Loudest strings

May 1, 2016 at 11:38 PM · Hi,

Witch top 3 synthetic strings for viola are the loudest and have the best projection in the market ? (the same question about steel string but with more warmer sound)

Are there a radio between natural string tension and volume sound projection ?

I found this link about strings tension, are there any other more complete link (strings in general) ?



Replies (27)

May 2, 2016 at 02:12 PM · You cannot judge the performance of your instrument simply by the tension of the strings. Many instruments "choke" under too much tension and do well under lower-tension strings.

I have found Thomastik Dominant strings (synthetic core) sound very good on my viola and so do Pirastro Permanent (steel) strings. My first viola sounded good under a full set of Spirocore strings, but not so my current viola.

The only way to really tell about "projection" is to hear the instrument from a distance in a large space. I do compare strings and instruments by playing them in "cello position" but I know I am still too close and at the wrong angle to fully assess the sound.

I think you have to select strings based on what you like to hear "under your chin," how else can one make music. The sound that projects "out there" is a strong function of the player and the instrument. The player's vibrato has a gigantic influence on engaging the overtones that project the higher frequencies to listeners' ears and also on how the instrument's sound blends in ensemble playing and rises above in solos.


May 2, 2016 at 03:48 PM · I want a loudest string because I can't really hear my self in the orchestra. So I want to try the loudest synthetic string and the loudest steel string to see the difference and choose the best option for me.

May 2, 2016 at 04:03 PM · I just restrung a viola for a customer with Spirocore, Tungsten C, Silver G, medium tension, I had synthetic core Tonicas on previously and the Spirocore's seemed almost twice as loud. They sound good, so maybe that is something to consider.

May 2, 2016 at 04:06 PM · All the composite cores except Obligato and Violino, have a tensions similar to steel cored strings. I have found they sound loud much louder than Dominants, Eudoxas etc for about a week, after which the extra tension stresses the wood and the sound becomes duller but screechy. On my insruments, Evahs, Vision Titanium Solo etc project unpleasantly, Alliance is duller, Zyex rougher, and pro Arte very muffled.

May 2, 2016 at 04:42 PM · One has to admit, however, that strings like Evahs tend to do well on many instruments. I wouldn't bet on most violins choking on them, though I concede there are many benefits in playing light tension strings.

May 2, 2016 at 06:11 PM · the ones on electric violin plugged into an amplifier !

May 2, 2016 at 10:17 PM · Adrian, if you look on Thomastik's website, I think you'll find that the string tensions that they list for the different Vision violin strings aren't that different from what they list for medium Dominants for violin.

May 2, 2016 at 10:20 PM · @Adrian Heath: Do you mean that loud strings are a bad business ?

May 2, 2016 at 10:42 PM · Amine, I understand your problem. However, I am not confident that you can solve it with strings. My experience is that the instrument is at fault and cannot be easily fixed. One of the violins I made a few years ago is like that and nothing I've tried has helped. Otherwise it is a nice fiddle.

May 2, 2016 at 11:45 PM · Loud without subtility is just noisy.

May 2, 2016 at 11:47 PM · I have a 16.5 GEMS II Gliga Viola, I really like his sound when I play alone, but I need more power to hear him in orchestra.

May 2, 2016 at 11:52 PM · On my warm toned but dull violin, I use Tonica light withh a longer, lighter stroke for more clarity., both under the ear and at a distance.

Try plugging the left ear with cotton to "distance" the ear.

May 3, 2016 at 12:48 AM · "Stresses the wood". Is this a fact or an opinion?

May 3, 2016 at 05:28 AM · Fact.

May 3, 2016 at 03:59 PM · When seeking loudness or projection (which are not necessarily the same thing), apart from choice of strings and the instrument itself there are other very important factors that must be brought into the equation - the bow, and the player at the end of the bow. As we know, bows vary enormously, and the wrong choice of bow may well hinder a player in producing the tone required for a particular purpose.

In an orchestra, what the violinist hears coming up into their left ear is not always what anyone else hears. An experienced conductor of an (amateur) orchestra can tell from the bowing and body language of individual players whether they are producing the required level of sound; in particular, fast long bows are usually a fair indication that a good sound is being produced.

Last weekend I was playing in a local amateur symphony orchestra giving a performance of the too rarely heard cello concerto by Lalo. The soloist was the orchestra's principal cellist who had no difficulty in making her cello heard above the orchestra at all dynamic levels (when our conductor sees "ff" he demands the real thing). Admittedly, the fact that our soloist's teacher had been a pupil of Casals, and was cellist in the Allegri Quartet until he retired, had a lot to do with her professional level of projection and performance.

May 3, 2016 at 04:56 PM · I've tried violins like that -- they sound pleasant by themselves, but don't work in a group because they don't have any distinction / focus to their voice and can be hard to hear. Sometimes the whole violin is that way, other times it is certain areas on the instrument. This is another reason it's good to give an instrument a good healthy trial -- playing by yourself, on stage, with groups, in front of groups -- whatever you're going to be doing with it.

I would guess that loudness is not what you seek -- but focus and color -- so you can make out what the instrument is doing. Vision Titanium Solo's are pretty focused and colorful, as are Passione Solo's. Ultimately, strings may help but not fix everything -- it may need a trip to the luthier, or possibly replacement.

May 3, 2016 at 07:46 PM · Trevor wrote:

"An experienced conductor of an (amateur) orchestra can tell from the bowing and body language of individual players whether they are producing the required level of sound; in particular, fast long bows are usually a fair indication that a good sound is being produced."


I will highly disagree. Such a conductor can easily be fooled by a player who puts soap on their bow hair, and saws away aggressively, without producing any sound at all!

Some of the most noteworthy violins produce their best perceived power, with a low bow speed, very close to the bridge.

Not all violins will handle that,though, so you see variations in playing style, working around the limitations of the violin being used.

May 3, 2016 at 08:53 PM · Evah Pirazzis tend to sound "bright" on instruments, which is probably what you mean by loud. However, that is a generalization that may or may not be valid for your instrument. They may just sound awful on your instrument. I think you should not worry about sounding loud. The main thing is to make sure that the instrument sounds the best it can. A luthier could help you choose appropriate strings after hearing what your viola sounds like with its current strings. Good luck!

May 3, 2016 at 10:14 PM · Loud is a degree of projection no ?

May 4, 2016 at 02:01 AM · It is not clear to me what exactly "loud" is in this context. I prefer to think of instruments as "bright." However, at least in my experience, you may get a sound that is "bright" but ugly from an instrument if all you are concerned about is "bright." Your sound may drown out all the others but leave audience feeling "that violist sounds terrible." I can get a "bright" sound out of my violin or viola by using Evahs, but I can get a much richer, more beautiful sound by using Obligatos, which tend to be "warm" rather than "bright." So, I think the question is complex.

May 4, 2016 at 05:40 AM · First thing first, I believe viola need a different approach on string selection than violin, which is what the OP was asking.

I had success for helicore sounding wonderfully on my teaching violin which need some tension to tighten up up the sound and thus offering more focus and apparent loudness under ear. And I played viola with helicore and it sound very focused.

On the other hand, some bow seems to offer more loudness under ear then others on the same violin. Then, there's also instruments that doesn't sound loud under ear but sounds like a bomb to people around you.

I suspect the problem is really with Gliga instruments. They're very appealing for young musicians (as in experience in playing) as they don't sound brash and harsh to begin with. I played quite a few and almost without an exception they have this very characteristic. Problem is, they really don't have a focus sound and thus lost of presence in sound almost immediately when playing together with other instruments.

May 4, 2016 at 11:27 PM · I just want this apparent loudness under ear, to listen what I'm playing.

May 6, 2016 at 03:18 PM · So maybe you need brighter, rather than louder strings.

May 6, 2016 at 07:19 PM · I think that I didn't understand something, I thought that brightness is a degree of tone, and loundness is a degree of projection ? (It's what I see in www.violinstringreview.com)

Okay, if I need brightess, witch strings can help me ?

May 6, 2016 at 07:48 PM · Definitions:

bright: lots of treble, usually a thinner sound than bassy

loud: Pure volume, has 0 to do with projection!

Actual projection: How the tones carries in a space based on instrument, acoustics, etc

For bright, try thinner gauge strings of a relatively higher tension, such as light gauge Evah Pirazzi or something. :)

For brighter gut, use olives or stiff eudoxas. :)

May 6, 2016 at 08:09 PM · I agree with the above-also, some bright strings sound really good, so we shouldn't necessarily think of bright as harsh (though there ARE harsh sounding bright strings in the market, or violins that may sound harsh with some options.)

Evah Light are not tame, so they will sound relatively bright and still have plenty of power. That said, I am not sure how they behave on most violas.

May 6, 2016 at 10:04 PM · I don't know I've tried out only a few strings so far, 'cause I'm stuck with Obligato :)

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