Good (natural) gut strings for modern playing?
I'm an amateur violinist wanting to experiment with gut strings for modern playing. Currently, I have a Tricolore varnished natural gut A with Olivs on the rest. I really like the sound of the Tricolore with the Olivs; it blends in perfectly with the other strings. However, they have been used for about a year now, and are in need of a change. I really want to experiment with some other natural gut strings, but the only gut string meant for modern playing that I can find on the net is Tricolore.
Does anyone have a good recommendation for gut strings for modern playing?
All thoughts are appreciated!
Pirastro Chorda. I'd say they are a good all-round string, used by professionals as well as amateurs. I used a set (with a steel E) for a performance of Beethoven 9 in the summer - no problems with tuning stability.
I've had really negative experiences with chorda. Weak sound and they broke on me in less than a month both times I tried them. Plus, they feel like stale spaghetti. Stiff and so easy to fray! My Tricolores are coming up on two months of intense use and are still pure as crystal. Chordas are opaque out of the box.
"really negative experiences" - that is a little surprising.
Broke in first position around second finger. Made numerous adjustments to tailpiece, gut, and bridge.
The Pirastro Chordas I’ve tried are very problematic from my experience with tuning and the gauges available are too small for my violin. Tricolores are the best pure gut I’ve tried along with the Gamut Academie sheep gut A which come double length (2 strings). So you need to cut them in half with scissors when you first receive them.
I've tried Chorda, Gamut, Aquila and Dlugolecki, and all of these strings will eventually play sharper than what they are supposed to after only a few days EXCEPT for Dlugolecki beef-gut strings. I've only tried Dlug's E (A and D coming in the mail soon) but I think his strings may have ever so slightly higher twist to improve intonation. I could be completely wrong though! Sound-wise, Gamut sheep gut 0.62mm or 0.64mm is the most powerful and resonant, an absolutely incredible experience, so it's a shame their intonation is faulty...
I have zero problems with Tricolore pure gut A going sharp, and at the very least, has not been a practical problem. Some players use Eudoxa, which do change more often in pitch, in concert-Tricolore are rock-solid in comparison.
The Tricolore D and A go slightly sharp for me, but it's well within an acceptable range. Barely noticeable. Easy to compensate.
I agree with Adalberto Valle-Rivera. I have never had any issues with tuning using Gamut strings, neither have any of my many professional friends and colleagues that I personally know, who use their strings. I’ve used Gamut’s sheep gut A&D strings for over a decade now on 4 instruments (including a Guadagnini and Grancino). All of the strings have been top class and stay in tune.
Just out of interest Nate, why do you not use a gut E, if you prefer gut A and D to synthetic A and D? The .64 is definitely as loud as a steel E and you get that beautiful gut sound too :) just wondering, since I see in many of your previous posts that you favor plain gut D and E.
Thanks for everyone's reply and recommendations! I plan to purchase Dlugolecki's heavy gauge A string for now, as it seems to be reasonably priced and comes with a good reputation. My Olivs seem to hold out fine after a year, so I won't change them as of now.
String sharp? Switch to piano!