Anyone tried new Larsen Virtuoso viola strings?

Edited: February 27, 2018, 10:27 AM · It's time to replace the original strings that are on my son's Kiernoziak viola. It came from the maker with C G and D PIs and a Larsen A; a really good setup on that instrument so am tempted to stick with that for now. But I see that Larsen has started selling "Virtuoso" C G and D viola strings in both medium and soloist (higher tension) variants. Has anyone tried these for viola yet?

Replies (12)

February 27, 2018, 11:28 AM · I would ask a luthier or experienced viola player at a store who is in a position to try your son's viola and judge how it will handle the higher tension strings.

In my experience these things can be tricky for any instrument - and even more so for violas. Each instrument is different.

February 27, 2018, 1:19 PM · I know, hard to generalize about how they will perform on a specific instrument. But general observations by an experienced player can still be useful. The good news is it's not nearly as expensive as deciding between Magnacores or what's currently on my daughter's cello when it's time for that :-).
Edited: March 1, 2018, 6:58 AM · I just installed Larsen Virtuoso Viola Strings (Strong Gauge) today!!!! I play on a Frederic Chaudière viola (16” Strad model). I love it. Before, I had Pirastro Evah Pirazzi’s and my viola produced more of a “tenor” like sound. With the Larsen, my viola has a deeper, richer, powerful, warmer (cello-like) sound. These strings were recommended to me by Violinist Renaud Capucon, Cellist Gautier Capucon and Cellist Pablo Fernandez. I cannot put down my viola tonight.
March 1, 2018, 3:38 AM · Sounds good, thanks Sung-Duk. The folks I just ordered from are including a second A string as a promo which will get used regardless, looking forward to hearing these.
March 1, 2018, 4:38 AM · OK, why must you tempt me so????

Who has these available for sale?

March 1, 2018, 9:07 AM · Concord Musical Supplies, pricing seems fair especially with the extra A, less than what PIs would run.
March 26, 2018, 10:15 AM · Update 3/26/18: After several weeks of using the Larsen Virtuoso Viola strings, I wanted to provide an update. I still LOVE these strings, but decided to resort back to the Evah Pirazzi’s. As much as I sincerely loved the deeper, cello like viola sound, I found myself little more fatigued after practice sessions because I have had to dig a little deeper into the strings. Evah Pirazzi’s have a quicker response with a tenor like sound, and I find it personally more comfortable and less fatigue playing on these strings than the Larsen. Keep in mind that this is for me personally and for my personal viola. I do miss the darker cello-like timber from the Larsen’s though.
March 26, 2018, 11:39 AM · Thanks Sung-Duk. My son likes these too but for this viola I think we like the PIs that came on here originally just a little better as well, fun to try different strings.
March 26, 2018, 1:11 PM · Experimenting with Viola strings will probably be even more complicated and expensive than violin strings. Both the body size and string length are not standardized. I am tempted to recommend tuning the medium tension strings up and down a 1/2 step to test the optimum tension on the top plate, but, 1/2 a step higher would match the viola's natural greater resonance in the flat keys. Mozart wrote the Symphonie Concertante in Eb, the viola part transposed to D, and instructed the player to tune 1/2 step higher. One of my violas prefers a low-tension gut C string.
March 26, 2018, 4:48 PM · Joel, I did read that about the Sinfonia Concertante, but Eb is such a great key to play on viola (my favorite -so natural) - and my viola sounds so much better playing it as written than in D and tuned up (I have tried it in D too). Mozart wrote quite a lot for viola in Eb (the Masonic Key, I've been told) - and I read he played viola.

It depends on what tension your viola likes and whether you can get strings that satisfy it.

March 26, 2018, 10:11 PM · Andrew- Yes, I believe that Violas respond better in the flat keys. A luthier will have a more definitive answer, but I read somewhere that the wood and air cavity resonance for the viola are Ab and Eb, while the violin, being a perfect design, have those resonance notes on open D and A. Hence, the violin prefers the sharp keys. Mozart really understood the instrument. His symphony and quartet Viola parts are an improvement over Haydn, and when he expanded the quartet to a quintet, he added the second viola. The other reason that he would ask the viola solo be tuned up 1/2 would because those were all gut strings, probably plain gut A and D. thanks~jq
March 27, 2018, 4:51 AM · Ab and Eb would be from a very large viola: Bb and F are common.

The classical era often tuned their small viola up a semitone, presumably for more projection. But I find the Sinfonia Concertante part is not actually easier to play in D major.

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