What do you think? A string thing.

May 9, 2016 at 09:46 PM · This post is not intended as a proof of anything but might be food for thought.

I recently bought an Eastman 305 and, separately, 2 ridiculous bows at $8.00 and the second "biggie" at a whopping $10.00. I knew this move was not too bright.

Now, the 305 was great but I think I've heard better examples. I remembered the Quinn E-string trial package and tried experimenting with my many E strings in my archives.

The winners were:

A Tonica E and others Dominant.

One of the Brazil wood "junk" bows. Either the $8 or $10 version. I lost track.

Replies (22)

May 10, 2016 at 05:08 AM · My viola has Dominants. When I wanted a spare set, the luthier said NO ONE uses the Dominant A string (which has the role of the violin E string). I wonder if there is a relationship.

May 10, 2016 at 04:19 PM · An interesting question but not many handy answers .... if any!

Briefly, I suspect that many single strings in some sets are able to influence the total violin sound.

But I wonder if the violin "A" is just some kind of geometry compromise?

I do know that I can do more to change a violin sound by manipulating string choices than tinkering with sound posts.

May 10, 2016 at 04:25 PM · As someone who plays mostly violin and, since December, some viola, I do not find that the viola A string plays the same role as the violin E string. Yes it's true that the uppermost range of the instrument is accessed on the highest string in both cases, but the viola A is a wound string, not a thin bare wire, and so it does not have the uniqueness that the violin E has. I've never understood why anyone would want a wound E string.

May 10, 2016 at 06:20 PM · I seem to be the only person in the whole wide world who actually likes the aluminium-wound Dominant E-string! If we bow it properly (!) it sings sweetly up to the highest notes. I want notes, not a dentist's drill... But them I am a violist.

I have used the Pirastro No1 E (steel-wound), with the Chromcor-Eudoxa A, with PI D & G.

For a concerto, that's another matter.

May 10, 2016 at 08:36 PM · Paul, have you tried experimenting with different viola A's?

There are steel core As, synthetic core As and gut core As.

I have found that changing the A, does indeed change the entire timbre of the set, similar to what the E does for the violin.

Personally, I prefer the sound that a synthetic or gut A gives as opposed to the steel A.

May 10, 2016 at 11:22 PM · Gabriel --- You are almost certainly hearing the right thing but indeed, the result may be surprising.

Adrian ---- How are you separating string versus instrument re the winding?

May 11, 2016 at 02:38 AM · As far as I know there is no such thing as a Tonica Gold e, or a Chromcor-Eudoxa A for that matter

May 11, 2016 at 05:56 AM · Actually no, Wondertone by Pirastro is called Gold label, but it is a steel string, not gold plated. I think you must mean Gold plated e from Obligato or Evah's

May 11, 2016 at 10:13 AM · Lyndon, this is the link to Pirastro's Chromcor-Eudoxa A.


May 11, 2016 at 11:39 AM · Well I'll be, I've heard of Eudoxa, I've heard of Chromcor, now I've heard of Eudoxa-Chromcor, next thing I guess I'm going to hear of Wondertone gold plated e's.

May 11, 2016 at 12:35 PM · Incidentally --- for us newbie crowd -----What is the purpose of a string coating? The physical properties of the string (wire) can't change much? This leaves bowing characteristics(?)

Is string tension varied according to coating type?

May 11, 2016 at 01:09 PM · Is that a gold plated string or just called Gold??

May 11, 2016 at 01:13 PM · They don't have them in my supplier's (International Violin) catalogue, that's my source. They don't have Eudoxa-Chromcor in the catalogue either, hence my confusion.

May 11, 2016 at 01:20 PM · Darlene, presumably you're thinking about the E? My guess is that because the metal E is such a thin string a coating of a heavy metal such as gold or platinum (if you're feeling rich!) would have a measurable effect on the mass per unit length and hence the vibration characteristics.

I've found that Pirastro's Obligato E (gold-plated) sings better than the Goldbrokats I've been using in the past, and is now my preferred E.

May 11, 2016 at 02:25 PM · Pirastro Obligato gold plated e, and Goldbrokat, not gold plated ARE in my catalogue!!!

May 11, 2016 at 05:08 PM · I believe "goldbrokat" refers to the color of the end string winding - golden brocade. The Goldbrokat E is of course plain steel.

The gold coating on a Pirastro Obligato E does wear away in time with use, revealing the underlying steel.

May 12, 2016 at 12:12 AM · Winning numbers for today:

3 Dominants with Obligato E.

May 12, 2016 at 01:12 AM · Darlene, the coating could affect the tone of the string, but I don't think it really alters it's tension in a dramatic way, like its winding for example, since the mass of the coating could be negligible compared to the mass of the string itself. A heavy gauge (or tension) string could look bigger in diameter that it's light gauge counterpart from the same maker and model.

If we are discussing the pliability or the softness of the string to the touch of the left hand, that's a different story.

Since you like Dominants bottom 3 (I suppose medium) may I propose another E candidate? The aluminium wound Eudoxa E.

May 12, 2016 at 01:34 AM · OK, that is certainly doable.

However, I realize I have to slow down to allow any trials a chance to settle down.

And I do not trust under-the-ear conclusions.

Recording myself has always been a disaster!

Playing on my knee may be best way !

My violin came with Dominants but past history reminds me that Dominant Ds often just go "thud" eventually.

May 12, 2016 at 05:04 PM · Post Script

A survey of 33 popular strings shows that the average E string tension is 17.4 lbs.

Interesting groupings might be:

5 at 17.2 lbs.

7 at 17.6 lbs.

5 at 17.8 lbs.

If these variations ALSO change the ENTIRE violin sound as part of the total combined string tension, do I need 4 new strings (and $100) to "change" strings ? Hmmmmm?

May 12, 2016 at 05:28 PM · Don't make yourself crazy.

Just take up playing the tuba.

I've never heard of a tuba player loosing their mind searching for the perfect string combo.

But many a fine violinist has gone stark raving mad on the quest.

Actually, that is why they label the heaviest tension violin strings as "stark".

May 12, 2016 at 07:43 PM · The old dominant E responds in a way that makes it sound quite strange. I think some packages have a tin plated E now which is a better string. I still prefer some of the more popular E's with my Doms though -- Gold Label, Hill, Jarger, Westminster.

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