John Pearse Artiste: a neglected string at a bargain price!

Edited: May 15, 2021, 11:25 AM · A quick review of a string that is rarely mentioned here. It's a bit of a sleeper - presumably because the maker is best known for guitar strings. In my experience it offers exceptional performance for the price.

The epidemic hasn't been kind to my finances, so when I had to replace a very dead set I remembered the John Pearse Artiste - a Perlon string I used some years back on my student violin.

It's a medium tension string in the same class as the Dominant or the Tonica. But it comes in at about half the price - or a quarter the price of a high-end set like the Evah Gold.

And I was delighted to find that on my nice modern fiddle it's more than acceptable.

It stabilised quite quickly, with just a touch of a metallic sound that quickly faded.

The set is well balanced, with a warm but powerful tone. (In the US you can buy separate strings - the UK importer only offers the set).

My fiddle responds best to a Forte e, so I'm using a Goldrokat, but the Artiste e was very playable. Surprisingly, the A is almost as responsive as my normal Warchal Russian. The G and D sing nicely for slow airs, but can take a good dig when I want a darker, grittier sound for Strathspeys. So, plenty of scope for expression.

So on my fiddle they are playable and sound good. What's not to like?

When I used them in the past I played them to death and they lasted at least as long as the big-name brands. I gave up on Dominants because of the A unwrapping - no such issue with the Artistes.

So I can't think of a negative thing to say - except perhaps that the silk wrappings are in exceedingly dull tones of grey!

I simply don't see any reason to spend double the money on Dominants or Tonicas.

The nearest competitor in the price range would probably be the Warchal Karneol, but they didn't work for me at all and went dead well before their time. Plenty of people love them, though.

So if your instrument likes this class of string, just a heads up that the Artistes should be well worth a try. It's a professional quality string at a student price.

Replies (8)

May 15, 2021, 11:46 AM · the Tonica are just as cheap and a better string
May 15, 2021, 12:17 PM · I think you are mistaken.

At Quinn, for example, a set of the Artiste is $33.99 vs around $64 for the Tonica.

And on my fiddle, the Artiste works noticeably better.

Edited: May 15, 2021, 12:31 PM · Tonica sell for $34 with free shipping on Amazon buddy, wholesale is much less
May 15, 2021, 12:38 PM · I have tried two sets of John Pearse strings and would say they are comparable to Dominant and Tonica.
May 15, 2021, 1:00 PM · Nothing approaching that price for 4/4 Tonicas in the UK. And as I say, on my fiddle the Artistes are significantly better, so it's good to have the option.
May 15, 2021, 2:18 PM · Nice review Geoff, I shall add them to my shopping list next time I am ordering strings. :)
Edited: May 16, 2021, 1:36 AM · In the UK Tonicas can be bought for £23.50 on Amazon Prime with free same-day delivery. Why am I replying to this?
Edited: May 16, 2021, 9:00 AM · Thanks for pointing that out.

No need to be abusive - I'm an experienced Amazon user and that vendor didn't appear the last two times I searched for "Pirastro Tonica 4/4 Violin String Set".

Here's the link for anyone else having trouble finding it:

I was underwhelmed by the Tonica the last time I tertried it and actively preferred the Artiste when I tried them directly afterwards. But that was on another instrument with another bow, so at that price I may well give it another go next time around.

I'd still argue that the Artiste is a good string in its own right and well worth a try for anyone looking for a professional level Perlon set at an affordable price. If there was one best string for all scenarios we wouldn't have dozens of options on the market...

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