How long do gut strings last?
Sorry I'm sure this has been asked and answered before, but I've searched and there are a million threads on gut strings and I can't find one that addresses this specific question.
I'm eager to try a set of gut strings, specifically something like: Oliv G&D, Passione A, and then whatever E (say Goldbrokat 0.27). I heard this combo would give you a good color transition across the strings, but if anyone has any suggestions let me know.
My main question as per the title of the thread is about longevity. I am fine with the tuning instability of gut strings, so that's not an issue for me. I'm wondering if there might be an issue with how long they last compared to synthetics, as the combination between that and tuning instability would probably break the deal for me. How long would my proposed setup last compared to, say, a set of Dominants (my usual choice)? I find Dominants start to really lose their color within 4-5 weeks for me, and if gut strings can beat that then they're a winner.
For reference, I live in a pretty temperate area in the Midwest where humidity isn't a big issue.
Welcome to the wonderful world of gut! My setup is similar to what you ask about: Oliv rigid G, oliv silver D, Passione solo A and Evah platinum E so I will chip in with my experience with that combo.
Thanks for the info, Bo. I'm glad to hear they outlast synthetics. Maybe in the long run they're actually a better investment? Haha
Wound gut strings (the G-A you mentioned) last for ages. You could quite comfortably have the G on for a year without getting fussy about changing it. The E in that set up you mention is metal and will last as long as any usual E string on your violin. In terms of sound deterioration they will maintain optimum quality for longer than your dominants. Dominants are of course cheaper, so in purely economic terms it's a complicated one.
Olive G and D should last for at least half a year without any noticeable deterioration in tone quality, possibly a year or longer if your windings last.
About tuning stability: I have played on Oliv, Passione and Eudoxa (always the whole set as sold by Pirastro). In all of those the A is the least stable string, the Oliv A is particularly bad in that regard and can be annoying in rehearsals (I can't even count how many sets of Olivs I have used over the years; so there is significant experience behind this statement).
Hello T Y, do you have a source of more information on Passione strings' synthetic material?
How strange! I've known for many years from luthiers (my luthier practically told me to stay away from them as they sound significantly less complex than Eudoxa and Oliv) and players that the Passiones are uses both gut and synthetic for its core/winding (hence the better stability but a more synthetic-like tone), but now that I'm searching for the source of this information I'm barely able to come up with satisfactory results!
I agree with most of what has been stated above.
TL;WR: gut lasts a darn long time.
I've had Chorda which have only lasedt a few hours before they start to unravel. Never, ever buying them again.
I have a gut E on my baroque violin that has been on for about 6 months now. I think that's my record.
When I was a relatively brand-new cellist I had gut strings, bare-gut A. If I recall correctly it was red color. During one period of really intense practice (and progress) I was wearing out one of those gut A strings every week. And it really was wear because I recall how I could see the surface of the strings degrading. These days I am perfectly happy with steel cello strings and the ROSTANVO strings I have on now are the best I have ever had on all three of my cellos.
After reading a ton of other threads, I think I will instead be going for a set of medium Gamut tricolores, still using the Goldbrokat 0.27 E. Do you guys think there might be a harsh color break between this set and the E? Again, totally inexperienced in this world!
Steel E strings are fairly cheap, if you are going for Gamut strings you might as well spend a little bit more to try different E strings and see how the interact. Goldbrokat, Hill, Westminster, Gold Label, etc... My current favorite with Eudoxa strings is the Warchal Amber E.
The silver-wound on gut G and D will last a very long time. The aluminum on gut D and A is a soft metal and will break or wear out quickly. Some will use a steel A with gut D and G, but that has a big contrast in tone between the D and A.
Ah I should've specified, I'm thinking of the Tricolores
Silver and Aluminum are the same hardness, Aluminum is not softer.
One of my violins spent the winter experimenting with Tricolores. First, it worked a lot better with light weight A and D. Unwrapped A was fine, but wrapped also sounded excellent. Very little decline in sound over several months. The biggest worry would be mechanical— weakening of wrapping as the gut absorbs sweat.
It's not necessarily that aluminum windings last shorter than silver windings because of the difference in hardness, but that aluminum reacts more readily with the acidity and salt in sweat. Because of this, silver windings are generally more durable than aluminum windings particularly for sweaty hands.
Mr. Quivey (and everyone else who may be interested),
All,-- Thank you for the additional information. I was making conclusions from only my personal experience, and thinking of how easy it is to crush aluminum cans. jq
Silver cans would crush just as easily but cost 100 times as much.
Even with synthetic sets there is a harsh break between the middle strings and the steel E. We just don't notice it because the steel E sound is what we've come to expect and enjoy! The E will be much more piercing than the gut strings as a rule, but I think the average listener would not say "why's that one string sound funny?"
Without knowing the tecnical details of string making a possible explanation of differences in durability of windings depending on the core material may lie in the weight of the core. If the gut core is heavier than the synthetic core the winding needs to be thinner and thus more fragile.
Pirastro Oliv can last up to 3 months for me. The plain unwound gut by Gamut can last 3-4 months as well. Synthetic strings for me, didn’t last as long.
My metal wound gut G/D strings lasted as long as any synthetic, but I used a plain gut A that would need to replaced halfway through their lifespan. I loved Dlugolecki strings, as he'd send you the equivalent of two gut A's in a single order.
Gene wrote: "I loved Dlugolecki strings, as he'd send you the equivalent of two gut A's in a single order."
Do you guys think a thicker E string usually makes for a smoother color change from Tricolore G-A? Thinking about the Goldbrokat extra heavy 0.28
Thicker gauges aren't always better, as a general rule of thumb thicker strings lose overtones and playability at higher positions. The higher tension that usually comes with thicker gauges can sound bolder and louder (even overpowering), but it may also crush your tone and negatively affect the other 3 strings.
Two or three years ago I left a gut E on my violin to see how long it would last for a season of orchestral rehearsals, concerts, and home practice. I chose to ignore the E's little frayings here and there - they're easy enough to remove using a pair of nail scissors carefully. That Chorda E lasted for several months without any significant change in tone or stability, until during a rehearsal during the 6th month it evidently decided it had had enough and frayed suddenly down its whole length, from nut to bridge. I got the message loud and clear and forthwith changed it for a steel E. I found that a steel E is peg-tunable in an emergency if the peg is good.