Thoughts about my string combo

December 26, 2018, 10:45 AM · Hello everyone!

I have done many experiments with string sets. My favorite string set is a larsen virtuoso with silvery steel e wondertone solo. I think this e is the same with evah green silvery e.

But i think something is missing with a ...not so much punch ...i don't know....
So i think i want emulate the old russian style. I will keep the G D Larsen Virtuoso because of the low tension and put ana Warchal Russian A with wondertone solo silvery steel e.
My violin is a French Nicolas D'Aine 19th century and every time i put it medium to high tension string it was a disaster.
So i need your thoughts or ideas for something else if i missed something .

I have tried Peter Infeld , Evah Green, Larsen Il cannone both regural and soloist, VTS, VS, Dominant with some E's,
Infeld Blue and Red.
I did not tried gut core because of pitch instability and high cost of money. I want a set max to 75 euros to change it every 2 months and keep it fresh.

P.S i do soundpost adjustment every time i change a different brand of strings.


Replies (35)

December 26, 2018, 3:48 PM · I've had my latest plain guts on since October and I took them on tour overseas. I played in hot halls and subzero cathedrals and I had no issues with tuning. I have no idea where this idea came from that guts are fragile and unstable.

I paid a hundred Kanuckistani Pesos (shipping included) for that set. Given how long they have lasted and will continue to last, they are cheaper overall than synthetics.

December 26, 2018, 4:44 PM · Dimitris - as with all questions about strings, I predict that you will get probably one or a couple of recommendations for almost any strings out there that you have not tried. Different strings sound different on different violins. What Cotton says he uses clearly works for him but might be a disaster for you. You need to consult a luthier who can hear what you have on the violin now and make a good guess as to what strings, if any, might sound better on your instrument. We cannot hear your violin and can only guess, based on experience with violins that are not yours, what strings might work best. Sorry to be a pain. Good luck!
December 26, 2018, 5:21 PM · Warchal Brilliant VIntage G and D, Avantgarde A, Amber E.

Low tension, moderate price.

December 26, 2018, 5:29 PM · Thank you Tom, i know that. Thank you Lydia. I ordered Warchal Russian A . What are the differences in sound with Avantgarde A? I know Avantagarde has the helix spiral. I will try the russian A with virtuoso g d, but i want to try some gut core g d... not the expensive ones. Perhaps eudoxa but i dont know what gauge
December 26, 2018, 7:44 PM · Ooh you tried Larsen Il Cannone? How did you find them and what's the difference between medium and soloist?
December 26, 2018, 8:14 PM · Yes, I also would like to know your impressions and comparisons between the strings you mention. Why do you prefer Virtuoso over Il Canone, for example. From the Thomastiks you list, the one that worked better for me was Infeld Blue... So can you say how do you find them compared to Virtuoso?
Edited: December 26, 2018, 8:52 PM · Try Pirastro Gold Label Gut strings if you're interested. My violin is fairly new but it likes lower tension strings as well. Gold Label was brighter, louder and more responsive than eudoxa, and it was cheaper than eudoxa and tricolores while still having the same smooth and deep gut sound . They also were one of the most stable string sets I've ever used after the first 5 days of stretching. D string is my favorite out of that set. Russian A was a fantastic A string for me by the way. It's rock solid, blends well and can be surprisingly beautiful and warm.
December 26, 2018, 10:30 PM · I think the Avantgarde A produces a more complex tone than the Russian style A. They're both steel, just spiral vs. straight.
December 26, 2018, 10:59 PM · Lydia, I like that combo, but it’s not low tension. It’s higher than Eudoxas or Dominant mediums.
December 27, 2018, 5:29 AM · Carlos , Blue Infeld has the most quick response G i have ever see..but i don't like the hydronalium D A. Yes very responsive but on my violin i think D A lacks of depth...very one dimensional.
The il cannone first the medium... very balanced, enough depth , responsive but... its too good to be true... all this is so "digital" ... like its a fake. ? have tested 2 years before i remember that all is happened like a computer digitized i.e decresendo - crescendo..and it is more clean sound.
The soloist though... hmmm in the right violin i think beats the evah pirazzi. POWER !! With vzzznnnn in the sound . The extra tension in the charts is high but in playability you think its ok with the right soundpost adjustment of course. And the cannone soloist E is from the best i ever tried although its gets black after 15 days...
I prefer virtuoso on my violin because i have warmth complex sound with volume when ever i want but ... i think virtuoso lasts 1,5 month and from then simply sounds decent but with no charm..
Virtuoso are not so fast as the infeld blue or the evah pirazzi but have more colours especially when new.
If you want extra volume tension , the need of dig in to the string and more and more power but with colours try Larsen Il Cannone Soloist. But i will say it again.. needs soundpost adjustment otherwise they will choke the violin.
December 27, 2018, 5:34 AM · But of course il cannone medium will suit you if you want a string moderate tension clean sound and does it all... but like a robot.
December 27, 2018, 8:10 AM · Thierno Diallo,

Gold Label are good strings. The "value string" moniker attached to their sale ads and descriptions diminishes their visibility among users, IMHO. They should just sell it as another gut option, rather than the "cheap" choice if you have little money. When faced with that budget choice, very few customers choose GL over Eudoxa, as the latter is more expensive, but not by that much. And the ones I used some years ago did stretch out even faster than they did for you.

That said, the Eudoxa/Tricolore/Gold label do all sound different, so it ends up being a matter of preference rather than "best of" (though of course, GL could be the "best" for your taste and violin.) GL has less depth, but does have a beautiful, bright tone. Tricolore are among the most powerful gut strings I have tried-the wound gut versions are IME brighter than Eudoxa, but still have more depth than Gold Label. Eudoxa has the most depth, but can also be played in a manner that avoids a dull, too dark tone (they are warm but do not lack upper frequencies like worn Obligato usually do... Obligato sound good but gut strings are not all about low end frequencies, so the comparison is not perfect, IMHO.)

Gold Label may be brighter than wound-gut Tricolore, but not necessarily stronger, volume-wise-at least in my opinion and experience. Pure gut Tricolore are very bold, so they are indeed louder than most but the loudest synthetics, while still essentially being a perfectly beautiful tone that is clear to the topmost register and highest "positions".

In any case, for my taste, there's not much that I can complain about Gold Label, and they are still "better" than the "best", new-tech offerings out there in terms of playability and music-making (my opinion, in any case.) The low tension balance is excellent. Power is really good, but others do better, though generally at the cost of tonal beauty, in the case of most synthetics. Their biggest "con" may be that you may prefer one of the other gut string tonal options for your instrument.

Edited: December 27, 2018, 8:59 AM · I've been messing around with strings for almost half a century - with 3 cellos, 2 violas and up to 6 violins at a time (yeah - it's been expensive). And the changes in my hearing during that time have made it even more interesting.

What I have learned is that anything I read on line about stringing an instrument is interesting, but not particularly applicable to my situation(s) and by extension to that of anyone else. What my luthier's employees have advised me upon playing my instrument has been much more helpful.

50 years ago I had one violin and was using Eudoxa strings quite happily. Olive's worked well too, but the Pirastro Gold Label gut-core strings did not. I tried Dominants when they first appeared and they were not good on that fiddle. A few years later, Tonica appeared and they did work on that fiddle and I switched to them for some years. However, as I acquired other violins, Dominants were OK on them. The most disappointing strings on that violin were the recently purchased Tricolore and Goldbrokat E - no power to my player's ears compared to everything else I've had on there - and I need to hear myself in ensemble playing. It was a nicely matched very "mild" set (someday I may try them on one of the other violins.)

Previous to that the best setup I had was Evah Pirazzi Gold with a Peter Infeld Platinum E - in fact that setup worked very well for all 4 violins I now have - although one of them worked even better when I substituted Pirastro Permanent-Flexocor A and D strings.

The Peter Infeld E string actually has worked wonders on the G string sound and response (all the way up) on every violin I've tried it on that had a weak G string (yes - no mistake - E improved G). The PI E string was too powerful for the Tricolor set so I had to remove it from that violin and replace it with the Goldbrokat, which balanced the gut strings well. But later (after replacing the Tricolors with the earlier used EP Golds and PI-E) the PI-E did not did not have enough power to support the Warchal Timbre set, but the Timbre E was a perfect match for them.

One violin (1927 Czech) with a lousy G string (bad 2nd octave) was totally transformed by a set of Larsen Tzigane strings - but they were not good on any of my other violins (my adult son now is very happy with that violin). I think he still had that set on there when I last saw it 2 months ago.

Then, most recently I have tried Warchal Timbre strings on all 4 of my violins and I am very, very happy with the results. I don't know yet if these are the best possible strings for all 4 of my current violins, but they are very well balanced over all the strings and all the way up. I think they are probably the best-best for the first violin, that started to grow to maturity with with me 67 years ago with those Eudoxa strings mentioned earlier. All my violins have much cleaner fingered harmonics with this set, position changes feel smoother, and the sound is great.

During the 50 years I have been playing around ("experiementing") with strings I have been through many, many more brands - but I won't mention them here.

Violin experiments are one thing - experimenting with 3 cellos over the same half century has been much more costly - especially since each of the 3 cellos has somewhat different string preferences (at least to my ears).

My viola experiments have been more limited and mainly only over the past 20 years and were finally resolved to my satisfaction when I took my main viola to Ifshin Violins and was helped find a very well balanced mix of three brands: Dominant-light A, Pirastro-Permanent D & G, and Pirastro Passione C. My other viola (a luthier re-graduated German factory viola) will support just about any strings well - even a set of Spirocores.

I test the sound of my own chin instruments by also playing them in "cello position." While this does not really tell me what the projected sound is like it does let me hear them from a different angle, and the result is quite surprising - and much more like what it sounds like when someone else plays it in the same room.

My take away from all this is, if you can, start with a well-known affordable set (Dominant or Tonica) and if you are not satisfied visit an expert at a good violin shop and get advice and have string experiments done there - you will be best off if the shop also has expert players so you can listen to your instrument being played as well as playing it yourself.

Edited: December 27, 2018, 9:39 AM · Join a guitar forum and you'll quickly lose interest in strings!
I have Tonicas. When they fall off my violin, I'll buy Dominants. When they fall off my violin, I'll buy whichever I liked best. More likely I'll have upgraded the violin and I'll use whatever is supplied on the new one.
December 27, 2018, 10:14 AM · Nice! Thanks for the review of Larsen Il Cannone Dimitris:)
December 27, 2018, 10:15 AM · What did you mean when you said the Il Cannone soloist will choke the violin though?
December 27, 2018, 10:49 AM · I'm sure the OP isn't asking anyone to tell him what strings to put on his 19th century violin...he's just wants a few clues so as not miss considering something that might work.

Dimitris, with a violin like that, I don't have to be a brainchild to figure out that you're probably an extremely experienced player and know what sound you're looking for. I hope some of the specific string suggestions, above, have given you the food for thought.

There was a lot of talk about the Warchal Timbres a while back so I tried them on my 2017 violin.
Andrew V just mentioned them again. They added all sorts of colors ... but if you're looking for just slightly less tension on your 19th century gem, consider the Brilliant Vintages (as per Lydia.) Also, the Russian A has slightly less tension than the Avantguard A. Here's the link to the comparative tensions:

December 27, 2018, 12:23 PM · Thank you all for your answers! Joel with the term "choke" i mean the tension is enough high to not let the violin plates to vibrate. But this can fixed to some point with a soundpost adjustment. Sorry for my bad English if i didn't express it well.

Timbre Warchal is a set which i did not test. But i think is a bit on the expensive side.
After GD virtuoso Larsen , i will follow Lydia's advice for GD Warchal Brilliant Vintage. My instinct tells me this is the right path to string success :)

December 27, 2018, 8:28 PM · On my part, thank you for your comparison, Dimitris. I agree with your review of the Infeld. Very easy to play them, but they miss some personality.

Interestingly, I would use your exact words regarding Il Canone Medium for my impression about Warchal Brilliant Vintage.

I have been postponing trying the Il Canone because I have had durability problems with Larsen, but I suppose I will need to make my own test.

December 27, 2018, 11:58 PM · The "robot" bit was hilarious. Il Cannone regulars were not good on my Vuillaume but there are plenty of other violins they work for. I haven't tried the Solo version since more tension usually isn't a plus on my violin.

The downside of using a steel A string (whether the Russian or the Avantgarde) is more tension on the violin, but I have not really found that to be an issue with those particular strings.

Right now I have the Timbre D and G, the Avantgarde A, and the Amber E on my violin. I'm curious to try the new Timbre spiral upper strings. But honestly the Timbre E, Avantgarde A, and Timbre D blend seamlessly. The G isn't great on my violin and is a bit of an outlier in the set.

Timbre has more power than Brilliant Vintage, but on my violin, more focus and less complexity.

My intent is to go back to Passiones on the lower strings when I wear out the Timbres.

December 28, 2018, 2:00 AM · "P.S i do soundpost adjustment every time i change a different brand of strings."

Isn't that like trying to hit a moving target?

December 28, 2018, 2:21 AM · I thought the soundpost position depended on the fiddle, not on the strings?
Otherwise I admire Dimitris for going to that much trouble. I've got a couple of $50 fiddles that I must learn to strip and reassemble.
December 28, 2018, 4:56 AM · Yes its difficult to find the correct spot with so many tensions.... but when you have a G with 4.4 kp and another G with 5.0 the soundpost can not be at the same place. The placement of soundpost affect the feel of playability of the left hand. I don't know if i express it well. A five kp G if you loose the soundpost may be very easy to vibrate and feels ok like medium... in many cases
December 28, 2018, 5:01 AM · Soundpost must place exactly "by the book" in one spot but... you can play with mm then :) loose - tight etc
Edited: December 28, 2018, 7:47 AM · Tricolore have no "power" problems whatsoever-they are rather bold. So I must come to the conclusion that Mr. Victor's conclusion is a bit skewed towards strings which make power and ultimate under-the-ear volume decibels the priority. This is not meant as a slight-why should I have problems with him-but more to help others avoid taking his unflattering view of those strings as final (it is valid, but also an opinion, just like mine). They are bold and powerful not because they are "what Heifetz used", but because they are. Some of the weaker E steel strings sound small relative to the pure gut A, and I doubt the Pi Platinum E or any heavy steel E (Westminster 27.5, Jargar Forte, etc.) can overpower it.

Again Mr. Victor, this is not a personal attack, but just defending good strings, in case our readers may think that the following idea: "gut is weak, and Tricolore is good example for that"-which is not my or many other violinists' experience at all-is somehow true based on your bad experience with them.

I can note cons for the Tricolore just as I can with ALL strings, in case anyone is wondering. But they have no problems with volume, and minuscule ones with stability. The pitch going up on pure gut is something that may be so minor, I did not notice until a couple posters mentioned it (I do note the pitch going down on some Pirastro wound gut strings when one's fingers are too "warm" for them vs room temperature, and I still use them regardless). The wound gut tricolore do have a very slightly rougher silver and aluminum windings compared to the perfectly smooth Eudoxa, and the G takes some objective time in sounding their best as they stretch (I.E. not just getting used to them-the tone gets superb after they stretch, and artificial harmonics then work perfectly fine.)

To be fair to all gut-doubters, my violin must have an easier time with gut strings, because it does better with them than it may be the norm in this and other forums. Perhaps my preferred frequency range is also very different than some of you.

I do LOVE loud strings, but they must not be too tense, and sound not overly "robotic", as Mr. Avramidis puts it. I have and would use some synthetics given a special situation. Since I have all the volume needed with wound-gut or gut strings, I no longer need to keep experimenting as much.

I agree that Brilliant Vintage may be one of the best "values" out there for synthetics-and you are getting more than what you are paying for. I have zero memory of the E other than it sounding good, but the other 3 were much better than "average for synthetics" on my violin. Beautiful violin tone despite that "synthetic element".

December 28, 2018, 11:08 AM · Adalberto have you tried Larsen Virtuoso ?
Can anyone who tried both Virtuoso and Brilliant Vintage tell me the differences between them?
December 28, 2018, 1:39 PM · Mr. Avramidis,

I was curious about those Larsen strings back when they were newer, but I never got around to use them. Indeed the only Larsen I have dealt with are the regular line's steel A (must be high tension, but sounded great) and one gold-plated that I purchased for "fun", but haven't put on. You make them sound more interesting than others on this site (on one of the violin shops I frequent, someone gave it an unfavorable review, but they lean too conservative, "tried and true" and all of that.) I may use them on a whim for fun one day, but have been transfixed with gut tone and playability for some time.

Ms. Leong has used many Larsens in thr past-perhaps she could help since she also does favor the Brilliant Vintage set?

To you I pose this question: how would you compare Evah Pirazzi weich to Larsen Virtuoso?

Hope you find the strings that work best for you and your dear violin.



December 28, 2018, 2:26 PM · I did not tried Evah Pirazzi Weich ..hahaha but this days i was thinking of them! Are you inside my mind?? I was among the evah weich, larsen virtuoso, warchal brilliant vintage... but i have never tried gut. I can see me in the future to become gut-lover with all these i read.
I want a sound for G D with a lot of zing ! This zzzzvvvssvzz complexity! :) the virtuoso has this sound for 15 days... then this sparkle gone but it develops to a medium warm brilliant sound. I confess that i like this sound when new (others call it metallic sound) ... :)

I think i will choose gut core or.... Lakatos ultra bright strings hehehe :)

December 28, 2018, 11:52 PM · The problem with strings is that they are immensely personal to the violin.

Virtuosos aren't particularly good on my violin, for instance. They're clear but not especially complex. Tzigane works well on my lower two strings -- powerful and rich for about two weeks before they lose their quality to an unacceptable point.

A soundpost adjustment is necessary to accommodate the tension and characteristics of different strings. I generally let new strings settle for a week or two before getting a post adjustment done.

December 29, 2018, 7:52 AM · You should definitely keep the Larsen D and G
Edited: December 29, 2018, 8:17 AM · Welcome Stavros!

I would rate Larsen Virtuoso strings comparable to Warchal Brilliants but I prefer Brilliants because they cost quite a bit less to buy. I change my strings every 3 months so price is a big deciding factor in my purchases.

December 29, 2018, 1:41 PM · Stavros , i will put the Brilliant Vintage and then i will decide.

Jeff Brilliant or Brilliant Vintage for G and D?

December 29, 2018, 2:41 PM · From what you tell us, Mr. Avramidis, yoi should tru Vintahe first, even if something else works for Mr. Kampouroglou.

As for me, I forgot to add that I am wary of high tension not only because they can choke the tone, but also because even "medium" synthetics usually wake up a high wolf C on the G string (which I can play around of, but rather not deal with for very dubious "power" gains.)

Your violin may be perfectly fine with regular Brilliant Warchal-it's just that your initial post seems to suggest you rather not go too high, and it is a 19th century instrument after all.

Edited: December 29, 2018, 4:00 PM · Mr. Valle-Rivera my violin is a light constructed with rather thin plates. Medium synthetics nowdays are rather high tension. All brands advertise medium tension but if you look the numbers they start with a a G 4,7 or higher... and the stark version is even higher.

You have absolutely right about the high wolf on the G string and this i try to avoid with soundpost adjustment ( with some brands with no success)
Virtuoso as a light feel and medium tension is ok , but i feel the Vintage will give me even better this complexity and no wolf. I hope vintage brilliant to have projection and a decent level of power

Lydia , which E are you suggest? Amber medium or Forte? Now i use Wondertone solo E which is the same silvery E i think with Evah Green.
I ask you because i think you have tried both.

January 1, 2019, 5:24 PM · Vintage Brilliant is lower tension. They are definitely better on my violin than the Brilliants. On my violin, Vintage Brilliant is closer to the sound of Passiones, whereas Brilliant is closer to the sound of Evah Pirazzis.

I use an Amber medium E on my violin. It doesn't need a heavy-gauge E, and it has a tendency to whistle, which makes the Amber my E of choice. (Note that my violin has a very powerful and brilliant E to start with, though, and thus needs minimal help from the string choice.)

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