Mystery Strings

August 24, 2018, 7:49 AM · A few weeks ago I bought a violin after auditioning it in a shop because it had fantastic tone and response. After playing it for a couple of weeks I put on a set of Evah Pirazzi silvers. Immediately it felt much better crossing strings, much quicker and more nimble. But the superb range of tones and exquisite dynamics were gone.

Previously, especially on the 2 lower strings, a huge range of tones could be evoked in the different bowing positions, including a highly flute-like sound playing sul tasto. Harmonics seemed to leap out in exciting ways and the instrument erupted in a most beautiful way depending on exactly how much energy was injected by the bow. The Evah Pirazzi's had maybe a tiny, tiny bit more top end volume but it was not superior in any way.

So now I want to find strings that give the best qualities of both sets. I'm quite sure the salesman didn't know what the original set was and they might even be of Chinese origin. They are much thinner than the Pirastro's and more silver in color. The Pirastro's have a more gold color. The ball end of the strings are cream-tan in color and have dark blue-purple wrappings. What strings are they? Or are there strings with similar qualities?

Replies (7)

August 24, 2018, 7:55 AM · Gut strings. Try gut strings.
August 24, 2018, 9:04 AM · What color is the peg end? Have a look here or here and see if anything looks familiar.
August 24, 2018, 2:37 PM · What many people don't realize is that the sound change that you get when you switch between any two sets of strings is partially attributable to the violin no longer being "in adjustment".

Imagine this: if you had a set of strings on and I came over and loosened your soundpost, the sound would be immediately different, right? The same thing occurs when you go from one tension set to another tension set. There are also some other factors in play, but my main point is that if you have a specific sound in mind, you should be able to go to a good luhier and have him adjust *any* set of strings to that sound. It will take some time, though.

Edited: August 26, 2018, 10:33 AM · Thanks for all the responses. According to one of the charts mentioned by Irene the mystery strings windings match those of Larsen but the colors on the peg ends and ball color don't. So either they are a different model than those in the chart or they must be a knock off.

I'll do some experimentation with gut strings and with Larsens, Jargar and Obligatos maybe. I'm not inspired enough with the EP's on that violin to ask a luthier to adjust the instrument to them. According to a very interesting thesis presentation involving string tests on a couple of violas the Larsens and Jargars produce very similar timbres as Eudoxia gut strings. Here is a link to the presentation.

August 26, 2018, 10:09 AM · Sounds like they might be Larsen Tzigane strings. But the winding does suggest some sort of Larsen. The Jargar Superior are nice along with the Peter Infeld. You could give those a shot.
August 26, 2018, 10:30 AM · Thanks for the suggestions.
Edited: August 26, 2018, 3:09 PM · Here's another string identification chart. If those strings were Larsens then they used a Tzigane medium E or Il Cannone medium E, Soloist A, Tzigane (unknown tension) D and Virtuoso strong G. The G string seems to have a copper core or is specially treated. The variation in tensions might explain the comparative awkwardness when crossing strings.

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