New Strings

Edited: March 5, 2019, 5:26 PM · I have a violin with a warm and rich tone. It is a very resonant instrument, but I would say that the sound is fairly unfocused. I have already used Evah Pirazzis and Peter Infelds, and I definitely preferred the Evah Pirazzis over the Pi strings. What strings would you suggest that I get to have a more focused sound, while keeping the richness and warmth? I generally play classical violin and I’m at the grade 9 level, however I also play some fiddle and folk music.

Replies (8)

Edited: March 7, 2019, 9:24 AM · If you have access to a pro violin shop you should take your instrument in and get their opinion.

I spent a lot of money trying to optimize the strings on my main viola and finally got expert advice when I took it in to Ifshin Violins. It took a strange mashup of strings to get really good balance across the strings.

I own a goodly number of instruments: 4 violins and 2 cellos as well as the 2 violas and I have never found a SET of strings that worked well on all of them and when I have mixed strings I have rarely found a mixture that worked on more than 2 of them - and that only very recently - and I've been at this as an adult for 65 years.

This is what I ended up with (but I DO NOT RECOMMMEND THIS - it just works for me on this viola):
A - Dominant Weich
D & G - Pirastro Permanent
C - Pirastro Passione.

What led me in to the Ifshin shop was playing around with the tension of the strings that were on there. A couple of strings had acoustic problems so I tried playing them tuned looser and tighter. If the problems went away when the strings ere looser - it would seem I needed a lower tension string there. - And the Passione C did that. The shop clerk (a violist himself - all Ifshin's clerks are competent string musicians) suggested a lower tension A might help balance that C and he was correct. We tried the string mixture in the shop - and I listened while he played, then I played.

Now on my other older viola, that every string worked on for 40 years but nothing was great - I tried out the set of Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold strings that had been absolutely horrible on the newer viola - and fotunately they are really GREAT on this older viola - in fact I think it is now better than the newer one - more tenor/baritone, which I like.

You can spend thousands of dollars and years trying to pick strings when a good pro can just lay it in front of you.

Just a thought, but the extra string on a 5-string will put additional pressure on the top - and might lead to a preference for lower tension strings.

March 5, 2019, 8:57 AM · The best C string for a 5 string violin I found was a Thomastik Vision:

Spirocore are not bad, Helicore C is a bit floppy as was Red Label. I never tried the small viola strings.

March 5, 2019, 2:17 PM · I used the VI05 Vision violin C-string for a while, but I've found the the Dominant 14" viola C has more power and core to the sound. Metal C-strings for short lengths didn't match the synthetic strings I used on G,D, and A... so the Dominant is the best I've found so far.
March 5, 2019, 7:00 PM · I agree with Andrew. Your best bet is to go to your luthier, let him/her listen to your violin with the strings you currently use, and ask what strings would best produce the sound you seek. We cannot hear your instrument with its current strings, and different strings sound different on different violins. So, any suggestions people have may or may not work for you. Good luck!
March 6, 2019, 12:47 AM · Perpetuals are pretty great.
March 6, 2019, 7:22 AM · Sounds like your violin is out of adjustment if you can't get a focused sound. Get it adjusted first with the strings you have on and then your luthier could suggest some strings. You could also try the Jargar Superior.
March 6, 2019, 9:12 AM · IMHO, i'd put the soundpost nearer to the bridge foot, before changing the strings.

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