For gut lovers only
I put on that set of strings I was saving, which I mentioned a while somewhere. .90 mm wound G, 1.20 mm pistoy D, and 0.86 mm A.
It's really an excellent combination. It has a lot of power but can be gentle, too—the gut isn't so stiff it's hard to play. Obviously such thick strings are a little harder to get started, but you don't even notice after a few days. Plus, my bow's about due for a rehair anyways, so there's that.
I think the G and A are just slightly too tight for me (I think a .88 G and .84 A would be perfect), but that pistoy D...
The pistoy string is really something amazing. It's like three tiny E strings twisted into one massive D string. I was bit worried about it being heavy, but the pistoy twist has so much more air in the structure it isn't as dense as it appears at first glance. Over a few days (it takes a lot longer than normal strings to stretch), it pulls together and shrinks in diametre. It also takes on a bit of a ropey texture, but it's not distracting while I play. The twist also looks gnarly, but it disappears when you oil the string. It just blends into in large mass of gut.
Anyways. That's some geeking out for the gut string lovers. I really recommend putting your own sets together instead of buying the one-size-fits-all sets like Tricolores. You can find the ideal combination.
bought a 1788 Johann Gottfried Kessler, Markneukirchen violin with original transition neck, not grafted. Supposed to arrive today from UK but its late, may not come till tomorrow, plan to fix it up baroque/transition
As a constant challenger to the "tried and true for its own sake" ideal, and a genuine lover of gut string tone, I still prefer to stick to the more "standard" tensions. Which is not to say you should be as conservative as I am with string gauge and/or tension.
I find the most popular "tried and true" gut strings are fine, but obviously adapted to be more accessible to someone coming from synthetic or steel strings. A lot of people don't like gut because they just switch strings and expect everything to work; it needs a bit of a change of setup and technique. Historically, gut strings were a fair bit heavier than the standard gut set today.