Dlugolecki or Tricolors gut string set?

February 7, 2019, 1:00 AM · Hi all,

I'm having a bit of trouble choosing the right gut string for my violin. I want to play gut strings in a modern setup, and have heard very good things about both brands. I originally wanted to purchase the Dlugolecki's strings, as I have heard that they are "better", but he is on winter vacation right now, and I'm kind of hasty... So basically, my question is: Are Dlugolecki's strings that much better than Tricolores that it is worth the wait of 2 or 3 months? Or should I just by the set of Tricolores?

What I value in strings in order of importance:
Rich Tone>response>stability

Any advice and or comments would be appreciated!

Replies (21)

Edited: February 7, 2019, 6:02 AM · Most people here are going to suggest only what they have tried. I have tried almost every brand of gut string on the planet and spent (also wasted) a LOT of money. For me, Toro ram gut strings have by far the richest and most complex sound, and I wish I knew this first. Tricolor and Dlugolecki are brighter and more piercing. Response will depend on the gauge, and stability is pretty much the same with all brands.

In any case, good for you that you want to use gut strings :)

Also, you can buy Toro and Dlugolecki strings from paganino.com

February 7, 2019, 5:15 AM · They list Toro as a baroque string. Do they also do well at 440?
Edited: February 7, 2019, 6:13 AM · They list all plain gut strings as baroque since very few players use them for modern playing. If you play at baroque pitch, then the strings need to be thicker because the pitch is lower. The good thing is that all the gut string makers have thinner modern 440 options too so you can choose the size that fits your tuning. For example, an A string for 415 would need to be at least 0.84mm, but an A string for 440 is around 0.80mm.
February 7, 2019, 6:28 AM · I like the brighter Gamut strings because they project better. The tone is also plenty sweet; I can't see them being any warmer without becoming fuzzy.

I get good results with heavier gagues (.84 A, 1.16 D, .86 G).

February 7, 2019, 9:57 AM · Hi James, thanks for you recommendation of the string and of the website :). May I ask if the Toro strings project as well as the other strings like Tricolores?
Edited: February 7, 2019, 10:37 AM · To be fair to Toro (which I have never used), on their website they do mention "modern and period", or something to that extent. Just happen to be mainly sold for baroque or period performance specialists.

I like piercing strings-or rather, piercing gut strings. Gamut fits the bill nicely.

By most accounts, Dlugolecki's gut strings options are also well-regarded.

Stability is ironically better for pure gut than many of Pirastro's non-Passione wound gut offerings. I still like many Pirastro wound gut strings, but it's worth nothing for those who believe gut must be so unstable pitch-wise. Regardless, if your pegs are in perfect working order (and you have no wrist/nerve problems), the very ocassional tuning for either type of gut string won't kill your performance.

Incidentally, I still have problems changing my old gut strings because they are still sounding so good. I should just change them, but my ear says otherwise.

February 7, 2019, 11:34 AM · Toro strings have plenty of projection. Gamut and Dlugolecki are more piercing and nasal, but that is the nature of plain gut strings in general, so Toro is still a little piercing but with more breadth and complexity. It is also much cheaper than the other two. Anyway, all are good strings, so you will be happy with whatever you choose :)
February 7, 2019, 12:41 PM · To add to all the comments above-wound gut Tricolore are good, and are more stable than Pirastro Eudoxa by a lot. The Eudoxa are more of a amooth sound that nonetheless do sound clear in high positions, if your violin allows for it-the Tricolore, a more direct, but still deep sound; not as much bottom end as Eudoxa, but certainly fuller than Gold Label.

I gotta admit, though, that even the "humble" Gold Label set is probably "better" and easier me to play with than the current "best of the best", new synthetic in the market, whichever you choose.

(The "nasal" pure gut tone referred above by Mr. Dong above is the excellent type of nasal-never the horrible type we are accustomed to think of as "nasal". I do agree with him. But try before you have any misconceptions. It's a very open, strong, and easily projecting tone.)

February 7, 2019, 6:48 PM · Do you use their plain gut or their silver wound gut, James? Also, do you use dolce, media, or forte?
February 8, 2019, 7:51 AM · I use their plain gut for D,A and E strings. You can use medium or heavy gauge for D and A depending on your instrument, but the E string must be heavy.
Edited: February 8, 2019, 10:01 AM · I agree Mr. Valle-Rivera. A nasal tone doesn’t necessarily sound bad. Pure sheep gut not only carries at loud dynamics but also during soft ones. There are gut string makers that use ox gut for strings. Of course they’re going to be cheaper - it’s not as expensive a commodity on the market! I think James it’s important to point that out when comparing the price of Toro strings (whose strings are made out of ox/beef gut) and Gamut Tricolore (sheep gut strings). I personally think sheep gut is a better sounding substance for string instruments.

I remember Frank Mohr, Vladimir Horowitz’s technician from Steinway said Horowitz liked his piano voiced and regulated in such a way with lacquer on the hammers (which would harden them) to give his piano a more ‘nasal’ sound. Some might say Frank Sinatra had a slightly ‘nasal’ voice. Does anyone find fault in the way he sang??

February 8, 2019, 10:31 AM · I did try to specify in my first post that I was talking about Toro ram gut, not ox gut... I have tried Toro's ox gut as well as Gamut's beef gut and I completely agree that it does not sound as good. In fact, the vast majority of Toro customers only buy the sheep gut. So to rephrase with even more clarity: Toro's sheep gut is cheaper than Gamut's sheep gut.

I am also not critizising the inherent nasality of plain gut. I love it and that is part of why I use plain gut in the first place. In fact I'm pretty sure I've talked before in previous threads about how nasality is essential for projection. I just think that we can be open minded even about different types of sheep gut from different makers. Toro is slightly less nasal, that's all, and it is still far more nasal than any wound gut.

I obviously knew from the title of this post, that Cotton and Nate would staunchly recommend Gamut. And this is a very good thing because they make amazing strings! However it is not good cast away other options especially when you have never tried them, or don't even know which type of gut strings they make.

February 8, 2019, 10:50 AM · Mr. Dong,

I am actually glad you shared your findings on Toro. Every player has different preferences-I *may* never use Toro because of what you like about them is that less "piercing" character you described. When I first fell in love with the Tricolore pure gut A, it was because it was very bold, open, and "piercing", and I wouldn't want any less of it. But your ears and violin may prefer an slightly smoother sound, and that is fine too.

Ironically, for all my quasi-unfavorable comments throughout the years about Eudoxa's aluminum wound D, I do like it a lot, and it's indeed as far as "piercing" as it can go. My luck is that, combined with "piercing" A&E strings, on my violin Eudoxa sounds warm and relatively clear (and they are OLD.)
They still have that upper mids richness that gut has, but of course veiled a bit by the windings element.

Do not feel attacked, and sorry if I came accross that way. Many of us rather have people at least try gut strings of any kind (even Passione with their synthetic overlay over the gut core) so they realize that-while perhaps their favorite living violinists not using them-they have great reason for them to be around beyond nostalgia. Many players, from beginners to serious amateurs and professionals, have no idea what they are missing, and do not even consider gut core strings (pure or wound) a "practical" option for "today's performer". I think we all agree that they do well with any repertoire (volume, projection, etc.), and have little to envy their more famous synthetic brethren.

Science may say some synthetics are louder, but I honestly believe that there's no practical performance loss by using gut strings. Perhaps I am wrong.

February 8, 2019, 12:59 PM · I really want to try gut strings someday. I'll have to ask my teacher, but can I have any suggestions? I've wanted to try Tricolores for a few months...
Also, why is it so much more common to find people using wound gut G's than plain gut G's? Is it because the string would be extremely thick if it was plain gut with no winding, or some other reason I am unaware of?
February 8, 2019, 12:59 PM · I really want to try gut strings someday. I'll have to ask my teacher, but can I have any suggestions? I've wanted to try Tricolores for a few months...
Also, why is it so much more common to find people using wound gut G's than plain gut G's? Is it because the string would be extremely thick if it was plain gut with no winding, or some other reason I am unaware of?
February 8, 2019, 1:38 PM · Nina -yes that's right, it would be thick and have a challenging response. Such strings do exist and are used by 17th c. music specialists but they really require a special setup and technique and mindset.
February 8, 2019, 8:26 PM · From what I understand, violinists starting in the beginning of he 18th century used silver wound on gut for the G.
February 9, 2019, 2:05 PM · No offense taken at all Mr Valle-Rivera, my post was actually directed at Nate Robinson. I don't blame Nate for his uninformed response though, because I think us gut lovers (especially me, you, Cotton and Nate) are very quick to pounce on any gut related thread. We wear our string combination almost like a badge of honor, but also are very happy when others show interest in trying them out. No other user of their strings is as zealous as us gut users.
Edited: February 9, 2019, 2:36 PM · James, you're incorrectly assuming I have not tried other string brands besides Gamut, and essentially suggesting to people I'm some sort of shill for the company. I have tried nearly a dozen different gut string brands and I find Gamut to be the best pure gut (D, A and, E) for my violins. My teacher used the Tricolore strings when he studied and recorded the Bach Double with Jascha Heifetz so I would say my information on gut strings comes from a rather informed source. I don't receive any money to endorse any string company. I just care about quality.
Edited: February 9, 2019, 2:39 PM · I said that your response to me was uninformed, because you stated that Toro's strings were cheaper than Gamut Tricolore because Toro is made of ox gut and Tricolore is made from sheep gut. In actual fact, most of the major companies make strings from both beef and sheep gut. Doesn't that count as an uninformed statement from your part? Not only that, you failed to read my original post correctly, where I specifically wrote 'Toro ram gut' to avoid any confusion.

I never assumed that you had not tried other strings apart from Gamut, when did I say that? I only assume you did not try Toro yet because you chose to compare Toro ox to Gamut sheep, a pretty unfair comparison. I have read from archived posts that you have tried many other string brands.

Please don't put words in my mouth.

Edited: February 12, 2019, 2:16 AM · James Dong - I like your comments about Toro, I too am a convert! I've used Dlugolecki, Gamut and Aquila, but am enjoying the rich harmonic character of the Toro ram gut. By far my favourite. They were also sold under the Baroco brand, now defunct, which is how I first got onto them. On baroque violin I have E64, A82, D112 (venice high twist), and G165 silver.

For a modern set up I would probably not use a venice D, and I suspect some might find Toro's heavy G165 still a bit light. Aquila's heavy G is a bit more robust, and although the windings are "round" (like a guitar string) a modern bow should engage with that easily enough.

The Gamut strings seem to me to be much "harder" under the hand, and sounded a bit brittle on my own baroque violin. But that might work well on modern set-up, strings will sound different with more bow hair contact of a modern bow and different style of tone production. I can't say I noticed much difference between their Ox and Ram E strings - I think I endured a particularly snappy batch at one point. I found the Gamut strings lighter for their notional gauge, so veered towards the heavy or heavy+.

Aquila seem to be a good all round string - The silver G is solid :) Like other baroque wound strings it's not silk damped, so might be too "ringy" for modern style?

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