Most Durable Professional Synthetics ?

Edited: March 3, 2018, 9:12 PM · (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?

Kaplan Vivos?

Replies (77)

February 25, 2018, 10:07 PM · Opinions on strings can be quite controversial for several reasons. What do you not like about your current strings?
Edited: February 25, 2018, 10:31 PM · 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.

If you're going to play a concerto with orchestra, change your strings 2 weeks before the performance, and then a few days later, go see your luthier to fine-tune your set-up. (See your luthier at least a week before, prior to any dress rehearsal, but after the strings have had a few days to settle.)

This isn't the time to cheap out on strings. Given that your performance isn't until April, but I'm guessing that you're rehearsing now, change your strings now, and then again 2 weeks before the performance.

Nothing you put on now is going to sound its best in April, even if the overall string longevity is good.

February 25, 2018, 10:25 PM · I petsonally dont like the Kaplan Vivo or amo. They are simply loud with no complexicity in sound on my violins.

Have you tried PI G D A + Larsen gold E? My favorite combination.

February 26, 2018, 12:20 AM · 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.
February 26, 2018, 1:04 AM · 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.

Cheers Carlo

February 26, 2018, 7:02 AM · 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.

I found Kaplan Vivo's to be good strings, and though quite loud they contained a fair amount of richness/complexity on my violin. If Evah Greens are turned up to 10, Vivos are definitely turned up to 11 or more. They seem to have good longevity.

Evah Golds are great strings but I don't find them practical because of the lifespan and quick decline in quality. They seem to work on more instruments than Evah Greens as well.

Warchal Brilliant are another good string in the same sound family as the above. They don't last as long as the Vision family strings, but they are less expensive. They last longer than the Evah products in my experience.

I agree with Lydia on changing your strings now and put on a fresh set before the performance. I might not agree on having luthier adjustments that close to the concert though, unless you are really familiar with that process and your luthier.

February 26, 2018, 7:13 AM · 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).

Importantly, you don't know if a string that is loud under the ear will actually project in a concerto situation. EPs are "louder" than EP Golds, for instance, but because they are less complex -- i.e., they have less overtones -- I've found that EPs don't have as much projection as the EPGs.

The more radically different your string set from the previous one, the more it's likely you're going to want a luthier adjustment to go along with it.

Anyone who performs (or competes/auditions) regularly should develop a good working relationship with their local luthier, in order to ensure that their violin always sounds as good as it can. Small adjustments can make a big difference.

February 26, 2018, 7:33 AM · 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.
February 26, 2018, 8:16 AM · 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.
February 26, 2018, 8:58 AM · I expected to be "wowed" by the EPG... Was not.

They just didn't give me the response of the bow (Concerto. No.3 in D requires fast action) and I always felt the strings were dragging behind.

Which strings have extremely fast reponse?

Edited: February 26, 2018, 9:15 AM · 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).

Strings are very personal to the violin, too. If your instrument has relatively sluggish response, that has to be factored in too.

Mozart 3 is in G major, by the way, not D.

Edited: February 26, 2018, 10:14 AM · EP Golds are a very responsive string. What string are you comparing them to that you felt had better response?

Other than the EP gold-wound G, which I found sluggish on both of my violins, this set has great response. Most people seem to be using the silver-would G anyway, and it responds very well.

It's hard to equate more or less tension of a set to better/worse response. In addition to whatever characteristics the string design brings to the violin, you are essentially giving the instrument a sound post adjustment as well by either increasing or decreasing the amount of pressure on the top. If the instrument has too loose a post fit, you might find that a higher-tension set increases the perceived response.

Some people mentioned Peter Infeld (PI) strings. They are a good option as well, and share some characteristics with the Vision Solo / Vision Titanium family.

February 26, 2018, 11:32 AM · 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.
February 26, 2018, 1:06 PM · 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.)

Most quality strings are "professional". Some are affordable, others aren't. Dominant, Tonica, Zyex, Brilliant Vintage are all "professional" even if more affordable. "Soloist" is always a musical role-strings suited to solo works can be used for Chamber. Some violins do not do well with strings with a "solo" attached to their name, or with "the string for soloists!" note attached to their descriptions.

I like the now "old" Titanium Solo as well-nowadays affordable, and they do even have "Solo" attached to their name (not that it really matters, of course). Tension is "normal"-not too high. They do not last as well as gut, but do better than EP longevity-wise. The expensive Titanium Solo E is really good, despite the rather absurd price.

Edited: February 26, 2018, 1:23 PM · 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.

The more you have big swings of weather with the season, the more often you need adjustments.

I've played concertos (rehearsals and performances) on Dominants, Obligatos, regular Larsens, Larsen Tziganes, Larsen Il Cannones, EP Golds, Warchal Brilliant Vintage, Passiones, and probably some other strings I'm forgetting. I suspect the differences were far more apparent to me than anyone else. One of the reasons that I recommend changing right before the start of rehearsals (if you have a few weeks of rehearsals) is so you can decide whether a string combo works in that setting.

Edited: February 26, 2018, 4:23 PM · "Red Dragon" Made in China 2020 @ half price of Evah Paparazzi and twice the quality.
February 26, 2018, 4:22 PM · 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.
February 26, 2018, 4:46 PM · Hilary Hahn supposedly uses Dominants. I don't know anyone who's using a Dominant E, however. Wonder why they bother.
February 26, 2018, 4:59 PM · 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).

They are surprisingly great strings for being essentially the first synthetics. I would have expected more advances in 50+ years! And I've tested and played in concert nearly every string on the market.

February 26, 2018, 8:06 PM · 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.

February 27, 2018, 12:03 AM · 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.
February 27, 2018, 1:16 AM · 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!
February 27, 2018, 10:54 AM · 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.

You can take Dominants as a baseline, for most violins; they're a good-quality, neutral-sounding synthetic. So from that baseline, EP Golds will push most violins into a little more brilliance and resonance, possibly at the cost of some speed of response, a sense that the violin is being overdriven, or the like. But it won't take a violin that doesn't have a big soloistic sound with Dominants, and turn it into one that does.

If you are expecting a "wow" from strings, you are expecting too much.

February 27, 2018, 1:10 PM · 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.
February 27, 2018, 1:23 PM · 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.
March 3, 2018, 9:12 PM · 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.
Edited: March 4, 2018, 8:14 AM · 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
Edited: March 4, 2018, 1:02 AM · 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.
Edited: March 4, 2018, 4:41 AM · 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.
March 4, 2018, 9:32 AM · 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.

Every person that we have switched to these strings has kept using them! One factor people name is their extremely long life span. Another is what they do to the sound of virtually any violin--I like to say that it adds 20% more quality compared with any other string.

You may read some places that they are just Dominants with a different color silk winding, and this is definitely NOT true.

The E that comes with the set doesn't always work with every violin, but the strings are so cheap (they only come as a set) that you can buy your choice. One that works well is the Thomastik tin-plated carbon steel E, but this affects the sound of all the other strings, too. It's a bit like a gold string, but less so--not good all the time, too. But the other Rondos are amazing.

Edited: March 4, 2018, 10:59 AM · 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'm also substituting the Evah Gold gold E for the Evah Gold steel E, so no gold on bottom or top.

the violin shops here want $105 for the Evah Gold (silver) G, crazy eh?. I'm in Canada and getting it from Gostrings in USA. with the exchange and shipping it's still coming in at $60 Canabucks. Yikes.

not much choice tho, as I really like full Evah Gold set on my busking fiddle. Come spring I'll be playing it about 3 1/2 hours, 25 days out of 30. I'm prepared to let them suffer a longer death, as it's only busking, but I may hafta re-think this.

Thanks to anyone kind enough to read my ramblings.

March 4, 2018, 12:40 PM · 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.

However, for major performances, I'd probably vote for maximum sound quality shortly after break-in, and just change more often. "Maximizes soloistic power" and "keeps that power for a long time" are mutually incompatible, I think.

Warchal gets my vote for the "starts good, remains good for a long time, isn't all that expensive", by the way.

If your strings are unwinding in 2-3 months on 1 hour of practice a day, the set is defective and you should get a refund. It's rare for modern synthetics to unwind, period; I haven't experienced this since childhood (and even then, not with strings less than a year old). If you've tried multiple sets like this, I'd look into your supplier -- are they supplying genuine strings, or, say, cheap Chinese knock-offs in counterfeit packaging? (Try reputable string dealers: Shar, Southwest Strings, Quinn, etc.) Or you may have rough edges somewhere on the violin, but in that case it would more likely affect just one string, not all of them.

I haven't tried the Rondos -- shops that carry them have told me that they're pretty Dominant/Vision-like. Michael, would you make the same comparison? (Perhaps more to the Visions than to Dominants, or versus PIs?)

March 4, 2018, 12:42 PM · 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.
Edited: March 4, 2018, 2:46 PM · 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.
March 4, 2018, 5:53 PM · 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.
March 5, 2018, 7:44 AM · Yes, sounds like b.s. to me.
March 5, 2018, 7:53 AM · Michael Darnton is not usually prone to hyperbole.

The choice to do a limited-distribution string is interesting, though.

March 5, 2018, 8:38 AM · 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.
March 5, 2018, 9:50 AM · 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.

TIs have been around for awhile, too.

I too wonder why these strings aren't available to everyone.

And then there are Belcanto viola strings - sold in Europe, but not in the US.

March 6, 2018, 6:01 AM · Obligato!
March 6, 2018, 7:49 AM · Thomastik had this to say:

"Our Rondo strings are indeed being sold by luthiers only. This way our company wants to support their trade."

Still, it remains an odd business decision, especially if they are indeed unique and long lasting.

Edited: March 7, 2018, 6:09 AM · 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.
March 7, 2018, 6:18 AM · Paul -- I see them on ebay right now @ $130. Watch out, the Thomastik police might come after you lol.
Edited: March 7, 2018, 11:33 AM · Maybe this is Thomastik's decision to
support "brick & mortar" shops.
I am guilty of buying strings on line to avoid driving 10 mile through dense traffic,,, and also to save money on sales tax.
If this trade tariff goes through I suppose strings prices will go up, maybe even more than Campbells soup.
March 7, 2018, 12:21 PM · Rondo is sold in bulk packs of 12 strings per pitch to shops through their distributors.

This is standard practice in the woodwind world as well. A number of manufacturers create special line models that are only available in brick-and-mortar shops and not online sales.

March 7, 2018, 4:54 PM · It’s not standard practice for violin strings.
March 8, 2018, 10:50 AM · Not many shops even seem to carry Rondo or TI strings, so I don't see how shops as a whole are really benefiting.
March 9, 2018, 7:34 AM · 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!

I also bought a dozen sets (minimum purchase) of TI, which I won't even use on rentals (what they were designed for--as a cheap fleet string). I use them when someone comes in with a $50 Ebay violin wanting strings.

March 9, 2018, 8:03 AM · Mr. Darnton,

Any technical data offered to you by Thomastik? Different tensions and options? Or is it more of a one-size-fits-all approach as in EP Gold, Vision Solo, Passione Solo, etc.? No disrespect meant, and I am glad these Rondo are working for most.

Best wishes.

March 9, 2018, 5:32 PM · Alex,

Could you mention other strings that you have used that you did not also like? You know its mostly trial and error, and as some other people said before maybe lower tension could do the trick, but maybe not.

A not-so-scientific way to find out whether your violin would benefit from lower tension is to tune it half step down, and check the difference...But as I said it could mean nothing.

If you use your violin for about an hour a day, you should not need to replace your strings every 2-3 months (Yet, you never know, it depends on playing styles, hand precipitation et)c. As it was mentioned before synthetics are supposed to have a 120-150 hours lifespan, but that's what I hear from some manufacturers and some players (who play lots of hours/day).

Personally, I am starting to accept that a string set if handled properly (cleaning etc) could last longer than that, provided that you can tolerate a small "downfall". But as long as my strings do not go crazy, produce wolf notes, and they play in tune , I am ok. We do not need to go mad if we have an instrument paired with a string set that you know, still work well together. With an average daily use of maybe 4-6 hours I could have 2-3 Dominant sets every year. (I would change the E in a monthly basis although)

Anyway, when I personally stopped using EP Golds, I found Obligato and Evah Pirazzi more responsive on my instrument . Vision Titanium Solo was great too, in terms of response.

March 9, 2018, 5:42 PM · Adalberto, nothing was offered in the way of specifications.
March 10, 2018, 4:38 PM · Here are the specs Thomastik sent me. Tensions in kg, lb.

RO01, e, Multilayer steel core, Tin coated, 8.1, 17.8
RO02, a, Synthetic core, Aluminum wound, 5.6, 12.3
RO02A, a, Carbon steel core, Chrome wound, 6.0, 13.3
RO03A, d, Synthetic core, Silver wound, 4.7, 10.3
RO04, g, Synthetic core, Silver wound, 4.7, 10.3

Winding colors look similar to Dominant at the tailpiece end, but are orange at the peg end. Interesting that they offer a steel core A (which has a brown stripe at the peg end).

Edited: March 10, 2018, 6:07 PM · 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.

I've had them on for a few hours on the instrument, and my initial impression is very positive. They aren't quite as punchy as PI, but have a very quick break-in/pitch stabilization time like the Vision line. Compared to the "textured" string sets like EPG or Kaplan Amo, it has a more clear, ringing, quality. I have a couple chamber music concerts coming up in the next two weeks so I'll have more feedback once I get a chance to put it through a consistent pace of daily rehearsals and recorded performances.

Note, I did not put the E string on. I just tried out the Optima Goldbrokat Premium Steel E (26) a few days and it is absolutely fantastic. It also works really well with the Rondo G/D/A.

March 10, 2018, 6:13 PM · 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!
March 10, 2018, 10:49 PM · 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.

So I don’t doubt what Mr. Darnton is saying at all about Rondo strings. Perhaps it is assumed that high end professional players frequently bring their instruments to luthiers and it is a niche market. (How much are the Rondos?)

As for the similar markings to Rondos, I’ve long wondering why some sites list some top violinists as playing with Dominants - it seemed very odd. It would make a lot of sense if they were Rondos instead and were mistaken for their similar thread.

My violin doesn’t like Evahs (any) or Passiones or a number of other synthetics I’ve tried. Olivs and Eudoxas sound best on mine. I haven’t found a synthetic that can match the richness. Maybe it’s just most responsive. I tend to use heavier gauge strings too. I’ve wanted to try the Warchals but they always seem to be out of stock of what I’m looking for when I look. Maybe Lydia’s suggestions will work for you, but my thoughts run along those of Adalberto. I have no experience with the Rondos, and so can’t comment on them but then maybe Mr. Darnton could send you a set?

March 10, 2018, 11:04 PM · 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.
Edited: March 11, 2018, 7:55 AM · 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.

If I take a look at my Strad Viotti poster on the wall from TheStrad, it has an Infeld Blue G, Infeld Red D/A, and a Gold Label E.

Edited: March 11, 2018, 8:03 AM · 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.

On the subject of E strings, I should mention that there's a Dominant variety described as tin-plated carbon steel that we use a lot. I find the normal Dominant, and the Rondo E, also, to often be too thin sounding, and the tin-plated steel fixes that. We'll mix in a different E with a Rondo set if the buyer wants, for the change in price.

The tin-plated E heads towards a gold-plated string sound, without going too far in that direction (I usually don't like gold-plated Es); a bit smoother, less crashy, dense and strong, compared with a normal E. It sounds like a heavier gauge, without being heavy. However, it affects the sound of all of the other strings--sometimes better, sometimes worse, so we don't always use it. It's worth trying, though, and is not expensive at all.

The open clarity of the Rondo set that Gene describes is one of the things people like about those strings.

Thomastik's decision to sell Rondo only through shops was driven by the fact that these days people buy strings on the web, and come to shops much more rarely. I welcome this concept because one consequence of infrequent visits is that often we have only gotten to see problems with violins after they've had a long time to fester. I like visitors to get a checkup when they come in (we don't charge for that) to nip any problems in the bud. I also will change strings and lube pegs as part of that. Often people need and get my speech about how to pull their bridge up straight (the teacher's job to teach that!, but so many teachers aren't doing their job!). So going in to a shop isn't a bad thing. And yes, Rondos from our shop are a whole lot cheaper than that Ebay ad someone mentioned above, though it's interesting that someone thinks that they compete with other strings at that price.

Edited: March 11, 2018, 9:12 AM · 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.

Because of the lack of demand for many of the products and/or gauges I need, I am often forced to look online. NO ONE in NYC carries the Tricolore at all, so I am forced to buy them via Mr. Larson's website. That is the one advantage online retailers have-they can afford to carry whatever, whereas it won't make much economical sense to do the same for most shops, which I DO support (and hope you all do as well, whenever possible.)

Mr. Darnton, thanks for your help and honest reply above.

March 12, 2018, 2:23 AM · @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
March 12, 2018, 5:24 AM · @Robert

These are amazing pics indeed...I was aware of string corrosion due to sweating but I had no idea that it could get this far. Fortunately I am relatively lucky since I have not experienced such situations...

I would clean my strings with microfiber cloths, wine corks and sometimes with a cloth and a drop of alcohol (To everybody reading this who haven't tried it yet - Alcohol CAN destroy a violin's varnish so be extremely careful)....Did any of these help?

March 12, 2018, 6:53 AM · 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.

I'm not opposed to Thomastik supporting local shops. My nearest shop doesn't carry Rondo, and the closest that sells them is a ~2 hour drive. This isn't Europe where everything is (relatively) close and in 2 hours you'd be in another country -- Thomastik should consider this in their deployment.

Interesting that Michael said "a whole lot cheaper" than that ebay ad. When I called the nearest shop to inquire about availability and cost, I was quoted nearly the same cost as the ebay ad.

Edited: March 12, 2018, 9:06 AM · 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. :-)

Rosin on the bow contact area of the string is, in my experience, the biggest disrupter of tone quality that players can immediately deal with. Additional weight off-center on the string causes the string to vibrate erratically instead of purely. I tell my customers to carry a small piece of green Scotch-brite pad in their cases and use it to rub off the caked rosin from the string on a regular basis. String truth is damaged by any irregularity in weight, density, etc, along the length of the string, and finger oils, scarce and distributed, are minuscule in their effect in proportion to that glob of rosin that accumulates on the string between the bridge and the board.

Alcohol is fine for this if you can manage not to get a single drop on your violin.

March 12, 2018, 10:39 AM · 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.
Edited: March 12, 2018, 4:35 PM · 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.

Recently Bodhan Warchal of Warchal Strings released a good string cleaning guide that shows us that alcohol is actually a bad idea. Abrasive pads are also not recommended.

www.warchal.com/faq/what_is_the_best_way_to_care_for_our_strings.html

It's a good read, and has some really interesting close-up string dissections.

March 12, 2018, 5:07 PM · 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.
March 12, 2018, 7:24 PM · I have had no problem with green pads.
Edited: March 12, 2018, 8:14 PM · I've just seen the green spots on the string on the Warchal website. It's stunning how the synthetic core turned green !

I wonder, since Alcohol evaporates almost instantly, if we use tiny drops, wouldn't be ok? It would reach the core, but I don't think it should stay there forever...The coloring agent should stay there maybe for a long time but it would be dry after a while, right?

March 12, 2018, 8:44 PM · A local shop quoted $100 for a set of Rondos. I’m less intrigued than I was.
Edited: March 13, 2018, 12:37 AM · 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.

Have you ever seen how a violin string vibrates? The lens shape we see is just an optical illusion. The string rotates in more sophisticated shape. There is quite a sharp bent rotating clockwise with down stroke and opposite direction with up stroke https://ccrma.stanford.edu/realsimple/travelingwaves/Helmholtz_Motion.html

This is why the strings structure has be able to be bent and straightened several hundred times per second without creating excessive resistance.

We have only coloured the alcohol to green to allow you to see what remains if the alcohol get evaporated. Rosin remnant would be much less visible, since it would be almost transparent. But the poor visibility would not reduce it’s impact unfortunately.

March 13, 2018, 1:55 AM · 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.

That could explain why my strings sounded fuzzy after I cleaned them many many times with alcohol some years ago

By the way congratulations about all this research and photos that we can find in your website.

March 13, 2018, 6:58 AM · Andrew -- $100 is in the ballpark of what I was quoted.

Bodhan -- Thank you for the research and for the continually interesting information.

March 13, 2018, 9:34 AM · 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
Thanks
Goose
Edited: March 25, 2018, 12:48 PM · 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.
The sound appears to be much more open and "woodier" than with the Dominants they replaced, and much warmer-- if a little less clean and flashy under the ear-- than what I get from PIs. I have another fiddle whose maker has preferred EP Green up to now, and I may experiment on that one as well.

Edit-- the E already on was a PI Platinum, which was a better fit for the rest of the setup than a Rondo E. Just a warmer, richer sound on all strings.

March 24, 2018, 2:33 PM · 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?
https://www.sharmusic.com/Pages/How-To/Strings/Strings-Chart/Violin-String-Chart/
What about the Cappricios and Opals? Anyone got any dirt on them?
March 24, 2018, 3:21 PM · 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.
March 24, 2018, 3:33 PM · 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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