Strings for practice v. performance

August 29, 2021, 5:45 PM · I play violin strictly for fun at the present time and have read many posts about the variety of strings available. I am wondering if most of you use the same strings for practice and performing or if you practice with a different set, then change closer to the performance.

Replies (27)

August 29, 2021, 5:59 PM · I use the same strings for both because certain strings have different responses to bow pressure and different projection, so if I were to switch to a different brand before a performance, I would probably not play exactly how I would have planned in the practice room.

If you are talking about changing into fresh strings of the same brand before a performance, I only do that when there is a really important performance/audition coming up.

This is such a basic answer lol.

August 29, 2021, 6:33 PM · Regardless of what strings you use, if you're going to use fresh strings for a performance, be sure to install them at least 72 hours prior to the performance to give them time to break-in.

August 29, 2021, 6:33 PM · Some people have a violin or bow that they use for routine practicing, and that violin may have its own most appropriate set of strings. But as far as changing strings on your main instrument, it makes no real sense to change brands just because you've got a concert coming up.

Getting rid of stale ones for a new set is a good idea, of course. But it's hard enough to find strings you like that you really don't want to be messing around otherwise.

August 29, 2021, 6:51 PM · "72 hours prior"

Even more if you are using Dominants...

I also think that Evah Pirazzis don't really need that long. However, it's been a long time since I've used them.

August 29, 2021, 7:09 PM · Dominants will work with less time, although some get bothered by the metallic sound.

Warchal Timbres are pretty quick to break in.

August 29, 2021, 8:11 PM · I usually change my strings either before a recital or jury, or when the current set is deceased. Although lately, I've been able to keep my strings on for longer periods of time since I switched to Thomastik Rondo. My current set has been on my violin for 4.5 months now and I still don't think they need to be changed yet. If anything the G string may be SLIGHTLY less responsive up in the high positions, but I'm still able to work around it by finessing how I touch the string with the bow so I probably still won't change them for at least another 2 weeks when the strings will be 5 months old.

I normally have to change my strings every 3-4 months but since I switched to rondo I've been able to keep sets on longer with the same amount of playing. I haven't had a set on this long since freshman year of high school and I'm now a Master's student.

Edited: August 30, 2021, 12:53 PM · In this link, Warchal explains a method of breaking in new strings in only 12 minutes. Admittedly, the method is with reference to Timbre strings (which I've never used), but I have used it successfully on their Amber G and D in the past, and more recently on a new Eudoxa G.

Edited: August 30, 2021, 8:22 PM · If you are actually concerned about wearing out the expensive strings on your best violin, then do more of your practicing, rehearsing, on violin #2, with similar, but cheaper synthetic strings. The same idea for your bow. Extend the life of the hair by using a spare bow more often. I try to change strings After a performance.
August 30, 2021, 7:25 PM · Here is my $0.02. I am not good enough so that it matters, but I would not want to change strings just before a performance for various reasons. The biggest problem is that you need time to get used to the way the new strings react/respond, even if it is just a new set of the usual strings. With totally different strings, the problem would be even greater, since you would not really be used to them at all. So, I think this is a bad idea. The other problem if you use different strings for concert/audition is that even if you quickly get used to them, they may not be exactly what you expected, and that may cause problems.
August 30, 2021, 8:51 PM · I think the 72-hour rule is a reasonable guideline for most synthetic-core strings. I once tried Larsen Tzigane strings and they sounded very metallic at the start, but even those were okay after three days.
August 30, 2021, 10:42 PM · I would never use different strings for practice than for performance.
I agree that Warchal Timbre and Amber strings break in very fast (that is they stay in tune after a very short residence on your instrument. I recently installed Pirastro Perpetual Cadenza strings on one of my violins and the A string and to a lesser degree, the D string have taken as long to settle as gut-core Eudoxa strings. The Perpetual Cadenzas seem as low tension as Eudoxas - very comfortable on the fingers.

August 30, 2021, 10:43 PM · The Sauret Cadenza is the only perpetual cadenza that I know...
Edited: August 31, 2021, 1:28 PM · Changing strings just before a performance is simply not a thing people do.

There have been a few times that I've procrastinated on a string change until I suddenly realized I had a concert coming up. If it's within a few days of the concert, I wait until after the concert to change the strings. I'd rather play with worn-out strings and have to work harder to get a good sound, than play with brand-new strings and risk going out of tune or having a metallic sound.

August 31, 2021, 1:51 PM · It helps to know how long the break-in is. Most synthetics, I find, are OK after a day. Maybe not perfect, but not causing problems.

What you don't want is to be stuck with a set of EPs that have decided not to play in tune with each other. That can happen faster than anyone would think possible.

August 31, 2021, 2:03 PM · [:-)] Very cute, MIKE!

Check them out at . They seem to be going out the door as fast as they reach the shelves.

August 31, 2021, 2:39 PM · Mike Liu: "72 hours prior" Even more if you are using Dominants...

Stephen Symchych: "Dominants will work with less time, although some get bothered by the metallic sound."

Yes, the last time I changed my Dominants, not only did it seem to take several weeks, but also I had to switch from dark to light/amber rosin. With hindsight I wish I had documented the change.

September 2, 2021, 8:08 PM · Thanks everyone for your input. I’m reluctant to splurge on high priced strings since I only play for self enjoyment.
September 5, 2021, 1:08 AM · Getting the right strings for your instrument goes a long way in increasing your enjoyment IMO and if you change strings lets say twice a year, the cost difference between most sets doesn't really matter all that much I think unless you are on a very tight budget. I understand your resistance though. Some shops offer the opportunity to try various sets to find the best match, which can be a big cost saving. Spending $135 on a set of strings just to try, you must be willing to live with them for a long while if you don't like them. Sometimes it takes years to find the right match. Took me 5 years!
September 5, 2021, 2:02 AM · Jerry- If you're on a budget there are many wonderful strings that are moderately priced. Tonica, Warchal, Corelli and John Pearse Artiste brands come to mind. If they suit your instrument and playing style, no one hearing you is going to know that they cost a fraction of the most expensive strings.

Do some comparison shopping, but don't buy from Amazon or Ebay because you run the risk of getting fakes. Concord Music, Shar, Southwest Strings and Fiddlershop are good sources, but by no means the only good sources.

September 5, 2021, 3:15 AM · Jerry, buy Tonicas and stick with them.
Edited: September 17, 2021, 1:10 PM · I started the viola at 14yo and refused to touch a violin for the first ten years. I have since earned more money on the violin! However, my violin is a little oversized in length and depth, and could do well as a child's viola.

To play anything remotely resembling William Primrose or Max Baillie, we need decisive finger-action and a "clinging" bow. Primrose describes giving each detached note a very slight "martelé" attack, even in pianissimo.

I find the viola strengthens my left hand, while the violin improves the subtlety of my bowing, so I include five minutes of the "other" instrument at the end of a practice session.

The nasal quality comes from the viola's dimensions, particularly the width of the middle bout, but can be accentuated or tamed by the way the bridge is trimmed.

I have two 15.75" violas with 14" vibrating string lengths. One is a narrow JTL with a clear "mezzo" sound, while the other, a 2-cornered model from Bernard Sabatier in Paris, has a plummier "contralto" tone. One for Mozart, the other for Brahms?

Edit: Yes, wrong thread!

September 5, 2021, 11:50 AM · Did you post in the wrong thread, Adrian?
September 5, 2021, 11:50 AM · Did you post in the wrong thread, Adrian?
September 5, 2021, 8:32 PM · Mr. Victor,

Since you have commented on the Perpetual Cadenza on a few threads, I think the time has come for an official thread on those particular strings. Personally, I would have never tried the original due to the price and relatively high tension, but these "low tension" Perpetual so far appear quite different and special to me. Thanks for bringing them up to our attention.

I emailed Concord Music but they did not have them-when they emailed me back about their arrival, I had already ordered from Johnson Strings, as they were having a sale + coupon discount. Right now the price seems to be "low" at 92, relative to Rondo & Infeld Pi.

Impressive, is my first comment, though I have not played long enough on them for a final judgement. On first impressions, it is my favorite synthetic ever, despite the annoyance of no aluminum D option. Even its E fits the set great (practically a medium-low tension Gold Label type E.) Please keep hyping them up. They deserve more attention.

Still prefer Eudoxa, but I could use these Cadenza strings. Big initial wow factor without any tone ugliness. Excellent work, and possibly a great modern synthetic.

September 5, 2021, 8:38 PM · Thanks everyone for your comments. I am currently using Dominant Pro medium which are working well for me. I may try Tonica next.
September 5, 2021, 8:42 PM · Does Pirastro make Perpetual Cadenza strings for Viola? Or any other low-tension synthetic besides Tonica? Not dissing Tonica - they're great. I'm just wondering.
September 5, 2021, 9:42 PM · Not yet, Ms. Kaur. It was originally a Cello only product that became a violin option (usually it happens the other way around with Pirastro, though there have been other cases, I believe.) It is a niche product of sorts, but as I stated above, I would not consider using the original and would gladly use the Cadenza variant instead.

Pirastro used to have more options for weich, but probably some management figure or office bosses decided it was "bad business" to provide more options for players when said variants were not as popular. That they still carry Evah Pirazzi weich is a sort of miracle.

On that regard, from the little time I have spent with the Cadenza, I do consider them a better option than EP weich, which I have a good opinion of save for its longevity. The tone is fuller, yet still clear and very strong. Their only problems, IMHO, are that they are not truly like gut strings (though they never claimed as much) and the price. But the "new" Dominant Pro is also expensive... I would honestly urge violinists to try the Perpetual Cadenza at least once to form their own opinion.

The original Dominant weich/light with their own well recognized tone are also excellent and relatively affordable, but I do admit the Cadenza are more impressive when you do not consider the price. Low tension, "power", and an excellent tone that I had not yet heard on a synthetic string-though my opinion may change in the next few days, of course.

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