Still looking for the right strings (Vision Solo vs. Vision?)

October 18, 2018, 7:13 AM · As I mentioned in a previous thread, I have some mysterious unidentifiable G, D, and A strings, but they are doing their job quite well.

My C string was a Dominant medium, which just did not have enough grip. I asked the luthier (who is a violist himself), and he gave me a Helicore medium, arguing that the tungsten winding should give me what I want.

The Helicore surely has a lot of power, but it sounds a bit "rough" next to my ear, which I attribute to the steel core.

My desk neighbor gave me his old Vision Solo C string to try, which I am looking forward to. On the other hand, I saw that the Vision Solo is only silver-wound, while the Vision (without the Solo) is tungsten-silver-wound. By the luthier's reasoning, the latter should be better.

Can you describe the difference between the Vision and the Vision Solo?

Replies (12)

Edited: October 18, 2018, 8:20 AM · I don't know what you mean by "grip."

Try detuning your C string just a bit. If it loses the rough sound you probably need a string with less tension. Try a Pirastro Passione C. A violist who works at my luthier's (Ifshin Violins) told me that using a lower tension A string as well can also sweeten the C string; the Dominant Weich A string I added at the same time balances my viola very well. My D and G strings are Pirastro Permanent, which sound marvelous.

Your bow can aso affect your sound in a big way. I just switched to my ARCUS Concerto viola bow and it helping clean up my C string sound even more.

October 18, 2018, 8:45 AM · By too little grip, I mean that when I tried to produce a powerful sound, the string just "slipped" and I could not control it with the bow any more. I could fix that a bit with better resin and better technique (I'm a former violinist and quite new to the viola), but in the end, I think the tension was just too low, so I could transfer enough mechanical energy into the string.

The Helicore does not actually have that much higher tension, but due to its steel core, it promotes high harmonics very much, which may have caused the rough sound. The Vision Solo on the other hand has a synthetic core with high tension, so it might be just what I was looking for. I will do some more experiments today and then tell you what I found.

October 18, 2018, 8:54 AM · What size viola is this? Larger violas may require thinner gauge strings to get proper response.
Edited: October 18, 2018, 9:04 AM · Soren,
A different rosin and enough of it might be "just the ticket," also just enough force/pressure on the string for an instant to get vibration started before the bow starts to slip. As a player of violin and cello as well as viola I am aware of the differences in starting "pressure" for these 3 instruments. Also the weight of the bow and its vibration modes both play a part - quite possible the latter even more than the former.
October 18, 2018, 9:10 AM · The viola is 40.5 cm (16"), so not that large. My initial idea was to use high-tension Dominant string, but maybe the Vision (Solo) are even better.

This brings me back to the question what the difference between Vision and Vision Solo actually is...

October 18, 2018, 10:06 AM · On my viola, the Vision C sounded darker than Vision Solo. But I much prefer the Permanent C since I like its playability and edge. My D and G are Vision Solo and A is Larsen. YMMV.
October 18, 2018, 12:10 PM · Thanks, Kevin.

Now that I have played on it a little bit, the Helicore actually seems quite OK now. Nevertheless, I just tested the Vision Solo, and it's really nice (even though it's old!) – I feel like it's a little more "forgiving" and less scratchy than the Helicore while having a lot of power.

I will try that string for a little longer, and I consider buying a whole set of Vision Solo and replace the "mystery" strings, too.

I was a little worried about using "Solo" strings in an orchestra, but my viola is otherwise not that loud, plus I'm the section leader, so I guess it's OK. ;)

October 18, 2018, 3:05 PM · I had a set of Vision Solos on a viola a couple years back. I found them to be easy to play, and rather neutral toned, in a good way. Not bright, or brash or overly loud. I really enjoyed them quite a bit. Great strings. But I didn't return to them as the price is on the high end. I prefer the price/performance ratio from Warchal strings better.
October 24, 2018, 7:34 PM · @Kevin: What about the other strings? I heard that for the violin, the Vision strings are actually more brilliant than the Vision Solo. Can the same thing be said about the corresponding viola strings?
Edited: October 24, 2018, 7:45 PM · I use Vision C, G, and D strings on my viola, and they're a little brighter than average. They project well. But I've never used Vision Solo, so I can't comment on the difference.
October 25, 2018, 8:47 PM · I have not compared violin Vision and Vision Solo. I put Cantiga or Kaplan Vivo on my violin mostly.
November 2, 2018, 2:02 PM · I just put on the Vision Solo strings. I like them and they feel very high-quality, but I can see why people call them "imbalanced": Every string has kind of its own character.

Compared to the Dominant strings on my violin, they do not "play themselves" as easily (the comparison is probably not fair anyway), but I am fascinated by the variety of sounds that they can produce.

The C string is a bit softer than the used one that was lent to me, but I guess this will change after a little bit of play-in time.

In conclusion, I think I understand why they are called "Solo" strings: They offer a lot of possibilities to the player, but they are also a bit of a challenge to master. I don't think they are bad for orchestra, but if that is the only occasion where you play and you want a balanced sound with minimum effort, you should probably look for different strings.

On the other hand, if you want to explore your viola and cultivate your musicality, I can recommend them very much from my first impression.


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