Discontinued Strings?

April 15, 2018, 9:19 PM · I'm surprised people still buy Pirastro aricores/piranito/flexcore/synoxa...

or Thomastik's PR√ĄZISION VIOLIN, LAKATOS/Spirocore...

Are these lesser-known brands still profitable?

Replies (7)

April 15, 2018, 9:42 PM · They're probably not in constant production. They likely do large batches, wait for them to mostly sell off, then manufacture another large batch.

I know my teacher just put some aricores on his viola. He wasn't a fan, but when I tried it I quite liked them. They might be my next-next string change.

April 16, 2018, 8:30 AM · Aricores are lovely warm, smooth-sounding strings. I use them on my "teaching violin" for delicate youngsters in small rooms, or on my narrow, rather nasal viola.
On my performance violin and viola, Tonicas. This viola will accept Spirocores if I needed the power.
I have never tries Synoxas; I think they are only available in medium tension, which may suggest narrower market.
April 16, 2018, 8:53 AM · Did you mean "FlexOcor"? I think the current Pirastro violin brand for that is Flexocor-Permanent.
Edited: April 16, 2018, 8:58 AM · The amount of $ flow coming from Dominant and EP sales keeps all other lines afloat.

Pirastro has indeed canceled some lines, but thankfully not that many. Black Label ("Schwarz"-a gut string set that may have been as affordable as Gold Label-its rosin survived!), Eudoxa Brilliant (maybe in limited production, but not in their catalog any longer), and the old Tonica formula. The Eudoxa plain steel (a purple gold label) used to come in more than medium gauge, and I believe some other steel Es used to come in more gauges as well.

Thomastik-Dominant may save the whole range, as I do not recall any line cancellations.

Kaplan was regrettably acquired by D'Addario a long time ago, whose managers and top executives only thought about $ and laying off people to save some bucks, and decided against continuing the Kaplan Golden Spiral Series, regular and Solo, all gauges, except the popular Es (obviously easier to produce and support, and not gut). They hated their own guts, not considering them profitable, and setting a bad example for Pirastro and a few others to follow, though Pirastro is in a much better place "gut-wise". All still manufactured Kaplan Golden Spiral Es are fake mementos of the true Kaplan line. Amo & Vivo have no relation to their "higher" heritage either, and seem grossly overpriced (maybe I am "cheap").

Some of the "lesser" brands may or not still be around.

Please do not advocate for this, though, as most business people hate losing even a cent, putting earnings over customer relations and loyalty. I think Aricore and Synoxa could be the "victims of money" any time now. Synoxa is very fine-sounding, even though the tension is medium-high and the price should indeed be lower (the latter can be said of many other brands/lines as well, though-Passione, Infeld Pi, any Gold-wound strings, etc. I think these companies may be losing money by overpricing some of their products, though I have no facts other than my own shopping decisions.)

April 16, 2018, 7:16 PM · You've got to remember that part of the marketing model for a company like Pirastro is to have a mind-numbing variety of string choices. That way, when there are comparative lists of various properties of strings, their brand will have the biggest share.

Another recent marketing ploy is to say that a particular type of string is only available from dealers, not by direct sales. Next you'll see them have a new type and tell you that there's a two-year waiting list for it. Worked for Baker's Rosin.

April 16, 2018, 7:49 PM · A very interesting insight, Adalberto.
And a good point of the OP regarding obsolescence of some lines.
My concern would come from the thought that maybe Pirastro is trying a marketing strategy similar to iphone/galaxy#: Bring every year a new product. Even if the technical improvement -if any- is none.
Fattening the catalogue without cleaning up, is already becoming overwhelming. I am guessing that they would plan or love that the regular users of a line would move to the "improved" version but in my daily life, the violinist I know follow a philosophy of "if it ain't broken, don't fix it".
In this forum we are seemingly very eager of trying new strings, mixing and testing. But the truth (as I have suffered) is that changing strings and their tensions in a significant way, needs to change the setup. Otherwise come the "these strings don't work in my violin" which is to say, "my setup is for a particular tension distribution and changing it, needs to change the former".

Most luthiers and players I have met IRL are traditionalists. They have one or two strings/setup possibilities and that's it.

So my thought would not be if they make money with the old strings... I'm sure they do. All the design and production-design costs are already paid and current costs are marginal. I doubt more what about the new ones and at what rate do they get to lure traditional violinists to become their string of choice...
Not counting to v.vom members running to try...

Edited: April 17, 2018, 12:56 AM · I can speak for Pirastro, having directly represented the company in Italy since the 1990s. The previous management many years ago made the mistake of discontinuing some string sets that were selling quite well. The replacements bombed, so they were forced to reinstate the Original-this and the Original-that.

Pirasto quite remarkably employs a small team of full-time researchers whose purpose is constant innovation, but the management (Pirasto is still family-owned since 1798, by the way) knows the many variables of string instruments so only very rarely will discontinue a line if it still has its fan base.

That said, the number of gut string guages have been reduced since the days of yore.

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