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ecrowe9298
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You'll find a lot written about all the quality brands of strings on other posts and in the archives here. (There is another current thread on Obligatos running, I think.)

I've seen a list somewhere of strings used by top players, Thomastik Dominant is certainly very widely used at the top level, as well as Pirastro products. But there are proponents advcating every other brand name as well, I sure.

The principle "horses for courses" also seems to apply. There seems little doubt that some strings are more suited to a particular instrument as a bit or experimenting will reveal. We're also lucky to have a number of options and sophistocated technology available today.

Good Luck.

Omo.

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It does not matter what the world's greatest violinists use on their multi-million-dollar instruments. They (and their audiences) have gotten used to a certain sound and they want to maintain that.

What matters is what works best on your instrument.

Pirastro Olives are wonderful strings, but they cost a good bit more than most other strings and suffer rapid intonation changes from humidity changes, as all gut and gut-core strings do. This can be especially devastating when one moves into and out of air conditioned venues or (in winter) those that are drier or moister due to central heating. It is a real nuisance to keep instruments strung with gut in tune if the weather (internal or external) is changing rapidly.

Pirastro Obligatos are a very good string, but here again it will depend on the response characteristics of your instrument. I think Obligatos are a rather bright string, but not as bright as the Pirastro Evah Pirazzi strings that reached the marked a year or two later.

It seems to me that each violin produces a different balance of frequencies in response to "white noise" (flat) stimulation from a broad band of all frequencies at the same amplitude. Each string brand, in turn, produces fundamental vibrations and divisions of those vibrations ("harmonics" or "partials") at different amplitudes than another (to some degree).

When you mix a very bright string with a very bright instrument, you get a very bright sound (lots of partials). To get what you want you have to balance the strings and the instrument - sometimes even mixing different brands on the same instrument to better balance the strings with one another.

I've been "experimenting" with this on a few violins since Zyex and then the Obigatos first became available a few years ago - and when they were quickly followed by Larsen (for violin), Thomastik Infled Blue and Red, and then Evah Pirazzi - well, it's become a continuing saga, that I can't quite end (although a few times I thought I had - and at least two violins seem to be settled for sure (one with Infeld Red and one with Infeld Blue (although even those are mixed a little). I'm at the stage where I still am going back and foth on a couple of the instruments.

I've followed the same silly path on a few violas and cellos too.

If your violin is too bright with Dominants - a cheap fix to try for the present is to try Pirastro Tonicas.

E strings are a whole other story, but the Tonica E is not a bad match to Obligatos. The tin-plated Infeld Blue E is a strong-sounding string, and I've seen the Corelli Alliance recommended. To my knowledge, everyone who's tried the Gold-plated strings: Pirastro Olive and Obligato and (now) Evah Pirazzi "Goldstahl" and the Thomastik-Infeld-Red - LOVE them - wonderful sounding strings - BUT (BUT) BUT, they have a tendency to whistle on the open E string under a light bow stroke, and for those who play that way, they can be a huge pain in the neck. Some players (quite a few, apparently) think they are worth that headache to get that sound quality on the E string. As a person who does most of his playing in sight-reading situations, I don't want to have to compensate for bowing on different strings that way.

Andy

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Andrew (and others), could you recommend a strategy for experimenting with different brand strings?

I felt the D and G on my violin were a just little dead feeling with Dominants (and Piastro Gold E), so I put 4 Infeld Reds on. The D, A, and E are all much better now -- I won't change them further.

But the G, while improved, is still a little dead. It may project alright, but it doesn't feel as solid as the the other strings when I pull the bow across. Could you recommend say 4 strings, the order I should try them in, and how long I should leave each on before moving on?

[This message has been edited by Richf (edited 05-25-2001).]

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I've experimented a lot with strings, and it's an interesting thing to do. However, when all is said and done, dominant medium-gauge all the way across is not such a bad choice for most instruments. You might spend $500 trying all the brands and end up coming back to them. Not that they are necessarily the best, but above a certain level of quality, if you are unhappy with the sound then most likely you have an instrument or set-up problem not a bad choice of strings.

Actually I'm on Tonicas right now, and they work just fine.

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Ok, guys and gals, am I right that if your violin tends to be a bit too bright that you should put "warmer" strings on it?

Right now I think this is my situation...I currently have D'addario Pro Artes on my violin...I have on hand the following sets: D'addario Zyex strings, a set of Tonicas and a set of Evah Pirazzi's. Should I give one of these a try first? What about Infeld Reds?

Any suggestions are welcome! THANKS!

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quote:

Originally posted by andy989:

I would try a Blue G before anything else. And then...if your violin has a tendency to sound dead, naturally, maybe something brighter, like Obligato or Evah.

My violin currently has dominants on it,I like the way the A and E strings sound, however my G is a little dull and my biggest problem is with the D string.It sounds like it is tuned to the frequency of the violin wood,causing a very loud echoeing resonating sound.Does anyone have any suggestions?Maybe it's a problem with the setup?

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Richf,

What I've done with a dull-sounding G string is to try an Olive (silver-wound gut core) of fairly heavy gauge. This give s nice sound - for me. Fortunately, the gut G strings seem to be less affected by humidity changes than the lighter strings.

However, right now, I don't think I've got an Olive on any fiddle.

Andy

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Is Obligato a brighter sounding string? I have been told at different times and noticed on the posts here that some people say it's a brighter sounding string, some say it's a good gut substitute string, some say it is a lighter gauge string, some say it has less tension than most other strings. Can someone give me an informed idea what an Obligato string is all about.

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I 've only used 3 different types of strings.I like Corelli Alliance for its body but the strings are very hard and my fingerpads hurts.I've also tried the Infeld Red, they're decent, could have been better, smooth string but not enough body for me and the E string whistle too much.I have nothing to complain about Dominant but I'm exploring other string brands soon.

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I like Dominants myself. I like the "edge" you can get from them (at least on my instrument), and their power of projection. Not the E of course (ugh!) On my instrument, the Westminster E does the trick -- not quite as "cool" in sound as the Hill E, not quite as brilliant (and unforgiving) as the Pirastro E. (but I may someday "graduate" in that direction.)

Used Zyexs (with a Thomastic Gold-Plated E on my old instrument.) Two good qualities: LOUD, and never needed tuning!

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I had found the Zyex strings somewhat lacking in brilliance, which I attribute to weaker partials than many other string brands. (It certainly is true that thes seem loud, and stay in tune unbeleivably well.)

However, on a very brilliant violin, the Zyex strings seem to have plenty of high end and may be the best choice. Might be real good on a Strad! I've found they have a good strong E - as well - if you are looking for that.

Andy

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Andrew Victor,

Shar lists an Olive G "gold-sil/gut (rigid)." Is that the heavy guage Olive you referred to? How would that Olive fit in with Andy989's recommendation of moving sequentially through Infeld Blue, Obligato, and Evah?

I reread my description of how my G string sounds: "a little dead." Is the brightness that Andy989 suggests the opposite of "deadness." I just want the note of the G string to ring as clearly as they do on the other strings.

(Thanks to both Andy's for responding to my post.)

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Richf,

Rigid or stiff strings tend to have "anharmonic" partials. To see what I mean try sounding the low, short, thick strings of a piano and see how some of the overtones are reall not "in tune" with the fundamental. A rigid string will tend to do some of this and perhaps give more of a ringing sensation.

However, what i would do, is call up SHAR and ask them about it.

The Olive strings are usually sold by gauge - and there are many gauges for each string. I've also noted, that aluminum-wrapped strings seem to sound brighter than silver-wrapped, although I'm not familiar with any aluminum-wrapped G strings. The lower density of aluminum would have to be compensated for by a thicker string gauge. As you go to thicker strings, you do lose responsiveness, so yu have to balance the various factors for your own violin.

Andy

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Interesting...I use all Dominants and the E string sounds terrible. I thought that it was me...maybe I should try a Pirasto?

quote:

Originally posted by andy989:

Ecrowe- sounds like a setup problem.

OleBull- I'd NEVER use Dominants all the way across, because the Dominant E, on every single violin I've ever played it on, is awful...probably one of the worst in the market.

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I saw Dominants for A,D and G strings and E was Pirastro Oliv gold plated ,a week ago on 1714 year "Jaket" Stradivari the sound was perfect.

There was some kind of transperant plastic foil covering the uper right rib and the chin rest-end pin area.Have some one else seen that kind of protecting foils?

Stepan

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quote:

Originally posted by nanquilly:

Interesting...I use all Dominants and the E string sounds terrible. I thought that it was me...maybe I should try a Pirasto?


After the Dominant E, the Pirastro Gold E (Wondertone) will come as quite a shock! It is very brilliant and clear. At my level of play (early intermediate), I find the Westminster or Hill easier to control; the Westminster has some (but not all) the brilliance of the Pirastro. Or at least on my instrument.... (and with me playing it!)

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quote:

Originally posted by shantinik:

After the Dominant E, the Pirastro Gold E (Wondertone) will come as quite a shock! It is very brilliant and clear. At my level of play (early intermediate), I find the Westminster or Hill easier to control; the Westminster has some (but not all) the brilliance of the Pirastro. Or at least on my instrument.... (and with me playing it!)

I'm a beginner player so I don't really know what sounds good.I should say I'm happy with the way my dominant E string sounds but after reading all these posts,I think I will try a gold plated E string!

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[/b] but after reading all these posts,I think I will try a gold plated E string![/b]

The Pirastro Gold E (Wondertone) is NOT gold plated (I know that seems strange, but it is true!!! Many beginning players (including ME!) find that the gold-plated "E"s have a tendency to whistle. More advanced players (like my daughter, who uses a Thomastic Gold-Plated E) can make them sound great, but personally speaking, I wouldn't recommend them (at least as a first try.) A large number of the pros and symphony players use Dominants with the Pirastro Gold (not gold-plated) E.

good luck! (this is all very confusing, I know -- it took me awhile to settle on the combo I like -- and of course, that might not be forever!)

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Gold Olive 'Stark'Gauge E strings are the best I've found. I've never ever had any of this whistling (from a fine -quality gold E string) that people are cautioning about. I think it's the bowing technic, and not the strings fault. This is good- forcing the player to fix their bowing, or forever be stuck whistling... unless they choose to use a less brilliant, "muddier" string.

No one blames a top- notch auto when they grind it's gear-box or strip it's flywheel, do they?It's not my foots problem if I trip over myself - just my own improper co-ordination. Not to put them in my mouth...

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DeStaunton,

True...for the past 2 weeks my instructor has been giving me drill upon drill for E string intonation. Even with the Dominant E, there has been a vast improvement. Having such a lousy E string also forces me to be very careful to maintain proper bowing technique to avoid the harsh shrill sound it makes so easily. I just ordered a Pirastro Oliv E, it should be quite a pleasure to play on it!

Ever learning...and loving it laugh.gif

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