New Thomastik Dynamo Strings

Edited: February 20, 2023, 11:30 PM · I do not recommend spending this much on most strings ($142.95 for a set), but should any be inclined to, take advantage of a coupon expiring soon on Johnson's (you can only preorder, but I assume take advantage of the coupon before midnight.)

Anyone has heard about these Dynamo strings? Seem like just another synthetic from Thomastik, and even pricier. :( The tension is what I would call normal-not too high, but high enough that it is not tempting to me. But most of you do not mind that. Let me know if you know more about these.

Happy music making to all.

Replies (59)

February 21, 2023, 2:29 AM · I am getting weary of the ever more expensive wire festooning a wooden box. Nothing will fix a bad box and certainly nothing will fix a bad fiddler. Whenever I sound like shit I know I should practice more. Whenever fiddle doesn't sound right I change the wires. That's it.

The more I can afford expensive strings, the more I don't. After all, people sitting 20 feet away from me won't hear the difference if I gift-wrapped it for them.

February 21, 2023, 3:56 AM · Totally agree with Tony.
Sparky's Magic Piano strikes again.
Edited: February 21, 2023, 7:26 AM · If it does give you confidence by sounding and playing the way you wish under your ear, fingers, and bow, it can indeed help both you and your audience-whether they can appreciate the sonic difference or otherwise, which is likely a no, is not as important as that in the end. But yes, the price is a bit rich for synthetics, especially since many players already love and famously use their older strings. Your playing will always make much more of a difference than the strings you use.

Maybe the Dynamo are better than anything else in the market, and they may claim as much. I cannot say, and honestly, generally do not trust company-approved videos. No offense meant to the players involved in the promotion of these, who may really enjoy these Dynamo strings. Could be the best string ever, but also at the highest price of all time-they have a history of being able to get away with it as most brands would not be able to, due to the reputation of their best-selling strings... which is sad as they are also "setting" the price higher every time they produce an "ultimate", professional string. Pirastro will later come and try to match this price with newer, "more pro" strings, and then Thomastik will go even higher-and I am not sure we are getting our true money's worth.

If you can afford them, please do. I enjoy Oliv strings, which are spendy, but at least I know they will outlast synthetics, in my experience. However, I am not the type to tell others they should not buy something because it does not represent good value for me-for *you*, it may just work! Hopefully more people will try them and give an honest assessment.

(The aforementioned coupon thing already expired, BTW.)

February 21, 2023, 7:30 AM · I am just curious if there is going to be some rationale published why there is this new set coming on the heels of Rondo and Dominant Pro.

I get that there has been R&D, and maybe a lot of that has been successful. But are these three new lines really addressing different problems?

February 21, 2023, 8:18 AM · A set of 6 excellent guitar classical strings (3 wire wound) costs $30.
Perhaps we are being taken for a ride. However, of the reasonably priced violin strings can any compete with, say, EP gold?
February 21, 2023, 8:44 AM · FWIW, my maker hates EP Gold on his violins. Cost is not the only useful variable, here!
February 21, 2023, 9:16 AM · Stephen, What does he not hate?
February 21, 2023, 9:17 AM · Elise - off course we are being taken for a ride!
The prices are not (only) determined by the cost of development and production but by what they think we are willing to pay. And part of it is convincing us that a given new brand will give us a certain benefit that we are willing to pay extra for.
An important difference with the guitar string pricing is that that market is probably a lot larger. And I bet that those strings don't have exuberant lustre and entizing playability! ;)
February 21, 2023, 9:21 AM · I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with so many string options. I have tried many of the Thomastik brands. But I do prefer Pirastro. This weekend Johnson String had a nice sale so I finally bought a custom set of Pirastro gut. Oliv Stiff G/D and Eudoxa A/E. Looking forward to trying them!
February 21, 2023, 9:37 AM · I think I'll go back to cheese wire and cat gut.

Anyone have a cat on its last legs willing to do an organ donation?

Edited: February 21, 2023, 9:49 AM · I always used Augustine guitar strings, $20 for a set of 6. Can't go wrong, except that the basses regularly snapped.
February 21, 2023, 11:21 AM · @Andrew Victor: He has found Timbre to be good, and has probably tolerated EP Green before. Right now, I am using Tricolore on his beast, and am curious what he will think of those.
February 21, 2023, 11:56 AM · Mr. Alexander, the Stiff Oliv are great, but the rigid D may be too tight (unless your only rigid is the G, and you are using the silver D-then none of this applies.) Let me know how it plays for you when you switch them out. Still do not want to fill your head with negative bias-you may like them! Only way to know what works for your violin and your own playing is by trying them.

As you know, still using the regular Gold/Aluminum D, lowest tension (my needs are different.) It still is a "strong" one. No one carries these on the shops, as only the rigid sell-when they even sell. But available online with some effort.

February 21, 2023, 12:20 PM · Mr. Adalberto, I ordered the following:

Oliv-Stiff Violin G String - gold-silver/gut 15 1/2
Oliv-Stiff Violin D String - gold-alum/gut 16 1/2
Eudoxa Violin A String - Aluminum/Gut 13 3/4
Eudoxa Violin E String - Aluminum/Steel: Medium

Pirastro offers so many options. This is yet another experiment. I will report my findings!

Edited: February 21, 2023, 4:11 PM ·
From my perspective, we have two separate dynamics at play:

>> Experimentation

>> Pricing.

Strings have come a long way since the days of metal wrapped gut strings. I have Peter Infeld Pi synthetic strings mounted on my violin, and they sound terrific, much better than wrapped gut strings. (I use the Red Infeld, gold plated stainless steel E.) That wouldn't have happened without experimentation. So, I applaud Thomastik's efforts at continuing this tradition of trying new things. Who knows, they may be onto something special with these new strings.

To the second dynamic, there are many considerations that influence pricing, especially for a new product. But, who really cares? What's important is that Thomastik is continuing to experiment. If these new strings catch on, then the pricing will eventually adjust to what the market will bear. If not, these new strings will fade.

February 21, 2023, 1:12 PM · I do not hold them in that much high regard, but to each their own. Dominant was and still is their most striking and landmark achievement, in my humble opinion. One of the few lines still offered at different tensions. No hate, I have used their strings before they started to make the new (now old) super string, "Infeld Pi".

I liked the design of the Titanium Solo E, but it did not catch on enough to be a "thing". One of the few unique Es, for better or worse, but pricey at the time of introduction.

I do not know any objective reason to believe the Infeld Pi line is "better" than wound gut other than preferring them-sounds like a matter subjective to the player and his/her violin(s). At that price may as well use good gut strings, which could even be more affordable in many cases.

No offense intended, there are plenty of good synthetics, and another thread on gut vs synthetics is perhaps not needed.

February 21, 2023, 2:30 PM · I agree with Aldaberto's claim that "the only way to know what works for your violin and your own playing is by trying them".

Nope, I don't like it, and were it otherwise (like there being some single best string), I could have saved thousands of dollars spent on purchasing and experimenting with strings.

February 21, 2023, 2:33 PM · Too expensive! Plenty of other strings and brands to chose from. Besides, less money spent on strings and more time spent practicing will ultimately make me sound better.
February 21, 2023, 6:23 PM · String makers should offer a discount when the strings first come out. The adjectives they use in marketing always sound the same so I don't feel like dumping $150 for strings that sound more Dominant-y than the last set of super Dominants.
Edited: February 22, 2023, 1:17 AM · As a manufacturer, I do not believe there can be a real justification for a set of violin strings costing ten times that of a set of, say, Tonicas. Aside from the core, the winding process is very similar for all strings, as is the cost of labor (in the EU at least). And I say this having been shown around two string factories, one of them being Pirastro, to learn how they are made.

Of course Thomastik is welcome to enter this discussion and correct me.

February 22, 2023, 3:53 AM · As was once spelled out on one of the fast-walking segments of The West Wing: prescription pills cost $.04 each. Except for the first one, which costs $1 billion.

I'm willing to concede that some R&D has gone into these designs. How much, and is the result worth paying for? That is a different set of questions that remain to be answered.

February 22, 2023, 4:07 AM · Mercedes-Benz spent over €1billion in R&D for their early '90s S-class (W140), but list price started at less than €100,000... anyway I'm amazed that Pirastro has been able to maintain such a low price on their Tonicas from day 1.
February 22, 2023, 4:14 AM · Could the price of Tonicas be something to do with a conscious decision to offer a string affordable to kids so as not to stifle interest in learning the instrument?
February 22, 2023, 6:46 AM · Premium products - Apple computers and BMW automobiles for instance - come with premium prices. Those products may or may not be better than less expensive alternatives produced by Samsung and Honda. But if Apple and BMW suddenly start to charge much less for their products, their products may no longer look as premium as they once did, and that’s probably a losing proposition for them in the marketplace.

February 22, 2023, 6:47 AM · Dimitri Musafia, your example of tonicas is interesting but I can buy a very suitable case to protect my violin for $150 USD so should one of yours cost significantly more? Should a Mercedes proportionally cost more than the least expensive car on the market? I'm certain an artist player will have a more competitive and interesting experience using a set of Dynamo strings.
Has anyone here tried to bow a guitar string? They look similar but are not even close.
Edited: February 22, 2023, 7:11 AM · There's a technique to bowing guitar strings: -
Edited: February 22, 2023, 7:48 AM · @Christian. I knew someone would bring this up. Your opinion of a "very suitable case" is just that, opinion. If you pay $150 retail for a case, and the case was made in a developing country, factory price will be in the range of $50-75 with maybe $20 of materials. You're getting what you pay for.

My cases have on the average $150 of materials alone. If you buy an artisan-made case made in Europe or the UK (T.A. Timms, Riboni, Caballero) you'll find cases in my price range.

Oh and in Italy a Dacia Sandero costs €11,700 while a Rolls-Royce Phantom will set you €580,000. That's 50 times more expensive. By your yardstick I should be selling cases for $7,500. And this year we'll be celebrating 40 years in the business, we must be doing *something* right! ;-)

Edited: February 22, 2023, 7:49 AM · I recommend your cases often. I still use a Webber case that I'll likely replace with one of yours if and when mine wears out! Better products often cost more.

Congratulations on 40 years!

Edited: February 22, 2023, 8:08 AM · Thank you, Christian. Leroy was a great guy, I got to meet him once when he was living in Washington State. You know he invented the "suspension system" that now everyone uses. He partnered with Isaac Stern for the design, to protect his 1740 Guarneri.

BTW, a couple years ago I got to visit the Pagani factory near Modena. Mr. Pagani told me that in each of their cars goes €75,000 in bolts alone (titanium, with a Torx head). Car not included of course.

February 22, 2023, 10:48 AM · I have Musafia cases for both my violin and my viola. Worth every €
February 22, 2023, 11:50 AM · It's not the same, Mr. Concannon. They still sell Dominant and Vision/VT/VTS-as well as even more affordable lines. Apple does not have "cheap" alternatives. The only similarity is in the marketing of products as "high-end"-the illusion of "professional" luxury. "Diminishing returns" is what I would call very pricey strings-and sometimes the result is not even better than the cheaper alternative you were used to, because violin playing is such that not a single string solution fits all. I cannot guarantee that I will like a high priced "professional" synthetic-even if an excellent option, I may very well find superb quality in a humble Gold Label "value" set.

(Also, Samsung in general costs a lot, and seeks to imitate Apple in the mobile market at least-sadly. Though it fits what I mentioned previously, that many companies seek to produce "premium" products at ever higher premium prices to see who can "out premium" each other.)

No offense intended to be sure, and I will never insult others for using their money on expensive strings. Just know that it's not guaranteed that a very high price string must mean "better."

February 22, 2023, 5:15 PM · "I have Musafia cases for both my violin and my viola. Worth every €"

The first musafia cases I purchased were paid for in lira. They're still in great shape, the only difference is they look better with age....unlike myself!

February 23, 2023, 3:00 PM · I've had my Musafia violin case for about 22 years and it was worth every penny! Except for the cover, which I replaced a couple of years ago, it is one of the best investments I've ever made. I may try out these new strings if they ever go on sale. Thomastik should have launched these strings at a deeply discounted price for a limited time only. If they are that good, then players will get hooked and they're likely to pay the higher normal price in the long run. As it stands, the bar has been set too high from the get go, thus limiting their impact on the market.
February 23, 2023, 6:42 PM · @Adalberto - getting back to your original post, the only justification I can see for these strings is if they somehow fill some useful niche on something like the Shar string chart ( or some similar chart that other strings don't, and that someone needs for their violin. The Shar chart doesn't even include all the strings currently on the market, and their chart does not have a lot of useful empty space. So, I see little justification for the new strings.
February 23, 2023, 7:08 PM · That's the thing for me, too. Every new string brand out there is going to fill a smaller and smaller gap in the chart. (And the locations on the chart are only approximate and could differ from one instrument to another anyway.) At some point the chart gets so crowded that one string brand becomes virtually indistinguishable from several others.
February 23, 2023, 10:35 PM · Tom, Thomastik’s online catalog has a similar chart with dynamos already on it, if you’re curious.
Edited: February 24, 2023, 2:39 AM · A url would have been useful, Dimitri.
Interesting to compare terminologies and wonder why Thomastik offer nothing that's both "brilliant and broad".
This translates as "brilliant and subtle" on the Shar chart: whereas Fiddlershop retains Thomastik's terminology.

So there you go - for three times the price, you get something that's a tiny bit more brilliant than Dominants. Although if they are higher tension too, that would, sadly, probably suit me and my violin, but not my income.

Edited: February 24, 2023, 3:56 AM · One thing that is vexing to retailers is to have to stock so many different types of strings. Not only the brands and the lines (Dominant, Oliv, etc.) but different guages (for example there are 10 different guages for the Oliv G for violin) and different tensions of synthetic gut. A full stock of each and every string type costs well over $100,000 when purchased wholesale.

This makes it very difficult for the typical violin shop to compete with the big guys. It's a pity because the violin shop is the place where so many people get their advice.

Edited: February 24, 2023, 6:52 AM · Without any information as to how they were derived these charts are mere pseudoscience. If we were told how they were derived we'd see how many buckets of salt to take them with.
February 24, 2023, 8:55 AM · @Dimitri Pappas - according the the Shar chart, there is a violin string called Charm which fills precisely the niche of Dynamos. Shar sells a set of Charm strings for $36.99.

@Steve Jones - there are a number of problems with these charts. As a general rule, they give enough useful information to guide a search for a set of strings that will work well on one's instrument. Most string players and luthiers who have experience with a lot strings will agree, I think. The charts have helped me.

That said, different strings sound different on different instruments, so you cannot be sure that the choice of a particular strings will produce particular sound you want on yours. So, string choice is usually a bit of an adventure.

February 24, 2023, 9:26 AM · You guys can listen to your charts to your hearts content, I'll stick to listening to live violins, call me old fashioned!!
Edited: February 24, 2023, 11:07 AM · Many of these charts, including that one, don't seem to capture many qualities that are very important to players.

Color, complexity, easy of response, impression of softness vs. hardness to both hands, etc.

Some strings that are right next to each other on that Thomastik chart produce a very different player experience. I can't imagine anyone ever commenting, "Those Spirocores sound and play a lot like Infeld Reds." They would find quite the contrary, probably.

February 24, 2023, 12:48 PM · Interaction with instruments can outweigh any qualities allegedly inherent in the strings.

I've seen this with bows. A somewhat soft, spongy stick turns out to be the one that makes one particular dark-sounding fiddle spring to life in 80% humidity. Not what one would expect, normally.

Edited: February 24, 2023, 1:21 PM · That chart has SEVENTEEN brands on it, and that's just Thomastik. That in and of itself is already absurd. To go with the case analogy.. Imagine if Mr. Musafia made 17 varieties of violin case, several of them in similar price ranges and some with three or more variations. (Do you want the oblong plywood shaped case with leather straps and velvet interior made from birch laminate? Or the maple laminate plywood? Perhaps the maple-birch laminate would suit you?)

One can imagine how confused a prospective customer would be.

Edited: February 24, 2023, 5:13 PM · @Andrew - that's why these charts are only a general guide. They don't tell you what the strings will sound like on a particular instrument (as Stephen S. points out), only the general characteristics. The charts function fairly well, IMHO, as a general guide or first approximation. I do not need more than that to know that Obligatos, with their warmth, are good strings for my violin and viola. I am not good enough to look at the charts and say, well, I need something slightly more this or that. For someone better than me, they may permit a more precise approximation of the sound sought.
February 25, 2023, 4:11 AM · @Cotton, when I was a kid Mercedes made four models: the sedan (W110, W111, and W112, designation depending on trim level, engine, and wheelbase), the roadster, the coupé, and the 600 limo.

Today Mercedes offers 43 different bodystyles, including 14 SUVs. I'm a car guy, but I can't even tell them apart any more.

February 25, 2023, 7:52 PM · God Lord, has anyone tried a prototype of these Dynamo strings? And I have three Musafia cases, love them :)
February 25, 2023, 8:35 PM · The Dynamo may be good-I just won't try them due to personal playing preferences. Not too tense, but above my threshold. Not for me. But better be much more than "good" at that price!

I only have one Musafia case, an older style Aeternum purchased second hand, with even the old style bow holders. The external canvas cover is a bit beat up, but even the external pocket is in great condition. Looks like new inside the case. My first good case ever, which I honestly believe will last a lifetime.

I believe it is worth buying one good Musafia case, than having many affordable-and often much more fragile-models that will eventually break in a few years of hard use. It is work to produce them, so they are not cheap, but also a good investment-a better value, all things considered.

February 25, 2023, 9:03 PM · I don't know, I found Warchal Amber, and never looked back. $57 now. Not for screaming in the big hall, for sure, but for intimate playing and recording... I haven't found anything else as responsive and lovely.
Edited: February 25, 2023, 10:47 PM · I guess one thing to keep in mind is that some strings may cost more upfront, but can tend to last longer than other sets which makes them cheaper in the long run. I use rondos at the moment and although they cost more than other sets like the vision solos, vision titanium solos, and Il Cannones I was using before they last at least a good two months more than those sets in my experience. The viola ones I actually was able to keep them on for 8-9 months before I noticed that they were starting to struggle with response and tone. The violin rondos with all the chamber music, orchestra, and solo rep I'm practicing/rehearsing at school last me 5-6 months versus the 3-4 I was getting with the other sets. That combined with the great sound they have on my violin makes the initial extra cost worth it to me.

Will I try the Dynamos? It's certainly possible with my love of trying new strings, but I won't hesitate to go back to Rondo should I not find what I seek from the Dynamos. I do wish they would pump out string sets for viola, cello, and bass as much as they do for violin. There are way fewer sets for those instruments on the market. For instance, I can't remember the last time there was a new bass string set from Thomastik. Likewise, Thomastik never bothered coming out with a Peter Infeld Cello set, violas only have 2 vision sets to 4 for violin and 0 for cello. Not saying they need to make strings for the other instruments with the same names as the violin ones, but I'm sure there are quite a few violists, cellists, and bassists who would like some more options. Just looking at the Thomastik charts there are so many gaps that could be filled if Thomastik would make an effort to develop strings to fill them.

By the way, I'm also loving my recently acquired Musafia case. It really is beautiful to look at every time I open it. It was worth every cent.

February 25, 2023, 10:53 PM · Further, Thomastik isn't the only one neglecting other instruments. It may not be at the same magnitude, but Larsen has released the Aurora for violin and cello as well as the Il Cannone a few years ago, but there are still only two sets for viola: original and virtuoso. I would love an Il Cannone viola set. I hope Larsen is considering it.
February 26, 2023, 3:20 AM · Larsen is a funny company. They started out making just cello A and D strings. Nothing more, nothing less, for quite a while. I had the privilege of being exclusive Larsen distributor for Italy for 18 years, during which time they would come out with new strings, which oftentimes did not sell.

Now that the founder has retired things may change, but we'll have to wait and see.

February 26, 2023, 7:46 PM · When it comes to value (getting the most bang for your buck), it's impossible to beat Warchal. Their limited assortment of strings cover the majority of sonic possibilities at reasonable and accessible prices. I have not tried the Timbre strings yet. I will when they decide to drop their annoying "luthiers only" policy. But their Amber and Brilliant strings are excellent in every respect.
February 26, 2023, 8:46 PM · @ Alexander, I was able to purchase Timbre violin strings from Warchal direct and ship here to the US no problem. I agree Warchal strings are excellent and a very good value.
February 26, 2023, 9:02 PM · @ Mr. Adalberto, I received my Oliv Stiff and Eudoxa strings a few days ago. They have been stretching out and just now are becoming stable. I rather like the heavier gauge as it allows for a nice punch without crushing. The Oliv Stiffs offer a vast array of color and depth with a rich, luscious tone. The Eudoxa E is complimentary providing good power with an even warmness, not strident like most metal E strings. I think I'd like to try a heavy gauge E and A next.
February 26, 2023, 10:26 PM · I just put on a set of Pirastro Perpetual Cadenza to try for my violin. I am finding it difficult to adjust back to synthetic coming from Eudoxas. I find that surprising as usually you read about the difficulty going to gut. I didn’t find it that hard at all adjusting to gut: I switched back to Eudoxas a little over 2 years ago on a nostalgia kick but was seduced by them and kept with gut since (I was playing Dominants before that). I’m finding it especially unsatisfying from a right arm/bowing perspective though I must confess the pitch stability and ease of intonation vs gut is noticeable (just less workload]. I hate to waste the cost of a set of strings but I might have to order a new set of Eudoxas soon and take off the Perpetuals, it’s that jarring.
Edited: February 27, 2023, 12:42 PM · Mr. Choo,

I love the Cadenza as synthetics, to be honest. The Eudoxa are another type of string altogether, even lower tension, very comfortable and wonderful to play on once you understand and learn to produce your best sound with them. But for synthetic users that want a good "low" tension string, I heartily recommend the Perpetual Cadenza. I love their controlled edge, playability, and preferred them over all "gut like" synthetics in the market. One of the few modern products I've enjoyed a lot-but coming from Eudoxa, they may be too much if you love the latter-they will get warmer soon enough, though without dullness.

I do not force my taste or peculiar needs on others, though! Play what you love. I re-ordered a Perpetual Cadenza A to match it with regular Oliv G&D, for the stability and its tone being good and beautiful enough even on high positions, matching well with the Olivs (I have read that it's not such a good match with Eudoxa, though, but every player and violin is different.)

Also ordered a Perpetual Platinum E, as I haven't used these in a while, but have a few Oliv and Hill backups. The company I ordered from shipped the *right* Cadenza A string, vs the famous other company starting with S that blamed *me* for ordering the "wrong" string. Will never order from them again for sure (still have a free, new regular Perpetual A to give away if anyone wants it.)

(Eudoxa are great, even non-rigid!)

Edited: February 27, 2023, 12:56 PM · Mr. Alexander,

As well as they fit your violin, all is well. Especially if higher tension is no issue!

I remember liking the rigid Oliv a lot-even the D-but the gauge I used, while sounding nice and rich, was for me at the time hard to control during fast double stop thirds. Perhaps a non issue for you. It is why I tried the lowest gauge for it when I went back to Oliv! My G still is 15.5, the D 16.25.

I love the sound of the Eudoxa E-I have also used it on heavy tension before, but so long ago. The only concern of mine is that non-wound Es tend to let the violin ring in a certain manner on the lower strings that wound Es tend to tame. A bit of a "veil" on the highs of my violin, affecting the whole tonal balance. If you do not mind this, then you will love it very much-it's very, very nice sounding.

But *glad* they are working for you! Oliv are expensive, but last and last.

February 27, 2023, 6:17 PM · Mr. Adalberto, I agree the Cadenza A is a beautiful sounding/feeling string. I just switched out the Eudoxa for one I had on hand. I forgot how nice a string it really is. It blends perfectly with the Olivs!

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