On my Gliga Gems 1 violin were mounted very old Evah Pirazzi, replaced with new Pirastro Tonica. I have achieved the desired better playability (softer and certainly more even instead of stiff and frayed strings after three years of non-use), but the sound has changed for the worse since it is much less rich and seems shrilling.
I don't need to change them since to learn they are fine, but I was interested to understand for human and musical curiosity why the sound has deteriorated so much. I don't know if the three-year-old Evah Pirazzi were still to be considered "real" EPs, but assuming so they are considered bright and focused.
The Tonicas should be somewhat like the Dominants, neutral, maybe slightly brighter.
My doubt is that in reading the various "quadrants" in which strings are categorized I also found that this
https://violinlounge.com/violin-strings ... ing-guide/
In which the Tonicas are on the contrary indicated as warmer (thus darker sounding if I understand the concept) , with the comment that coupled with a violin that is itself warm sounding may produce a musky sound, which seems to me what happened. Not a drama be clear, but the difference from before is obvious.
In the end, how do I know what the "intrinsic" character of my violin is, if the sound change so much as the strings change?
If I will in the future return it to a sound similar to what it gave with EPs but without such exaggerated tension and a lower cost what would be the right choice? Some Larsen Aurora strings, which are supposed to be brighter than the Tonica, or some warmer D'Addario Zyex strings, or some even brighter Vision Solo strings to give an example?
But aside from examples, is there a reliable categorization of strings? Are all categories given by ear by a manufacturer or distributor, or there is an objective, quantifiable test.Tweet
The Tonicas will seem bright or shrill as you say because your old strings had lost their tone, Tonicas also need to bed in for a few weeks at least, and will constantly need retuning in this period as do most new strings. You can check the angle of your bridge with a credit card by the way, it will almost certainly have moved forward as you tuned the new strings, by moving I mean the angle. Be careful if it does need moving back as if you don’t hold the bridge correctly you could snap it, better ask your teacher to do it for you.
If you remain dissatisfied with your violin's sound after the Tonicas settle in I recommend taking your violin to a good, experienced luthier for advice. By hearing and playing your violin with well-known strings (Tonicas and Dominants have been around for the longest time of all synthetic-core strings) you should be able to get good advice about improvements that might be had with each of your strings. It's the way I came to the current string mix on my viola after owning it for 20 years.
I recall that some decades ago, when SHAR still distributed a printed annual catalogue, they included information on the strings used by various employees on their own instruments. Mixed sets were very common and there was not much commonality among the various choices. It was also probably a clever gimmick for selling more strings.
For sure need to wait more they will settle, need adjustment almost every day. I didn't like the sound respect the old setting with EP, but due the fact I have performed the change myself - total beginner in violin, first time changing a string set, resetting myself the bridge after was slightly bended in a corner - maybe I'm the one to be blamed for the result. Still even in this status there is nothing wrong, the teacher never complained about the sound (he didn't hear how was with the EP), is right in tone and very playable.
What I didn't understand is - having as example the change in my violin sound - how is evaluated and to be chosen a couple violin+string set.
If will be only by ear I'll be condemned to purchase and try strings, not a bad way to use money, but very inefficient.
I was thinking there are some rule+tool+chart to
- evaluate your violin (bright, clear, warm, etc)
- define what kind of sound you want to evolve into
- choose your strings based on your goal, depending from the fact the different strings have different properties
I have a MSc degree and also an EMBA, maybe I spent too much time looking at Gartner-like quadrants and charts and I'm just missing the point how the whole thing need to be approached :D. Our teacher seems to didn't care at all and probably there are much more important things. But I'm overly curious and always want to understand...
I don 't think those "quadrant charts" are much use. They may apply for violins of a certain range of "types" but I think knowing the effect of string tensions and how to set a soundpost for different responses from a particular instrument is much more relevant.
Also, the "status" (i.e., audiograph) of a player's hearing has a large effect on how a specific violin sounds to the player.
Evahs are notoriously short-lived so if you're playing on 3-year-old Evahs who knows what you're getting. People shouldn't play Evahs unless they have the resources to change them a lot.
However, beautiful, simple representations, while great for conveying high-level ideas, are terrible at capturing nuance.
There's a lot more to the way strings sound than those four-quadrant charts capture, even before you get to the way that individual strings respond to individual instruments. Strings also feel different under the left-hand fingers and beneath the bow, and some strings feel more or less tense in a way that doesn't necessarily correspond to their actual measured tension.
While we can generalize broadly about certain strings, I don't think that there's a substitute for actually trying them out on your specific violin. For a beginner, I'd say that the smart thing to do is get Dominants or Tonicas (or maybe Visions) -- decently long-lasting, fairly neutral, high-quality strings that are reasonably priced -- and stick with them until you are able to produce a nice enough sound, and play on a decent enough violin, that it's worth buying higher-end strings (and being pickier in their selection) rather than putting the money towards a future violin upgrade.
Put Tonicas on your Gliga, practise for 3 years, then have another look at the question. By that time you will probably have upgraded anyway.
But also, if you keep your hardware constant you will hear how you change, which is important.
Sounding brilliant or warm or broad or focussed is a skill that has to be learnt by the student. It's only after they've learnt it that these things will become the hardware's responsibility.
A Strad will sound like a Strad and a Guarneri will sound like a Guarneri when they are played by someone who knows how. They will both sound like Stentors when they are played by someone who has been learning for three months.
But I agree that a Gigla violin with Tonica strings should allow pleasure and progress. Tonicas need careful choice of contact point, bow pressure and speed.
And let us remember that brand new synthetic-cored strings sound horribly harsh when new. And horribly grotty when old.
Of course will be practicing, today with the teacher.
The reason for my post was just understanding more general rules about instrument and strings coupling, not since I will rush in purchasing new one (for practicing the current one are fine as written), but just if possible to get back at the next strings change the sound I loved more when I purchased the instrument.
I read countless times the personal feeling in having a nice sounding instrument it's a powerful motivating factor in progressing, what I can humbly say is even as beginner after pushing all the options to get - in the budget - the best sounding instrument I can, I was slightly deluded in how the sound changed with the new strings.
That said for next year or so I will have this string set and practicing practicing practicing.
Most of my loaner instruments (mostly stentor and similar) have tonica strings, but I do have a couple of gligas. These violins sound rather dull with tonicas and do seem to prefer strings from the brighter side of the chart.
Both my best loaner violin (Gliga 2) and my own gliga 1 viola love Brilliant, but they are among the more expensive warchal strings. When you get up to needing new strings, check whether warchal are still offering a trial price on their sets.
It might be worth checking whether their ametyst strings (I think that's their entry level set) sound good. They didn't work at all for my stentors (sounded garish) but we're nice on the beginner home brand range from one of the music shops here in Sydney.
After dodging COVID for two and a half years, I am about 99% sure I caught it playing in the orchestra at an outdoor event last summer; at least three other members of the orchestra also tested positive within a few days afterward, and it was the only place I was around people without wearing a N95 mask all week. Although outdoor events are still much safer than indoor events, Omicron is so much more contagious that the chance of catching it outdoors is no longer negligible.
Long COVID is, unfortunately, a thing. I had mild acute symptoms (I only felt really bad for about half a day) but 7 months later I still have severe brain fog and get winded walking to the Starbucks around the corner from my apartment. A year ago I was finishing a postgraduate law degree and playing in two orchestras; right now I'm playing in a single community orchestra and not working at all, and that amount of activity already pushes my mental and physical endurance.
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If it still sounds bad after this, talk to your luthier. If he/she has no useful input, see what your teacher thinks.
Then come back here (or Maestronet). You will find no shortage of advice. ;)