Strings that sound like new Dominant stark strings ?

Edited: August 17, 2020, 8:10 AM · Hello.

I have to say that i never understood the people who say that new Dominant strings sound too metallic.
That is the sound i love........
In particular, i'm talking about stark Dominants, with aluminum wound E.

And i'm starting to wonder if some string sets exist that can sound for a long time as the stark Dominants do when they are brand new.
I mean brilliant sound and dynamics. But i mean warm sound in the bottom too.

Any ideas?

Replies (30)

August 17, 2020, 8:48 AM · Thomastik Peter Infeld?
August 17, 2020, 9:41 AM · I have heard PI strings not in my violin, from very near, and i did not hear them to be particularly shining... (maybe they were old).

@Ineke: have you some real experience that the PI's could be what i was talking about?
I'm open to opinions .........
Surely, PI's are very expensive, from my point of view........

August 17, 2020, 9:57 AM · EP Green. EP Green Stark is finger suicide. I would only use Weich. For your purpose, since you are used to Dominant Stark, EP Medium is fine.

You are looking for a deep tone with power. There are many options for that, but I have not tried them all.

Titanium Solo also sound "punchy"/metallic for a little bit, and have a warmish tone, with definition.

If you use a medium Gold Label/Goldbrokat/Hill E with those Dominant Stark, it *may* open up the sound a bit more. The wound Es in general sound beautiful but darken the sound of the whole instrument a bit too much for my taste. But perhaps that is what you seek.

I also like a similar character as you do (I think), but do not enjoy high tension or too warm of a tone.

I am not up to date with all the latest synthetics-surely someone else can be more useful (apologies.) The latest one I have used is Warchal Timbre, which although clear, may not have that extra "metallic" tone you like. They are very good, otherwise.

Edited: August 17, 2020, 12:04 PM · Thanks for comments, @Adalberto.

I don't like the sound of Evah Pirazzi green strings. I almost hate them :)

Vision Titanium Solo: on this violin i had Vision solos (not titanium) for many months, last year. I don't like their tension (too floppy) and general sound. My violin lose some body with them, especially in the G-D.
If the titanium option are similar, but with added brilliance, i don't believe i'll like them.

On another violin i have Vision starks on. I don't love them. They seem to leave out a lot of resonance and body in the sound.

The reality is that i loved the damned Tonica starks, but they don't make them anymore.
Last year the sales manager replied to me, after i complained for the dismission of non-medium production lines:
"This happens in all branches, for example, please try to buy a brand new Golf 1 from VW. Or an Opel Admiral. Or an NOKIA Communicator E90. This is no longer possible because these products have been discontinued even if they were successful."

A very bad move on their side, i'd say.
This is the reason why i won't use anymore any Pirastro product.

Edited: August 17, 2020, 12:42 PM · Well, I like Pirastro more than Thomastik, though the latter has a few lines I could use. Especially because they still make Oliv and Eudoxa at many gauges.

Pirastro has made similar mistakes in the past, I believe. There are many lines that no longer exist. It is incredible luck they still make EP Green Weich/Stark, as Obligato & Tonica (among others) are now only available in medium. I agree it's a silly mistake, as they are rich enough to keep making the variants. After all, they still make the less popular Synoxa and some other rarely used lines(which behaves like a very direct, clear Dominant, but with its own character-a bit high tension, not too much, but not as deep as you would like. I find they make an extremely beautiful , "classic" synthetic tone.)

I have been treated better by Pirastro when I ask them questions. He/she should not have played the "adapt or die" excuse on you. They have sent me test strings, and also quick replacements when strings broke prematurely.

Why not keep using Dominant Stark if that is what you prefer? After all, they are nylon, just as Tonica Stark were. For more brilliance, use a good medium E, and for more overall "girth", (darker, more powerful) use something like Westminster E 27.5

The medium Dominants may also be more brilliant, but you prefer more bow and finger resistance, it appears.

Try Warchal Brilliant (not Vintage); theu have less tension than Dom. Starks but have a nice top and bottom end.

My apologies for possibly offending you for suggesting Evah Pirazzi.

August 17, 2020, 3:07 PM · Yes, dominant medium (as tonica medium) offer not enough resistance when i want to do some highly dynamical things in the lower strings.... It's a matter of abitudes and preference, i presume.

Really i don't need to changhe the E only..... i'm looking for an entire set that responds the way i intend it......
Maybe, as you say, the solution if to change more often the dominants stark..... :)

Regarding the EP, don'w worry at all :)

And regarding Warchal: i've never tried any........not so common to find here....... My usual seller has Amber only, at the moment.
But i take note on the Brilliant........ Maybe i'll try to test them in Mondomusica in Cremona, in 1 month......

Thanks, greetings.

August 17, 2020, 3:49 PM · Well, in fact I do like the sound of evah pirazzi on my violin but I don't like the short lifespan, the long brake-in period and the tone instabillity of them.

What I like about PI is the powerfulness, the tone stabillity and I think the tone is more complex and full then is the case with dominants.
Furthermore, they seem to last long.

I'm very interested in other opinions!

August 17, 2020, 6:14 PM · I can recommend the Vision Titanium Solo – at least for me, they had enough strength and brilliance for a while. I haven't used them for a while though. The E string is very powerful and ringing but becomes a bit squeaky after a while; I've paired it successfully with a Jargar Forte and Goldbrokat medium Es.
August 17, 2020, 7:30 PM · I particularly like the Thomastik Rondos, which you can purchase online from Connolly; otherwise they are only carried in violin shops. Think "PI for instruments that don't love tension".
Edited: August 17, 2020, 8:53 PM · My favorite composites are Warchal Timbre, but apart from them, Rondos are very good. Like well-educated Dominants. (I'd look for a different brand of E, however.)
Edited: August 17, 2020, 8:25 PM · I thank you all for your replies.

I won't use luthier shop strings (Rondo, Timbre, etc).

Regarding using other E's, i'm aware of the difference in tension they can impart to the whole violin. I made my own experiments years ago.

But a different E string won't alter the amount of time during which the other strings will fade off in brilliance.
At least according to my scientific approach....

August 17, 2020, 8:59 PM · Marco, I too don't mind the initial brilliance of Dominants. It fades quickly of course but it would be nice to have a string to capture it. And I'm very irked by Pirastro's response to you - while cars and phones go obsolete, there is nothing wrong with giving tension options - that's more like every car company only selling giant pick up trucks and cancelling all their other lines.

My violin is a bit sensitive to tension but the opposite way, it needed more weight than I wanted to give. May I ask if you are sure about your setup? It depends on your violin and playing style of course, but if you have trouble with the violin accepting weight on the string a higher bridge (and probably a fingerboard reset) might be the answer, if the bridge is currently on the low side. My luthier did the opposite on my instrument, shaving down the bridge (which is very beefy, I can't over press unless I use very light strings like Eudoxa).

The thing is, as a rule heavier gauge strings suppress higher frequencies - Michael Darnton once gave the example of pressing a speaker cone when it's making sound - the bass still gets out but the higher frequencies are muffled, creating a different balance. Thus it'll be hard to get a very brilliant sound at high tension - lower tension strings are more brilliant. You've had good advice already. I think Warchal Brilliants and Kaplan Vivo might be the closest sound to a new dominant, with a complex sound and very bright overtones, and Vivo has a heavy option for you (I tried light, which was nice but too brilliant for me!). A lower tension E string might be slightly less loud and less pressure accepting but it will increase the higher overtones and make your instrument more brilliant/edgy. I tried a .24mm plain Golbrokat on my violin, which was actually incredibly loud and produced so many brilliant overtones (on all strings mind you, not just E!) that it hurt my ear. The E string tension helps dampen all the high frequency overtones, so a high tension estring will produce more core and a lot less brilliance (probably more sound as well). I highly recommend you try a .24mm or .25mm Golbrokat just to see the effect (the plain string with light green packaging will be the best). Plus it's extremely cheap!

PI I would describe as a moderately warm but pretty loud and focused string. Vision solo is very focused and warm, an unusual combination and not what you want. Titanium Solo is more balanced actually. TI strings (a luthier line) sound to me the most like bright Dominants but aren't ultra high tension. Dominants in general I would describe as a more balanced and more rich/less focused (more fuzzy) which PI and for example the new Perpetual won't have.

Lydia - Rondos are not what I would consider low tension. If you compare the listed tensions on the manufacturers' websites you'll see that the total Rondo set is actually higher tension the Pirazzi mediums. It was enough to make it not comfortable on my instrument (Perpetual is similarly high tension). Pirazzi weich strings are the answer for lower tension Pirazzis :). They are actually very nice strings, a bit brighter and sweeter and easier to bow. They'll probably be cancelled someday soon though, so try them while you can.

Dominant heavy gauge is an incredibly high tension, it's actually more or less similar to Pirazzi stark in numbers - Marco might have better luck with that gauge.

Edited: August 17, 2020, 9:09 PM · I am glad to hear someone else likes EP Weich. Medium does not make that much sense to me or my violin-I can use them, but rather not. Sad that they may discontinue them, as they did with the Obligato Weich and other gauges for the other lines. I really like EP, but as a synthetic-not as a gut core string replacement.

Some people use EP Stark, but that just seems brutal to me. To each their own, of course!

I prefer gut to every synthetic, but I wouldn't feel bad if I was supplied with 5 years worth of free EP Weich strings!

Best Wishes,


August 17, 2020, 9:26 PM · Just to be clear, I don't have any evidence that EP gauges are to be discontinued - let's hope that, like Dominant, the strings are popular enough to warrant producing the three gauges. I'm just fearful considering that Pirastro has cancelled all their other synthetic gauges.

Adalberto,have you tried Dominant light gauge? They have eudoxa-like tension and a brilliant sound, very interesting strings if your violin can take it.

Dominant gauges are crazy different actually - the light gauge is the lightest synthetic made, and the heavy is the heaviest (more or less tied with Pirazzi heavy, if you ignore the e strings). Dominant medium are basically considered low tension strings compared to all the latest offerings. If you are curious about gauges and tension and don't mind spending a little bit more than a set of perpetuals, try all three sets of Dominant gauges - it'll be eye opening.

August 17, 2020, 11:25 PM · Titanium Solo would be one of the first options to try.
Edited: August 18, 2020, 11:37 AM · Thank, @John Kruer, for all your consideration, which i appreciate.

On the E string tension: yes, i know all the facts behind "sound that opens", etc..... but the issue is not that......
I'm fine with initial sound.
Other than that, my main violin is a luthiery work made in 2014, that has no problems at all with tensions, and is always resonant.
It's all a matter of preference and resulting sound.

I'd want a string that can be very very similar in sound to the entire Dominant set (even it had a slightly less tension it would be finer, maybe) and whose "zing" can last more time.....
A sort of time-stretched Dominant set...... :)

I did not test Vision Solo Titanium strings..... but i suspect i won't like their lack of "sort of rumble" in the lower department........

August 18, 2020, 12:20 PM · Are you unable to get to luthiers for the Rondo or Timbre sets? Or do you have a policy about that sort of thing?
August 18, 2020, 12:32 PM · @Stephen, both cases.

I refuse to buy "elite" strings, and in general strings that are unreasoneably too expensive.

Second, my luthier is an amateur (in reality, a genius), it's not his job. He's long time retired (now he is 91, but in perfect shape, better than me ;) ).
So he has no access to "luthier only strings". But even if he had......

Edited: August 18, 2020, 1:00 PM · I'm not sure what you mean by the idea of "elite" strings, but you can buy TI and Rondo strings online here from Thomastik Infeld's new online shop. TI are only about 15 eur more than dominants.

In terms of your quest for strings, I really recommend you try Brilliant (not the Vintage) or Kaplan Vivo (possibly heavy gauge). The Vivo are probably the brightest strings I've heard, with a complex strong overtones that did remind me of new dominants. I did use the light version though - that would be the brightest option. Infeld blues might also be a third option, along with TI if you are willing to consider them. I would consider Blues and Ti as close relatives of dominants - you won't get the high tension though they are higher than medium dominants on the D and G. Other than that there aren't really any strings fitting your sound profile I'm afraid.

Edited to add that Larsen Virtuoso heavy might also fit the bill - I only tried the medium variety - has some warmth but with a lot of bright overtones. Their heavy gauge might be to your liking.

August 18, 2020, 12:48 PM · I would also suggest trying TI. They’re a bit brighter than Dominants but quite rich. They’re not too expensive, either.
Edited: August 18, 2020, 10:11 PM · In feel, tension and sound, if you want something similar to Dominant stark, I think you might like the heavy-gauge version of the “original” Larsen strings. They seem more “full” and not as “focused” to me as the other Larsen strings.

I see on the Larsen website that the tension almost exactly matches Dominant stark.

Also Evah Pirazzi medium or stark, as some others have mentioned.

August 18, 2020, 6:42 PM · I have the additional problem that, living in Italy, finding locally "not usual" violin strings is an impossible task.

For example, after a search i did not find a source for the Thomastik TI's other that a seller in Belgium or the thomastik shop itself.

84 euro for the set with silver D........
These exagerated prices, for violin strings, is something i really hate ......
(it seems to be in line with everything, related to the violin....:)

August 18, 2020, 7:15 PM · I think Rondos and TIs are generally only available in person, not online.
August 18, 2020, 8:55 PM · Andrew, in my experience original Larsens die so fast that it's just not worth it. Had 3 sets of them, each time a different string snapped in a different spot.

Also Marco, I hope you clean your strings regularly as that will prolong their life!

August 19, 2020, 4:31 AM · @Aditya: i am a long time sort of "fanatic" with cleaning strings and washing hands (and drying them) before playing !! :)
August 19, 2020, 9:46 AM · Am I the only one that thinks you should just stick with Dominants, if you like them so much??
Edited: August 19, 2020, 10:28 AM · You’re not - I think that might be the best bet too. To me, Dominants seem to last longer than most other synthetics, too.
August 19, 2020, 10:34 AM · Mr. Kruer,

I have never used Light Dominants, but suspect I would like them, especially the feel under bow and fingers. I would also feel confident as to "recommend" that Dominant gauge without having used them, given my previous experience with low tension synthetics. Maybe one day I will.

When last I used Dominant Stark, I probably did not know how to hold the bow, and only remember they were stiff and hard to play (I do not even know what happened to that violin...) I have used Stark of other lines many years later, and I can play them well with an "over the strings" finger-feel, but I rather use medium or lower-specifically speaking of synthetics. The minimal "volume gain" (if even noticeable in real life) is not worth the inconveniences of Stark/Heavy gauges *for me*-even if they work for Mr. Brancalion and many, many others.

When I use Eudoxa gut strings, I tend to choose higher gauge numbers to compensate for their *really* light tension-for Oliv it varies (the Gold/Aluminum D is very stiff and "slow" at higher tensions), and for Tricolore, medium or high.

I also stopped using Stark Es (Westminster 27.5, Jargar Forte, et. al.), but I admit that is violin dependant, and some may prefer it. I always liked the Westminster E sound, though-just that eventually I figured it didn't help the other strings as much in the direction I wanted.

Using Timbre now-they feel medium-high, though not nearly as much as EP Green medium. Maybe I am just used to gut and most medium gauges feels "heavy" for me. Still, good tonal characteristics and volume, lots of depth, and a rare clarity in the upper registers, for synthetics.

Apologies for rambling about strings. I love the subject, even though I have not been experimenting with the latest synthetics for the last few years.

Stay safe, everyone.

August 19, 2020, 11:13 AM · To mr Taylor and Mr Holland:

in fact, it could be a logical solution.
I'd tend to avoid changing strings too often, but if it will be necessary, we'll see..............

Edited: August 19, 2020, 12:08 PM · Years ago, but long after the printed SHAR catalog started regularly arriving in my mailbox, it started to include information on the strings used by SHAR employees on their own instruments. Almost all of them used mixed sets - virtually no two the same. Thomastik started a trend for using mixed sets when they issued their BLUE and RED string sets and originally offered both sets together for the price of one. I've been using mixed sets on ALL my instruments until quite recently, when I started using:
Warchal Timbre and Amber of 3 of my 4 violins,
Evah Pirazzi Gold on one of my 2 violas
Rostanvo on my 3 cellos.

FINALLY, there is a good chance I my continue my current setups.

Just a reminder of other options!

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