Obscure String Brands?

March 29, 2018, 1:56 PM · I use Evah Pirazzi Greens right now. I love them, but I saw two brands I've never heard of, Opal (by For-Tune) and Capriccio (by Dogal). Has anyone used these, and if so, what did you think?

Replies (34)

March 29, 2018, 2:00 PM · I have used neither Opal nor Capriccio. However here's a link to a review of the Capriccio: https://www.violinstringreview.com/spotlight-reviews/capriccio-solo-dogal-spotlight-review
March 29, 2018, 2:03 PM · Other obscure string brands include Synoxa and Aricore.
March 29, 2018, 3:28 PM · I had tried a set of John Pearse string 20 years ago and they were very similar to Dominants at almost half the cost. Not sure why I never tried them again other than so many strings...
March 29, 2018, 4:06 PM · Fiddlerman strings.
March 29, 2018, 4:08 PM · I played something (with test violins, at Mondomusica in Cremona) with both Opal strings and Dogal Capriccio.

Opal is a spanish company, if memory serves me well. I talked to one of the founders. They told me thay make only 2 variants: one completely titanium, all strings, and one without titanium.
The titanium flavour in my opinion is exceptional, both as volume, harmonics, warmness, speed of sound production. Very loud and solid sound, but with detail. The price was something like 100 euro.
Instead i didn't like much the other (cheaper) non-titanium set. It's not so good, in my opinion.

I played the Dogal Capriccio string set and i got a very powerful and focused, soloistic, sound. But these strings don't love a light bow approach. They need some firm start, or rather they play a little like a sort of wolf note... :)
The Dogal owner told me they are like this by design.

So he gave me a set of Dogal T83M as a gift. They are a bit more traditional, and (he said) they are made as to clone real gut strings. He gave me the medium tension set, with silver D (my request).
I used them (only at home) in a violin for about 5-6 months. I have to say that after stretching (many days) they started to sound very very gut-like.
They are not strings for me, in particular. Maybe they could be more appropriate for an orchestral type of player, that has to blend. For me, they play warm and refined (very refined) and with many colors, but the projection is not what i need. Maybe the strong tension set could be better for me.

(normally i use Tonica stark strings with aluminum wounded Tonica E (sometimes with Goldbrokat E) in my more used violin. Thomastik Blue Infeld strings in another violin.


March 29, 2018, 4:20 PM · Bovine gut strings.
Edited: March 29, 2018, 5:23 PM · Aquilla gut strings.
La bella steel strings.
March 29, 2018, 6:46 PM · Actually, Aquilas are popular in the ukulele world, more so than the violin world.
March 29, 2018, 7:54 PM · Obscure? I have a few sets of the mystery strings that come on Yitamusic instruments...
March 29, 2018, 8:04 PM · Ha Yitamusic instruments along with the other Chinese ones usually come from a Chinese string manufacturer called 'Alice' strings. There's a bunch more I can say if you wanted me to...
March 29, 2018, 11:22 PM · Go right ahead...
March 30, 2018, 2:36 AM · "Alice" strings play OK but seem to be less durable than Dominant etc.
March 30, 2018, 4:38 AM · I looked around our local pro orchestra violinists and I didn't see anyone using Red Label strings. Must be obscure.
March 30, 2018, 11:52 AM · Are you joking? Because if you are, it's hilarious, but if you're serious, even more so.
March 30, 2018, 12:57 PM · Synoxa & Aricore? Synoxa may be brighter than Tonica?
Aricore is a lovely warm, soft string, and having a "polyester" core, may last longer than the similar, but "composite" Violino.
March 30, 2018, 1:57 PM · Obscure could be the new big thing in strings. You know, like a new synthetic set with "obscure" sound. Price should be close to a few bow rehairs
March 30, 2018, 2:19 PM · Savarez gut. Not so long ago, when I started using gut, these double length gut strings were easy to get, but not any more for some mysterious reason. I believe Savarez has been around a little longer than Pirastro.
March 30, 2018, 3:34 PM · I bought opal strings, they indicate they are designed in Switzerland. Dig further and they are made in China. As soon as I received them, I returned them. Sorry, not paying >100.00 on strings made in china
Edited: March 30, 2018, 4:17 PM · I recently got an excellent pair of earphones that were made in China. They're great. Best earphones ive owned. China is now not just producing cheap replicas of iconic products made in western countries but actively producing it's own quality products.
Eventually a products qualit'y should speak for itself...no need to introduce irrational prejudices.
March 31, 2018, 8:27 AM · Not irrational. China is great at producing anything that is assembly line/automated. I do woodworking as a hobby, and every floor power tool I purchased from China required some work ( above and beyond normal assembly) on my part to get it functional. A friend of mine has a storage rack business. Quality control is done by him. He buys more than what he needs so he can discard the bad pieces. I bought 3/4 plywood made in China to make an armoire, it kept delaminating as I was cutting it.
Edited: March 31, 2018, 10:35 AM · Have you heard of Daniel Strings? I'm pretty sure not. I've been using their strings for 2 years and they provide quite good results for the reasonably low price. Btw, I'm not sponsored by them, you can check out their website, http://www.danielviolins.com/strings_en/
Edited: March 31, 2018, 10:43 AM · Arnie wrote, "I bought 3/4 plywood made in China to make an armoire, it kept delaminating as I was cutting it."

I had same experience. The veneer was tearing off on rip cuts and I've got a super-nice 40-tooth carbide blade. American birch-veneered 3/4 plywood (furniture grade) has become awfully expensive so I thought I'd try the Chinese stuff. What a disaster -- never again. Most 3/4 plywood is a tiny bit under 3/4, but another thing I noticed with the Chinese plywood is that I had to use narrower dado shims. In the end I decided such lumber is only useful for garage-quality shelving.

April 2, 2018, 8:20 PM · Opal is not a Spanish poducer. And there is no need to dig deep because they are very straighforward in their webpage about the company being a Chinese factory.
From their own webpage:
Beijing XingHai For-Tune Musical instrument Co. Ltd. was established in Beijing in 1992 by Ms. Dan Meizhen, who had previously worked as a string maker in the National String Company of China for 20 years. During the four first years, we were researching and developing strings for classical instruments and for Chinese traditional instruments. In 1996 we also started designing and manufacturing violin cases, ranging from students’ cases to our exclusive CC Case.

Whatever the preconceptions we may have about the product, the company is not trying to cheat about their product origin, and that's more to say than many other businesses.

April 2, 2018, 8:29 PM · Has anyone else here used Sensicore strings (from Supersensitive)? Perlon core. As a modest player on a modest instrument I found them quite acceptable. Oddly, a set comes in under $30 on the Quinn site, but $83 when bought directly from the manufacturer. Currently I'm enjoying playing on a Pirastro Gold label gut set. Odd pricing there too: my local dealer's price went from $70 (Cdn) to $127 in the past few weeks. May not be using them again.
April 3, 2018, 4:34 AM · I had used Opera strings for 2 years for at home practice and got good sound from them. They do not last very long as I had to change them at 2 months, but they only cost $4 a set so I thought them a true bargain. The last time I bought them, they had made a change and the G was horrid.
So with brand names you get consistency, which makes them worth the price.
Someone also mentioned Alice strings. They make both steel and perlon. I got a set of each of their models. There was nothing to brag about, though I did take one string from each set (the loudest of the set) and combined them to make a nice playing set of strings, but then I quickly tired of them.
Edited: April 3, 2018, 9:13 AM · @Carlos D'Agulleiro

At the Opal booth in MondoMusica there were two non-chinese mature men. One of them told me the company is based in Spain.

Maybe a sort of dissimulation? ... :)

April 3, 2018, 9:26 AM · Opal Titans were absolutely a no-go for me; I'm sure they'd do fine for someone else, but my old French violin never sounded so awful as when I took those for a test run. I've got Dogal Capriccios on my outdoor violin right now, and they seem to be quite compatible.
April 3, 2018, 9:49 AM · Paul, I can only conclude Wood is cheaper than Glue in China.
April 3, 2018, 9:56 AM · @Marco Brancalion. There is a "For Tune" (Opal) company registered in Spain by one of the Europeans named in Opal website. The company is licensed for trading of all kinds of stuff, but they don't manufacture anything. That company, trader, may say it is an European company but the product is not, as the Opal website is clear about.
April 3, 2018, 11:24 AM · Apple iPhones are widely known to be manufactured in China. Yet Apple doesn’t come right out and brag about it when they launch a new model, do they?

I’d say it’s a somewhat similar situation. Opal, the company is based in Spain. They design the strings there, run the business there, and have the product made in China. Not much of a mystery is it?

April 3, 2018, 8:46 PM · @Craig First . That is not the case. The case of Opal is a factory (not in Spain) that has been opperating many years, and a man, and just a man (not the parent company), that has registered under his name a trading company in Spain to sell them around.
That is different from a company that relocates part of its production keeping most of the management, design and customer support in-house. In this case Opal has relocated its marketing and sales to a person in Spain who has just registered his trading work.
This does not mean that they are better or worse for doing so. Just to call oranges to oranges.
April 4, 2018, 7:18 AM · I see what you are saying now more clearly. Yes, that is a different situation than my example.

I would give Opals a try myself, but they are priced too high for being an “obscure” brand.

Speaking of obscure—The Corelli Cantigas burst onto the scene a coupe years back to much excitement, and just as quick seem to have faded into obscurity.

April 4, 2018, 7:18 AM · I see what you are saying now more clearly. Yes, that is a different situation than my example.

I would give Opals a try myself, but they are priced too high for being an “obscure” brand.

Speaking of obscure—The Corelli Cantigas burst onto the scene a coupe years back to much excitement, and just as quick seem to have faded into obscurity.

April 4, 2018, 7:30 AM · "Other obscure string brands include Synoxa and Aricore."

Not obscure. Aricore has been out there a while, and Synoxa is a low-tension line made by Pirastro. Both have been around for at least 20 years.

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