Preludes or Dominants?

May 2, 2019, 7:46 PM · Hey everyone,

I've got a somewhat new fifth grade (10 year old) student who isn't playing a full size yet (she's on a half, if my memory serves me correctly. Her instrument is her own, a decent violin for being an old student model, and at least has a carved top).

She is going to be growing a ton this summer, as most kids her age do, and so she'll be sizing up probably before school starts up again. However, her strings are atrocious. They're old, and I don't even know what brand they are.

Would you all suggest I recommend Preludes, Dominants, or another brand? Her mom would prefer something less expensive, especially if my girl grows faster than the strings die. Obviously, Red Labels are out of the question.


Replies (30)

May 2, 2019, 7:49 PM · Preludes are much worse then dominants yet much cheaper. Something great for students is the ascente line by Ddario cheap but very cheerful. They were great on a student fiddle. I’ve heard some good things about alphayue line from thomanastik. If your willing to spend a bit more than preludes the ascente or alphayue will be much better I think. Of course dominants are awesome strings but for a half size student fiddle that will be gone in 2 months it isn’t worth the cash.
May 2, 2019, 9:20 PM · Alphayue. You will probably find that the prices for the Alphayues and the Preludes are about the same. I am using the Alphayues on all of my rentals now. Much better than Preludes with one exception: if the violin is heavily built, you probably will get better sound with Preludes.
May 2, 2019, 9:30 PM · If the violin has fine tuners on all four strings, then a better grade of steel strings would be the NS-electric made by D'adarrio.
They are similar to Helicore, but all steel instead of mixed metals, and cheaper. I think they intentionally made them to be more mellow, less loud, than conventional steel strings. If you have to use the pegs to tune, then a less expensive nylon core string than Dominants would be Corelli Crystal or D'Adario Pro-Arte.
May 2, 2019, 10:26 PM · Consider Warchal Ametyst. Low tension, nice sounding, not very expensive if you can find them, available in fractional sizes. Here's an old thread which mentioned them among others.
May 2, 2019, 11:16 PM · Visions.
Edited: May 2, 2019, 11:27 PM · You could also go with Tonicas, which are similar in quality to Dominants but much cheaper. (They are a Pirastro string.)
May 2, 2019, 11:52 PM · Dominant r great strings!
May 2, 2019, 11:57 PM · The string for exactly this situation is Thomastik Alphayue.

It is a nylon core string like Dominant, but sells for $20 a set, and comes in all sizes. It breaks in very quickly, has a decent sound, and decent lifespan for a budget string.

I bought 100+ sets for my program at one point where they were on a massive sale, and they've been great on all kinds of student instruments from Scott Cao, to Eastman, to all sorts of old unlabeled stuff, in sizes from 1/4 to 4/4.

May 3, 2019, 1:25 AM · Tonicas are the best for this situation, in my opinion. Or alphayues.
Edited: May 3, 2019, 1:29 AM · From your description any of the named strings will be a huge improvement, so I woudn't make a science of it. Tonica or Alphayue should do very nicely without stretching the parents' budget.
May 3, 2019, 6:52 AM · Why not try the Fiddlerman strings, they are comparable to Dominats and very affordable. I purchased a set just to try them out and was quite pleased.
May 3, 2019, 9:08 AM · I don't think Dominants are the best beginner strings by todays standards. I consider them to be a more advanced string that takes a bit of skill to pull all the colors from, much like an Evah Pirazzi or Peter Infeld. This is why so often we hear that a beginner has tried these strings and makes a bad sound. Dominants can be scratchy and temperamental if you don't have the skill work them (and, of course, they don't work on all instruments or for all players). They have gone up in price to reflect this making them not a very economical option either.

Something like Vision, Alphayue, Karneol, will have a more immediately pleasant sound, if less color options. But that is actually what a beginner needs.

May 3, 2019, 12:57 PM · I still think Tonicas are the best deal for the money.
May 3, 2019, 1:03 PM · I second Warchal Ametyst. Great price for decent strings.
May 3, 2019, 2:20 PM · If budget is a serious issue then Tonicas or Alphayue are good choices.
May 3, 2019, 6:07 PM · I am wondering - how do Alphayues compare to Ascentes?
Edited: May 3, 2019, 7:03 PM · I have to agree with Lyndon. My luthier also puts tonicas on his lower end violins**. They are a just a fantastic string for the price, and I think their playing characteristics are also of great value to a beginner to intermediate player.

**: I meant his lower end retail violins, not his bench-made violins.

May 3, 2019, 8:25 PM · We have tried just about all of them over the years and we always go back to EP. I know they are not cheap but at $42 a set, I think they are worth the extra cost.

Our second choice would be Fiddlerman’s ($30 including shipping from their site). They behave just like Dominant at least on my daughter’s violin.

May 3, 2019, 8:52 PM · EP Green cost me about $65 wholesale, if you are getting them for $42 they're probably counterfeit!!
May 3, 2019, 9:22 PM · If Evah Pirazzis are costing you $42 for a full-size set, I'd bet you're buying fraudulent strings. They're typically a bit over $90.

However, for a half-size violin, as the OP was discussing, they are about $50. But you can get a half-size set of Alphayues at less than $25.

Edited: May 3, 2019, 10:21 PM ·


ETA: I order 2 sets to save on shipping. We change strings every 4 weeks since she practices a lot. She takes 90 min lesson per week on both violin and piano so at this time, I live in a denial on how much it’s all adding up to. We have no disposable income to begin with because of her school tuition. Nonetheless, I still think EP is worth the extra cost.

May 3, 2019, 10:45 PM · Those are cheap because they are not full size. their regular set is $78 which is still reasonable.
May 3, 2019, 10:54 PM · OP is looking for strings for her student’s 1/2, no? I am getting confused by the confusion.
May 3, 2019, 11:07 PM · So that's more than $550 a year in strings for a half-size violin that Kiki is spending. I think for most people, that's not a reasonable expense, especially given that a half-size violin itself is likely less than $500 to purchase (and generally rent on a half-size would probably total no more than about $400/year).

Kristen, the OP, has already noted that the parent of her student is price-sensitive.

I remember in my childhood, my parents already threw a fit about $50 in Dominants once a year, at which point in time they generally paid because a string broke or had become unplayably false, and my violin teacher insisted on it. (Note that I was an advanced student playing several hours a day, between practice and rehearsals.)

May 3, 2019, 11:52 PM · $550 a year??? Where do you get that, at changing strings 3 times a year times $42, thats only $126/year, not $550
Edited: May 4, 2019, 12:00 AM · Kiki's kid is changing strings every 4 weeks, not 4 months.
Edited: May 4, 2019, 12:50 AM · EP doesn't need to be changed every 4 weeks!

ETA: We were only changing every 3 to 4 months like normal people until recently and I am sure we have gone longer than 6 months at some point.

May 4, 2019, 1:40 AM · Tonicas will last twice as long as EP and cost a bit less.
May 5, 2019, 9:04 PM · Hi everyone! I recommended the Alphayues. If I like them, I'll be recommending them to my other 5th grader who is far more advanced in terms of playing ability, but has not figured out how to draw the colors out of her Dominants. She plays a full size.
May 8, 2019, 10:44 AM · I've been playing the same set of Tonicas for 8 months now. They are fine.

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