Evah Pirazzi violin strings...

November 23, 2011 at 10:31 PM · I have always used medium gage Thomastik Dominant violin strings. I have always been please with the rich mellow sound on all my instruments and they just feel so good under my fingers. They were the first strings I tried when my collage studio teacher suggested I upgrade my Chinese no name strings and I have stuck with them for decades since.

With all the strings on the market and all the technology available in strings of synthetic materials, I thought I should try something different. All my pals in orchestras love their Evah Pirazzi strings, so I shelled out the big bucks and bought a set.

My main instrument is a 1920s John Juzek (quality, but not master art). It was sounding sad because the strings where so old. I put on the new strings, and it became evident it was in need of a sound post adjustment as well.

I had been missing the joy I always got when playing this instrument with good strings. I was so excited when I picked up my violin from the shop with a brand new sound post. But I am still missing the feel and the sound. I even passed my fiddle around my community orchestra last night to get some more opinions, and my friends say the sound post and sound production is good.

Could it be that the Evahs are just too bright for my liking? Was it necessary for me to venture away from my Dominants to discover there is no place like home?

What is your favorite string and why?

Replies (29)

November 24, 2011 at 12:35 AM · I tried Evahs a while ago on recommendation from some players in my orchestra, including the CM, but I just couldn't get on with them – too bright and too high a tension for my liking. So I passed them on to someone else after a few weeks.

May I recommend the Larsen Tziganes, a synthetic core string with a strong solid tone. They have a signicantly lower tension than Evahs, with a tonal complexity that reminds me of gut. When they settle in, which is quickly, they are very stable. Excellent for orchestral playing, imo.

November 24, 2011 at 01:00 AM · It's pretty hard to beat Dominants. There is a reason why they are by far the most popular string on the market. I also dislike Evah's -- don't like the sound and the high tension is torture on the fingertips. I switched to Passiones for a while (lower tension), but they just don't hold up to heavy playing -- just a bit too much bow pressure, and they crack and squawk. Dominants are the perfect compromise. I am back to Dominants now and will probably stick with them for life. Hey, if they are good enough for Perlman, they are good enough for me.

November 24, 2011 at 01:21 AM · How long have you had them on? I haven't used Evahs on my violin for awhile, but I seem to remember they sound pretty awful for a week or so, then settle in to something far better. If it's just been a couple of days, maybe see how you feel in a week or two.

November 24, 2011 at 01:32 AM · Larsens sound different at first too. For the first week or so they sound really metallic, like you're playing the violin inside a coffee can. That characteristic fades and you've got some real good strings. I like Larsens too, I want to try them even though everyone is trying to tell me to put Evah Pirazzi's on there, and I even bought a set of them already.

By the way, these differences in string tension between Evahs and other strings ... is this something that anyone has actually measured? Or is it just violin-blog voodoo?

November 24, 2011 at 01:44 AM · Evahs work well on some fiddles, and not so well on others.

November 24, 2011 at 03:42 AM · In my experience, Evahs don't last too long. The sound quality stays, but for me, they lose bow response, and I hate having to fight my instrument too hard. On my current violin (which I've had only since August) I've already tried many major brands of string, and I've always gone back to Dominants. Peter Infelds are a good contender, however...

November 24, 2011 at 04:29 AM · @Paul Deck

According to the pamphlet included with every Pirastro string trial, the tension of medium gauge Evah Pirazzi strings in Kp is:

G - 5.0, D - 4.8, A - 5.8, and E - 7.8

On the other hand, Dominants, with the silver D and dreadful E, are at:

G - 4.4, D - 4.5, A - 5.5, and E - 7.2

Clearly the Evahs are at a much higher tension, which could either choke or enhance your violin's tone.

November 24, 2011 at 04:33 AM · At the suggestion from the person I bought my bow from, I switched from Dominants to Obligato's with a Larson A (viola). I've been more than pleased with the tone, and they are holding up better than the Dominants.

November 24, 2011 at 10:33 AM · All major string brands work well on some violins and for some musicians. Perhaps violinists glance a bit too much at what strings other people use. Evahs might still be a bit over-estimated, even quite a few years after their introduction.

Dominants have their hissing, metallic sound the first few hours of playing. Evahs have a more gritty sound when new. In my experience Dominants usually work best on more delicate and responsive instruments(if you replace the wound E), and Evahs work well on sturdier instruments. That's logical considering the greater tension.

But personal taste and style of playing is the most important consideration. The bow and rosin you use will also have an influence on which strings work best.

November 24, 2011 at 01:14 PM · What Ulf said. Just because certain strings work well for someone does not mean they will sound good on your violin. If you wish a different sound, your luthier is in the best position to listen to your violin with the current strings and suggest a different string type that will help you achieve the sound you seek.

November 24, 2011 at 07:58 PM · I think sometimes a different string set can widen your horizons, but if you are in such a love with dominants f.e. why would you think you will like evah pirazzi more? One gets used to the strings one plays over years.

To my experience Evahs can be very good strings depending on the instrument. I say it in every discussion about evahs: my old violin died under them and sounded awful (liked more wound gut or larsen = lower tension) my new violin takes them easily and they produce a wonderful focussed, deep and somehow warm sound. But I must admit that right now E and G string are different brands for different reasons. E string is infeld blue for brightness and larssen tzigane G because it makes my wolf better/playable.

I would be curious to try dominants on my instrument sometimes. But I found a good set wich works on my violin and for me, so why change!?

November 24, 2011 at 08:51 PM · (Obsession with wolf tones abated. Post and question removed.)

November 24, 2011 at 09:16 PM ·

November 25, 2011 at 03:26 AM · Trevor and Paul, do the Larsens stand up to heavy playing? Is their lifespan comparable to Dominants?

I'm also with Tony in wondering if the Larsens would help a wolf on higher strings.

I'm also curious in thinking about Mendy's set-up, what the differences are between Larsens and Obligatos.

I've been wanting to try something other than Evahs on my violin for quite awhile, to get a less brilliant, more complex sound; but lots of the brands mentioned are a lot of money (like Evahs), so I want to be wise about which to choose!

November 25, 2011 at 04:39 AM · Hi,

I agree with those above who have said that not every string is for every violin and every player. As one who has tried almost every string out there, there are many excellent strings that work on different instruments and for different people. Even just changing the E string with Dominants on a particular violin can change the character of the set and instrument.

In the end, it is about what works for your instrument (in my opinion that comes first), how you play and how want to play. Then you find the best compromise.

My own two cents...

Cheers!

November 25, 2011 at 01:04 PM · Lynae, I've never used Dominants, so I don't have a comparison with Larsens. However, I think Larsens have a similar feel, quality, volume and tone to Obligatos, which I have played a lot in the past, both on cello and violin, but are less expensive than Obligatos. Regarding the longevity of Larsens, I haven't had them on long enough to be able to report, but they feel as if they ought to last as well as Obligatos, and I know that some members of my orchestra use Larsens and are very happy with them.

November 25, 2011 at 01:57 PM · I hope you are talking about larsen tzigane!? These are very good strings wich can last quite long but take some time to settle and lose their too metallic sound in the beginning. I would not compare them too much to obligatos, because as far as i remember obligatos are much darker and lack the bite of larsen strings. Still Larsen Tziganes can sound very dark too, but to me it is more focussed and shiny. Also is the tension of Obligatos higher, wich makes them very different under the fingers. Larsen Strings always feel like cheating strings for position changes because they are so easy to play. But I would say as always that they don't work on all violins the same.

November 25, 2011 at 04:29 PM · Thank you for the info!

November 25, 2011 at 05:39 PM · Simon, I was indeed talking about the Larsen Tziganes that I use. My apologies, I should have made that clear.

November 26, 2011 at 01:47 AM · Hi Helen, I have one instrument that just loves Evah's, and another that despises them. It is what David Burgess said, they don't suit all violins. But do wait a week or two, as they do settle a bit. As a step up from Dominants, I found Peter Infeld Signature strings from Thomastik a whole better experience. They play just as easily as Dominants but the sound and responsiveness is far better, especially with the platinum E, which I use with a remaining set of Evah's. Although also a little on the pricey side, if your instrument likes Dominants, then these should also suit well.

November 26, 2011 at 02:33 PM · @Cyril - Thank you so much, I never knew this data existed and there it was, right under my nose! (Literally!)

@Lynae - I don't know what you mean by heavy playing but I've not noticed a decay in the sound of my Larsen Tzigane strings over a period of four months playing at least an hour a day.

November 28, 2011 at 01:43 PM · Thank you so much for all the great responses. The tension is probably why the strings feel so different.I am getting used to the tone, but am still missing the feel. As strings are so expensive,I will probably keep them on my instrument until they are wornout, but I am looking forward to replacing them with Dominants or maybe Infelds

November 28, 2011 at 02:37 PM · That's going to take FOREVER: I put these on my violin more than 2 whole years ago, and play often: plus, I play electric bass and lead guitar, too, and lift weights regularly, so I'm probably much harder on them than most people, and they STILL aren't showing any signs of going out of tune as a worn set would: hardly at all, just maybe by 2 or 3 cents, each time I come back to play. Plus, they aren't showing any signs of rust, not a bit. 2 + years, that's all I got to say about that !

November 28, 2011 at 02:47 PM · Freddy - that's quite amazing!!

For what its worth I have PI (Peter Infeld)strings on a fiddle I'm trying and after two days of playing in they sound excellent. But they never did on my normal fiddle - although I continued to use the A on it.

But this fiddle is a high octane high powered beast and seems to love the strings now.

November 28, 2011 at 04:48 PM · Freddy, the aluminum and silver that Evahs are wound with are incapable of rusting. More important, how do they sound?

November 28, 2011 at 04:52 PM · I have a rather dark fiddle, and Evah's work perfectly on it, bringing out the tone. These strings last long.

November 28, 2011 at 04:59 PM · I find that EPs don't typically break or get damaged, but they do get somewhat fuzzy and false after not too many months.

November 28, 2011 at 05:28 PM · That's been my experience, too, Stephen. They sound lovely once they settle in, but after a while go suddenly and drastically bad. I'm using a set on my viola right now and am curious to see if they die the same precipitous death the violin version do.

November 28, 2011 at 06:50 PM · I have a set of Evah Ps on my fiddle. I was lured in by the green lady and I must say so far she has not disappointed in any way shape or form.

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