Most Durable Professional Synthetics ?
(DOMINANTS NOT INCLUDED)
After trying Evah Pirazzi Golds for a few months, spending the $120, and being dissapointed, I am thinking about finding different strings.
Does anyone have experience with other powerful soloist strings that will last me until april, when I'll be performing the Mozart Concerto No.4?
Opinions on strings can be quite controversial for several reasons. What do you not like about your current strings?
If the EP Golds have been on your instrument for a couple of months, it's time to change them. They need to be changed every 100-150 hours of play.
I petsonally dont like the Kaplan Vivo or amo. They are simply loud with no complexicity in sound on my violins.
What didn't you like about the EP Golds? They're pretty popular but if you can pinpoint something maybe we can offer you better recommendations for other strings.
IMO, EP golds are the best sounding strings on the market, for about three weeks, and then they are toast! Regular EPs last about three months. Try PI if you want a string that lasts. I think they hold their tone a good six months of hard playing.
Vision Solo, Vision Titanium Solo, and Vision Titanium Orchestra are good competitors to Evah and Evah Golds. They also last significantly longer. In my experience, many violins like Vision Solo's, so this is a good place to start.
The weeks leading up to a major performance are not an ideal time to be experimenting with strings, although I admit that I've done it repeatedly, though not always because I planned it (for instance, I've run into issues with the strings I wanted being in stock).
It's hard to imagine why a PROFESSIONAL SOLOIST (emphasis yours) would be trying to squeeze another couple of months out of a set of strings. Lydia's approach seems best to me.
I second Carlo's recommendation. I love EP Golds, but I get a lot more mileage out of my PIs. If your wallet can take it though, stick with what you know until after your April performance. I swapped string brands a couple of weeks before a recital once, and it wasn't the best decision.
I expected to be "wowed" by the EPG... Was not.
Try strings with lower tension to get faster response, although frankly the EPGs respond pretty darn quickly on any violin I've ever tried them on (either mine or those belonging to other people).
EP Golds are a very responsive string. What string are you comparing them to that you felt had better response?
Which strings does your luthier recommend? Mine tends to start with Dominant and adjust if instruments aren't sufficiently responsive. My violin sounded pretty darn good with Dominant strings and I'm thinking about going back. Love be the Evah Gold G string but yeah, they're expensive and seem to lose their shine quickly. It is definitely worth getting an adjustment if you trust your local luthier. I recall that Lydia gets them at least annually. Sometimes the strings aren't the problem. It's good that you're thinking about this now, now a week before your concert. In short, #heedlydia.
Most gut-core options (bet you won't like that answer.) Tricolore and Oliv can be "solo" strings (but so can be the proven Eudoxa.)
I get an adjustment with major changes of season, before major performances, or anytime the instrument just seems off. That's probably three or four times a year.
If the violin is good enough Dominants will be very hard to beat. There are a few options with a brighter or slightly louder sound but for a blend of harmonic richness, volume and projection stick with dominants...with a plain steel or gold plated e for fine tuning.
Hilary Hahn supposedly uses Dominants. I don't know anyone who's using a Dominant E, however. Wonder why they bother.
Katie -- Hilary does use Dominants, with a Pirastro Gold Label E (medium gauge). Some other soloists using Dominants are Itzhak Perlman (with a Westminster heavy E) and Gil Shaham (with a Jargar Forte E).
Thomastik-Infeld recently began to offer a different E option for Dominants, probably in recognition of the fact that most players don't like the original E and many had gone with the "classic" combo of a Gold Label E. I haven't read a review of what the new set sounds like, though.
I almost always end up using either a gold label e or an olive gold stahl e. The difference between the two strings is often just as apparent on how the g responds as the e.
I love Jargar Superior, they became one of my favorite sets. And if fast response is very important for you,I would choose any Thomastik over any Pirastro strings. I don't think it is crucial to visit your luthier right before your performance unless there is any issue with your instrument. If you play (as I assume) a few hours a day, I would change strings four or five days before, not two weeks, especially if you use any thomastik strings which settle in a few hours of playing. Also check if you may need a rehair and if so do it one or two weeks before. Good luck!
I think it also has to be kept in mind that strings don't work miracles. The basic character and playing characteristics of the violin remain the same. Strings represent a little tweak in one direction or another, for better or for worse, and they can help you compensate slightly for minor perceived flaws in a violin's sound.
Don't know if you could class them as soloist strings or not, but to me, Helicore Mediums sound about as good as Evahs or Dominants. The price is right too. $27.00, and they are extra long lasting. I am in no way for sure a soloist, but my ears are the judge.
Helicore is ropecore steel. They sound richer than regular steel strings, but don't quite have the richness of a good synthetic. Great strings for fiddling, though, or if you're on a budget and need a low-cost long-lasting string. Not what you want to play a concerto on.
Does anyone have a few examples of professional synthetics that won't unwind after 2-3 months? I play around an hour a day. Soloist.
I don't believe any synthetic string could unwind after 2 - 3 months time if handled properly and beeing played so little, except of aluminium corrosion issue. If you did not hit the string by any sharp object, this article might give you the answer: http://www.warchal.com/faq/the_lifespan_of_strings.html
I'll second what Adalberto Valle-Rivera said above. The gut core strings, especially Oliv and Eudoxa can be 'soloistic.' Gut core strings (especially the pure gut D&A Tricolore or Gamut Academie) sound so much better in my opinion especially on old instruments.
Wow Bohdan, just checked your webpage on lifespan of strings, and also the one on cleaning that is referenced there, extremely interesting, and the first time I ever see such a detailed explanation with great photos! Warchal is really an exceptional company.
In our shop we are almost exclusively using Thomastik Rondo strings. They are a private Thomastik string which can only be purchased in person from a shop that carries them, not remotely, phone, internet, whatever, and they are not particularly expensive. We have them, and I know Rare Violins of New York carries them, also.
well, that's bad news for me about the relatively quick deterioration of sound quality for Evah Golds, considering the cost of them. I don't like the Gold G, and the Evah Gold (silver) G that I ordered on line should be here any day now.
I think that the general rule of strings on a budget is that you should buy a set that sounds good for as long as possible, rather than a set that sounds great at the beginning and then mediocre for long thereafter.
One more note: If you're having problems being heard above an orchestra in a Mozart concerto, the problem is you, not the violin, and strings won't really make a difference. Possibly it's the orchestra as well, which needs to keep a light texture, but it's Mozart -- the orchestration just isn't that thick. I can tell you from personal experience that youth symphonies that aren't great at being soft can nevertheless manage to accompany Haydn or Mozart concertos (or Paganini!) for kids on half-size violins and not drown them out, and if a kid with a mediocre half-size can be heard, so can you -- with proper technique.
I can't really compare Rondos to anything else. Perhaps they might be a bit like Evahs, with more quality. They have a lot of air in them, and you hear more of the violin than the strings, I think. They seem like they would be lower tension, based on the sound and feel, but they're not quiet strings at all.
If Rondos are so great and unique, one would think Thomastik would market them in the same way as their other strings. It would be an odd decision to make them difficult to acquire.
Yes, sounds like b.s. to me.
Michael Darnton is not usually prone to hyperbole.
The only sensible reason for doing something like that would be if they are prototypes and still in development based on customer feedback. This would also explain why they have only allowed certain select shops to sell them.
Rondos have been around for at least a few years - Thomastik told me about them a few years ago after I wrote them about a mystery string that I saw on a violin.
Thomastik had this to say:
This business of "rondo" strings only being available for in-person purchase is BS. Next time I'm at a big shop I'll just buy ten sets and mark them up on ebay.
Paul -- I see them on ebay right now @ $130. Watch out, the Thomastik police might come after you lol.
Maybe this is Thomastik's decision to
Rondo is sold in bulk packs of 12 strings per pitch to shops through their distributors.
It’s not standard practice for violin strings.
Not many shops even seem to carry Rondo or TI strings, so I don't see how shops as a whole are really benefiting.
As with any other business matter, it takes an investment to play the game. I was reluctant until discussing the strings with others, who convinced me. I believe our shop now goes through two or three dozen sets a month. Those who are not happy with the business model are welcome to not buy them, of course. People will complain about just about anything, won't they!
Adalberto, nothing was offered in the way of specifications.
Here are the specs Thomastik sent me. Tensions in kg, lb.
I went to my regular shop today and bought three sets of Thomastik Rondo (synthetic G/D/A). Pricing is excellent, less than EPG or Kaplan Amo.
Gene -- I agree about the Optima Goldbrokat. I tried it in medium and thick and they were both excellent. Let us know how you the Rondo strings progress. Unfortunately the closest shop to me that carries them is a 2 hour drive!
When I was young, I recall Shar used to carry Pirastro strings only sold in the showroom with a very limited supply for select customers. You had to ask then ask again sometimes. It was when the Avasharians were still traveling to Europe to deal with Pirastro on a personal basis. They had a wound silver E (not the silvery steel E) that I loved but no longer have available. It had a beautiful sound that matched my violin extraordinarily well. They didn’t last long, 3 weeks to two months max on 4-5 hours a day, 7 days a week. The last time I asked about it, a Shar showroom rep, they thought I was nuts.
Top soloists are often playing on top-notch instruments that don't need to be forced to sound. A neutral string like Dominants works fine on them, and many of those players grew up with them and are used to them, and have never felt a reason to experiment. They're reasonably priced, and can probably be found in any violin shop in the world, should one need an emergency supply.
A lot of top violinists play with Dominants because they work. That having been said, I have noticed the occasional Infeld Red or Infeld blue amongst Dominiants. I suspect that this is to make up for a strong or weak string.
I was taught that the need for a mixed string set (beyond the E string, which is a no-man's land of preferences) identifies a problem with the setup in most cases, and that's my experience. Of course, that doesn't account for all tastes--it's just a guide. Bad A strings and whistling Es are adjustment problems, in my experience, and both can be fixed without resorting to strange string changes.
I actually hate purchasing strings online and don't need a bait-though I understand why most shops would need such an incentive in this day and age. I have purchased even a Gold Label set in a NYC shop, as well as many Eudoxa and Oliv throughout the years (and most other synthetics) but they usually don't carry the gauges I need. I actually prefer to order via the shop vs online, and ask them to order what I need from their supplier (tends to be fast). I hate the demise of most retail brick and mortar as well. I do love the internet just as much as anyone, but shopping onlone vs in person is just not the same-even for a rather reserved individual such as myself, the shop will always win out.
@Hermes: I doubt I would be able to clean the sweat out of the strings. Have you seen these pictures? http://warchal.com/faq/the_lifespan_of_strings.html
I agree with Michael -- I see any mixed strings (other than E) as suspect and a potential setup issue. Also that the tin plated dominant E is better than the other offerings in that set.
We have always priced our strings in line with the prevailing online price, because that is the competition, and in pricing Rondos we simply allowed ourselves the same % profit margin we make on Dominants. Can't speak for the other guys. :-)
I bought my Rondo sets significantly cheaper than the Ebay ad. While any prices you would see online will be at parity with one another (especially if quoted over the phone or email), if you go to a local shop that carries them, they will be very reasonable. I spent less on each set than Evah Pirazzi, PI, or any of the other premium sets.
Michael -- I agree that keeping strings clean is a good method to maintain best tone. I've always used a soft cloth to wipe the strings in that area.
I wonde if one of those nylon dish pads that have been mentioned on here before are safe to use. They seem like they’re no harder than a credit card.
I have had no problem with green pads.
I've just seen the green spots on the string on the Warchal website. It's stunning how the synthetic core turned green !
A local shop quoted $100 for a set of Rondos. I’m less intrigued than I was.
Hermes, alcohol itself would be no problem. It would evaporate as you have mentioned. But alcohol dissolves rosin and the thinned rosin comes inside. Only alcohol can evaporate not the rosin. Rosin is very sticky and even small amount of rosin would cause quite strong damping effect.
Bohdan, I see...It seems I forgot this very basic thing: alcohol would dissolve rosin, which is funny, since that's the reason alcohol comes to mind in the first place for this specific attribute.
Andrew -- $100 is in the ballpark of what I was quoted.
I found post on this site regarding J. R. Carlisle violins. I registered here so I may inquire If any of you have any information as to where I would find a legitimate appraiser. I have a Carlisle violin that I need to insure or sell and it looks like muddy water out their. Any info would be helpful
I just put on a set of Rondos (sans E-string-- not sure what is on there now). It is a very dry day in the house, so adjustment may not be as good it will be in a few weeks. Still, while we'll know more later, the initial results are very promising.
Hm. Most of the big name string brands (Evahs, Dominants) seem to be beyond their prime within a few weeks. But what about more obscure (but still pricey) other brands?
What Bohdan pointed out about alcohol penetrating the string core occurred to me years ago, before I cleaned my strings with alcohol the very first time. For this reason I have ALWAYS had an absorbent cotton cloth at hand to wipe alcohol off each string immediately after I apply alcohol with an alcohol pad. Strings are fine - always have been.
PIs last remarkably well over time. A slow fade, but slow enough that you might not think to change them until it's too late. As opposed to EP Greens, which sound pretty good until they just can't be played in tune.
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