What is YOUR main stay violin string sets?

December 31, 2016 at 03:35 PM · Just a foreword, I wish to make sure that I am intending this thread for people to mention what strings they like to use currently, not to turn into a debate on which strings are good and/or better.

I am finding that I am constantly learning that there's a new set of strings I've never tried, and I am yet to finalize on what string to stick with.

I will start with that my mainstay set used to be Infeld Red, since Canadian economy turned $40Cdn/set to ~$100 Cdn/set, I have been looking at alternatives. I've been trying all potential candidate of "Lowest costing, longest lasting, tolerable sounding(dark) set". As a grad student, I cannot afford very much until I get to my Post Doc stage.

Since then I've tried all Warchal violin strings, Pirastro Chromcor, Dominants, D'addrio Pro Arte High tension, Obligato, and Tonica is next up on the experiment, if I don't like Pro Arte by next week.

I am seeking a mainstay mostly because I am finding that each string has different thickness, and my bridge seems to be well suited for some, but not so much for some, which means, I'll have to ask my luthier to fit the current or a new bridge to fit the "mainstay" strings well.

Replies (55)

December 31, 2016 at 03:58 PM · I've been using Infeld Reds; I tried alternatives, but went back to Reds as there is NO substitute for this particular string.

December 31, 2016 at 04:42 PM · Pirastro Chorda, with either a Chorda E or an Obligato Gold E.

December 31, 2016 at 04:53 PM · Pure gut (whatever is available), with wound gut G, with E being gut if I have $, or heavy goldbrokat if I don't. :)

December 31, 2016 at 05:09 PM · Tonicas : they sound good, last a long time, do not need breaking in, and you do not have to sell a kidney to buy a full set.

December 31, 2016 at 05:16 PM · I really prefer the Passiones, but have been sticking with the Vision Titanium Orchestras for the tuning stability.

December 31, 2016 at 05:26 PM · Dominants with a Larsen E.

December 31, 2016 at 05:34 PM · Infield Blue is my current set, as recommended by Dimitri Atanassov the maker of my instrument. Tried the Eva Pirazzi but went back to the Infield Blue, which seems to fit my instrument best. That's the thing with strings, what works for one instrument may not work for another. Here a site I came across that you might find helpful: http://www.violinstringreview.com/read-reviews.html

December 31, 2016 at 05:59 PM · Tonicas. I've been using them for several years. They've worked well on every violin I tried them on. I totally agree with Brian. They sure are cheap, sound awesome, and last a fairly long time.

December 31, 2016 at 06:46 PM · Zyex are my default go-to strings, but I found my current favorite violin prefers Tonicas.

December 31, 2016 at 07:09 PM · I use Evah Pirazzi. I don't change strings all the time. I just leave the same ones on there and spend my time practicing instead.

December 31, 2016 at 11:20 PM · Dominants with an alternate E (I like Gold Label, Hill, Jarger) on one fiddle

Vision Solo's on the other

I also like and recommend Corelli Cantiga, Vision Titanium Solo, and Pirastro Passione. It depends on the particular violin and what the player is looking for of course!

January 1, 2017 at 12:51 AM · Evah Pirazzi but ... my bow seems to respond so well to Dominant strings, love Eps

January 1, 2017 at 02:59 AM · Erin, have you tried Thomastik Spirit strings? I read they sound and feel similar to Thomastik Infeld Reds, and for less money.

I have Dominant lower three strings on my three violins, all silver Ds, a heavy tension A on one violin and a light tension G on another.

January 1, 2017 at 03:05 AM · Thank you, Andrew; no, I have not tried Spirit yet, but I do have a set of Thomastik Vision on hand to try. A friend has Spirits on his fiddle and they are close to Infeld Reds! Right now I am back to Infeld Red, they work so well on my old fiddle.

January 1, 2017 at 03:08 AM · I'm still trying different strings on my new violin, but I'm currently using Dominants, which sound great on it. I'm hoping that Tonicas will sounds great on it as well, since they are so much cheaper than Dominants.

January 1, 2017 at 03:33 AM · I used vision solo but I'm going back to Dominants + Gold Label E, my violin is naturally more on the warm side which I like, but the vision solo strings made it a little too warm, almost muddy. It also didn't resonate as much as I'm used to (for example playing a D on the A string vibrates the open D string, but vision solos was much more subtle which I didn't like).

January 1, 2017 at 08:53 AM · Andrew:

What difference do you get from the silver D? I know it can make a huge change in the PIs.

January 1, 2017 at 01:21 PM · Dominant with Gold E

January 1, 2017 at 06:09 PM · Hi Stephen,

The medium silver D is slightly higher in tension than the medium aluminum D, and I find the tension balance across the lower strings to be more even with the silver D.

Also, the silver D is quite a bit thinner than the aluminum D, and as a result I think it tends to sound more focused, which I like.

January 1, 2017 at 07:17 PM · Cheap tonica on offer http://www.paganino.de/saiten/angebote/violinsaiten/pirastro-tonica-new-formula-violinsaiten-satz-4-4-mittel.html

The website has an even better offer of ordering three sets for a somewhat reduced price

January 1, 2017 at 07:43 PM · Jargar Superior with Westminster E (Starch):

They have a very nice, stable sound. Very rich overtones and medium tension. The E has nice projection and is pretty bright.

January 1, 2017 at 08:46 PM · Cantiga with Amber E.

January 1, 2017 at 08:51 PM · Love the Passione solo and the Pirazzi gold, now using the PI's

January 2, 2017 at 12:50 AM · I am using Dominants now but when they wear out I will go back to my mainstay which is Visions. They work well with my violin.

January 2, 2017 at 05:07 AM · Regular setup: Pirastro Eudoxa Stiff G and D, Damien Dlugolecki varnished plain gut A, Goldbrokat steel 26 E.

Irritating weather/temperature/humidity setup: D'Addario Kaplan Amo (set)

January 2, 2017 at 03:31 PM · Kaplan Amo is great except for its price.

January 2, 2017 at 05:09 PM · Thanks, @Andrew.

Anyway, I mostly use new instruments at the moment. In most cases, the maker had some kind of preference that I've tried to stick to. It seems like Pirazzis are standard with a lot of folks.

One maker changed his preference from all-EPs to a PI A and platinum E, in order to loosen the sound up a little. Those work well enough, but to see what would happen, I fussed with a few alternatives like Passione for a bit. Then,on a whim, I tried Dominants (first with PI E and then Gold Label), since I hadn't used them for ages and they are still a good standard reference. That changed the character of the instrument a lot-- probably for the better, although I would need to hear it at a distance to be sure. Anyway, just to see if there was more to be gained by going further in that direction, and inspired by hearing that Rosand liked them on his good instrument, I just recently tried the Dominant Light. The sound now has much more of an old, resonant look/feel. We'll have to see about projection.

Makes me wonder about a lot of these old/new violin debates. Newer instruments can handle higher tension, and so often get strung up that way. Is it possible, then, that their "modern" sound is really a function of high-tension Pirazzis under the ear instead of the more relaxed strings you'd put on a Gagliano or Amati? Or perhaps the deficiency comes from using a shoulder rest. :devil:

For another instrument, I was using all PIs, switching from aluminum D to silver, to tame the sound a bit. It always sounded basically good, but as the violin started gaining power, it began sounding a bit cold and one-dimensional. After fooling around with a few options, I changed to a Passione heavy A and an EP Gold (silver wrapped) G. Wonderfully successful mix, for that violin. Fabulous projection and clarity, with a much more warm "woody" character. I may experiment a bit more there, but now have a good fallback.

January 2, 2017 at 05:32 PM · More important than perhaps the shoulder rest is the tail-piece. Its length, weight and material used should be factored in as well, and then we'll have a really good multi-factorial experiment to take up most of the coming year :)

January 2, 2017 at 05:50 PM · Obligato (thin) with a Larson A.

January 2, 2017 at 07:07 PM · The more important questions will be your E string clearance setup, steel vs gut/synthetic A, and whether you will be using a thick unwound gut D. The aluminum wound Ds will always be thicker, but most violins are setup to deal with the difference (maybe yours requires one or the other, of course.)

That said, it seems your question actually is "what is a good value, high quality set or combo of warm sounding strings I can use to save some money?"

If you go for an "old school" Tonica setup (meaning before the advent of their new formula), use low/weich tension, an Aluminum-wound D, and their older steel-wound E (though I much rather go for a more brilliant E like the Gold Label or one of the many other good ones-Pirastro's old, wound Tonica E is actually even warmer than their Eudoxa wound E, according to their website.) This will save you money, facilitate your playing, and will hopefully work well with your instrument, providing a possibly great tone at a budget.

January 2, 2017 at 07:52 PM · 8-)

January 2, 2017 at 09:48 PM · Steven it seems to me like just about every week you want to upgrade your equipment...

January 2, 2017 at 10:15 PM · I for one, find this an interesting discussion because we have people from all over the workd, differnet styles, different skill levels describing their current strings and their opinions of them. I never tire of reading the same old trite stuff even on shoulder rests, rosin, practical practice advice etc. And best of all, no name calling yet or one individual trying to make his favorite brand of strings as a decree for all others to adopt as happens on some other controversial subjects here in the past.

I am a huge Warchal endorser.

January 2, 2017 at 11:28 PM · I've been using Pirastro Tonica strings for quite a while now on my main fiddle. On my second fiddle, I'm using Warchal Brilliant strings. The Tonica strings have always had a nice warm tone without any nasallly sound and they've always held their tuning very well. The Warchal strings made an otherwise thin and weak toned fiddle sound alive finally.

January 3, 2017 at 12:14 AM · Thomastik Vision G and D medium without fail, and some combination of steel A and E which varies depending on my fancy! Often use a Jargar Forte E.

January 3, 2017 at 03:38 AM · Dominant G+D, Warchal Brilliant A, and Warchal Amber E are the current choices for my daughter's violin. It is much easier to spot the out of tune sounds in double stops, and easy to play because of the softer feel, and lasts quite a long time. We are very happy with the combination.

January 3, 2017 at 04:37 AM · The purpose of this discussion personally for me, is to see if there are some unknown strings sets I've never heard/read about that people regularly use, which I may put in my list to try in the future.

January 3, 2017 at 08:24 AM · i will answer this with my main group of strings if you don't mine:

these are strings that worked well with my instrument:



3)Infeld red.


E strings(combined with Dominant)

optima gold/optima steel

pirastro gold(it wasn't available in Iran.or you had to buy a full set. but now it's my favorite)

thomastik e48 and e01.

January 3, 2017 at 12:31 PM · my mainstay are Warchal Ametyst, which I have not seen mentioned yet. indeed when I went back to the luthier who made my instrument after a year, and played it with the Ametysts, he said he did not recognize his instrument (which I guess was NOT meant as a compliment; he says he has built the instrument to work well with Evahs). but I like low tension, and also Ametysts seem to last forever. still I plan on going back to Evahs, if just temporarily to listen to the difference now that I am very accustomed to Ametyst. the sound is bright under the ear but warm from a distance.

January 3, 2017 at 02:37 PM · On my main violin:

Pirastro Oliv rigid G

Pirastro Passione solo D and A

Warchal amber E

My viola is so new that I am still trying out strings. It was OK with Evah Pirazzi (which I have always hated on my other instruments), now I have a set of Evah Pirazzi Gold, which I like better. Will try Warchal Amber and Brilliant soon and also Pirastro Passione with the Eudoxa/oliv C which I found to be a wonderful string on my previous viola.

January 4, 2017 at 11:57 AM · On one of my violins, I use Fiddlerman Strings. They sound great and cost less than $30. On one I use Vision. On the three practice violins I use Opera ($5) strings.

January 4, 2017 at 02:52 PM · I love dominant strings. even thought im slightly bankrupted everytime i replaec a string

January 4, 2017 at 02:52 PM · I love dominant strings. even thought im slightly bankrupted everytime i replaec a string

January 4, 2017 at 03:25 PM · Vision Solo Titanium GDA, Eudoxa aluminium wound E. If I need more projection in the E, I switch to the Kaplan Golden Spiral Solo E, although there is a tendency to whistling in demanding passages. Messed around with lots of E strings in the Last weeks, still planning to test the aluminium wound Kaplan yet...

January 5, 2017 at 11:24 PM · Well, My competitors right now for mainstay for the next 3~4 years is:

1. Tonica

2. Daddrio Pro Arte Heavy

3. Daddrio Pro Arte Medium

Basically, all of which I found a suppliers who sell each set +shipping+tax etc for $Cdn(40+/-4).

I am likely going to make a bulk order within the next month for 4~10 sets, because I am not optimistic about Cdn Economy for the time being.

January 6, 2017 at 12:28 AM · I know I already stated my views, but my preference, would I have your specific needs, are the aforementioned Tonica, but Weich G, Weich Silver D, Weich A, Medium Gold Label E. Since you like warmth, perhaps use the Weich Aluminum D. If you like higher tension, all the same. I would not use the modern set "silvery steel" or wound E-one is rather too thin, and the other too warm for an E + it doesn't speak that well in the higher positions, in my limited experience.


I cannot offer insights on the old Pro Arte, but the Tonica are an incredible value for the price-one needs not break the bank to play beautifully and confidently.

January 17, 2017 at 06:55 AM · Well, it looks like my stock of strings will last me for a while. I now have spare sets of:

1 used Dominants(1 month old), 2 Pro Arte Heavy, 1 Pro Arte Medium, 1 Tonica, 1 Infeld Red.

Next set to go on my violin is Tonica and if I like it. I'll be stocking up with whatever Long and McQuade has left, else I'm kind of set for at least 2 years.

January 22, 2017 at 06:26 PM · PI full set.

Cheers Carlo

January 22, 2017 at 07:50 PM · Olivs! I recently got Passione and they're quite nice too.

January 22, 2017 at 09:20 PM · Somewhat unexpected so far is that I am yet to read someone completely endorsing gut string and using them as a mainstay set.

January 23, 2017 at 02:00 AM · What about Passiones, Steven? Several people have mentioned them. They're mostly gut-- I suppose. Personally I like them best of the strings I've tried recently, but they're not my mainstay, yet. I've been experimenting a lot in the last three or four years. Currently I have a set of Evah Golds on my favourite violin, but won't use them again after they are finished. They made specially nasty sounds when the weather turned cold, and they seemed to exacerbate its wolf note. Warchal Amber are more to my liking -- synthetic strings that sound more like Olivs (pricey top-of-the-line gut), which I tried once long ago. (The Warchal Amber E has definitely become my mainstay E string however -- rich sound and no whistling.) I've also tried out Obligatos, Tonicas, Dominants, and Vision Titanium Solo. In the old days, thirty years ago and more, it was almost always Eudoxas (gut) for me. Now I feel more unsettled. May revisit the Vision Titanium Solos again for my best violin when the Evah Golds are finally dead.

January 23, 2017 at 02:30 AM · I love trying new strings. As someone else here said, change strings every time you want a new perspective on life. I have played Dominants, Passiones (solo only), Obligatos, PI (these sound beautiful on my violin), but always return to Larsen Tziganes - the Tziganes are the absolute best match for my violin and produce the darker sound I like. I don't see too many people talking about them so don't know who plays/prefers Tziganes. I hope they are never discontinued. But because I enjoy trying new strings, I just ordered today Eudoxa rigid G and D, gamut plain gut Tricolore A, and goldbrokat E which is my mainstay E.

January 23, 2017 at 03:07 PM · I love trying new strings too! Maybe I'll give the Larsen Tziganes a go on my next round. Does anybody else here use them?

January 23, 2017 at 05:05 PM · Good point Parker.

If I had the money, I would love to try all strings also. It's just that I am finding that I may need to find a "constant" somewhere in my playing in order to optimize the sound that the violin can provide.

Mainly focused for string is the Bridge groove width/depth. Since I will need to get a new fingerboard and bridge at some point in the next 5 years. I would like to have the bridge best fitted for the specific string i will be using(the most) after the surgery.

January 23, 2017 at 06:06 PM · I know there are a few players in this forum whose mainstay are gut strings, or a combination thereof. Eudoxa, Oliv, and Tricolore are "popular" choices, and many keep using them for years.

I mostly use gut myself, occasionally using synthetics to experiment.

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