Brightest Strings

September 26, 2015 at 07:13 PM · Recently I have been somewhat dissatisfied with the sound of my violin. It is a "dark fiddle", and I feel like I have really been struggling with projection. I currently have on Evah Pirazzis, which I loved the brightness of when I first started using them. I have not done much experimentation with different brands of strings, though, and I can't help but wonder if my dissatisfaction is due to the type of string I am using. So I am curious - out of the higher quality strings on the market, which brands have

~the brightest sound?

~the loudest sound?

~the best projection?

Thanks so much for your input!

Replies (21)

September 26, 2015 at 07:39 PM · You might want to try the vision titanium solo.

I think they are a bit brighter than evah's, at least on my violin.

I have stopped using synthetics however and I'm now using gut covered strings. Gut covered strings like the Passiones give pure brilliance without the metallic sound that other synthetics have. If you want to try an even more brilliant gut covered string, then the gold by Pirastro label might be worth trying.

September 26, 2015 at 07:48 PM · Folks describe my violin (early 19th century but one-piece back) as sounding "closed" or "shut-in". With hard bright strings, e.g. Vision, I just got harshness.

So I have gone the other way and put Tonica "light". This needs a more supple, and subtle, style of bowing, but the lower gut-like tension allows the wood to respond to the higher overtones.

September 26, 2015 at 07:49 PM · Vis. Titanium, Evahs, the new TI strings.

These would be the brightest and loudest, in my opinion.

Also, dump the E that comes with any of these and go for a Westminster 27.5.

The Evahs don't last long. If you want to keep that edge and power, you will need to change them every 6 weeks-2 months.

September 26, 2015 at 08:06 PM · I have the Vision Titanium Solos on my violin right now. I am just experimenting.

They are bright. I like bright. But I don't like them in combination with my violin. Won't be using them again once my strings are due for replacement.

September 26, 2015 at 08:59 PM · Strings can't change the fundamental character of a violin, and if you dislike the fundamental character of your instrument, you should get a different one, even if you trade laterally within the same general price range.

Bright strings can make a dark instrument somewhat less bright, but that's about it. Evah Pirazzi is about as bright as you're going to get in a synthetic string. The closest parallel sound in the Thomastik brand is going to be the Visions (especially Vision Titanium Solo). You could also try the Peter Infelds, but those are more colorful and less purely bright. You could also consider steel; ropecore steel like the high-quality Helicores will allow you to retain some more character than regular steel strings.

Projection and raw loudness in decibels are different things, and a significant percentage of projection is a function of your tone production. You should be using somewhat different technique for orchestral playing versus solo playing (and arguably solo-with-piano in a recital room requires a different sound than concerto with orchestra). If you are struggling to project, start by having your teacher evaluate your sound-production approaches.

You also need to keep in mind that the Evah Pirazzis and similar strings tend to be less colorful and varied in their sound, and as am ambitious student, it's MUCH more important for you to learn to draw a wider spectrum of colors than to just try for loudness.

And yes, Evahs need to be changed very frequently -- every 100 hours of playing or so. They'll still sound decent after that, but they'll lose that particular edge and brilliance that they have when fresh.

September 26, 2015 at 11:05 PM · I found Larsen Tzigane strings very bright, too bright for my violin, they kind of clashed. I have played Vision Solos and they're fine. I use Evahs now, and they're good, strong-sounding strings.

September 27, 2015 at 03:10 AM · Because bright strings are often perceived as being loud under the ear, often this loudness is confused with the term "brightness", when perhaps what is meant is that the tone sounds relatively harsh under the ear. While I share the sentiment that both Vision Titanium Solo and regular Evah Pirazzi are among the "loudest" in the market, it is not my experience they must be the brightest at all. Both have their own, unique "synthetic richness" and nice sound that won't be found in a very cheap steel strings set. They are bright and brilliant, but never to the point of being shrill-when that's the case, the violin is evidently not the best match for such strings.

What for me is a stronger con, besides an apparent lack of durability, is that they tend to be higher in tension, and are thus generally "harder" to play without considerable bow weight, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I like them but must admit to this weakness vs most "old school" synthetics and gut strings.

On this regard, what is more befuddling is when similar synthetics are advertised as "easier to play" (or have "easier response") than gut. To a degree, perhaps, but once you are used to them, I am fairly convinced gut is actually "easier", because you feel an immediate connection/feedback between violin, string, and bow. The response is not nearly as bad as we are often made to believe, IMHO. I cannot even conceive an scenario where EPs are "easier to play" than wound gut (for instance), unless we are talking

Weich tension, and even then the experience won't be "better"-just different (and often louder under the ear to be sure.)

I am actually interested in this question, but only as far as brightness is concerned (not higher tension or "loudest"). I think, for instance, that regular Dominants are plenty bright, and so are a number of other cores by other brands, but wouldn't know which synthetic is THE brightest (I have a good idea which candidates are the "loudest" theoretically speaking, however.)

Also agree that projection and musical range/expression are way more than loudness under the ear, though one must admit that many musical recordings have been made on all sort of strings, INCLUDING the often maligned Evah Pirazzi. Strings are but a part of the musical puzzle, and a good violinist can make even steel strings sound pretty great.

Given decent tone production, you don't really need the loudest strings in the market, IMHO. Not saying these kind of strings must be detrimental to all players and instruments; just that they are not necessarily the elusive, "final component" of a clean, robust, and large tone of considerable carrying power.

(I LOVE the music made by many players using these type of strings-please take no offense, as none is actually intended and it's OK to prefer different things. Feel free to agree to disagree, if you must.) :)

As fas as the OP is concerned, Vision TITANIUM SOLO is the ticket for that type of sound. I find them slightly easier to play than EP Mediums. EPs Weich will also be powerful and brighter then the Mediums, but perhaps slightly less powerful under the ear (they were plenty loud last time I used them.)

There are also a considerable amount of "newer" strings that may suffice for that purpose as well, but I have not tried them (Kaplan Vivo? Larsen Virtuoso? Etc.?)

(There are good dark, and good bright instruments-also agree with the sentiment that strings won't change the instrument to something it isn't, though of course a "darker" string will always sound dark relative to the given instrument's tonal palette, and viceversa.)

September 27, 2015 at 07:38 PM · How thick is the bridge? Thick bridges can darken the sound. Also, a sound post adjustment can sometimes do wonders. Obviously, thinning a bridge and moving the sound post are operations that should be performed by a luthier.

September 27, 2015 at 08:02 PM · Kevin is right, also the thickness of the sound post plays a role in the brightness of the instrument.

Now in mine I have 6.5MM diameter SP and it has brightened the sound from the 6.1mm I had before.

September 27, 2015 at 09:19 PM · Let me suggest a different tack:

If your violin has G string troubles (i.e., if you cannot play a decent two-octave scale up the G string) you might find a significant transformation with Larsen Tzigane strings. Otherwise, in my experience these strings will likely not work for you.

Another approach I have found to tame such an unruly G string has been to use a "Thomastik Peter Infeld Platinum-Plated E string. Hard to believe, but I have found this string to change the character of all the other strings on violins. I've used them on 4 violins with sets of Peter Infeld, Vision Solo, and Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold. Beware, though, you will pay for what you get, the PT Platinum-plated E string costs about $30.

Finally, a very bright and resonant string brand I have found to definitely brighten a somewhat dull violin is a set of Pirastro Flexocore-Permanent. So far I have continued to use my Peter Infeld Platinum-Plated E string with these. Flexocore-Permanents are steel rope-core strings. I came upon them after finding that Permanents were marvelous on my two Strad-model cellos. By extension I then tried a set of Permanents on my viola with equally outstanding results. The Flexocore-Permanents were the closest I could get in a violin string - costs about $66/set at typical trade price (50% of the "MSRP").

Andy

September 28, 2015 at 02:15 AM · A great way, IMO, to increase the brightness of a fiddle is to slap on a heavy or extra heavy Goldbrokat E!

I have heavy on, would have gotten extra heavy if they had it. It transformed the basic sound from unfocused and viola-y (in a bad way) to clearer and more like a violin sound (in a good way). :)

September 28, 2015 at 09:04 AM · I haven't yet experimented with a heavy E, or viola A, to hear its effect on the other strings,

but I see a suggestion for the Larsen G which is in the low-tension category. Brighter.

September 29, 2015 at 12:23 AM · "I have heavy on, would have gotten extra heavy if they had it. It transformed the basic sound from unfocused and viola-y (in a bad way) to clearer and more like a violin sound (in a good way). :)"

Let us know how long it is before you need to have the neck raised!

We don't build fiddles for heavy strings...

September 29, 2015 at 01:27 AM · @Duane: Then, please do tell why they sell the damn things if they are of no use. :)

October 21, 2015 at 12:11 PM · All the comments about the bridge are true as the bridge really makes a difference. For my violin the brightest have been PI strings and Warchal Brilliant Strings. Hope you find your match soon!

October 21, 2015 at 01:30 PM · I'm leaning towards the comments that this is a 'get a new violin' issue. You can make adjustments, and this is going to sound better for a week or two, but I doubt there will be a real fix, but maybe a Luthier can give you some real advice.

Keep in mind that loud strings are hard on the ears and you should have a practice mute( you can cut a rubber mute into 3rds and place a piece of it between A and E strings: this will cut out the highs) or different set of low volume strings, e.g. violino, pro arte, corelli crystals, for practice.

Working on your 'crescent bowing' technique will also improve projection.

October 21, 2015 at 01:42 PM · A few years ago I played a violin that had a really sunny and bright treble voice. In the end I did not buy it but I liked it a lot, it was made by Daniel Foster (www.fosterviolins.com).

October 21, 2015 at 02:02 PM · Not to derail completely, but I have to politely disagree with Mr Cook.

I have the opposite issue of Lily and have been in search of the most dark, low tone strings. I started by referencing Shar's string chart.

https://www.sharmusic.com/Pages/How-To/Strings/Strings-Chart/

On my violin some examples of strings that are considered quiet, aren't at all. For example, the Corelli Crystal and Daddario Helicore are listed on opposite sides of the chart. The tone on my violin from Corelli Crystal are brighter then the Daddario Helicore. The sound the Helicore produced was more gritty compared to the corelli which was clear.

CC is what I'm using now dispite being super bright. Mainly, for reasons I don't understand my vibrato really comes out and its really easy to hit fingered harmonics on them. I have not had as much success in those areas on the other strings (Warchol Karneol, Pro-Arte, Zyex, Pirastro Tonica) I have tried compared to CC.

I'm looking to try violino, Infeld Red, and Kaplan Amo but with the price I'm saving it for x-mas wish list.

Of the strings I tried Zyex was the loudest. It was even loud when I had my ear muffs on. I tried the light tension version of them. The string texture was great and really easy to play, especially double stops. The tone was clear.

Lily might try Daddario Zyex. They aren't super expensive either so that is always a plus.

October 21, 2015 at 02:08 PM · Zyex strings are great for the money.

October 21, 2015 at 04:14 PM · Too many people obsess over projection.

There just aren't that many circumstances where a high-schooler really needs a ton of projection, i.e., sufficient to make that the primary quality that you're looking for in a violin and/or violin-string.

You'll care about projection if you're playing a concerto with orchestra, but if you're going to do that, you also need to adapt your sound production for that set of expectations, and frankly, what carries above an orchestra is more than sheer decibels.

You'll care about balance in a chamber-music situation, but that can potentially be addressed by other people lowering their dynamic level rather than you producing more sound.

Loud and bright doesn't necessarily make for a more attractive sound.

October 21, 2015 at 05:18 PM · I agree with other posters that the bridge design can often help more than riding a string safari.

I would put a set of Dominants with a nice E string, such as GoldBrokat and then go for a new bridge after a week.

Keep the original bridge and order a new one, thinner and with less "meat" around the kidneys.

Work with your luthier, but be ready to accept that some violins simply do not project well, even with the best setup.

Lastly, to paraphrase Valentina Lisitza:"one can make a dark piano sound bright, but one can never make a bright piano sound dark".

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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Virtual Sejong Music Competition
Virtual Sejong Music Competition

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin-Strings.com

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Warchal

Barenreiter

Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

Subscribe