I just finished with the Warchal Brilliants and have replaced them with the Ambers. Where the Brilliants were of a purer (?)tone, strong clear round sound these, the Amber set,are really much more particular in terms of sound, I suppose this is what it means when people say gut like strings with more colour. I find it a very interesting rich tone. Im using the Amber E along with the rest of the set and this is the first time that the Amber E agreed with my violin. Usually it makes my other non-Amber strings sound odd. They've only been on for a day and a half but I can tell they're easier to crush than the Brilliants, I think I'll have to be more careful with my bowing. Anyway, wpuld love to hear from others who have tried the strings and I would like to know what generally makes a synthetic string sound this way and another sound like the Brilliants. Thank you
Both strings are synthetic, yes? I cringed every time I hear someone uses gut strings in orchestra - I've never be able to get it in tune as it hovers all over the place with a slight change in temps.
Yes N S, they're both synthetic.
Even when a player is dealing with unstable strings (whether because they're new or because gut is being temperamental), they should still be playing in tune. Open strings can't be helped (though a player who knows their strings have slipped will generally avoid playing the open strings), but pretty much everything else, a good player should automatically adjust to play in tune anyway.
I have been using the Ambers until just recently and they were a nice match with my violin, very warm but focused, not muddy like some warmer or dark strings I've tried. I especially like the Amber E on my violin. It does balance well with the other strings but it also was very clear and ringing without being edgy or harsh.
Good orchestra really gives no room for error. You just have to minimize the risk because no matter how good you are as a player and how good you are to adjust when not in tune, you just gotta minimize any risk that creates liability to your whole orchestra. Maybe others have different standards or tolerates little errors. It’s like a pro racer that certainly know how to drive on public roads but don’t want to wear a seatbelt just because he miraculously knows he won’t get into any accident.
The Amber E is stainless steel, I have about 130 hours on mine. I see no sign of wear. What can I expect in the next 50 hours?
@Lydia: You are totally right about balancing tuning by fingers. It can be done and every player should train such ability regularly. However, omitting open strings is quite a great loss in your interpretation notion. Nowadays, the playing style tends to shift more and more to minimalism. Vibrato is being used more sparingly even in Beethoven or even romantic pieces. Ringing open strings are becoming more and more something that match nowadays ‘violin style’.
I AM going to say, Passiones stay better in tune than, say, Olivs. I frequently play in the pit where the temperature fluctuates quite a lot because of all the lightings and special effects, and by the end of Act I of LM, my Olivs were almost a half-step off when I checked open strings, whereas Passione and EP stayed in tune for the whole show when I did The Beauty and The Beast (which is hilariously only slightly longer than Act I of LM), so some guts do tend to be more sensitive to temperature, at least from what I’ve played.
Yes, Passione are very practical and sound good. However, there's something that the protective synthetic fiber covering the gut core (itself covered by the steel windings) that alters the tone a bit. This "stability tech" is a good, practical compromise but does make them sound and play more like synthetic, even if it technically isn't one of those strings. If it was similarly priced than Eudoxa and Tricolore even, I would heartily recommend them-as it is, I always recommend for players to get used to gut's ways, simultaneously saving money, and getting "more gut" for their money.
N S, I agree with Adalberto. I don't think that for good players, gut really represents a major risk to intonation, even for orchestras at the very highest level. (There are plenty of pros using Passiones these days, for instance.)
NS -- consider that before synthetics came to the market, everyone used gut strings. For many years the standard were Pirastro Eudoxa. People learn to adapt somewhat to their equipment and the stability it provides.
I don't think there's a push for justification. Just that what you said that you could hear a player in an orchestra going out of tune for using gut, is rare. Any player who is not tone-deaf adjusts gradually and constantly the fingering and so it happens with gut. They don't go out of tune like a bomb, as you said.
Thanks Lydia. I haven't noticed any change in tone.
There is a reason why makers of synthetic strings market them as having a gut-like sound -- nothing else matches the richness and complexity you get from gut.
I really like the Brilliant and Brilliant Vintage sets, and the Amber E is an amazing string. I have experimented with the Avantgade A but had mixed feelings. What is it you like about that A in choosing to use it over the Brilliant Vintage A?
The candles vs bulbs comparison sounds belittling to gut string users. Light sources don't compare to the relationship of gut to synthetic strings. Vynil vs CD is more comparable (or tubes vs solid state, etc.) and even then, strings are more similar than different to these technologies. Surely there are many, many great orchestral (and solo violin with orchestra, for that matter) recordings made on gut strings-no one died or was "embarrassed" due to gut "exploding" out of tune back then.
Wholly agree with all of your comments Adalberto. The only reason I don't use Olives anymore is their high cost.
Agree with Adalberto.
I use Oliv stiff G and silver D. Once they settle in they are remarkably stable. Do not believe the rumors against gut strings. I have been trying different A and E strings with these. Passione solo A is actually less stable than the oliv D and G. I am currently using Eudoxa-aricore A and while it is a nice string it doesn't match the rich sound of the olives. Passione is better in that regard. For the E I use Pirastros platinum E that I give my own little "amberization" - a little spiraling in the bowing area to eliminate the slight tendency to whistle.
What a difference. We are zealously discussing slight shade differences between synthetics and gut (that are getting quite similar nowadays), whilst cello players are still stuck in heavy metal :-)
Lydia -- that makes sense and sounds like it works particularly well with your instrument, especially with the warm-sounding Amber E. Probably provides a nice balance / transition because of the instruments native brilliant-sounding E string.
There are numerous professional orchestra players on this forum that use gut strings, although I'm guessing that most of them aren't reading this thread. But you can find their commentary on plenty of other threads on gut.
I welcome this scientific evidence that "proves" that playing on gut strings is "risky" for any good player. All I read is your personal opinion, based on what the majority may be doing.
N S said "You can get 100 madeup names here to agree with you, but you can never change the fact because you don’t bring any here. A scientific analysis that proves otherwise would be welcome."
Luckily, nobody needs to agree or convince anyone. The practice of violin playing is a very long road and sooner or later we all stop in the same inns.
Hi guys, there is absolutely no reason to argue. Vinyls are still being sold along with CDs and mp3 files and neither candle producers are going to go bankrupt. Even is the gut string would get banned (it almost happened a few years ago in the EU due to BSE risk regulations), we should erect a monument to them for their tonal inspiration and example.
Adalberto, I am at lost at the middle of your bubble /shrug What were you trying to say?
Perlon is a brand name for nylon, so you have demonstrated that gut is more temperature stable than perlon
In the words of Ingemar Stenmark: "it's not easy to explain to people that don't understand".
You may be right, we are getting closer and closer to the gut sound, but it is impossible to guarantee 100% sameness, since not all of gut string products are identical in sound and there are plenty of them on the market. Moreover, I am not sure we aim to transfer all features from all gut strings to our ones.
Looking forward to ordering the new Warchal strings when they come out, how exciting! I would also like to see an innovative E string made from some exotic metal costing around $80-100.00. ÷)
Strawman. No one ever suggested that gut was more stable than steel or even synthetics.
I did press a button-and I hope it works, for the sake of this lovely community.
Adalberto, I can see your reasoning about the Passione's not being "true" gut, hence my reference to them as a hybrid gut. I considered the winding possibly altering the tonal qualities or undertones compared to unwound gut but the benefit of a beginner/intermediate student such as myself is that using the Passione's for a few weeks now has increased my confidence in trying pure gut. Consider the Passione's as a "gateway gut" :)
Well said. This discussion seems to have been hijacked by a determined troller.
Skip F., aside from the abrasive friction that happened, I find sometimes that side digressions that aren't totally irrelevant bring a lot of insights into the discussion. The larger issue of what synthetics are good at and what gut strings are special for, for example. And the tangential discussion of other strings..it's all good. Always a pleasure to read from more knowledgeable people.
Lydia wrote, "I don't think that
not if you keep the strings in tune!!
It's likely to make you more aware of intonation, and by getting used to tuning more frequently, improve your overall acuteness. I used Eudoxas for the first 40 years. I notice that many amateurs today, playing on synthetic strings, seem less aware of intonation problems than in the past, and I have sometimes wondered if the fact that they don't have to re-tune as a regular habit has allowed them to become less vigilant. Recently I've sat next to several people who don't seem aware that their strings are almost a semitone off. (The frequency of retuning, once gut strings have stabilized, by the way, has been rather exaggerated. Gut strings become reasonably stable after break-in. I never thought of it as a problem back in the day.)
Here's basically the pattern for gut: Like synthetics, they go slowly out of tune over a period of hours. So when you first pull the violin out of the case, you'll probably have to tune. They won't go out by a half-step or the like, normally, but they won't be dead-on pitch (again, just like you'd usually have to tune synthetics).
In passing, does anyone know how the Amber compares to Obligatos?
@Paul Deck who said
Adalberto, don't misunderstand, I am enjoying the Passiones very much. I was just expressing my increased desire to try unwound gut based on how much I enjoy the sound of the Passiones on my violin. I believe when the Passiones play out I'll try the Tricolores, although at this time I am content with what I have. Thanks for the advice.
Any musical instrument string, of any material, will start to go out of tune the moment it is played (that's physics). In the vast majority of cases the out-of-tuneness is tiny and is masked by the player, but eventually a re-tune becomes necessary. I've played in many concerts over the years where the conductor has ordered a general re-tune after the first item on the programme, and perhaps later on if the hall gets a lot warmer and the brass and woodwind start to go sharp.
If it's just a matter of keeping my strings in tune, that's no problemo because I'm a gear-peg man.
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