I finally (after over a year of non-stop traveling and trying 200+ violas) found an instrument that suits me perfectly, and went ahead and bought it!
That being said, part of my search required me to try to optimize each viola, so I've tried every string brand and combination at least 3x, some really weird ones too...but here are my thoughts regarding string choices for the ever-temperamental bratsche
- Worked well especially on older instruments, and despite the low tension, filled the hall more often than high-tension alternatives.
A- didn't use it
D- thin, weakest of the set
G- more rich, had the sweetness reminiscent of expensive violins. Full sound
C- one of the better responding c string options! Great sound. Spirocore in style, without the overtones being stifled.
Overall great response, sweet tone, left me wanting more power in the end though. Didn't withstand attacks very well. Brilliantly easy to play.
Most instruments came strung with them. I found them to not be as loud as people complained, but rather sluggish. The tone was intriguing at first, but in general they sound like plastic to me. People put these on religiously without actually experimenting, and this bothers me. That being said they work the best on my viola. Some instruments sound dull and choked however.
D- focused, clear,...chewy? most intriguing tone of the set
G- warm and yummy, slightly slower to respond
C- a bit tubby and nothing tone wise to write home about. Not my favorite. But certainly worth a try with your setup. I did notice it responds better with time
Some of favorite strings so far. Difficult to play, response doesn't seem present until three days after they've been strung up. Simply dulcet in tone, unparalleled array of colors, just brilliant (as in I like them. Not brilliant strings like prims
A- chrome steel is warm and open. Not pinched and matches wonderfully to any set id imagine
D- heartwrenching. Crystal clear with correct attack, and just so intriguing
G- ethereal. A little harder to speak. Warm and complex like a nice cabernet
C- too mushy. I used a spiro tungsten instead which somehow matched (??)
While they are my favorite sounding, playability and stability coupled with inferior focus and volume make these strings a hobby rather than a practice/performance string
Great a, drastic decline with lower strings.
A- my favorite. Low or medium tension for your instrument. Complex enough, very brilliant. Just gorgeous.
D- takes some getting used to, currently my favorite d string. Seriously sounds weird at first, but it's responsive, powerful, clear and focused with a...tone I guess.
C- they should pay you
the tungsten c is the best string for viola imo, if your viola can handle ilthe tension. Opposite of larsens as they get worse with each succeeding string upwards.
C- tungsten is magnificent, although a different rh approach is necessary. Spiccatto is hard and pp is a no go.
G- silver wound is strident and a bit stuff, very projecting, but a bit wooly and very one-dimensional in terms of timbre. More of an on/off switch.
Low tension, dark, long-lasting, responsive, generally not my bag o kettle chips, but yet worked the best on a gagliano I had tried. I believe they are dark because they suppress overtones in a way much like spiros. Steel strings sound very dark (albeit clear) to me.
Atrocious, easy to play, one sound, clear but not projecting, die like a supernova. My least favorite strings.
D- horrible. Skinny and thin, sounds whiny and has no color
G- silver is ok, responsive but just meh
C- tungsten is the exception, but id just go spirocore over this.
Amazing C! Typical gut. Great colors, stability issues. Amazing response ime
A- nasal and French-like sonority to my ears. Matches vision solos well, is perfect with dominants
D- unremarkable. Blue winding is cool
My current setup on my viola is:
Spirocore tungsten C
The contact point was getting to me however- I'm finding this setup to work great:
I have sound clips of almost every viola with what I thought were the best sounding strings for it if you want links to clips and such.
Other successful combos were as follows:
Doms + jargar A
Evahs + Larsen A
Spiro C, olive g d, Larsen a
Spiro c g, Larsen d a
Vision solos + receipts
Tiny violas with spiros
Can't wait for Pi to come out on viola! And pirastro rejected my plea to make passione solo for viola...hope any of this helped!
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