sound?

September 14, 2016 at 07:01 PM · That lovely golden glow of newness? Depending on brand, somewhere between three days and two weeks, I think. Often, once they're broken in and have reached tuning stability, they no longer sound as wonderful.

E strings are often stable immediately and sound good for many weeks, though. I'm guessing that's due to the greater stability of steel vs. the synthetics or gut used for the lower strings.

September 14, 2016 at 07:16 PM · One Vcom member once made a quiet remark that the influence of the E is, in fact, related to the twisting displacement that the E string can exert on the tailpiece. Then I saw a graph showing that the E string(s) are rated at about twice the tension of the other strings.

September 15, 2016 at 11:17 AM · I can remember a wonderful gut sound on a cheap set of strings,,it lasted 10 minutes. I have not yet found it again. I have also found that re-using strings (especially steel strings) can sound even better than when new for a few days.

"one vcom member once made a quiet remark"

even though your phrase is beautiful,,,I laughed at that.

September 15, 2016 at 12:32 PM · For some reason, I felt as if the author of the "quiet remark" did not want to upset the usual popular string conversation.

Someone else once said that you can break the law and get away with it but NEVER challenge tradition (unless you whisper).


PS The E string tension is not 2x as reported. I goofed. The E strings are perhaps 50% higher. Argument stays the same.

September 16, 2016 at 10:38 AM · For the record. Under what test conditions does a manufacturer qualify a string design?

Is that bare string?

Is that some secret rosin? (How much)

Is there a calibrated special employee who listens/plays the candidate string?

Do they life test strings? Under what conditions?

How do I hear what the factory heard?

September 16, 2016 at 02:40 PM · They are tested. It's not just random. When Mr. Warchal posted in the forums, it is clear he tested each of his own as well as his newer models. Even then, he believes there's little difference between the "old-school" Es. I believe there are differences, but depending on the violin and one's ability to catch these, they may not be too obvious.

As for HOW are they tested is something I know nothing about.

I wish there was more information forthcoming from the different manufacturers (including the ones that only make Es) about the composition and tension of their strings other than "tin-plated, gold-plated, silvery steel", etc.

I tend to agree in that the differences are not that substantial, but still like the general tone of gold-plated strings (sound-wise), and most of the standards (I have no perspiration problems, though.)

I like the Hill E a lot, because it's bright, speaks well and clear throughout all its registers (no problems playing up there), and still is a good match with a gut or synthetic A. Also has a fuller upper mid-range than Gold Label, which if of course another good E. Not sure it's the loudest, but it's not weak.

I should test Warchal's new-ish Amber E-just hesitant because of past experiences with tamer Es. Maybe it's more powerful than I think it is.

September 16, 2016 at 02:59 PM · What do you expect is nominal life expectancy for your E string(s). Or, how often do you expect to change strings?

September 16, 2016 at 03:00 PM ·

September 21, 2016 at 06:03 AM · Hi Lydia,

I recently purchased a set of Pirazzi Golds with the Silver G as per my teacher's recommendation, and I was wondering what a good E-string might be to match this set. I've heard at least four people, including you, recommend the PI Platinum E-string to go with the Pirazzi Golds with the Silver G, but your comment that it may be too brilliant has me a bit concerned. I am currently playing on a Needham violin that projects likes nobody's business, so I was thinking that a PI Platinum E-string might actually be too brilliant for it.

The other E-string I was thinking of trying was the Warchal Forte Amber E. Would you recommend that I get the PI Platinum E or the Warchal Forte Amber E to go with the Pirazzi Golds (Silver G) for my Needham violin?



September 21, 2016 at 08:15 AM · I'm trying to solve much the same problem on a Needham (Strad model). For a while I was using all PIs (platinum E, silver D). While I loved the activity of the overtones, I was missing some warmth and support from below. Changing the A to Passione stark helped the warmth, and a Pirazzi Gold G (silver wound) is goosing the bottom register a little. Projection is phenomenal. My errand now is to see if I can go further in the direction of enriching the non-soprano elements.

A luthier once told me that because of the way the bridge rocks when played, you need to think of pairs of strings: E and G on the outside and A/D on the inside. The violin is playing well enough that I will assume for now that the PI E and the EP gold G are complementing each other reasonably well. As a result, my first step will be to see what can be done about the middle. I will start by lowering tension a bit. Perhaps a standard weight Passione A, or replacing the PI D with an EP gold might work. Of course, there is always the option of starting over with a set of Dominants or Vision Solos and working from there.

September 21, 2016 at 10:05 AM · Recent data point.

Oliv. Really nice but did not last.

Oliv "heavy". Not an improvement but LOUD.

In my test series, LOUD was a trend,

Only 3 or 4 of 15 were "better" but did not last.

September 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM · I would really like to read more about your tests. Do you have a thread started about them?

September 21, 2016 at 11:09 AM · Most of my tests can be found via a Vcom archive search as "string thing VE string folklore".

The summary is that volume can be manipulated but only few can achieve that pleasant "woody" sound and that effect is mostly temporary (days-weeks).

I'm not surprised that the E string can have significant influence being the highest tension of the 4 string set.

I'm finished with strings for now and am trying some different rosin which is more and more important as testing progresses.

So, right now, I do not have an E string champion.

September 21, 2016 at 11:10 AM · My experience is that Howard Needham wishes that people didn't use high-tension strings. :-)

Most violins are sensitive to E strings, and the only way to really know how they'll react is to try the string on them and see. EPs and EP Golds often work fine with the E string that they come with.

By the way, the platinum E has a tendency to whistle. A really, really strong tendency to whistle. So if you play in a way that tends to result in E-strings whistling on you, you may very well have issues with it.

(I've borrowed two different Needham violins for a week, and my experience is that they were near-impossible to play quietly. If I were choosing strings for one, I might optimize for something other than power.)

September 21, 2016 at 03:14 PM · (On that note, while I don't dislike loud strings, it's my experience that they are not essential for achieving powerful dynamics. Most of the tone comes from the player, rather than string choice. Of course a player with powerful bow arm technique will theoretically play "louder" on the loudest strings, but in practice he/she could do as well with anything else too, as has been proven throughout history, when players used supposedly "weaker" strings. I also love and use medium to low tension strings, though admittedly, not all violins must benefit from light tension.)

Ms. Roth-IME, Olivs E last well, and I do like their power and brilliance-we probably just look for different qualities on our Es, which is quite fair (and also, I don't really have acidic finger perspiration.) The only minus I can see besides the price, is that on some violins/with some players, they may whistle.

September 21, 2016 at 05:40 PM · My observation with Oliv was that they did not last at peak sound quality and my observations were not based on the E string alone but rather the TOTAL SOUND of the violin. I think it is significant that one string can change the sound of the whole violin. In this context, I was disappointed that a miracle string was not found but I did find it easy to create volume changes however.

September 21, 2016 at 08:55 PM · Hi Lydia,

Thanks for the response (:

So if you were choosing strings for a Needham violin, what would you optimize? When I sent my violin to Mr. Needham himself for adjustments, he opted to restring it with good ol' Dominants.

Also, since I've already ordered the Pirazzi Golds (Silver G), I'm pretty much stuck with them (though I actually am curious to try them). Do you think the E string that comes with the set will be fine? Or should I replace it with a Warchal Amber E (medium or hard tension?) from the get-go?

Thanks again,


September 21, 2016 at 09:24 PM · My teacher uses regular EP Golds (the full set, with the silver G) on his Needham, which sounds fine, but it's pretty much set up to blast through an orchestra in a concerto. Since you've bought the strings, you should just try them as-is, I'd think; there's no real reason to go mucking with the combination unless you know there's something you don't like about the combo.

What you use is really going to depend on your playing needs. Not everyone needs maximum projection.

September 22, 2016 at 03:10 AM · Sounds good. I'll try the strings and let you guys know how they sound. My teacher recommended them on the basis of longevity and his own experiences playing them throughout the summer, and the fact that we're pretty much solely (hah) working on solo repertoire. He's also used to being the concertmaster of whatever orchestra he's playing in. Prior to the EP Golds, his string of choice was the Vision Titanium Solo. I don't think he's aware that I'm playing on a Needham, though.

That said, the new strings might pose a problem blending with the rest of the firsts in orchestra, which is already hard enough as it is on a Needham! (Granted, though, one of his earlier models).

September 22, 2016 at 01:40 PM · He thinks EP Golds have longevity? They have a playing life of about 100-150 hours. They're usable after that point, but the quality of the sound drops precipitously.

September 23, 2016 at 12:40 PM · Elizabeth Lane

You actually identified the problem in the title of your post. That would be the word "quest". But don't be discouraged. You have a lot of company.

September 23, 2016 at 12:41 PM ·

September 24, 2016 at 06:15 AM · Lydia-

That would make them considerably more durable than the regular EPs. You set the bar low enough...

September 24, 2016 at 12:42 PM · I actually like the alumnium wound Dominant E. It sounds sweet and clear if bowed right.

September 24, 2016 at 05:03 PM · Pi e string is all right I love the obligato gold e. Thats what I use but I will use the titanium solo e for certain pieces.

September 24, 2016 at 05:56 PM · Doesn't matter what E string you use as long as you use Baker's Rosin.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Business Directory Business Directory Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine