Requesting help to find better strings for my viola

June 19, 2019, 3:57 AM · Hey People!
I'm playing only chords on my viola in a folk band and have had problems with strings.
I have a Gewa 16" viola which has its interior redone by a luthier. The instrument is a bit on the brighter side. Most people in this field use chrome Spirocores, but I have run into quality control issues with this type of strings (new strings will not settle in, the strings snap after 1 week, the strings are so stiff my bow can't grip it), and the C string has weird overtones, overall my sound with this setup is quite sharp.
I've also tried Chromcors, but those strings are too floppy for my taste. I've had the best sound with Jargar G and D strings, not much luck with my C string. The C and G strings don't fit in tension and it makes sounding the viola more difficult. In this genre the A string is left unused.
I play mostly on the C and G, sometimes D string at the same time.
I need a lot punchier, boomier and tighter C string and a bit darker toned G and D string. I don't need much brilliance or complexity, because I'm doing the harmony and rhythm part of every song.
Could you help me with choosing new strings? I have already paid way too much money for strings that don't work fork me. Maybe I should look for a different instrument?

Replies (10)

Edited: June 19, 2019, 7:03 AM · Helicore might work. I would first suggest Pirastro obligato but your playing in a band over progection and those would probably be TOO nuanced and dark and clean to cut.
So I would say try helicore they work very well and are the darkest steel I have found.

Maybe a different instrument made by someone specialising in folk instruments like Barry Dudley in Georgia could help you out.

June 19, 2019, 7:48 AM · Try detuning your C string a half tone. If that fixes your problem a lower tension C string is warrented. It might also be further helped by a low tension A string, such as a Dominant Weich (thin).
June 20, 2019, 6:59 AM · Thanks for the suggestions! I've been eyeing with the Helicore strings, I will try them as soon as I can. I tried detuning the strings, but my sound got dull and a lot quieter. The strings got really loose and didn't respond well to my bow.
June 20, 2019, 10:34 AM · Tom - sounds like you detuned it too far. Also try tightening a little bit to see if that sounds better - if so you might try higher tension string.
Edited: June 20, 2019, 12:11 PM · Buri (https://www.violinist.com/discussion/archive/25186/) might recommend sisal.
To be serious, would Warchal be way off beam for what you want?
June 20, 2019, 3:11 PM · I would not try tightening these strings. Last time I tried, the string snapped before I could achieve even a semitone higher note. I've never tried Warchal strings, I don't evem know a person who uses those. What kind of sound do they have compared to Spriocores, Chromcors or Jargars?
June 20, 2019, 3:40 PM · Try contacting Warchal for their advice and information. I use a Warchal Amber set on one of my violins, and wouldn't use anything else now on that particular modern violin. I'm not going into the usual song and dance about about the Amber tone, response, projection etc but I can say that they are the most stable strings I've ever played, more so than steel.
June 20, 2019, 7:08 PM · If you go to shop.warchal.com they have a thing called "help me choose" that will ask you a series of questions that will then recommend some string sets for you to try for your instrument. You can get to it here: https://shop.warchal.com/help-me-choose#step-1
June 21, 2019, 12:58 PM · If the helicores don’t work (I would try forte), then try the Kaplan steel version called Forza. These cannons are different from both Spirocore and Helicore and might fit the bill. They come in different lengths, so check the website. They are more of a standard thickness (unlike helicore) and are more even than the standard spiro tungsten.c, silver g, chrome d setup.
June 22, 2019, 9:22 AM · I second Edward’s suggestion.

Forzas can sound fairly warm, though, and I wonder if you might need something edgier, like Spirocore or Prim.

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