The Power Of Gut, Rigid Or Otherwise
I am having *extremely* positive experiences with non-rigid Eudoxa wound gut strings, albeit at "high tension" (which is not much for Eudoxa). Have been figuring out that perhaps "rigid/stiff" is not necessary for modern playing (or perhaps I have adapted my bowing to the strings over time.) They are superbly nuanced, but also very bold and powerful when need be.
For violinists of all ages with experience with both types of strings (Oliv regular and rigid, Eudoxa regular and rigid), what are your preferences and reasons why you prefer ones over the others? (Eudoxa brilliant are out, as they are no longer in production.) Do you really find regulars much "weaker" and rigid "stronger" as advertised? I am not looking for arguments, as I know both types sound good-just honest player opinions.
For an initial opinion in the matter, I am liking the regular more for now, as they appear brighter/clearer in nature, which I love, and I am not perceiving any true weaknesses regarding "modern bow technique" as expressed by Pirastro. More affordable by a few dollars too, but it seems the "darker, more powerful sound" may not always be desirable for all of us.
Freely opine, without any need to agree with me. Thank you very much in advance.
Hello Adalberto! Looks like it's time to kick off our own little gut string thread!
I've been enjoying Dlugolecki plain D (21.5) and A (16.25) and a stiff-Eudoxa G (15.75), but for my next strings I'm considering regular Eudoxa G+D and either Eudoxa A or Passione A.
I tried the standard Eudoxas one time a long time ago. They were nice, but I wasn't really impressed. They were rather tricky in that the A string particularly refused to work unless the bow was perfectly straight. It's possible (certain) that I wasn't ready for them at the time technically, but I also had a D string break pretty quickly too. And they were gosh darn expensive.
Unfortunately Damien Dlugolecki says he is retired, I haven't been able to get his strings and have had to switch to Gamut
A lot depends on how a maker decides to define a particular string. If you look at tension levels for conventional synthetics, you'll find that the relationship between, say, A and D, is going to be very different from brand to brand.
Passione Solo never did it for me. Higher tension than the regular Passione, and with some possible benefit for projection, etc. But it didn't take long to produce fatigue, and reveal a lack of variation in color. Maybe on a different violin it would do better. But don't worry about staying with Eudoxas if you like them better.
The violin doesn't care what the strings are made out of. It amplifies and modifies the signal that it gets from the two feet of the bridge. Every violin probably has an optimum amount of force/pressure on the top plate which is a combination of the total tension of the 4 strings, the tension of each individual string, and the angle that the strings make with the bridge.
In my experience, the violin and its player do care a lot about the strings, gauges, feel, etc. It makes a huge difference, especially if the violinist feels at ease and totally comfortable with the strings, be it people used to Pi or Eudoxa. And lastly, they can and often do sound very different, even among the "same" types of cores.
Thank you, Adalberto and John!
It is funny, but Pirastro's website, in recommending usage for each of their lines, omits solo work when discussing Eudoxa. That is probably enough to scare people away from doing what you just did.
I used Eudoxa strings exclusively through the 1950s and '60s. Did not switch to synthetics until Tonicas in the early 1970s. The violin I played in those days did not like Dominant strings.
I used a range of different gauges for the D & G strings. But I cannot remember which I preferred.
No problem Mr. Victor. Thank you.
I played exclusively on the Eudoxas from the mid 1950s, at my teachers' insistence, until around 2000. The rigid/stiff version didn't exist then as far as I know. I used only medium gauge. It is still my standard of perfection, and this discussion has made me decide to go back and try them again. The closest I have found in sound among the many synthetics I've used are the Warchal Amber. Eudoxas last at least twice as long as synthetics before going dead, so factor that into your budget for strings. As for Dominants, I never liked the sound of them on my violins (despite Pinchas Zukerman who promoted them relentlessly. They sounded great on his fiddle, though!)
I have not yet tried the rigid variants, but I have absolutely no qualms with my regular Eudoxas strings in terms of volume and tone.
Higher tension will also cramp the finer, higher vibrations in the wood.
The thing with non-rigid Eudoxa is that their tension is low even at their highest gauges. So I feel this allows me to experiment with these diameters. I would not use high tension for Oliv strings, even non rigid. Gold Label come in one very comfortable, light tension. Tricolore can be medium-high on their highest tension compared to synthetics (still way more pliable, however.) Thus one of the benefits of regular Eudoxa is their low tension and ability to go thicker without losing much response, and adding a bit of bow resistance. The sound has also been better for me than the thickest Eudoxa rigid G&D I have used in the past, even though they did sound nice overall.
I played regular Eudoxa G and D for a long time with a Dlugolecki varnished gut A and a Goldbrokat 26 steel E. A nicely playing set all around.
I find it amazing that our favorite violin concertos were premiered on gut E-strings!
Adalberto - this thread makes me want to try Eudoxa again. I haven't played them in more than 25 years. Or at least I should try a regular Oliv instead of the Rigid G I am using now.
The Eudoxa wound E doesn't work in every situation, but it can sound quite special. Because of the wrapping, however it does eventually go false, which is not something normal E strings do.
Just tried Eudoxa strings for the first time. Amazing feel and sound. So much softer and warmer than my synthetics. Thank you Mr. Adalberto for the recommendation.
John, try placing the bow closer to the bridge and using more bow/less pressure than normal - there's a strong sound somewhere around there, with a special sound quality - but the technique is different than normal if you are used to synthetics. With synthetics you have to often slow down your bow to play close to the bridge with a strong sound, with Eudoxa thanks to the low tension you can use quite a bit more bow at the same contact point.
Thanks John. It seems as though there is greater dynamic range with these strings. Also, I have found that my favorite bow seems to respond really well to them. It is a rather light 55 gram bow that always seemed a bit thin and flighty. I had to apply substantial bow pressure to dig into the synthetic strings. But now it plays like a Dream. Effortless. As though they were made for each other.
There is a striking difference in flexibility between the wound Tricolore strings and the corresponding strings from Pirastro. The Tricolore viola C is extremely flexible - almost like a piece of thread - whereas the Oliv rigid is more like a piece of wire.
These are interesting questions. I wonder what Pirastro's answers would be.
I can't remember the make or brand, but there are plain gut strings with fine spiral structure, rather like a miniature telephone cord.
Aquila and Gamut both offer a sort of braided string (it resembles a braid, but it's more of a special twist). Essentially it's 2 - 3 individual gut strings twisted in opposite directions all twisted together and smoothed in a machine. These strings are really surprisingly pliable for their thickness... compared to something like Chorda, which feels like stale spaghetti, they are super soft. They are used for bass-side strings usually and make the string more responsive.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.