Best sounding E String?

April 5, 2017 at 02:03 PM · Hi all. I am new to the violin world but not to music. My main instrument is piano.

I have been playing my real wood Menzel violin for a month now and have already broken my E string once. I am sensitive to the way an instrument sounds and the tone. I find my E String very high pitched and sratchy and hard to listen to.

Can anyone recommend a Synthetic core string that will help it sound warmer?

Any and all advice much appreciated.

Replies (29)

April 5, 2017 at 02:56 PM · There are no E strings with a synthetic core, that I am aware of. They are all metal or metal/wound.

Try the Warchal Amber E. It has a helical spiral that makes it unique in the timbre department.

I also like the Hill E and the Gold Label E.

April 5, 2017 at 03:46 PM · Thank you for the suggestions, still learning the right terms for everything.

April 5, 2017 at 04:20 PM · Or, use a pure-gut E, which is what they used before the metal E was invented (and kept) for convenience (the gut E is much nicer and sounds organic and soft).

April 5, 2017 at 04:48 PM · I don't know if you would use a plain gut E with non-gut GDA. Any steel E should be okay.

April 5, 2017 at 07:20 PM · I like the GoldBrokat E string

April 5, 2017 at 07:29 PM · And, put an inexpensive passive ear plug in your left ear, that will reduce the volume of top two octaves (about 5000-20000 Hz) coming off the top plate, only three inches from your ear. The thin gauge, lower tension Goldbrokat E might sound better. jq

April 5, 2017 at 09:11 PM · Thanks for all advice.

I am going to start with a non gut string from Dominant first and see how that goes. May have to eventually upgrade to a gut string. We will see how it goes.

April 5, 2017 at 09:32 PM · I wouldn't go for gut Es unless you think they're particularly superior over steel Es or serious about early performance. I've heard bad things about the Dominant E string, but I have no personal experience, so can't tell for sure.

April 5, 2017 at 09:50 PM · I would not recommend a Dominant E. As far as I know they are notorious for being intolerable to most violin players!

April 5, 2017 at 10:32 PM · The Dominant E is terrible on most violins. The usual substitute is the Pirastro Wondertone Gold Label E string, which is cheap and reliable and decent-sounding.

I'd recommend trying an E string sampler pack. Quinn Violins sells a good one that includes that Gold Label E and some of the most common other choices (Westminster, Hill, etc.): LINK.

April 5, 2017 at 11:04 PM · That's a pretty complete list of the the options you'd want to try, except no Jargar: get a Jargar Medium and Jargar Forte and try those too; both are inexpensive, and in my case I found them to be better than the Gold Label E, both in tone and because they're less whistle-prone.

April 6, 2017 at 12:02 AM · The Dominant E is a no-go, despite the fact that the lower 3 strings are quite good!

I'd start with a nice warm sounding E, like the Pirastro Gold Label E.

April 6, 2017 at 01:24 AM · Another vote for Jargar Forte, but it really depends what sounds best on your particular instrument.

April 6, 2017 at 02:26 AM · There's another E string pack at violin-strings.com.

April 6, 2017 at 04:40 AM · Unless the sound is incredibly thin and piercing (as that of incredibly cheap steel strings), one really just has to get used to steel Es being powerful and bright. Refusing to accept this is almost rejecting modern violin playing.

Gut Es are an option, but not the most ideal for the "modern" player. Yes, I know, the 19th century, etc. But it's just a reality of a violinist life that gut Es are mostly considered a specialized option for specific results, usually period performance (which CAN include romantic period performance.)

Nothing prevents you from using all gut to play all of your repertoire, of course. I also love gut core strings. I just don't believe most "modern" fingerings take into account a gut E anymore.

If you want to avoid an apparently piercing E, avoid thin (can be too bright for some) or thick (can be too harsh loud for others), stick to medium, and get used to the steel E violin tone.

No to the Dominant E, IMHO. Hill E, medium, matches well with many As, is as powerful as needed, rather rich for steel, and I (important-just my experience) do not find it piercing/annoying.

I still find reasons to like most good Es, though, having used most. Gold-plated Es tend to be amazing, but they can (not must) whistle for some violins and/or violinists. Oliv/Obligato E. The only Es that, even though they sound nice, I don't love are wound Es... because I like projecting, brilliant, and bright Es.

(Which makes me think that perhaps the OP would emjoy them very much, in their medium form.)

(Amber E may be another good choice for this purpose, and likely less dampening of the whole violin than wound Es.)

Much respect to all gut string users-it's fine to disagree. Play in whatever makes you happy, and better fits your repertoire needs.

April 6, 2017 at 02:38 PM · Well, to be fair, basically all our music (including the Brahms and Tchaikovsky Concertos) were written prior to 1910.

Thus, the E meant for them was... gut. :D

Sure, halls are bigger now, but why not just amplify the soloist and other players a bit? :)

Short of being a soloist, I don't see where the softer gut E (it projects better, but doesn't pierce through everything) tone wpuld be 'too quiet'?

April 6, 2017 at 03:09 PM · I think E strings can sound round and sweet, but they must be bright and shining at the same time, not to the point of being overly piercing. Synthetic Es are just too hard to make, I think, because Es must be so thin.

April 6, 2017 at 04:03 PM · Amplification distorts sound and is a terrible way to listen to live classical music.

April 6, 2017 at 07:37 PM · I have been using Infeld gold E. It says "Spezial programm" on the package and its powerful but with a lovely sheen.They go quickly though...

April 10, 2017 at 06:48 PM · Perhaps someone can explain this to me. What is the real difference between all those many straight steel E strings? To me the significant factors should be the gauge, and then the wrapped E-strings. The string radiates very little sound; put on a heavy practice mute and you will hear the sound of the string alone. The electro-plating is only a few atoms thick and should make very little difference to the mass/density. I bought a gold E string once and the coating wore off after a couple of days. The violin doesn't care about the material in the string; it amplifies and modifies that signal that it receives through the bridge. Is there a difference in the alloy formula of the steels that would affect elasticity? thanks jq

April 10, 2017 at 11:36 PM · Personally I've had bad experiences with Dominant strings I really like the Pirastro Gold label e since that has a bright smooth sound and it rings out while I'm playing, plus it doesn't have that nasty scratchy sound you usually get with cheap strings

April 11, 2017 at 02:06 AM · Over the years, I have tried out just about every E String known to man, from the cheapest to the

most expensive. To me, the best sounding is a Lenzner Goldbrokat steel string. The price is about

$1.50. Try it, I bet you will like it.

April 11, 2017 at 03:09 AM · There might technically be few differences among steel e strings, but the small ones that apparently exist make a huge difference.

I feel like many violinists are more choosy about e strings than the other 3. I am myself.

April 11, 2017 at 03:47 AM ·

April 11, 2017 at 06:09 AM · Great recommendations all around.

Avoid gut E's unless you want to replace them constantly. At modern pitch they just don't last long enough if you play more than half an hour every day.

I'd first try the range of strings produced by Optima, which now produces the Goldbrokat lineup, including the original inexpensive steel string, a new premium steel, brassed steel, and a 24k gold-plated steel.

On my current gut setup (Eudoxa G and D, Dlugolecki varnished plain gut A) I recommend the Warchal Amber spiral E...it's a great complement to gut strings.

April 12, 2017 at 11:31 PM · @Gene: I would say a month and a half of consistent use is pretty good, considering that I tuned to 440 and averaged 60 hours of use at the time.

Sure, it's half of a steel, but gut E's are fairly cheap (about 12 dollars for 2), and you are paying for the beauty of sound. :)

That works out to, for me, 48 dollars a year for gut E's.

Very cheap... :D

PS: This was with chordas, which are rather thin in gauge and not very good. Using thicker gauges to the tune of 0.62-0.7 for the E from Dlugolecki or similar should last longer and sound better. :)

April 13, 2017 at 03:36 AM ·

April 13, 2017 at 03:45 AM · The Goldbrokat E Strings that I use are made in Germany. They come in three sizes. .025-.026 and

.027 Loop end or ball. I figured if they were good enough for Heifetz to use, They would be good enough for me.

April 13, 2017 at 03:45 AM · The Goldbrokat E Strings that I use are made in Germany. They come in three sizes. .025-.026 and

.027 Loop end or ball. I figured if they were good enough for Heifetz to use, They would be good enough for me.

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