Best strings for Fractional violins?

Edited: July 18, 2023, 9:27 PM · Teachers: what strings do you recommend it to your beginning students if budget is no object?

I have a young student who is playing on a 1/4 size Violin. I currently have upgraded the strings to Heliocores but I was wondering if there are any specific recommendations for strings that enhance the sound of these fractional instruments. I would like the sound to be fuller and brighter. However, I am aware that there is a limit of what you can do with such a small instrument.

Replies (7)

July 18, 2023, 8:23 PM · Tonica.
July 19, 2023, 9:23 PM · Dominants or Tonicas should be fine.
July 19, 2023, 9:53 PM · We used dominants.
July 20, 2023, 1:03 AM · tonicas are cheaper and just as good as Dominants IMHO
July 20, 2023, 6:33 AM · Many cheaper fractional violins suffer from too thick plates and are difficult/impossible to get to produce a good sound.

Regarding strings I agree with the previous answers that Tonica is probably a good choise. Evah Pirazzi may give slightly brighter sound.

A general problem with fractional strings is that the string makers tend to make sets that cover several sizes. I.e. Pirastro have one set for 1/2 and 3/4. That means that the tension on the 1/2 will be lower and that may make it even more difficult to play - the strings get soggy.
An exception is Warchal who make individual strings for each size. (They also make their viola strings for two different vibrating string lengths.)
Most fractionals I have come across benefit from higher tension strings. Try tuning it up a whole tone and you will see (or rather hear) the difference.

I still have the fractional instruments I bought for our children. The 1/4 and 1/2 are newer factory instruments (Gewa I think) wheras the 3/4 is an older german instrument (probably also "factory" made) and is a quite good violin. I used the 3/4 as a piccolo violin for the first Brandenburg concerto. Finding the right strings for that was trial and error at first, but I realised that the string length on the 3/4 was very close to the vibrating length of the same note on my viola (that is the note required with the 3/4 tuned up a minor third). So I ended up using the upper 3 strings from a set of viola strings as the Bb, F and C and a 0.2 mm guitar steel string as the top G. That gave somewhat higher tension than with a 3/4 set in standard tuning.

It may be worthwhile to try out different E strings including some strong tension ones. Steel guitar strings can be used for dimensions not available for violins.

July 20, 2023, 12:05 PM · Dominant and Tonica strings are low tension: I don't know if the fractional versions are thicker to compensate for the much shorter vibrating string length.
Corelli crystal strings are thicker and more tense, and have a warmer tone.
Edited: July 20, 2023, 12:36 PM · Dominant and Tonica are medium tension not low tension, and fractional versions are thicker to compensate

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