New Viola Strings

Edited: November 20, 2020, 12:25 PM · Pirastro Perpetual viola...

I wonder how people who've tried the violin strings have been liking them.

From what I've heard / read, they seem to tend to be more focused but less complex (and to my ears, less interesting) than Evah (greens) or Evah Gold.

Replies (19)

November 20, 2020, 11:09 AM · I'm curious about these as well. They have a rope core like Helicore. I wonder how they compare to Helicore and Forza?
November 20, 2020, 11:25 AM · It looks like only the C has a rope core. The D and G have a synthetic core.
Edited: November 20, 2020, 12:01 PM · These strings are Gods gift to humanity. They give you exuberant projection, vibrant response, enticing playability, vast tone volume, clearly focused sound projection, exuberant lustre, optimal response and instantly reliable tuning stability - all according to the link above

I am a bit disappointed that they had to use exuberant twice - surely a marketing department should be able to do better. On the other hand it is good to know that the optimal response is a vibrant one.

And it seems a bit unfair that we Oliv players only get "finely wound and polished, handmade gut strings with brilliant sound and a wide range of sound colors". We also want impressive superlatives.

A string that needs this kind of selling effort is not on my wish list for Christmas.....

November 20, 2020, 12:08 PM · Does that mean you want them for your BIRTHDAY, Bo?
Edited: November 20, 2020, 12:48 PM · From Pirastro's site:

Permanent Viola Strings
The Permanent A string has a single filament steel core wound with chrome steel. The other strings have a rope core wound with titanium (D), silver (G) and tungsten-silver (C).

Compare to Helicore Viola

stranded rope core wound with:
titanium (D), silver (G), tungsten-silver (C)

So they're the same in print although I don't know how the tensions vary. But how alike or unalike are they in sound and feel?

November 20, 2020, 12:51 PM · And the Forza's are also stranded steel rope core with similar windings for the (G) and (C), but the (D) is aluminum instead of titanium.
Edited: November 20, 2020, 3:21 PM · After 25 years of searching for ideal strings for my #1 viola I settled on Pirastro Permanent D & G strings a couple of years ago with which it produces glorious sound. For the A and C strings I finally decided Thomastik Dominant Weich suited this instrument best. I use "long" viola strings although the vibrating string length (VSL) of this 16-inch viola is only 375mm. (This further reduces the string tension.)

My #2 16-inch viola (VSL = 380mm) (that I have owned for 47 years) has played well with every string I have used on it (just not as well ultimately as #1 at its best) even a full set of Spirocores (mismatched gauges to get as close as possible to equal tensions across the strings as an experiment). It has worked well with every string combo rejected by viola #1 even its present full set of Evah Pirazzi Gold.

Edited: November 20, 2020, 3:13 PM · Hi Amrita, Perpetuals are the new strings, not Permanents.

I've had a lot of success with the Permanent A in the past, and have talked to others who have enjoyed it too. It can be a good alternative to Jargar and Larsen. Pirastro has many choices for steel viola A strings now, and unlike the violin E strings, they seem quite different from each other.

I briefly tried the lower Permanent strings and found a slower response than Helicore, and so I quickly went back to Helicore. But that was just my experience.

November 20, 2020, 7:13 PM · Hi, Andrew.
You're right! Perpetuals and Permanents are different. Sorry about that.
Edited: November 20, 2020, 8:37 PM · I honestly love Pirastro strings, their customer service, etc. But their marketing department is far behind the quality of the strings. Also whoever decides to discontinue stuff for business purposes are *very* aggressive in their work.

(I hope someone from Pirastro that cares or could impact their brand would read this.)

What Mr. Pontoppidan was referring to above has also turned me off from trying two of their products-the super hyped marketing for both Evah Pirazzi Gold and Perpetual strings. The EP Gold marketing currently on their website now seems more normal (it used to say more hyperbolic things at first, just like with Perpetual), but the Perpetual goes way too much with "exuberant lustre"-which has no meaning, to be honest. Someone may find exuberance in very brilliant strings-others, in very rich, warm strings. It gives them an excuse to sell a high priced set, but just tempts you to try it blind, without any precise description of their general character/ behavior. "It is among our priciest, so it must be even better than both EPs!"

(Note that a similar thing could be argued about Infeld Pi, the "Super Dominant" string. Both companies like to find new ways to come up with expensive synthetics, and their marketing for both seems to be: "these are our best strings, therefore our priciest!" Indeed, I am tempted to think Perpetual was a product of Pirastro trying to compete with Thomastik/Infeld's Pi set.)

About a decade+ ago, Eudoxa strings had a lovely branding on their website: "The Queen of Strings". Similarly romantic as the "exuberant lustre" of Perpetuals, but not as over-hyped-sounding. Oliv also had a better description (which I do not remember). Gold Label is now branded as "the value gut string"-an horrible marketing scheme which probably makes thousands of players not want to even try it (it is also just a few dollars less than Eudoxa... not so much of a value, and they have their own sound, which at least they do accurately describe online.)

They have eliminated most gauges from their older synthetic lines. Even Tonica and Obligato lost their gauges! Evah Pirazzi (green/regular) is, I believe, their last synthetic with weich/mittel/stark options. Which leads me to my description of them being too "aggressive" on their "dollars is all that matters" scheme. Many players want options, even if it would be 3% of violinists (I bet the percentage is slightly higher, though.)

Now, to their credit (and despite them not trying hard to sell their strongest string portfolio-wound gut), they do offer several gauges for gut strings save for Passione Solo. Even (regular) Passione has a healthy range of 5 gauges, which I very much like. And for all the hate they sometimes get, most of them sound really wonderful, so they are still focusing on delivering quality gut strings. Now Chorda is generally not as well received, as there are several worthy competitors for plain gut, but their other, covered gut strings are generally excellent.

For all the negativity above, I actually like Pirastro more than Thomastik, mainly because I love gut strings, and Thomastik tends to loudly mock gut strings in favor of their synthetics-and continuously misinform the public in doing as much. I do like many Thomastik strings, but have not sold my soul to them. That said, Dominant are historic, for better and worse, and really good strings in my humble opinion-even if never a true gut string replacement. (Regular) Evah Pirazzi from Pirastro are also excellent-just wish they were more pliable and longer-lived.

(I wonder why violin Perpetuals are apparently not as common yet as EP/EP Gold? Honest question, as it is their latest technology-not meant as sarcasm.)

Edited: November 21, 2020, 10:12 AM · I vaguely remember that they called Olivs “the noble sound.” I could be wrong.

I feel the way you do, Adalberto - Pirastro gives their new strings a lot of hype, and the older strings just aren’t marketed, at best.

Of their “older” strings that still remain, I have really enjoyed Gold Labels, actually even more than Eudoxas and Olivs. They were probably less “loud” than Olivs, but I liked that they were bright yet had a warmth and complexity. I also liked the Chromcor Plus viola A - and the Chromcor Plus cello strings which my mother, a cellist, used to use quite a bit. I guess they have fallen out of fashion, but I don’t really know why.

I don’t think newer necessarily seems to mean better when it comes to our string choices.

Edited: November 20, 2020, 11:53 PM · I love the Gold strings too, bright and warm at the same time while being low tension. I did find them a bit less pitch stable than Eudoxa, which is a pity as otherwise I would use them. I wish they could introduce a Passione-Gold hybrid - one can always dream.

But enough gut talk - back to the topic on hand. I did try the Perpetuals this year (I did a grand tour of violin string labels). I found Perpetuals as the OP guessed - very focused, very high tension and loud. Impressive in a way but the high tension silver D choked my violin (the Oliv silver D does too, although oddly enough the Pirazzi D seems to work better). The G string is remarkable - just extremely pure and loud, which my violin liked. The rest is a bit tight and hollow for my tastes, but if your instrument is a bit muddy and likes high tension it might be a perfect set. If your instrument sound is a bit plain and the response is not easy they would likely not help.

November 24, 2020, 4:06 AM · As far as I am aware, Gold label gut has been discontinued for viola. Which is sad, as I loved the string. I do still use Gold label for one of my violins, I hope the violin version of the string is not cancelled as the viola string has been. When my current set of Gold Label viola strings need replacing I will try Tricolore, which is on my other viola... but I am not sure it will suit it.
November 24, 2020, 6:54 AM · I am intrigued by Andrew Victor's use of steel for G and D, but low tension synthetics for the C and A: most violists I know do the opposite! I use matched sets, trusting the maker to know what they are doing, but in the current lock-down, I have time to try Andrews idea.

I too wonder where Pirastro is going: they have stopped Aricore strings for viola (fine for a "gritty" instrument). I hate steel As, and I used the Eudoxa-Aricore with both Obligato and Tonica sets.

Edited: November 24, 2020, 10:14 AM · Mr. Heath,

That is most regrettable. If they were broke or a small business/new string maker enterprise, I would understand. Though Mr. Warchal does not offer different gauges (unless you count Brilliant Vintage), at least they have not discontinued their first strings. The viola line discontinuations must strictly be a business decision, but I am sure people still used strings such as Aricore. Indeed, I am surprised Synoxa and Aricore are still available for violin (the Synoxa sound wonderful, though a bit tense.) Wish they had people more in touch with their string users, rather than just individuals that only care for the company's bottomline.

(Strings themselves are nice-I just do not agree with most of Pirastro's business team.)

November 24, 2020, 11:11 AM · The e string is elegant, intense, penetrating. A true wonder. I though the D and A were very convincing. A bit disappointed by the G which to my ear lacks a bit of ooomph. Worth an (exoensive) try definitely especially if you like the overall Pirastro universe with a twist but not quite yet the Thomastik fizziness. They sound less bouncy (a good quality for me) than the Pirazzis (standard or Gold)
November 24, 2020, 1:21 PM · Pirastro is reading this thread: "exuberant lustre" is no longer a characteristic of the Perpetual strings. :)
Hope they also note that some of us are disappointed with the discontinuation of the Eudoxa-Aricore A for viola. It is a synthetic string that I have been using together with Oliv lower strings (since the oliv A winding is extremely fragile and therefore very short lived).
Edited: November 24, 2020, 11:26 PM · Adrian - There is nothing intriguing about the choice of strings on my viola #1. It was a last-resort solution for a very raspy sounding C string - and I never liked the non-matching and penetrating sound of the Jargar or Larsen A strings.

So it was from suggestions and demonstrations on my viola by a violist "salesclerk" at Ifshin Violins that set me upon the course of seeking low tension A and C strings for that viola.

I would not have done that had I not been on a 23-year long sound-improving search for that viola.

Other things I had done during those 2 decades was "deepen" that ff holes by 3/8 inch - that did improve the bass qualities of the instrument. (Another suggestion by the maker has been to try half-covering one of the ff holes (to lower the A0 mode) - I have not tried that.)

EDIT: I just tried it - it made the tone worse.

November 26, 2020, 10:45 AM · Half covering an f-hole will indeed lower the Ao resonance, but will lessen its power, and make it more "pointed", as well as increasing the gap between this air resonance and the main wood resonance (F/F# on the D-string). Like a French horn doubled by an oboe.

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