Woolly string, and which to try...

Edited: October 26, 2020, 5:45 AM ·

Replies (20)

Edited: October 26, 2020, 4:21 AM · Oops. My first post and I managed to mess it up. Apologies. I am looking for some advice as my strings need to be replaced and I’ve always thought the G is a little woolly in higher positions. I have Obligato strings on at the moment, with a gold E that I can’t remember the provenance of.

I might give Ambers a go this time but... any ideas for a non-woolly G?!



October 26, 2020, 4:48 AM · Ambers are warm and textured strings, while obligatos I think are warm and maybe a bit more focused. I don't think Ambers will help unless it is a tension problem (Ambers are less then Obligatos) as some people find the Amber G wooly as well.

What you need are some more focused strings. I find that a lot of Thomastik strings are good for that, Peter Infeld is is focused and warmish and Vision Solo (not titanium solo) is very dark and focused (overly so on my violin). Vision (plain old Vision) is extremely focused and bright, probably the clearest I've heard although it can be too much. Pirastro' Perpetual is also very focused and very strong and high tension.

I've also found Wondertone Solo from Pirastro to be a good strong clear string, similar tension to Amber (lower). Sometimes I've found that lower tension strings can brighten up the bottom of my violin.

Maybe try ordering just Gs first - I think between Wondertone Solo, Vision Solo and Vision there will be one that works better and they aren't too expensive.

October 26, 2020, 5:09 AM · Some good suggestions, thanks.

The D and A work really well. Just the G...

I suppose experimentation is a good place to start!

October 26, 2020, 7:45 AM · A couple of my violins had "woolly" upper G strings and the problem was cured when I switched just their E strings to Thomastik Peter Infeld Platinum-Plated E strings. Following that (a year ago) I switched both those violins to full sets of Warchal Timbre strings.

Another of my violins (that has never had any problem - except it never liked Dominants) has a purer sound and better responsiveness than ever before with Warchal Amber strings. I don't think it has the same power that it had previously with Evah Pirazzi Gold ADG (topped with a Peter Infeld Pt E) - at least not under the ear.

October 26, 2020, 9:51 AM · Be aware that Obligatos are a great string to reduce wolf notes - so if your violin is prone to them they may get worse with a higher-tension string. Just something to look out for.

I also find the Obligato 'wooly'. Love the term! I'm thinking of a highland sheep that really needs shearing....

October 26, 2020, 10:29 AM · Ha! Indeed. Sheep are wonderful, but I’d rather my violin didn’t sound like one...

Thanks for the responses so far.

I’m aware of the tension thing, yes. I’m considering Larsen Tzigane, as well as the suggestions above.

Any thoughts on those, anyone?

Edited: October 26, 2020, 10:38 AM · I believe the Timbre are powerful, with a warmish, full core, but also have nice clarity in the higher positions with the exception of the G on my violin. They are not as powerful as the more powerful synthetics, but certainly not too mellow either. Amber are probably just a step down volume wise (from what I read-have not used them.)

The only Timbre cons for me are the "medium+" tension, response/feel, and that the G is only very good for my purposes. I did not use the set's special E, but I did not find that to be a problem.

I would recommend Timbre over Obligato as neither is too heavy, and the Timbre has a much better quality of tone after two months of daily use, and also retains better "power." There are no weich Obligato anymore (bad Pirastro business decision), so there is no way in my opinion the Obligatos are "better", unless you prefer the Obligato sound-which is fine.

EP is still useful as a powerful synthetic option, though I am not a fan of the tension in "mittel" (which is also a partial reason I have never considered mittel-only EPG). I assume EPG to be among the loudest strings under the ear without even having used them, judging from regular EP.

(As for "wooly", Eudoxa are hard to beat for "wooly done right" because they never get to be too dull over time, unlike Obligato! Obligato was never a proper Eudoxa replacement, though they can sound very good.)

(Ms. Pearson,

Apologies for not properly addressing your question. Experiment with Gs as suggested above, and avoid stark/heavy when there us an option for your particular situation. The Tzigane is likely to be "bad wooly" as well, based on opinions I have read. It is a good string, but perhaps not for what you seek; though who knows, sometimes the answer may lie in an unlikely place.)

Stay safe!

Edited: October 26, 2020, 10:51 AM · Larsen Tzigane worked very well eliminating a woolly G for me on a 1925 Czech violin I had for a few years. I subsequently gave it to my adult son when he got more serious about playing violin (in his late 40s).

I had talked to Richard Ward* at Ifshin Violins about the Tzigane strings when they first came out and he did not have positive thoughts - but as I say, they do work very well on a violin with that problem.

*Ward was a string expert at Ifshin's who authored many articles in STRINGS magazine.


October 26, 2020, 11:04 AM · Indeed I have not tried the Tzigane, but since they were supposed to be strings with a warm character, I thought the opposite would be true. I assume the tension would also make a difference, for better or worse.

Generally, for violin I like warmth, but not an overly dark sound, utterly deprived of higher frequency content-the reason I do not love older/worn Obligatos.

Edited: October 26, 2020, 11:36 AM · I agree about the Obligato G, though they are excellent strings. I would try the Ambers first. I find they sound much better on my violins; the G is certainly well focused (not woolly), fairly close to Eudoxa in sound. EP Gold seemed to me to create a lot of nasty overtones. I would also recommend trying out Warchal Brilliants (focused and bright), or their Brilliant Vintage (somewhat softer with lower tension) designed for antique violins. Haven't been able to get my hands on a set of Warchal Timbre yet, but I intend to give them a try. The Brilliants seem to me similar in quality to Vision Titanium Solo, which are very popular, loud, and have a clear & focused G; they (the Brilliants) project just as well but sound less brash, and they retain their good sound considerably longer.
October 26, 2020, 11:37 AM · I’ve ordered a Wondertone Solo G, so I’ll see how I get on with that. I might give Ambers a go for the D and A, to see how they work out. I’ve already got an Amber E on order - the spiral one.

Brilliant Vintage sound like they might be worth a look too. My instrument is a French violin from 1870 -ish. Might go nicely.


October 26, 2020, 12:34 PM · My luthier hears no difference in projection on my 18th century (copy) instrument between Ambers and the Vision Solos that were installed. Not saying yours would be the same...
October 26, 2020, 1:01 PM · Projection is not a problem if you are playing for yourself.
When you "play for yourself" what plays most easily and what sounds best to you is what counts and helps you the most.

You can worry about projection when you have to stand in front of an orchestra to play and still want to be heard by the audience. There will be plenty of time to switch strings (violins, bows, etc.) before then. Maybe someone will lend you a Strad!

One can do a crude test of projection by playing your violin in cello position. The sound difference between that and chin position can be quite surprising.

October 26, 2020, 1:17 PM · As a gut string user I always say "Thank you, girls!" whenever I pass a field of sheep.
October 26, 2020, 5:35 PM · "One can do a crude test of projection by playing your violin in cello position. The sound difference between that and chin position can be quite surprising."

This is very true. Last month I switched to playing my viola in cello position because of left-hand numbness. It sounds totally different than playing it under my ear!

Edited: October 29, 2020, 11:50 AM · I am using a Wondertone Solo G with Evah A and D - it works better for me than the Evah (medium) G because of the lower tension - I believe even lower than the Evah G in low-tension gauge. It's more responsive than the Evah G was, though not quite as brilliant. I actually think the Obligato G might work even better for me than the Wondertone Solo G, but I suspect that it might indeed be a bit 'wooly,' which the Wondertone Solo G isn't.

Because it's made of a similar core material (also similar to the core material of Obligatos), the change in sound/response between the D and G is pretty seamless.

I've also used a Wondertone Solo A with Eudoxa D and G before, and it blended fine.

That said - I tried a full set of Wondertone Solo strings and didn't enjoy it. They sounded and responded fine, but while brilliant, were somehow very dull and colorless.

But I haven't had this complaint when just using a single Wondertone Solo string - and they've blended well with the other Pirastro strings.

Edited: October 29, 2020, 8:33 AM · Wondertone G is sounding good, and I am fond of the Amber E too.

Well, I say sounding good... I just recorded my practise session and I think I’m giving up - terrible bowing this morning. The worst.


I may have to swap out the D and A to Amber too. It’s a little unbalanced across the strings. But that could be because they’ve been on for *ages* and need replacing.

Thanks all.

October 31, 2020, 10:59 AM · "... playing your violin/viola in cello position."
An opportunity to explore the cellist's powerful vibrato, wide-ranging in amplitude and speed, that uses the whole of the forearm.
October 31, 2020, 11:24 AM · ""... playing your violin/viola in cello position."
An opportunity to explore the cellist's powerful vibrato, wide-ranging in amplitude and speed, that uses the whole of the forearm."

It is a totally different experience, initially disheartening because it is so disorienting. My left hand feels lost in space so my fingers don't know where to land. Bowing is completely different, as well. I need a teacher who plays cello and reads alto clef.

Sorry for derailing this thread; I should probably start a new one about this. Although to contribute, I DID have a wooly C string which was pretty well solved by switching to a higher tension, thicker gauge Helicore Heavy C. Not a solution to your problem, Hilde, but it's all I got...

October 31, 2020, 11:53 AM · Sorry, my previous post may have been expecting a little too much. Perhaps I should have mentioned that it probably helps when playing violin in the cello position if you have already learned to play the cello to a good vibrato level.

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