Warm Strings

April 15, 2019, 10:20 AM · Hello,

My violin came with Dominant strings, and then last year I put on Obligatos. My A string has now gone "bad" and I'm wanting to experiment with other warm strings. I have a very loud violin and I want to tone it down. I like the Obligatos, but want something just a little warmer. What are your opinions on Evvah Pirazzis, Violino Pirastro, or Larsen Tzigane? I'm a little wary of Evvah Pirazzis for fear of them not lasting long in tone quality as I have heard many say. Thank you!

Replies (42)

April 15, 2019, 11:02 AM · Obligatos are about as warm as it gets.
April 15, 2019, 11:13 AM · I agree.
Any thoughts on Karneol?

Pro Arte are dull rather than warm.
Aricore are warm and sweet, and lower tension.

April 15, 2019, 11:14 AM · You may find Violinos to be warmer than Obligatos if your violin (and you) likes the lower tension.
April 15, 2019, 11:14 AM · Obligatos are pleasantly warm. All of the others that you are mentioning are bright and loud.

If Obligatos still don't dampen the sound enough, try Pirastro's Aricore, which is very dark.

April 15, 2019, 11:21 AM · I am surprised to hear that Obligatos are the "warmest" out of those choices as I have heard other reviews on those strings to be more of a warm tone. But I do agree that Obligatos are quite warm; still not enough for my violin, tho.
April 15, 2019, 11:22 AM · @Adrian Heath @Lydia Leong Thank you for the suggestion of Pirastro Aricore.
April 15, 2019, 11:24 AM · you could try gut core like Eudoxa.
April 15, 2019, 11:26 AM · Obligatos are warm but with many overtones.
Aricore will last much longer (polyester core).
April 15, 2019, 11:29 AM · Obligato do not last long, you are right, they're about like Evahs in the department.
April 15, 2019, 11:45 AM · @Lyndon Taylor My Obligatos lasted a little under a year. Do keep in mind I am "just" a student, (yet I have a very good quality violin) so I know that's really good longevity for strings.
April 15, 2019, 11:50 AM · I think I will try Pirastro Aricore or Eudoxas. If anyone else has different suggestions or thoughts, I would be interested in hearing them!
April 15, 2019, 11:59 AM · Passione are quite warm and probably a bit more stable than Eudoxa
April 15, 2019, 12:00 PM · If you play 3-4 hrs a week, Obligatos can last a year, its people that play 3-4 hours a day that find them only lasting 2-3 months.
April 15, 2019, 12:03 PM · You should bring this to the attention of your luthier because likely the sound post needs to be adjusted as well. With a proper setup Eudoxa sound really nice. There's also the option of getting heavy tension plain gut, but that has a more brighter sound, yet very very rich.
Edited: April 15, 2019, 1:06 PM · Thank you all for your comments. Does anyone have experience with the Larsen Tzigane strings? According to sharmusic.com, these strings are warmer than obligatos. (Of course, not as warm as Eudoxas)
Edited: April 15, 2019, 1:12 PM · D'Addario Kaplan Amo,,, hated it! It feels like wound guitar strings
under the fingers. Noisy, but loud. I really wish the USA really could produce fine strings, but alas they don't. At least we we have European strings to rely on.
April 15, 2019, 1:15 PM · Larsen Tziganes were the most beautiful sounding synthetics I tried, with unmatched resonance and complexity. They are mellow and about as warm as obligatos, but smoother and with a bell sounding resonance that projected far. They did not last long, maybe 6 weeks with 1-2 hours of practice a day. For that reason I never tried them again, because the drop-off in tone was so severe and they sounded like a weak shell of what they once were in less than 2 months.
April 15, 2019, 1:19 PM · @Jeff Terflinger Thanks for your thoughts.
April 15, 2019, 1:28 PM · Low-tension plain gut.
April 15, 2019, 1:31 PM · A word of "warning" about Eudoxa (stiff or otherwise): they are always categorized as "warm"-and they can be-but are definitely "brighter" than Aricore and worn Obligatos (vs new Obligatos, which are edgier and "powerful" sounding.) So if you are "keeping it synthetic", perhaps Aricore is a good option to try-forget that not many use them, if they work for you.

The Eudoxa-Aricore A I used last year for aome time was surprisingly good, and lasts for a long time. I know that the Eudoxa gut A would have been brighter and clearer in the upper registers even without using it, but it did a good job to emulate the Eudoxa sound from D to A.

Eudoxa are warm but have a "full frequency response", by which I mean that even though they are not the edgiest, they do have a healthy and natural sounding amount of upper mid frequencies, which the Obligato can never replicate ecrn as a "warm" string. Thus, a worn Eudoxa will never sound as dull as a worn Obligato string.

Not saying that Obligato/Aricore/Amo/"warm synthetics" are bad, just that their warmth is not an exact copy of what gut strings could offer, wound or otherwise.

Edited: April 15, 2019, 1:40 PM · I like Larsen Tzigane strings, for about 3 weeks,,, and then they lose their "sparkle" They are just not durable enough. With the cost of strings, that is also an important consideration, IMHO.
April 15, 2019, 1:39 PM · @Thierno Diallo Wow! Thanks for letting me know...I may still take the risk and try them, just to see how they work for me.
April 15, 2019, 1:41 PM · @Adalberto Valle-Rivera Very interesting, thanks! So you wouldn't necessarily recommend Eudoxas for me?
April 15, 2019, 1:42 PM · @Jeff Terflinger Hmm...so you would include those in the department of Evah Pirazzis (talking about longevity)
April 15, 2019, 1:46 PM · Ok, I'm going to circle around again. Since Larsen Tzigane don't last long, what about Pirastro Violino?
April 15, 2019, 1:54 PM · Among the less expensive choices, I have had good results from those Pirastro Violino strings. I believe they were designed to optimize the response from the typical student-grade instruments. For less expensive "warm" strings; try Warchal Karneol, or slightly more $ , Amber.
April 15, 2019, 2:03 PM · Amber are good but I find them on the dry side.
April 15, 2019, 2:07 PM · @ Ruth Hawkins. For me Evah Pirazzi sound powerful and brilliant, but after a month the "A" string gets weak at the contact points and the sound falls off very quickly. I agree with Joel concerning Violino & Karneols. Good advise.
April 15, 2019, 2:14 PM · @joel quivey I am willing to go for more expensive strings as I do not have a student-grade violin. Thanks so much for the info.
Edited: April 15, 2019, 3:01 PM · When I tried Violinos, they lasted awhile, and there was nothing student-like about them.

They were a very warm, pliable, low-tension string.

I believe Pirastro themselves had described Violinos as being their closest synthetic string in sound and response to Eudoxa.

April 15, 2019, 3:13 PM · @Andrew Holland Thanks, that's very helpful!
April 15, 2019, 3:16 PM · I also used Tzigane, and I loved them for the two weeks or so that they lasted. Then the sound died. Made me sad. Note, however, that they were not especially warm on my violin. They were complex and brilliant.

If you don't think Obligatos are warm enough, don't bother with Violinos. The Violinos are good for taming harsh, cheap student violins, but they aren't warm per se. I did not like them, and I was a long-time user of Obligatos. Andrew Holland is incorrect; it's the Obligatos that are described as Eudoxa-like, not Violinos.

To judge from all the people desperately seeking more power and "projection" in a violin, most people want more, not less, volume, and this is what strings are usually optimized for. What is it that you're trying to achieve?

Are you simply finding the violin too loud under the ear? If so, are you trying to reduce the decibels at the ear? Tame too bright a sound (too many high frequencies) under the ear? Reduce the impression of harshness under the ear?

Are you producing too much raw volume (decibels) for the settings in which you play in?

Are you having problems blending in orchestra? Having problems blending in a chamber group? If you're having blending issues, are you producing too many decibels? Cutting through the other instruments (too much projection)? Sticking out because your tone color is too different?

These things have different remedies. "Warmer" might not be the right solution per se.

April 15, 2019, 3:33 PM · @Lydia Leong Hmm...it could be that I'm just finding it loud under the ear. I have only been playing for 4 years, so most would consider me an amatuer. (although I have progressed quite quickly) But I've had colleagues/friends that have said my violin seems to be loud. Again, I do NOT have a student-grade violin. So, what's your recommendation? (I know that's probably hard to say, seeing you haven't played or heard my violin). Someone here suggested my sound post might need to be moved? Would that be true?
April 15, 2019, 3:50 PM · If you liked your sound with Obligatos, it may be best to stick with them. The other brands you mentioned are brighter on most violins.
A different bow or sound post adjustment might warm the sound up a bit.
April 15, 2019, 6:31 PM · Hi Lydia - I believe a rep at Pirastro had told me through email several years ago that they felt their Violino was their closest synthetic to Eudoxa in sound and response.
April 15, 2019, 9:01 PM · Ruth:

"Most would consider me an amateur"? What other categorization would you/they use?

"NOT a student-grade violin"? What is the violin? What is the bow you're using it (the bow can affect the frequencies drawn, especially if it's carbon-fiber)? Where did you buy the violin, and when was the last time you had it adjusted? When it was adjusted, was it just set up for you, or did you work with the luthier to adjust it to taste?

Sometimes you have to decide whether you're optimizing for the audience or for the sound you hear under your ear. If it's right for the circumstances in which you play, you could consider wearing an musician's earplug in your left ear to attenuate some of the sound.

But I'd start with the adjustment first and foremost.

Edited: April 16, 2019, 9:14 AM · @Lydia Leong I have an Otto Benjamin by Eastman Strings, model ML300 which retails for around $1200, I believe. https://reverb.com/item/7147764-otto-benjamin-ml-300-series-violin-outfit-regular-4-4-size?

I have had my Luthier work on it before, and I plan on taking it to him tomorrow to see if my sound posts needs moved, and looking different bow choices.

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

Edited: April 18, 2019, 1:09 PM · Ruth, thanks for that info. That's definitely a student violin, and on the relatively inexpensive side of student violins. You can think of student violins -- really another name for factory and workshop-made instruments -- as being in the following rough tiers: the sub-$300 VSO, an entry-level outfit at about $700, a reasonably decent outfit and common rental level at about $1200, and higher-end workshop violins in the $2000 - $4,500 range. (Starting at about the $4k level, there are individually-made violins, with a kind of gray zone of apprentice-made and unidentifiable-individual-maker violins and the like until about the $10k mark, which is a clearer demarcation point for professional instruments.)

There's a trend towards inexpensive student violins -- certainly in that $1,200 range that you're talking about -- being bright and loud and ring-y under the ear, because many students like to hear that kind of sound. Contemporary workshop violins, especially Chinese ones, especially tend to be intentionally made that way. (The Otto Benjamin is a Chinese workshop violin.)

Given what you have, I take back what I said about trying Violinos in your case. The Violinos were designed for violins like this. They are precisely the sort of string that can help with the sound of a student violin in this price range, and I'd strongly suggest that they be your next string to try.

You can have a luthier move the soundpost to deliberately cut down the volume that is produced. A soundpost move can also change the balance of the strings -- for instance, to dampen the E string. Furthermore, the type of E string used can also significantly affect the overtones produced by the other strings, and you may consider experimenting with different E strings to see if there's one that dampens the instrument overall without unpleasantly affecting its response characteristics.

Much of this will be the innate character of the violin, though. You could consider a lateral trade to another violin in the same price range, if your local luthier allows trade-ins; you might find a darker and more mellow early-20th century German workshop violin to have a sound more to your taste, for instance.

Also, on the subject of a bow: A $1,200 outfit rarely has a high-quality bow, so a switch in bow will affect sound. If you are currently using a fiberglass or carbon-fiber bow, that will have a *huge* impact on the sound. Those materials can have a harsh, too-many-high-frequencies on many violins, although this is individual to the particular violin and particular bow. A switch to a wood (pernambucco) bow would have a high probability of smoothing out the sound, in that case.

April 27, 2019, 12:13 AM · I personally don't like Eva pirazzi strings, I really love Dominant, PI and Vision Solo.
April 27, 2019, 12:15 AM · I personally don't like Eva pirazzi strings, I really love Dominant, PI and Vision Solo.

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