Next string set advise

Edited: April 7, 2019, 2:50 PM · Hello,

Looking for a new set of strings for the violin.

Prev. it had Tonica (red).

Then I´ve changed to Vision Solo and it was HUGE improvement. Far more sound and far better sound.
I´ve experimented with E-strings as well, Jager E (non-forte) and Goldbrokat. Full Vision Solo were preferred (more balanced), GB on 2nd and Jag on 3rd.

Right now I´m looking to improve it even more. Preferably make it more direct (stand out, soloist sound) and add more texture/richness to it.

Looking at different charts, perhaps Vision Solo Titanium would be a good choice? Or Pirastro Wondertone Solo?
As well, I´ve heard so much great about Warchal Amber, but I´m not sure they will fit the bill here?

or experiment with:
Amber E
Avantgarde A
And either Brilliant Vintage D and G or Solo Vision D and G?

Any ideas?



PS: I´ve been looking on those 3 charts, however, they do show slightly different for same strings:

Replies (27)

April 7, 2019, 3:08 PM · Heavy plain gut from Gamut.
April 7, 2019, 3:16 PM · For my next set I'm actually going to try the Brilliant Vintage G and D, Russian Style A, and Amber E. If I like that then I'll try the same set, but with the Avantgarde A.
Edited: April 7, 2019, 4:04 PM · String preferences are so personal... That being said, I like Vision Solo Titanium much better than the regular Solos. I have tried medium & forte Warchal Amber "E" strings and really didn't care for them. Jarger E-forte give more punch to the other 3 strings and work well with The Vision Solo Titaniums. If you want a more direct, stand out, soloist sound, they may work for you and are also very durable. Of course this all
depends on the tonal attributes you want for your violin.
Edited: April 8, 2019, 7:20 AM · It can be a crap shoot!

What I KNOW from my string experiments is this: I liked Vision Solos and liked them even more with the Peter Infeld platinum-coated E string. So in your shoes I would spend $30 and buy a PI Pt E string and see what it does.

If that works, I would next take a bigger risk and install Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold A, D and G strings.

If that works I would stay with it for a while.

When I deviated from that setup on 4 violins I next tried Tricolore gut strings with a Gold Brokat E. They worked great on one of the violins but sucked on another.

Then I tried whole sets of Warchal Timbre. They are great on 3 of the violins BUT not at all on the one that works with the Tricolores. And one of the violins the Timbres are great on is even better if I substitute a Warchal Avantgarde A string into the set.

So having gone through all that - the improvement of the PI-Pt-E over EP Gold is hard to beat if you want power, timbre and good tone - at least for me. I would consider it the next step over the present setup - but if you can first get professional advice from someone who can examine the fiddle that would be best.

April 7, 2019, 10:58 PM · Jeff Terflinger,
That's funny I've tried the amber e before and I loved it. It had so much power while still being warm and not becoming shrill as I traveled farther up the string. The non-whistling is also a bonus for when I play Bach.
April 8, 2019, 12:10 AM · @ Christian. I am very happy they worked you. Like I said, it is a personal choice. I did give them a try and went back to to the Jarger E-forte. I find the the same type of strings will not always react the same on different instruments.
Edited: April 9, 2019, 11:04 AM · Thank you everyone for the input!

I think I´ll get a set of Vision Solo Titanium, Jager E-Forte, Amber-E and Avantgarde-A and experiment with those combinations to see what sounds better on this violin.

As well I´ll check out the heave gut suggested here.

April 9, 2019, 9:50 AM · @Christian, I would hands-down try the Avantgarde A over the Russian-style A. I think the Avantgarde has a better sound. (I've been a regular user of it, and I've used the Russian-style previously too.)

Now that Timbre is available, I think the Amber E - Avantgarde A - Timbre D - Timbre G is a good combo. I haven't tried the top two Timbre strings though (in particular I think the Timbre E uses a similar spiraling to the Amber E).

April 9, 2019, 4:06 PM · By the way, any thoughts on Pirastro Wondertone Solo?
April 9, 2019, 7:21 PM · Pavel, what is it that you use your violin for, and that you want to optimize sound for?

You say you want a "stand out, soloist sound". What does this mean? Are you optimizing for performing solo? If so, in what size venue, and with piano or with orchestra? Or are you performing solo in a non-classical style? i.e. you're busking, or you're playing with a band, or the like? If with a band, with or without amplification?

Put another way: What are the circumstances in which you play and perform? For what environment and use case are you optimizing your sound for?

That will help guide what you should look for in a string.

April 9, 2019, 9:55 PM · Strings really make a small difference compared to the violin and the way it's set up. I prefer gut because the response is more intutive and I like the natural tone I get. But any audience member sitting 50 feet away in the mezzanine wouldn't be able to tell if my strings are plain gut or red labels. What they can tell is whether or not they can hear me over whoever else is onstage.

Strings are like the icing on the cake that is a strong instrument.

April 10, 2019, 7:05 PM · Dear Lydia,

It´s for my wifes graduation from conservatory (her exam concert). Carl Reinecke and Bach. She is the one playing, I´m the one enjoying the music and at this point knows more about strings, violin, etc. It became kind of my hobby which I´m looking into develop further.

Anyhow, she will be playing in a normal sized room or on a small stage accompanied by piano.

Obviously, it´s down to her skills and the violin. However, as we saw with the last string change, the sound improvement was huge. Last time I was looking for something she might use both in orchestra and solo performance (with piano).
However, whenever she plays I lack just a little more sound from her violin. At times piano overwhelms her. I want more punch, hence I´m looking for something more loud/stand out than Vision Solo.
As well, she likes more notes/timber sound, hence that´s what I´m looking to improve as well.

Comparing the red Tonica VS Solo Vision. With Tonica her violin sounded dull, muffed sound. Less nuances. So the Vision were improvement in all directions on that instrument. Now I would like to take it just one more step forward.

April 10, 2019, 8:03 PM · Evah Pirazzi served me well particularly for that purpose. Of course it’s entirley individual but my first gut reaction on what you said was Evah pirrazhi
April 10, 2019, 8:15 PM · If you are tempted to try EP, consider Thomastik Rondo instead. And yes— the PI Pt E is quite lovely in many settings.
April 10, 2019, 8:15 PM · Sounds like your Tonica strings were old and past their prime, any new set of strings would have probably been better. Including a new set of Tonica.
April 10, 2019, 9:26 PM · I would start with ensuring that the violin is well set-up, and that the strings are routinely changed -- every three months or so.

Go Evah Pirazzi Gold on all four strings and see how it sounds.

Honestly, though, if you're not playing in a hall, even a cheap student instrument, with a decent set-up and Dominants, will produce more than adequate volume. Anything less is a problem with the player.

April 10, 2019, 11:07 PM · Lydia, do you have any intention of trying the Timbre steel A and E with the full Timbre set or do you feel the Avantgarde A and Amber E is good enough?
April 10, 2019, 11:56 PM · I intend to try the Timbre set again later when the steel A and new G string are available. That will probably be sometime this summer.

Right now I have Passione Solo (with Amber E) on my violin, and I expect they'll be good until the humidity really sets in. They are terrific to listen to from an audience perspective but I'm finding them unexpectedly harsh under the ear.

April 12, 2019, 1:35 PM · I don't think you'll find anything that projects more than Vision Solo.

You might try pairing your Vision Solos with a Westminster E -- try the medium and the heavy gauge. Westminster is very loud but I love the sound. It's high tension and may make your A and D louder as well.

I use the Amber E because of the non-whistling quality, but I have always liked playing on Westminsters.

April 12, 2019, 1:44 PM · 1) Fresh strings will always sound great replacing dead strings.

2) Has your wife had her fiddle to the shop for tune-up? There are a lot of things a luthier can do to add brightness to a violin if that's what the fiddler wants.

3) A piano will always overwhelm a violin if the pianist isn't conscious of this. The best pianists play delicately and don't overwhelm their chamber music partners. Plus the piano has a lid that can be closed partially or fully.

4) A big sound can be a good thing. But a beautiful sound is more important. There are a lot of wonderful violinists who don't aim for the biggest sound, they aim for the most beautiful sound they can make.

Edited: April 12, 2019, 9:08 PM · Pavel TS,

I have used all the strings except for Timbres discussed this far, and both Vision Solo and Wondertone Solo are two of my long-time favorites.

Wondertone Solo tone is pleasant, colorful, mellow, and dark (bass) and bright (treble) in unison. However, they are overall neutral if not slightly dark, and not particularly loud although named as "Solo" strings. In many ways, Wondertone Solo and Vision Solo are indeed similar than different.

Therefore, if you would like to brighten you instrument and give more punch and power, I would think Vision Titanium Solo and Evah Pirazzi (green) are two great options. I have them on three of my violins for such an exact reason.

Of note, Vision Ti Solos do require a long period to break in, especially the A string (for at least 2 weeks), as initially they sound very metallic, harsh, and monophonic. However, they will gradually round out to become buttery, noble, and textured, yet always brilliant. One of the E strings to match well with Vision Ti Solos is stark Westminster E.

I have very poor experience with EP Gold, they are very different from EP green on my violins. I put them on two of my best instruments (both are big name antique Solo instruments). However, they sound very radiant, raw, and unpleasant under my ears. I would describe the sound of EPG is rather artificial. Moreover, I patiently played 3 weeks for them to break in. However, they still sound like Day 1. Now, I just give up and do no play these instruments due solely to the wrong strings.

April 12, 2019, 3:05 PM · If using Vi Ti Solo, consider using its original E, as it has a very penetrating, clear sound (though I agree Westminsters are not bad at all.)
Edited: April 12, 2019, 3:32 PM · I have been using Pi strings and spent the money on the platinum E (had been using the regular Pi E up until that point) as a sort of treat prior to a recital which was needed but man, I chose the wrong string. It whistled throughout my recital which was mortifying - nothing helped!- the day after my recital I took it off, and replaced with a Goldbrokat (as that was what I had in my case, they don't last very long but they are cheap so...) lo and behold, no more whistling.

Learned the hard way not to mess with a good setup too much before a performance.

Editing to add that on a previous violin I had used the platinum E without whistling.

April 14, 2019, 6:50 AM · @Lydia,
Thank you for the input. Since it´s a borrowed violin, we don´t want to mess with the set-up too much, both from economical point of view and since it´s not our instrument. And I would say it set up pretty good anyhow. Not by a famous luthier, but still by a good one, no complains here.

It does sound pretty sweet right now as well. Despite those Vision Solos being on it for some months, people/professors does compliment on a great sound.
As I said, I´m looking just for slight improvement before the graduation concert, no major changes at this point of time.

@ Taylor,
You are absolutely right, Tonica strings were way overdue, still comparing them (when they were new) with Vision Solo on this particular instrument, VS is way better.

@Mark and Stephen,

So far I´m not considering EP based on the reviews of those strings. High tension, quickly loose their charm. I´m sure they are amazing strings and we will try them sometimes down the line, just not right now.

April 18, 2019, 11:22 AM · Dear everyone,

I would like to share our experience, so someone else can benefit from it later on.
First we tried to install Hill Stahl E together with Vision Solo (normal). Violin sounded pretty sweet. Hills E didn´t sound too powerful, but beautiful sound.
Few days later we tried to change to Jager E Forte. It changed the whole violin. Beautiful sound, extremely powerful (but not too loud in a good way).

Both me and my wife agreed on following Vision Solo (normal) and E-strings combination on her violin (sounding dark/muddy-ish on neutral strings).
1. Jager E Forte - best sound overall. Really lifts whole violin and the rest of the strings.
2. Hill Stahl E / Vision Solo E. Slightly different strings, but hard to pick between them. Original sounds very good and works well with the rest of the set. Stahl is more quit, but great sound.
3. Goldbrokat E - works well, but not on a pair with the rest.
4. Jager E (normal)- same as previous. It sounds alright, but there are better alternatives.

Just to stress it once more, mu judgement is based only on my wife violin in combo with Vision Solo and the sound we liked.

After that we went on with full set of Vision Solo Titanium. As Lydia suggested, they were almost too loud. Extremely powerful strings. Initial impression is slightly to metallic sound, but based on others reviews, they need up to 2 weeks to fully open up.
The amount and level of texture on those strings are incredible, however. I would say they do demand quite a lot from the player, but when played well, they will produce tons of nuances and truly stand-out sound.

I´ll come back with more once Vis Tit Solo settles in.

April 27, 2019, 12:17 AM · Dominant, PI or Vision solo with Jargar E blue or Red work great
April 30, 2019, 7:14 PM · Pavel TS,

Have your Vision Ti Solo settled in yet?

How would you describe them after played for 2 weeks?

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