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Why does everyone hate Dominant strings so much? n/t


Katie
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: :-)i don't know of anyone that really "hates" them, but there are some reasons that people have for looking elsewhere:

1. they are overrated

2. tonicas sound better

3. many less expensive brands sound just as good (new sensicores, pro-artes as examples)

4. teachers push them so hard when they have no idea what they are tlaking about having only used gut for 30 years and then discovering dominants years ago and never trying anything else

5. they break more easily than other brands

6. they "poop" out sooner than other brands

7. some people just like to complain about whatever the most popular thing is

they do in my experience sound better on cheap student instruments than any other string, i don't know why, but they just do. on nicer instruments it varies quite a bit. i also think that thomastik has been sitting on their butts lately compared to pirastro and daddario.

i would have to ask you, and the others that love dominants what it is that you like them so much for, compared to tonicas or eudoxas, helicores, zyex, obligatos or the other well-respected strings out there now?

mike

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It's a matter of taste, naturally, but Dominants sound very "tinny" to me. I switched to Pirastro Eudoxas (gut core) and never looked back -- they have a much fuller, richer sound in my opinion. About $15 more a set than Dominants, but I think they're worth it. They also have good lasting power.

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: i would have to ask you, and the others that love dominants what it is that you like them so much for, compared to tonicas or eudoxas, helicores, zyex, obligatos or the other well-respected strings out there now?

: mike

********

Hello Defenders of Dominants,

We know that there are people reading this board who have very good instruments that feel that Dominant strings enhance certain inherent qualities these instruments have. I am wondering if although they are satisfied with the instrument's performance with Dominants, they have tried Tonicas (a similar string) or any other of the diverse ones mentioned by mike. If so, what happened to make you return to Dominants? Bill? Stefan? Tell us of the trials.

A. Brown

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Well, for one, i've only tried two different kinds: my teacher-reccomended "super sensitive" (standard for student instruments) and I really hated them. Then I put some dominants on my Glaesel student instrument and they sound great. But they do sound a bit metallic when you first put them on, but that wears off after a couple of weeks, so in my experience don't put them on right before a concert! They are also the only ones you can find at my local music shop. (Antioch music in North KC) besides the "super sensitive" no-names

K@tie

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Hi.

I agree with Mike and RAL. I used Dominants for years until I got fed up with the horrible sound they make :) Like RAL, I switched to Eudoxas, and an Oliv Goldsthal E. Gut sounds better than any perlon I've ever used. And like Mike said, dominants do make a cheap instrument sound decent, but on a nicer instrument they are uncomfortable to listen to, or at least in my opinion. Also like Mike said, teachers love to push Dominants on kids because they are pretty easy to tune, all perlon core strings are. They last a little longer, I play a lot, and Eudoxas last from 2 to 3 months on my violin. You can get about 6 months out of the Dominant D and G but the A and E start to go false within several weeks. The only plus to Dominants is they react fairly well to temperature and humidity changes. I'm in the mountains of North Carolina, yesterday it was about 75 here at 5pm, but when I got my violin out to practice at about 2am it was down in the 30's, gut strings go sharp really fast when it gets cold. But there's nothing bad about having to tune every now and then.

The best use for Dominants is to throw them at large animals invading your camp.

Have Fun

Ben

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Hi.

Yeah they'll make a student instrument sound kinda good. That metallic sound is the famous Dominant metallic edge, sounds ok on a cheap fiddle, but it's them most painful sound when you hear that metallic edge on a nice violin. If you have to used synthetics go with Helicores, they sound great on my viola, but I only use gut on my violin. Teachers hate gut, they're hard to tune and they don't last as long, but they sound great. oooh... one little thing, the sound of gut on a cheap violin is worse than the sound of dominants on a nice fiddle.

Have Fun

Ben

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:

: : i would have to ask you, and the others that love dominants what it is that you like them so much for, compared to tonicas or eudoxas, helicores, zyex, obligatos or the other well-respected strings out there now?

: : mike

: ********

: Hello Defenders of Dominants,

: We know that there are people reading this board who have very good instruments that feel that Dominant strings enhance certain inherent qualities these instruments have. I am wondering if although they are satisfied with the instrument's performance with Dominants, they have tried Tonicas (a similar string) or any other of the diverse ones mentioned by mike. If so, what happened to make you return to Dominants? Bill? Stefan? Tell us of the trials.

I don't think Stefan and I qualify as devoted Dominant users. I'm a devoted gut user, except for my viola, where I use Helicores + a Larsen A, and Stefan had Tonicas on his violin each of the times I have seen it.

I've done a little experimentation with the Obligato strings, but only in one case did they work out better than the combination of Olive G&D and Kaplan Golden Spiral A that I like. As I recall, it wasn't that the Obligato strings sounded better on a string-by-string basis, but that the instrument was better balanced overall; might simply have been that the tension pattern of that set of strings was a better match for that violin.

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I believe Dominants get so much badmouthing because they are so widely used. I've yet to hear them sound less than pleasant on an extremely well balanced instrument. Switching brands of strings is a safe effective way for a player to try to get the most out of a given instrument. But the problems of balance, sounding tinny, too metallic or shrill are all clear indications to me that something other than the strings is not quite right. It's a case of when all is well they can sound very very good but when they are bad they are horrid. Not that none sound better but the string world does have a tendency to get set in its ways (understatement of the year). For me there is a certain satisfaction in seeing one "set" of strings and hearing it play evenly up and down all four of them. As a standard it instills a measure of confidence for the buyer when they can see string selection will be a matter of taste not a necessity. Unless otherwise requested, purple flavor is what you get ?round fiddle town. I have had several Dominants break for no good reason and am willing to accept another standard as players tastes change. We have three votes for Tonicas from this question so far?

To hazard a guess as to why Dominants work consistently well on low grade student models; since it's better to err on the side of too thick rather than too thin, that is how the majority of factory models are graduated. With dominants they may still lack color and volume but without being so shrill and unforgiving as steel. Like I said, it's just a guess. I've been stayin' off da junk for the last few years. The lesser instruments that I have set up that ended up needing a choicer e had at least one area of either plate that I was convinced beforehand was too thin. My evidence for this answer is rather skimpy, so those that wish to say yea or nay should not hesitate to jump right in.

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By far, the best gut strings are Pirastro Olives. They have the same problems as other gut strings; and additionally, are rather expensive. Worth the price? To me they are; to others they aren't. It's all a matter of personal taste, desire, etc.

As to gut E strings, I know they used to be available. I expect they still are from somebody but I haven't seen them for 10+ years.

D

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I'm a beginner in violin and I have a rather cheap student instrument with Dominant strings. However, now after some playing on them, I have to say that I don't like their sound at all, especially the D-string for me sounds absolutely awful. Like the sound would have a "sore throat" -a loud one. Can anyone recommend another string -type? Actually I don't know if I can only change the D-string or should I change them all, for example the E-string is pretty nice. Anyways, are there any other strings which would stay tuned as well as Dominants, yet give a nicer sound?

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It sounds like a lot of people have similar complaints about dominants-- they wear out too fast, they don't sound good, etc. That's weird, because I have used Dominants for several years and I have *never* had one break prematurely on me. Also, I never got the sense that any of them were that tinny or harsh-- that is, not until I've done 200 hours of playing on them. I'm sure that there are plenty of better strings out there-- I'm in the process right now of trying others. I loved the sound of Tonicas, but they seemed to stretch too tightly, and one of them broke only a few days after I put them on. Maybe I was just unlucky and got a bad set that time, I don't know, but there is no way that I could afford to have breaking strings all the time. I have a set of Aricores that I will probably put on over the next couple of days; I'm curious to see how that will sound.

How much does the setup of a violin affect what strings ought to be used? I have heard that there are different setups for optimum performance depending on whether one is going to use synthetic, gut, or steel, or is it just a matter of fine tuners?

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Dominants string up fast...tune up fast...break in fast. Furthermore, they keep on giving more and more tone when the string is stretched underneath the bow hair.

With studio recording work, a player does not have much choice in terms of strings. Maintaining a similar string sound with fellow musicians is imperative. This means Dominant strings.

For solo use, the Dominants come off and other strings may come on.

: : i would have to ask you, and the others that love dominants what it is that you like them so much for, compared to tonicas or eudoxas, helicores, zyex, obligatos or the other well-respected strings out there now?

: : mike

: ********

: Hello Defenders of Dominants,

: We know that there are people reading this board who have very good instruments that feel that Dominant strings enhance certain inherent qualities these instruments have. I am wondering if although they are satisfied with the instrument's performance with Dominants, they have tried Tonicas (a similar string) or any other of the diverse ones mentioned by mike. If so, what happened to make you return to Dominants? Bill? Stefan? Tell us of the trials.

: A. Brown

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It's interesting to me to hear the complaints about Dominants. I'll admit the old E is pretty bad but have found no strings that come close to the consistany of Dominants. Zukerman was here in Chicago for 2 weeks and then I heard him in KC doing a recital. Sorry boys, say what you want but he sounded GREAT and not tinny or harsh. For that matter either does Josh Bell, Perlman or Vengerov and they are all Dominant users. When people have balance problems with their instruments it more often neck set or alignment problems. Thomastic goes to great lengths to insure consistancy in their string production, and when you consider how many people use them, I hear far fewer complaints from Dominant users than any other string.

: : i would have to ask you, and the others that love dominants what it is that you like them so much for, compared to tonicas or eudoxas, helicores, zyex, obligatos or the other well-respected strings out there now?

: : mike

: ********

: Hello Defenders of Dominants,

: We know that there are people reading this board who have very good instruments that feel that Dominant strings enhance certain inherent qualities these instruments have. I am wondering if although they are satisfied with the instrument's performance with Dominants, they have tried Tonicas (a similar string) or any other of the diverse ones mentioned by mike. If so, what happened to make you return to Dominants? Bill? Stefan? Tell us of the trials.

: A. Brown

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: From my experience, dominants take a long time, and I mean 2 to 4 weeks to break in. The A is especially annoying, it is so bad! Thomastik should seriously consider making them silver or gold wound.

That's an interesting idea! But i dont think it's the aluminum winding that makes it squeaky since many other aluminum-wound perlon As are fine. Maybe aluminum-gold winding like on the olive D (at least for viola) strings?

Andy

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: It's interesting to me to hear the complaints about Dominants. I'll admit the old E is pretty bad but have found no strings that come close to the consistany of Dominants. Zukerman was here in Chicago for 2 weeks and then I heard him in KC doing a recital. Sorry boys, say what you want but he sounded GREAT and not tinny or harsh. For that matter either does Josh Bell, Perlman or Vengerov and they are all Dominant users.

I think you could string their fiddles up with rubber bands and they would sound great.

PC

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