Olivs vs. Obligatos

June 4, 2005 at 06:33 PM · I really, really love the sound of my Olivs, but I just can't do the whole stopping to tune every ten minutes of practice thing anymore. So I was wondering what a comparable string would be. Has anyone who's played on Olivs tried the Obligatos? Do they have a similar sound? What about other strings? Pros and cons? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Replies (10)

June 4, 2005 at 06:43 PM · I've been switching back and forth between the Olivs and the Obligatos. Like you, I love the sound of the Olivs. And though they do tend to stabilize after a week or so, as you notice, they are more susceptible to climate/humidity changes than synthetic core strings -- making it kinda hard in an orchestra setting. In my case, I find the Obligatos good substitutes. But I still use Oliv E. I find Obligato's E too dark and not really matching the rest of the set.

June 4, 2005 at 06:59 PM · I have Oliv strings on the G,D,and A but not the E. My E was copper colored (the string). Is that how they all are?

Only my A goes out of tune my G and D are fine. Would an Obligato A work well? any other A's

June 4, 2005 at 10:24 PM · Hi,

It's crazy to hear that the E string of Obligato is too dark, since I have heard some people said that the E-string of Obligato is too bright, so it's not match the other strings well.

Could you tell me whether the Obligato or the Oliv sounds darker and which one has deeper bass? I think if the Oliv has deeper and darker bass, I will use the G,D Oliv and A,E Obligato, because the A, E are more instable during humidity change. Thank you in advance.

June 5, 2005 at 03:26 AM · welcome to gut core, that is the dilemna of course. great sound, very eratic pitch.

June 5, 2005 at 04:06 AM · Maybe they're the best string for people who don't play in tune, anyway.

June 5, 2005 at 06:41 AM · Ahh! I used to be a loyal user for a long time with Olives. I know what you mean. Well, you could do what I did towards the end, change the strings one last time. I honestly think, if you really like them, use them only during the Winter. Then use synthetic strings during the warmer spring and humid summer months. The gut strings tend to be more stable in the winter months, and I did the switching between seasons a few times, and it worked out fine for me.

Obligatos vs. Olives. Well, they aren't as powerful, but decent. I thought the D and A strings sounded a bit tubby when I used them. The G is very warm, and similar to the Olive G, but to a lesser degree. I don't really reccomend them that much. I used them after the Olives because everyone said they were the closest match.

You should also think about the Corelli Strings - which I actually like after having them on for a few days now. The ends remind me of the olives with the coloring! Also, the Vision Strings are pretty good. Don't waste your money on the Soloist and Orchestral sets - they're no different except for the packaging. The basic Vision set is the better deal.

I do have to admit.. nothing is as good as the Olive Gold E!!

June 5, 2005 at 07:26 PM · Thanks much for all the input guys! That was very helpful. :)

June 5, 2005 at 09:47 PM · For what it's worth, both sets of Obligatos I've tried on my violin sounded weak and flabby immediately after they settled in, while my Oliv G successfully lasted two years before being replaced--only because I was afraid that the string might explode during an upcoming performance. Though the new Oliv G I put on my violin undoubtedly sounds better than the old one, the difference isn't nearly as stark as the change from a 3-month old "premium" synthetic string to a brand new one. In fact, I wouldn't really have any problems putting the old G back on (I don't, because I'm afraid of the undue wear that might occur from drastically stretching and unstretching the gut core), which is really saying something, because I'm pretty neurotic about how my violin's sound.

Danielle, a great synthetic alternative to the Oliv A--which I use--is the Pirastro Synoxa A. It matches the Oliv G and D really well and sounds less "crunchy" on my violin. And, of course, it stays in tune much better.

As for tuning--though I live in the Chicagoland area where the weather is wildly erratic, I haven't experienced any undue stress with the less stable gut strings. I find that, while playing for an hour or so, the violin doesn't go terribly out of tune. Thus, unless I'm playing the Elgar Violin Concerto (which I'm not), it's not a big deal. In concert situations, there are always intermissions; after intermissions, the orchestra generally retunes, so I haven't had any problems performing with gut strings.

Now, I have noticed that, when picking up the violin after an hour or two, it is usually drastically out of tune. However, when I used synthetics, I would always retune after a practice break anyway; whether I need to change the pitch a lot or just a little, the act of tuning with pegs is the same. So that's not an issue.

Just another perspective!

June 6, 2005 at 05:38 PM · Danielle, you might have faulty Olivs. They usually stablize after a solid week of playing. Compared to synthetics, they do have problems staying in tune, but should be able to last the typical rehearsal until intermission.

If it's really bothering you, trying just switching the A as it is less stable and more apparent (given the higher register and direct contrast to the steel E). I believe some famous soloists have gone with gut G and D (both wound) and steel A and E, though synthetic A might be the way for you. Daniel's suggestions above sound reasonble.

June 6, 2005 at 08:06 PM · Well my A is really a problem. It won't last 15 min of solid playing

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