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John
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I play with Dominant strings on my violin and find them pretty good. My teacher plays with gut strings, and a golden E string. I was wondering about other people's opinions on strings, and the difference between gut and steel. Thanks for any replies

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: I play with Dominant strings on my violin and find them pretty good. My teacher plays with gut strings, and a golden E string. I was wondering about other people's opinions on strings, and the difference between gut and steel. Thanks for any replies

I use gut on A, D and G; steel on E. At the moment my setup is Pirastro Oliv G, D, A and Hill E. I alternate the E between Pirastro Goldstahl and the Hill, depending on the sound I'm after, but find that the Goldstahl has a tendency to 'squeak' at times, whereas the Hill, while giving a lovely sound, is also more reliable in that sense. I personally find that the gut strings give me a warmer, more flexible sound, and are more responsive; the Olivs especially give me a very full, round tone. I switched from metal to gut about 5-6 years ago (I've been playing for 12 years) and since then have found that metal on my lower strings just doesn't cut it. HOWEVER, it is purely a matter of personal preference, and every violin responds differently, so my advice would be to experiment and see what you can come up with for your own setup.

I must say, though - 'experimenting' with gut strings can become a rather expensive exercise....

Regards,

Quynh

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Although I switched to Dominants in the late 1970s because of their convenience particularly for orchestral playing (previously using Piastro "olives" on G, D, Kaplan "golden spiral" A, and gold label E), I was never as happy with the sound (a bit harsh on my instrument, although I have heard Dominant strings really brighten up the sound on other instruments). About 5 years ago I tried Corelli Alliance strings when they came out. I like the result on my instrument even better than gut strings and better than anything else with which I've subsequently experimented. I think it's best to keep an open mind/ear (also ask others!) to what sounds best on your instrument, to experiment every once in a while to make sure you're not just in a rut, and to use the strings that sound and work best for your instrument. Good Luck!

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Though I've only been at it for a couple of years,

I've accumulated four instruments during that time

and have found that D'Addario Helicore (on G, D,

A) work and sound best on three of them. (Nothing

seems to work very well on the fourth.) Although

the Helicore strings are built around some sort of

high-tech twisted metal core, which the gut-loving

(but perlon-compromising) historical purist in me

at first found a bit off-putting, I think there is

some truth to the manufacturer's claim that they

have the responsiveness of steel strings and the

warmth of gut. They also seem to be very nicely

balanced across G, D, and A.

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: I play with Dominant strings on my violin and find them pretty good. My teacher plays with gut strings, and a golden E string. I was wondering about other people's opinions on strings, and the difference between gut and steel. Thanks for any replies

For John:

Just as your bow can assist in bringing out the best tones in your violin(s), so the proper combination of strings enhances an instrument's sound.

Since each is truly unique, experimentation is required to determine the best strings for you. It is a subjective assessment, your own opinion, and those of friends who hear your instrument may be different.

As another respondent mentioned, it is costly to experiment, as strings are getting very expensive.

It is important to keep track of the strings you try, how you judge their sound, and how long you use them, and in combination with which other strings. Keeping a small notebook to track your usage, and evaluations is useful. I know it is hard for me to remember when I changed a string, and how it sounded with others.

It is especially difficult to keep things straight when you are using several different instruments. A teacher or coach, or your ensemble mates can be a help to you in judging how things sound.

There have also been a number of articles on the subject of Strings in the two big magazines STRAD and STRINGS, as well as detailed lectures in back issues of the Journal of the Violin Society of America which should be available in any comprehensive music library.

You can consult the index listings of Strad and Strings for appropriate article listings.

Some string players experiement all the time adjusting to the changing sounds, others tend to stick with what works, and are string loyal over many years with one brand, or set combination.

Not only are our instruments unique, so are our bows, and so are WE!

Louise Naples

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've tried just about every string on the market and let me tell you that, what works for one violin will not neccessarily work for another. I think that Dominants are geat strings but not always the best choice depending on style, and preferance of sound. If you like the sound of perlon strings I suggest trying others as well. Pirastro makes the Syonxa, Tonica, and Aricore, which are all good sounding and lasting perlon strings. Perlon is quite a bit more stable in various climates that gut, however, gut definately has the "TONE" prize. They just don't last and they are very expensive. Piratsro Olive, and Eudoxa's work the best for me. Steel strings are also stable, affordable (some), and are not affected by climate conditions, but in my opinion, have no tone, especially on the lower register. GOOD LUCK!

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