Pirastro Passione

December 14, 2018, 12:20 PM · Hi! My Pirastro Obligatos (D, A & E (my G is Eudoxa)) have been sound very scratchy lately. So, I thinked I have to change my strings, so I was wondering I could try Passiones know.

Can you all tell your experiences of those strings? Oh, and I've heard the Passione E doesn't match with other set, have you some E string recommendations with Passione G, D & A?


Replies (25)

December 14, 2018, 12:30 PM · Maybe you should check out the condition of your bow hair first, before changing strings. But perhaps it depends also how long you've been playing that particular Obligato set. If it's 150+ hours, then time for a change, but still check out that bow hair!

I've never tried Passiones so I can't advise on them, but in the same sort of price range are the top of Warchal's range, such as their Ambers which I'm very pleased with.

Edited: December 14, 2018, 12:37 PM · I've tried both passiones and passione solo, and currently use the solos. The regular were a bit quiet and nasal on my violin. I use a Goldbrokat E.

Edited to add: Dry air can also cause a violin to sound scratchy.

December 14, 2018, 12:41 PM · Trevor Jennings Sorry, scratchy was bad word to that. I meant that strings (bow doesn't cause it, because I feel it inside of strings) sound is breakable, like "voice cracks"
December 14, 2018, 2:51 PM · PLEASE MORE ANSWERS!!
Edited: December 14, 2018, 4:08 PM · Solo can be a bit more impressive but less flexible. When I was experimenting with them, I found that medium-strong tensions of the regular Passione made more sense.

Again, my fiddles, technique, ymmv, etc.

December 14, 2018, 4:29 PM · I've been using, in seasons other than summer, regular Passione + Warchal Amber E. Great on my current violin. Note that Passiones were dull and flabby on my previous instrument, so YMMV.
Edited: December 14, 2018, 6:58 PM · Samuel, I switched this summer from Ambers to Passiones, as I was looking for a warmer, gut-like tone. I wished I had done this much sooner. On my violin they have a beautiful warm sound with nice overtones. They actually sound even better when under my instructor's bow.

I was expecting more issues with tuning stability based on comments from gut users on this forum and others but after the first few days of settling in I was pleasantly surprised at how infrequently I have to retune, even with weather changes. There have been days where a low front would come through during the day and by the time I met for our ensemble rehearsal in the evening, I would definitely have to tune, but the strings would remain stable throughout rehearsal, which might be anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. By the time I got home and would try to squeeze in a little practice, they were still in tune. During stable weather systems I might have to tweak a string or two every couple of days.

They feel nice under the fingers and while mine are of medium guage and tension, they feel lower.

I have been impressed by the tone,stability and ease of playing. Maybe because they are a wound gut, but I have found that I really don't have to work any harder at drawing a nice sound from them, as I had heard was sometimes an attribute of pure gut.

As to the E string, it works well with the set on my violin, very clear and balanced with the others. I had planned on keeping my Amber E based on previous reviews but I found it unnecessary. Keep in mind though that I am still a student and do not have the experience nor talent to judge the finer nuances of tone and sound as most on this forum, but have been told I have a good ear. That being said, I can say that my ensemble mates unanimously love the sound of these strings, as I do.

I personally have no reservations in recommending them to anyone looking for a warm, clear sound, more responsive than expected of gut and tuning stable (in my climate at least).

December 14, 2018, 7:18 PM · I am obsessed with experimenting on gut strings and I stopped using Passione because they feel and sound much less like gut and more like synthetics. Passiones have more metal content than Eudoxa because the Passione 14 gauge A string is 5.5kg whereas the same size Eudoxa string is 5.1kg meaning that the ratios must be different. I personally use GDA Eudoxa stiff in heaviest gauge, and a plain gut E. However I can definitely recommend you to use Passiones if it means you stop using synthetics :)
Edited: December 14, 2018, 8:07 PM · Once upon a time I was a big fan of Passione strings.... not anymore.
They take one week to sound good.
Then you have about 4-8 weeks of full bliss.
Then, you start losing your mind asking yourself where has the passion gone.
Then you look at them and see no changes and try to convince yourself to buy another set.
You buy another set and repeat the above.

It was a noble idea to create hybrid strings, and the very fact that no other producer has tried the same is telling me that the project is flawed.... my own hypothesis is that different materials (core, winding, and outer winding) behave differently with changes of humidity.
What dies first is probably the pure gut core, most likely to over-streching during humid days. Outer layers are intact, they look like new, but do not sound good anymore.

If you want a really nice sound on a budget, try Cantiga strings instead. If you want real gut, use Eudoxa or pure gut strings.

December 14, 2018, 8:16 PM · Hah, wound gut peasants! REAL men play on PLAIN GUT STRINGS!

In all seriousness, I don't think Passione are any good. There's more nylon and aluminium in those strings than there is gut; they're gut strings in name only. Plus, like Rocky said, gut strings stretch quite a lot. When you have winding on the strings, this causes them to go false rather quickly. Overall, I think high tension plain guts are the better choice (not the G, though, unless you really want to play on a 1.6mm rubber band).

December 14, 2018, 8:19 PM · Cotton, real men play on plain gut E, not that easy response steel E garbage ;)
December 14, 2018, 8:28 PM · I love your enthusiasm for plain gut, but I don't understand how you and Nate Robinson can be such staunch supporters and yet not use a plain E? Is it because of the sound, or the cost of replacing it? To me, the difference between a plain gut E and a steel E is like the difference between a synthetic A and a plain gut A. The synthetic A is so boring right? So why is a steel E also not boring?
Edited: December 14, 2018, 8:46 PM · Well, a few reasons. First and foremost, durability. Then response in high positions. A gut E takes a lot of effort to consistently play clearly, whereas it's kinda hard to mess up on a steel E.
It's probably just because I'm used to steel Es, but I don't like the sound of a gut E all too much either. The E is operating at something like 95% of the breaking stress of gut, and that amount of tension stifles the sound.
TL;DR: I prefer a bright E over a warm and E.
December 14, 2018, 8:50 PM · I have said, in previous threads, that Passiones are closer to synthetics than to gut, in sound and in playing characteristics. And in terms of gut comparison, they are much closer to Olivs than to Eudoxas.

However, Passiones have an organic warmth and complexity that I've not been able to match in a synthetic. On the right instrument, they're responsive and have plenty of power. I've found them to sound good immediately, and to last longer than, say, Evah Pirazzi Golds. You should be able to get four months out of them, and I've left them on a violin for double that.

December 14, 2018, 11:53 PM · I agree with that. I like the tone of Olivs better; it is more malleable. But I compromise because Olivs rarely stay in tune during a 10 minute piece and I find myself constantly retuning in rehearsals. Passiones stay in tune for me for one or two hours under almost all conditions (humidity, temperature etc.)
December 15, 2018, 2:14 AM · Obligatos didn't work for me at all, and that's for both the medium and stark gauges. I know what you mean by scratchy. I don't know how to describe it either. It's just not that articulate of a string.

Oliv does NOT stay in tune. Loved the tone and body, hated having to tune it every 5-10 minutes. Oliv Stiff was a little better.

Passione Solo stayed in tune fairly well. I have to retune the A every day, but that's minor. Fairly good body in tone, but tone isn't focused. It's kinda blurry. It went dead after so many months. Evah's died at 2 weeks for me. The A really died fast.

Peter Infeld produced the best, smooth, rounded tone. Died in about the same time as the Passione Solo.

My vote goes to Pirastro Perpetual. Tone was metallic at first, went away after 2-3 weeks. I've had mine since it was released, and it hasn't died yet. Very loud string still, and very focused tone. The A string doesn't suffer from anemia like other brands/models.

December 15, 2018, 4:46 AM · Cotton: completely understand re brightness + ease of response, but maybe you just need to try a thinner gauge like .64? Perfectly loud enough for solo playing, and controlling the sound in high positions is the best bow technic training one can get imho. Anyway back to Passione, you wrote that there is nylon in the string, where exactly?
December 15, 2018, 4:48 AM · Let me start by stating-please do not take any of the following opinions/personal experiences as an attack on your string preference. Perpetual or pure gut. Just make good music with your preferred tools, paying no mind to whoever doesn't prefer what you think works better for you and your violin(s).

Passione are indeed better than Perpetual because they are gut strings. The total sound is better without me having ever tried Perpetual. How do I know? From your own reviews, both positive and negative. "2-3 week for metallic edge to go away." Longevity-from short, to "Perpetual" depending on the reviewer. I have used EP Green a lot in my younger years, and still find the weich and medium to work well (though I prefer Weich). Nice and loud, not super bright but quite edgy (not sure who is "loudest" now, but they indeed are). Still, Passione sound much more round and with a better balance of frequency content, because they are indeed a gut core string-even the Passione Solo version is "better" in my view (agreeing to disagree and all of that, taking into consideration violins are different, etc.)

Now, I may have a few more disagreements with those who prefer gut core or pure gut strings-nothing personal.

Stability within the same brand, in my experience: steel string lines, any synthetics, then Passione, Oliv, Gold Label, Eudoxa (have not used Chorda in eons, so I will be fair and not mention them). ALL of them are usable for the concert stage, as even with the slightest deviation from pitch, we are supposed to play in tune regardless, barring a major peg slip or another extreme pitch change (which doesn't happen even with the Eudoxa aluminum D.)

For me this means that, if you are sticking with Pirastro options, Passione's advantage, a real one, is limited by its high price and slightly less colorful tone vs the other options-even Gold Label, their "bad" or "budget" gut string, has a more beautiful tone than either Passione, and are not too bad at all stability-wise, though it tends towards the brighter and "clearer" side of the gut tonal spectrum. So while I can recommend Passione over ALL synthetics, I would rather use the other gut options, and not just to save money (Oliv can be slightly more pricey if you buy both gold wound strings), but because I like the richness and balance of the frequency range in the older (non Passione) strings to be better.

Tricolore and good pure gut strings should be mentioned, because in my experience at least with Tricolore, they are indeed more stable than the other Pirastro options not named Passione. Their pure gut is rock solid, their wound gut a tiny bit less BUT still more solid stability-wise than even Oliv. "Old tech", great strings. Anyone considering Passione should at least consider using Tricolore, wound or otherwise (possible con of the wound version is that the windings are less smooth vs the Pirastro options-no big deal-and do require more "burn in" time for them to be at their best sound-not really even a week, if you play a lot, though.)

As far as "projection" is concerned, the pure gut strings are not timid at all. Not really even Eudoxa are shy strings, really, but I would consider a Tricolore set "modern" for all practical concert hall purposes. Not a "period" string, but more a "20th Century period" set. Anyone with proper bow arm technique can make them sound really alive and super bold, so one doesn't "need" EP, Pi Infeld, or Perpetuals for that (really pure gut at least stands out-gut's warmth is usually over emphasized to meam they are no longer "modern-practical", and my experience has been wholly different.)

Now synthetics do have their place, and I do not even doubt that Timbre, Ambre, Perpetual, et. al. sound good. But they all feel like synthetics under the fingers and bow arm, there's always a necessary "hollowness" in the frequency range which, even when some audience members won't know or care, the player hears, and affects the whole of the performance. One can have dynamic nuances with both Dominant and Eudoxa, but it's rather obvious to the player which string is which, and I am not referring to pitch stability.

(I really must say playing the violin is easier with gut strings because of the comfortable, effortless feel of the strings under the fingers and the easier way to pull the sound-an easier, more natural bite vs synthetics. The Passione are a bit less easy, but still easier to play than Obligato for sure.)

For OP, I would say that while Obligato is a beautiful sounding string, any Passione choice will show him a bit of what he may be missing, as they have a more "complete" frequency range content, and are not just "dark"/"warm" strings. Easier to play too. But the price! Do not go too light on the gut string gauge if you have a heavy bow arm, however.

My necessary gut longevity statement-gut usually outlasts synthetics unless we are talking gut Es. Do not fall for that argument. Synthetics have many benefits, but they are not "more durable" than gut.

And for Mr. Dong, who I commend for exploring the world of gut strings so thoroughly-I am glad you love using gut Es, but am personally drawn to the "modern" gut with steel E setup, because of that "annoying" brilliance of the steel E is what I am looking for and what even my fingerings expect. The Tricolore A is powerful and bold enough that it's really not tame vs any steel E anyway. My current setup is: Eudoxa Rigid G 16, Eudoxa Rigid D 17, Tricolore A "Heavy" varnished, Medium Hill E (a balance of highs and lows, but these Eudoxa are definitely not muddy, especially considering they are now 7 month old strings-imagine Obligato lasting that long?)

Best Holiday wishes to all, guts or synthetics, Passione or Tricolore. Enjoy the Gift of Music.

December 15, 2018, 4:56 AM · To Mr. Dong above-I do not know if there's nylon, but he may be referring to the synthetic film covering the gut core of Passione strings, which I suspect is what makes their stability quite solid-and what makes them too expensive. They are silver or aluminum wound over a synthetic film covered gut string-just dissect an unused, old Passione string and it will be easy to see.

Passiones are good, despite my previous comments above. Definitely a few steps-if not more-above synthetics, in my humble opinion. So pricey for that "stability effect" that is not essential to many players, however.

December 15, 2018, 5:53 AM · I completely agree with Adalberto on his informative post. When I used Eudoxa for the first time as a 16 year old kid, I couldn't control the sound properly and was quite disappointed. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to buy a string that is so difficult to control. 10 years later I completely changed my mind.

Passiones are a very good intermediate step if one is searching for more beauty in the sound. To me, everything about them is very average (in a good way!?) Average warmth, average response, and average projection. Unfortunately they are above average for price...

December 17, 2018, 10:28 AM · I use the solo version often. They are my favorite synthetic (because they play and sound much more synthetic than gut).
They are what they pretend to be: a compromise where you trade some overtones and gut sound for stability and bow response. In my case they are necessary because the humidity changes during practice are too much for gut.
Good as they are, I'm not sure they are worth their price. I use them as a special occasion string.
If one doesn't have humidity or temperature issues, I would go for other gut strings. And if one just needs resistance to bow pressure, I think other synthetics are better buys.
December 17, 2018, 11:01 AM · One thing to consider is that I was born in the tropics, and in the older days when there was no Dominant synthetic wave, people still played with gut strings. So I think most violinists just got used to the convenience of synthetics and steel, rather than "needing" synthetics for humid climates (otherwise one could say that "everyone played out of tune back then", which I frankly doubt was true.) Not saying high humidity is amazing for wound gut strings such as Eudoxa, but rather that some people still played well in tune under such adverse conditions regardless.

Passione is good for these climates for sure, and I do deem them "true gut"; I just do not feel they are essential. Were they $80-90 a set, perhaps they would have been a better value and choice. It still has a beautiful sound despite its other limits relative to other gut strings.

(Some non-Passione, gut strings are very much pitch-stable, though.)

December 18, 2018, 9:02 PM · Adalberto: I live in the tropics. You are right, the humidity is not really a problem, but modern AC with dehumidifiers, are a problem. When you arrive to your practice place you arrive close to 90% RH, and during the next hour or two, it will go steadily down to 60% or so. The strings are changing constantly during those couple of hours. When I am at home, I don't mind to retune but in class or playing with others, I have to stop everyone, and never, ever, play an open string.

There are tools for all circumstances.

Edited: December 29, 2018, 9:00 PM · Go back to the OP question, I would recommend Larsen Tzigane E (stark) or Pirastro Universal No.1 E (medium).

Give each a try and you will realize the reasons for my recommendation.

BTW, Passiones (regular) are one of my favorites, because of "an organic warmth and complexity" as Lydia described. They would be "the" favorite if the tuning stability were better.

For full disclosure, I have not used a complete set of gut strings although have two sets of Eudoxa (stiff D & G) alongside many synthetic strings as spares. Therefore, I am not qualified to comment or compare Passiones with other "real" gut strings.

January 1, 2019, 5:26 PM · Passiones are much closer to a synthetic in sound and behavior to a gut string. The gut string they most resemble is Oliv.

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