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Nemo

Pirastro String Question...

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Hearing the pro's & con's of guts, I wanted to try them out. So taking the advice of some from this forum I emailed Pirastro for a trial set and guess what, they came in yesterday! Olives & gold E string.

I have 2 Questions:

1. I noticed a small felt donut on the strings, I'm supposing this is to insulate the ball against the tailpiece where you thread it through, is that right?

2. I currently play obligato's and my bridge is slightly lower than the norm because I like a low action. Should I expect vibration against the fingerboard if I use the current bridge with the gut strings?

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1. That's what I would assume it was for (but it's only an assumption).

2. People on the Pegbox might be able to tell you the answer to this one.

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I've always wondered what that little felt donut is for! I've always just thrown them away.

Please let us know how the Oliv set seems to compare to the Obligatos, in sound and feel.

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Nemo- If you are currently using Obligatos and they do not vibrate against the fingerboard, there should be no problem with Olives.

I like low action too. Another way to achieve it without having the bridge excessively low is to have a lower top nut (just below the pegbox). This can create a comfortable feel up to about 4th position. If the strings are too high above 4th pos. then it is the bridge that needs to be lower. Regards, Larry.

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I too have just gotten my olivs from Pirastro...I've been using Zyex and have been quite pleased with them in the past but have been wanting to try the gut strings...I just put the olivs on last night and played them for a couple of hours which I'm sure isn't near enough time to make a fair judement of them..However, I will say that the longer I played them the better they got...I do like the warm sound that they produce and hope that they will continue to improve in volume and response...How long does it take in regards to the time it takes to reach their full potential?? Regards, Lonnie...

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Quote:

Hearing the pro's & con's of guts, I wanted to try them out.


You INDEED tried them out!

That is, Pirastro integrity. Or, generosity! Not the strings!

Well, maybe ALSO the strings, but you chose a good test to "try out" Pirastro with!

Anyway, thanks for sharing your results. They seem to be quite nice people, these Pirastro people!

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Day 1: I put the new Oliv strings on yesterday. The initial stretching and tuning was continuous about every 10 minutes for the 1.5 hours I practiced with them. But I realized after the first 10 minutes that these are going to be great. They play better and sound better on my violin than the obligato's (which are very good strings also and do sound simular to these oliv's). The Oliv's seem to have a distinct edge to them. If the sound is even better in 5 days I'll be sold on guts for sure...

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Haven't tried an Oliv set in many years, but a couple of years ago tried a mixed batch that included an Oliv A (I think) and the rest Eudoxas. Except for the retuning, I loved them -- and the Oliv was exceptional (except it broke after a couple of weeks or so).

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Nemo, I also tried out olivs for the first time, several months ago, and I for sure do appreciate them, and sense they have good quality, above many others. But they don't do the WHOLE job, obviously, and are not _completely_ magic, to such an extent that I don't still want a better violin (and bow), also!

Pure gut string might be even more interesting. I have some which are quite expensive, but I'm waiting till I next ask my luthier advice how to put them on, and I ALSO hope to get some of the very top pure gut strings also, which are called something like Douglecki.

No! I won't get THOSE as a free trial offer, and they are quite expensive too!

BTW, what I was actually trying to say, above, was that you "tried out" Pirastro quite well, by trying them (the company) out to see if they would send you a set of such expensive strings!

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Day 4: I believe the strings are becoming more stable now. When I first pick up the violin for practice I find them a whole note out of tune. After re-tuning they seem to hold well until the next day. The lower tension of the strings offers some pro's & con's:

1. Spiccato & staccato seems a harder on these strings than the obligato's.

2. My bow seems to "grab" the strings better.

3. Response seems also a little slower.

4. They do sound better than the obligatos but will they last as long as obligatos.

5. Easier on the fingers in 3rd+ positions.

I still can't tell if I am having to work harder for good intonation which I've heard some complain about with guts.

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It's such a love fest for gut,I think I should play a little Devil's advocate. I used gut strings for years exclusively. Ifyou get good one's they are fine.

Pros:

1. smooth sound & response,

2. perhaps a little softer feel

3. traditionalist appeal

Cons:

1. Too many bad strings (they spoil and are harder to control quality).

2. Cost

3. 1 + 2 -total expense

4. Not as bright as some of the better synthetics.

5. Response a bit slower than some of the better synthetics.

All in all, I've been far more satisfied with Dominants on my viola and Infelds on my violin.

However, you should play what pleases you.

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Nemo, It takes different and better technichque and intonation is more exacting, but when you get used to it, I believe, the payoff is great. There is more dynamics and feelings you can express with it. I think that is, if you have good quality gut strings, and a good violin, suitable for it, and the right bow, too. If the violin is a quiet instrument, maybe the guts will make it even quieter, so that might be a waste of money and effort.

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Shimon's point about different effects on different violins is important. You might want to ask your luthier whether gut will really work well on your particular instrument, given the significance of the cons.

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The Oliv's actually seem louder than the Obligato's I had previously. The cost of the Oliv's are probly more than I want to spend every 6 months or so. ($80 bucks, woof!!) I know pirastro sells a lower priced set of guts around the 30-40 dollar range. Also there is a U.S. company "kaplin" I think that sells guts though I don't know anybody that have tried them. I'm thinking before I totally go gut I'm going to have to try out Evahs & Visions.

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Quote:

The cost of the Oliv's are probly more than I want to spend every 6 months or so.


They'll probably last more like 9-12 months (except for the E, of course).

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Oliv's might be well louder to pure gut. Pure gut, it's not easy to play too vigorously on, they will sound a bit upset! (screechy, as well as they will sink more easily into the surrounding strings, with too much bow-pressure). They make up for it in other ways. Oliv's are a little bit like pure gut, but they have quite a good boom to them.

None of my Oliv's have broken yet in over 9 months.

It MIGHT be expensive if they DO, but not much more than many other strings. Just make sure the fittings are smooth, and don't cause too much roughness on the strings.

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I emailed Pirastro,they are sending me some Eudoxa strings.

My Chinese strings seem so harsh,I am

hoping the eudoxa make a difference......

I guess one should change the strings anyways.

I have a Menzel student outfit, made in China, but

I have heard that one shouldn't put these Eudoxa

strings on a new violin.

Is this true?

Rick

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My Oliv G string lasted a full two years before I replaced it. It was still sounding good at the time, but I had a concert and didn't want to risk it snapping during the performance. The new, fresh Oliv G did have more ring and accomodated intense bow pressure with a bit more grace, but, in comparing the old Oliv G to the new Oliv G, the difference was really not all that substantial.

Seeing as the Oliv G is what's really driving the price of Olivs significantly above the other premium synthetics, I find Olivs to actually be more economical in the long run. Whereas I used to have to replace my G string every 3 months, I can now wait four times the amount of time. An Oliv G string is far from four times the cost of a top-quality synthetic G.

My last Oliv D lasted 7 months and continued to sound good, but Oliv D's prior to that tended to last only a typical (at least, for me) 3 months before snapping. Not all that different in durability or cost compared to a synthetic, and, when it doesn't snap, it can last much longer. I find that Olivs don't "wear out" and become rubberbands quite like synthetics; instead, they just snap when they don't like you anymore.

The Oliv A didn't sound good on my violin, so I switched it out for a Synoxa A which matches the set amazingly well and sounds much better.

The gold-plated Oliv E, in my opinion, doesn't justify the cost. After going through many E strings, I've settled on the "classic" Gold Label E, which sounds better on my violin and costs less.

Go gut!

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Well it has been almost 2 weeks now. I have noted so far:

1. String stretching is gone. They require only slight tuning about every other day.

2. Some days they sound dull and some days they sound great. I don't know if this is due to temperature & humidity changes, but the Obligato's I had did some what the same thing but not as bad.

3. Super Scratchy if your not super careful. This might be the waterloo. Unless I can find a rosin that might help this issue with these stings I don't think I will be patient enough to practice using them. You have to play too perfectly and then some. I've tried Hill dark and Tartini Green but neither seem to help. I'm afraid of over rosining tying to over come this.

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...was that while the "Olive" is an outstanding string it proved to not be very durable -- especially the A string which sometimes broke within only days of putting one on...and given their price economics ruled them out.

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Part of the reason why Chinese violins are thought to be inferior is because they are judged using the rubbish strings that come with them.

Chinese strings have a long way to go before they reach anything like western quality. So just replace them with anything and the instrument will automatically sound better.

The same goes for Chinese bows, by the way. The horse hair they use is very inferior and a so a rehair will greatly improve the performance of a Chinese bow.

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I am a cellist, and recently got my set of Olives from Pirastro. I tried to use the A and D, but the aluminum wound strings are too easy to make a harsh sound with. I use them, but only during the times I don't need to play in public. The lower strings, however, are terrific. I found that the response on the lower strings is fine, but I need to play them differently than a tungsten or perlon. Are there any silver wound cello d strings?

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Johnny,

Pirastro do make the Eudoxa cello D which is a combination of aluminium and silver. If it is anything like the Eudoxa "brilliant" D string for violin, then it would probably sound less scratchy and more smooth than the pure aluminium one. I am guessing the design (cello Eudoxa D and Violin Eudoxa brilliant) is philosophically similar.

Apart from that, many players (both violin and cello) will often use wound gut for the lower two strings and steel (or synthetic) for the top two. I am seriously considering going this route - with either Eudoxa or Olive on the bottom two and something like Flexicore or some sort of synthetic for the second string. I just can't quite get used to wound gut on my violin A string - I tend to prefer a string that can take more pressure and has a clearer sound.

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