Strings for loud violin

Edited: November 11, 2022, 5:48 PM · Following up on my previous post, I am now in receipt of a violin and a 15.75" Guadagnini viola made by Yitamusic. I'm surprised at the good craftsmanship and the sound quality of both instruments. Having read the old reviews on this site, poor setup seems often to have been a problem. I'd say that Yitamusic have up'ed their game, as the case, bow, sound and the general set up of the instruments are really good. The strings are not that bad, the pegs turn really well and the bridge is cut ok, even though not from the best quality wood. I'd say that they are both perfectly playable for a beginner as they are.

The violin is a Viotti model, described by Yitamusic as having a strong and open sound. This is absolutely true. The violin is very responsive. But I'd like to change the strings to make the instrument sound a bit more mellow and even darker.

Which brands would you recommend for that purpose? And if you are in the UK, can you please guide me towards online shops where one can order Warchal strings?

Many thanks in advance.

Replies (25)

November 11, 2022, 6:40 PM · Without knowing which strings are on the instrument now, how can anyone possibly offer an informed opinion?
November 11, 2022, 7:11 PM · Apologies. The current strings are generic, no name strings that came with the instrument. I don't know anything else about them.
November 11, 2022, 7:23 PM · Most likely cheap no-name steel strings then? Any synthetic, or even higher-quality steel strings, would likely have a darker sound.
November 11, 2022, 7:41 PM · I bought my Warchal Timbre and Amber on line directly from Warchal. 2 of my violins really love the Timbre (best strings ever); one of my violins sounds quite weak to me with them, I have not tried them on the 4th violin, which has been completely super with Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold topped with a Peter Infeld Platinum E.

My Warchal Amber strings are still unused.

November 11, 2022, 8:02 PM · Warchal Ambers are exquisite. And a bargain, IMO.
November 11, 2022, 8:27 PM · Slap some pirastro tonicas on there, and you'll be fine. I find that most strings people buy to have a "darker" or "mellow" sound are really just muffling or muting the sound. And if you want that, just use a mute.
November 12, 2022, 1:43 AM · Before Brexit I used to buy my strings from The String Zone in the UK. I am pretty sure they have Warchal.
November 12, 2022, 2:42 AM · Thank you everyone for your responses. Yes, they are no-name steel strings. I've decided to try Warchal Amber on the viola, and Pirastro Tonica on the violin, to start with. The String Zone has the Warchal strings, thanks for that. But I've also seen that Warchal sell direct which is perhaps the easiest way to get them.
November 12, 2022, 5:08 AM · Might be worth trying Pirastro Passione - my violin was very brash when I bought it, and I found Passiones helped temper that a bit.
Edited: November 12, 2022, 8:18 AM · I know 3 other mellow stings: Pro Arte and Corelli Crystal, (higher tension), and Aricore (lower tension). They will also be more forgiving of clumsy bowing...
November 12, 2022, 5:58 AM · The first time you order from Warchal they offer a good discount (50%?) on each different set you order. That can be a good way to try different options.
November 13, 2022, 8:28 AM · Bo, Chris, Adrian and all the others who have commented. I've compiled a list and will try these strings as we practice and play. I'll most likely stay with the Tonica on the violin and work my way up in the budget to see what comes out of it. I made the mistake of thinking I could use the Saturday to read as many reviews on here as I possibly could. That was a mistake as I ended up completely confused and no end of reviews was in sight :)). But what a great database of string reviews and how they work so differently on different instruments and with different musicians. Thank you so much everyone.
November 13, 2022, 2:59 PM · Warchal have an excellent website at warchal.com, crammed with a lot of useful information, including a detailed tip on how to quickly break-in new strings. This particular tip may need a little digging to find, so the quick link is,
https://warchal.com/timbre-strings.html#timbre3.
The tip seems primarily intended for their top string, the Timbre, but I found it worked as described for a new set of Ambers a few months ago.
November 15, 2022, 6:18 AM · Thanks Trevor. The break-in method is very interesting. I have been doing something similar intuitively, as I have a bg in playing the lute, where some heavy and sustained plucking right after restringing can help. But it is good to know that this method can be applied systematically.

I will be getting a set of Warchals for my violin and viola, but I'll start with Tonicas first and move gradually up. I am actually tempted to leave the steel strings on the viola for a while longer. I am mentioning this as in the older posts on this site people have often complained about the low quality of the steel strings on the Yita violas. But mine sounds quite lovely with them, so I will tease this out a bit and see how it goes.

November 16, 2022, 9:22 AM · Alternatively, Fiddlerman suggests a more flexible bow.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E__xP1Wh-Iw
November 16, 2022, 8:44 PM · Obligato.
Edited: November 18, 2022, 3:56 PM · Further to my previous post on this thread, I have today tried an experiment with my Warchal Amber strings - or rather just one of them, their special E. The Amber A, D and G I tune comfortably from the pegs, just like gut strings, microtuners at the tailpiece aren't needed. It then occurred to me, is this possible with the E? So, this afternoon I removed the E's add-on microtuner from the tailpiece and inserted the ball end of the string in its place. I found that tuning the E from the peg worked as well as when I've used a gut E in the past, and the peg didn't slip after its installation.

I half expected this successful outcome because the Amber steel E is unusual in that the part of the string from the fingerboard to the bridge is spiral. You can see this clearly when fitting a new string, the spiral straightens out (almost, but not quite) as you tune up to the working pitch. When tuning the Amber E from the peg it is as easy as tuning a gut E from the peg. I suggest that this phenomenon is due in no small part to the stretchability of the string due to its spiral structure. I would not expect it to work so successfully, if at all, with standard stiff steel strings.

An essential feature of tuning an Amber E from the peg has got to be that the peg works really well, no sticking or slipping. As it happens, last year I had the pegs (believed to be original late-18c) thoroughly overhauled by my luthier, which involved shortening the badly worn pegs and drilling replacement string holes in them. They now work perfectly.

My initial impression on playing the now microtuner-free violin is that the tone and resonance of the E is improved (perhaps because the after-length is no longer impeded by an add-on microtuner?). I also think the violin now looks smarter without an add-on tuner. I would welcome any comments.

November 18, 2022, 5:39 PM · "My initial impression on playing the now microtuner-free violin is that the tone and resonance of the E is improved (perhaps because the after-length is no longer impeded by an add-on microtuner?)."

I believe this is not a surprise for all of us that use planetary pegs :)

Edited: November 19, 2022, 2:35 AM · This is just complete nonsense, An Amber coiled e string is no easier to tune from the peg than any other steel e string, anyone can tune the e string from the peg its just a lot harder to do than with the fine tuner, and gut e strings are much easier to tune by the peg than any steel e string including the Amber e
Edited: November 19, 2022, 12:07 PM · Marco, thank you, it wasn't just my imagination! The tonal balance across the strings is also noticeably improved, presumably as Warchal intended.
November 19, 2022, 1:03 PM · Trevor, and if you have never experienced it, you cannot imagine the sound you get when you tune the afterlegth in a very precise and firm way.... :)
November 19, 2022, 2:30 PM · Over on Maestronet, most of the experts agreed that getting the tailgut length right(ie quite short) is more important than adjusting the afterlength
November 19, 2022, 8:01 PM · Getting the tailgut length to be shorter is a separate thing from tuning the afterlength, and one can accomplish both by selecting an appropriate tailpiece. I can say from my own experience that getting these things right has made a noticeable difference.
November 20, 2022, 4:42 AM · I am currently using Pirastro's violinos, and I love them. They are soft sounding and very warm, so they might fit your needs.
November 20, 2022, 4:19 PM · I tamed a harsh violin with obligatos.


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