Comparing 7 String Sets.... which one??

April 9, 2020, 8:30 PM · Hello,
I’ve been reading a lot of posts here on violinist.com about strings, as I’m needing a new set, and have narrowed my choices down to 7:

Violino
Aricore
Pro Arte
Warchal Amber
Obligato
Pirastro Oliv
Evah Pirazzi

I’ve heard several great things about all of these. I’m currently leaning toward Violino. I need some help making a choice tho! 😅 So I’d LOVE to get more info on these in particular.

I’ve been using Obligato mediums, and love the darkness. However, I wanted to experiment a bit, maybe try for something that’s still nice and warm but sweeter, and that’s nice for just playing solo (full/powerful, but not harsh/extra loud).

I’d also like to know how long these last, especially as far as tone.

Are there any good combinations with these?

I mostly like playing more romantic type repertoire, like the Accolay and Thais Meditation, and (someday...) Tchaik’s violin concerto & Zigeunerweizen. So not a lot of Mozart type or anything. 👌

Thanks!

Replies (26)

April 9, 2020, 8:49 PM · Ultimately it will depend on your equipment and how you produce your tone. May I ask how did you narrow it down to these options? You have basically the whole string spectrum there.
My favorite of all is evah green, but the g string becomes unusable after 2 weeks (I play a lot, but still). I have a feeling that either violino or amber might be the best bet for you based on what you described. I would say stay away from oliv as they are gut core, and this changes things a lot. Then again, it all depends on your violin, bow, and approach to sound production.
Edited: April 10, 2020, 2:26 PM · Lunkes,
Well, I came up with the list as I was researching a few strings (mainly violino & oliv), and several others were mentioned that sounded like options to look in to. I didn’t realize that those were basically the whole string spectrum... so thank you for letting me know. I don’t know a lot about string brands; the only ones I’ve been acquainted with since I really got into violin are dominant & Obligato. Before that it was just whatever was at the local music store for $20... :^[ So I’d like to know as much as I can about the different strings. :)
But you are right, Lunkes, it would depend a lot on my instrument and playing. I’ll probably pick one to try this time and pick another one next time to experiment. Thank you for your string suggestions, I’ll be considering those.
April 10, 2020, 2:39 PM · Also, if anyone’s considering Obligato, I can say they’re really nice. Dark tone, pretty smooth to play, and they helped the wolf tone I have on the G (whereas a Thomastik that a luthier tried on my violin brought out the wolf and was quite bright). The A string is just now unraveling after 7 months of use. The G and for the most part the D still have quality tone.
Edited: April 25, 2020, 3:32 PM · The Violino set fixed some problems on one of my student's fiddle. Since you prefer the dark sound, and already can afford the Obligato set, I would suggest the relatively new Warchal Amber. The best value, sound/price might be the D'Addario Pro-Arte, a good replacement for the more expensive Dominant.
April 10, 2020, 4:00 PM · Out of those, I’m a staunch warchal amber fan. Lovely strings, break in easily, play nicely, good durability.

Remember what works on one violin, might not suit yours.

Edited: April 10, 2020, 4:52 PM · You can exclude Olivs, they're gut strings. I never used them, but colegues of mine say gut strings are nightmare, well, no matter how great they sound, not worth it for obvious reasons.

Depends on the violin, but also a lot on your personal taste. I have two very different violins and I prefer Obligato on both, dominants and more soloist type strings, more powerful, always sound more artificial to me. Obligatos are not weak strings, they're powerful strings, they just don't exaggerate. Obligatos being the closest to gut in sound, theoretically should be the best for many people, then they have very short break in time, hardly get out of tune and have long durability. It's not easy to find all of that in the same string.
In the last months, I've been kinda where you are, searching for more power. I got back to Obligatos, for all the reasons I said above. There is no point in sacrificing good sound quality for a very small increase in power that will give artificial feeling. Use Obligato with Andrea Solo.

Edited: April 10, 2020, 5:41 PM · For warm and sweet sound, has to be Passione and/or Vision Solo with a sweet E (Infeld Red gold E or Pirastro Universal No.1 E).

However, for the tone of finesse, fullness, mellowness, and balance, not just warmth and sweetness, I would pair Passione and Vision Solo with Larsen Tzigane stark E and Jargar forte E, respectively, which are the strings on two of my violins.

In the list of seven sets, Evah Pirazzi gets my vote, followed by Warchal Amber.

April 10, 2020, 7:49 PM · That's the way to do it, Ariana! Try one after another and you will know when you like it
April 10, 2020, 9:20 PM · If you want to stick to the sets on your list, I’d say the Warchal Amber set would be my pick for something that’s warm but a little brighter.

However, if you’re willing to consider sets not on your list, I would say that Dominants are perfect for what you’ve described. I’d also recommend TI. They’re just a bit brighter than Dominants but have a great color palate. If you’re looking for more of a solo sound, I’d try PI or Rondo.

April 11, 2020, 2:07 AM · I’ve used pro arte recently and they are dark to the point of being dull and the A string was never right to me. Once I’ve changed to dominant with pirastro gold string everything got better, also the color winding at the end near the bridge was looking like crap since day 0.
April 11, 2020, 2:21 AM · Side question:
If Evah Pirazzi strings go bad so quickly, why are they so expensive? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to be cheaper per set so that people end up actually changing them very often? I imagine they might even rake in more with that policy. Unless people actually do buy 100$ strings every few weeks already. Even so, surely they are a minority that would be overshadowed by the many more people that would buy a set if it were cheaper. Or are these strings actually so much more expensive to make than others.

As it is now, they seem to be the most expensive string PER HOUR OF PLAYING by a quite ridiculous margin.

April 11, 2020, 5:08 AM · But serious players also buy other strings. I'm just wondering if they DO actually get more money -- that is, if ~twice as many people wouldn't buy these strings if they were ~50% cheaper.

I'm not what could be justly call a serious player, but I imagine even many of those would be turned off by the reviews or experience of these strings going bad so quickly. Or if they do keep buying them, they may eventually find that they simply can't justify the price when there are surely other quality strings out there. I've read quite a few such accounts online.


Edited: April 11, 2020, 5:52 AM · I for one have never used Evah Pirazzis, not only because of their price but because they have a reputation for going downhill suddenly. Makes it hard to keep used strings as emergency spares, and I really don't like the possibility of needing new strings on short notice.

I'm pretty sure Evahs would match my viola quite well, but I currently use Vision Solo, which could be described as the "poor man's Evah Pirazzi." If the price went down substantially, I would seriously consider trying a set of Evahs.

April 11, 2020, 7:51 AM · Welcome Mrs.Coastillon,

I have used all of the strings you mentioned considering except for the Aricores, and think that each brand is worth trying and experimenting with, especially different gauges to determine what is best for your technique ajd particular instrument, if there is such a set as best. We can tweak forever in the quest for best.

My suggestion is to always follow your innate intuition with choice and option. Andrew Victor has always touted the Platinum E and after reading his long term praise I did order and try it and although it is a marvelous string as he says I balk at its cost and wonder if it is truly wofth the extra dollars spent.

April 11, 2020, 10:06 AM · You will probably be changing strings many, many times between this next change and when you are playing Tchaik’s violin concerto & Zigeunerweizen. And there will be many new brands by then.

There are also many, many more brands now than are on your list.

Hen I switched from gut core (Eudoxa) to synthetic strings in the early 1970s I found that Dominants were not an adequate replacement on the one violin I had at the time. A few years later. A few years later Pirastro issued their competing Tonica strings and they were a good substitute. About 25 years later I moved to the SF Bay Area and Ifshin Violins in Berkeley(at the time) became my go-to violin shop. They seemed to use Dominants on all the Jay-Haide violins they were selling. But a few years later I noticed that they were using Tonicas on some of their instruments -- so my impression 30+ years earlier that these 2 different brands were a sort of classification guide for matching strings to instruments was verified for me. Also, I now have 3 additional violins that all have worked well with Dominants.

But I have also tried many different brands in the past 50 years and I find I have gotten the richest tone on 2 of my violins with Evah Pirazzi Gold topped with Peter Infeld Platinum-E string on 2 of the violins that otherwise are incompatible in their string preferences. Two other violins are better with Warchal Timbre strings that htye have been in the nearly 50 years I have owned them (I assume they would be at least nearly as good with Amber strings). Both Amber strings on one violin and Timbre on another are improved by substituting a Warchal Avantgard A string.

I find the Warchal strings seem to have a faster, more sensitive and cleaner response than the others. They have about all the overtone contribution I could possibly want (or tolerate). What that quality gives you is a powerful tool for using vibrato to shape your sound to enhance projection and apparent loudness as well as timbre.

April 12, 2020, 9:11 PM · Thank you all for your inputs, they are appreciated!
I would like to try the Warchal Ambers with Avantgarde A this time.
Pirastro Violino would be my second choice, I may try them next time.
Ariana
April 13, 2020, 3:22 AM · Hi Ariana. I play an €400 'beginner violin' that's quite rough and loud in sound. I'm overly sensitive to shrillness or loud sounds, which give me headaches. That means, I've tried quite a few sets of strings on my violin.

I'm currently using Violino strings, and they make this instrument bearable. They are very easy to play, stay in tune, and produce a more 'delicate' sound, which in my violin means they've tamed the shrillness enough to make the sound pleasant.

I think the most beautiful sound my violin has ever produced came from the Tzigane strings. Full of overtones, great resonance. But the volume on this particular instrument was unbearable for me, and I ended up each lesson with a headache that would last over a couple of days. As I said, this is my particular setback for playing the violin.

I don't think the Violinos are enough for a soloist. They're a good 'practice string' in my opinion. Maybe the sound is a l little bit thin. If I wanted a dark-soloist sound, I'd use the Tzigane.

April 13, 2020, 5:32 AM · Ok, we can all share our experiences, but it cannot be stressed enough that nobody can tell what works best for you.
I don’t think there are really expensive strings on the market that are generally considered terrible. So, if you want to spend some money you won’t get an unprofessionally bad set. But what if that happens to sound terrible on your violin?
Perhaps it is possible to organize some sort of string swap among a group of interested players? Yes, a string isn’t quite there same after having been tried out, but this should still give you some valuable impression.

My violin sounds best with Evah Pirazzi Gold (though silver G), but they get dull too soon, and whenever I have some period of time without solistic performances- that is just orchestra work or a complete pause due to Corona), then I like to work my way through cheaper options. I would like to change strings more often so that their intonation is perfect, even if they won’t sound exceptionally beautiful. I tried “Galli”, and they were so bad that after a while they didn’t sound at all, anymore! Right now I try Warchal Amber.
On my violin, I don’t like their tone, but they work. They have such a funny E-string, that this will give you something for Instagram if you are active, there!

April 13, 2020, 7:19 AM · Bear in mind that if you buy 7 sets of strings, your choice is not among seven things but among an absolutely astronomical number of things because you can mix and match.
April 13, 2020, 3:21 PM · They are expensive because they offer a brilliance and color like nothing else on the market.
I beg to differ - Evah Pirazzi in my opinion are no where near the colour you can get with many other strings. Especially gut strings have an overtone spectrum that EP are far from achieving. To my ear the EP are one dimensional and they die much sooner than gut strings. Bruno gets a few weeks from an EP G string - I get about a year from an oliv G. EP are expensive because they are hyped to be something special. They are an example of efficient marketing.
I don't know how you arrived at the 7 very different sets you list. I have not tried all of them, but would recommend that you try Warchal Amber unless you are willing to go into gut territory. Remember that a lot of negative opinions about gut strings come from people who have not used them: I never used them, but colegues of mine say gut strings are nightmare . Gut strings take a bit longer to stabilize and are more sensitive to large rapid changes in humidity, but last a lot longer than synthetics and sound way better.
Warchal Amber is one of the synthetic strings that are closest to gut in terms of sound.

April 25, 2020, 2:10 PM · Some that were not mentioned (or I missed it). I’ll use Obligato as a point of reference.
Kaplan Amo have more projection and better resistance under the bow. They also have a warm character.
Corelli Crystal - not as complex as Obligato, but you can tailor between light, medium, and forte versions, each with predictable differences. You can buy 2+ sets for the $$ of the others. IMHO, much better than Pro-Arte.
I love the Warchal Amber E, but not their steel A strings. Even though I play steel 2nd strings on everything else, on violin, I prefer the feel of synthetic and suffer the transition to the steel e by shifting higher for sound.
April 25, 2020, 2:37 PM · OP, what is it that you wish to do with your violin? I might recommend very different strings, and a very different setup for a soloist, than I would for an amateur who is playing for their own pleasure, and who cares mostly about how a violin sounds "under their ear".
Edited: April 25, 2020, 2:47 PM · The thing is, strings response to certain instruments (and players) is better than others, not to mention individual preferences, hence difficult to recommend any particular string (and tension) without knowing the instrument and player intimately. That said, certain characteristics remain fairly constant such as response, break-in time, longevity and projection and these are fairly well documented.
Edited: April 25, 2020, 3:08 PM · I would agree, with the exception of response and projection. For example, Evahs will enhance these on some violins, and seriously suppress them on others.

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