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viola string recommendations?


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Hi all - I recently did some recording of myself on viola since I

just fixed my microphone.  I use a full set of synthetic evahs

that have been on there for a month.  i've been using evahs

for about 2 years because that's what came with my brand new

instrument - i change them once every 3-4 months or so.

 they sound good under the ear and i've defended them on this

forum before, but only until i recorded myself did i realize that

my instrument sounded a little dull.  the projection was great

on the instrument, and the bass too, there was just a lot of the

highs that were missing from the definition.  it's a little

like if someone turned down the treble on an equalizer.

can anyone give me recommendations on what to switch to? i'm

looking for something that has similar characteristics of evahs,

but more straighforward clarity, and hopefully something that will

won't go dull after only a month.  also, i would prefer just

to use a whole 4 string set, and not have to mix brands.  

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does anyone know if there are any string tension comparison charts

out there for viola? i can't seem to find any for viola strings,

although there was one or two for violin strings.  Some

previous posts talk about the string tension being less or more

than another string but I'm not sure where people are getting it

from, unless they are just going on their own intuition.

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I used a set of Vision on my viola, a 15 3/4" Guadagnini pattern of my own making for about 2 months. I liked them a lot! I will buy them again. They were more clear than the Evah Pirazzi by far, immediately and a month later. I have now completely given up on Evah Pirazzi for viola. The high overtones fall off in just 2 weeks or less on my set-ups. I have gone back this month to Zyex D,G, and C. And I always have been (and likely always will be) a Dolce Jargar A type of violist. I like that sound. The only other A is the Kaplan Solutions A on some violas, not all.

I used Helicore for a while years back. They have a rich silky sound that is a great place to start on many violas, but I like a faster response on the C string. The medium Helicore C just doesn't cut it for me. Using a Forte C and medium G and D addresses this issue though. But still, the C rolls under the bow rather sluggishly. I like the response of firmer C string. I can't imagine playing the Sibelius violin concerto orchestra accomp. parts yesterday with the repeated FF down bows on the C-string with a Helicore medium. The violas woudl have ended up (further) behind, a nearly permanent battle as it is.

I am still exploring the options on viola strings. I do find that some customers for whom I make violas like one consistant brand, and I respect that and will set the instrument up accomadating that.

I do not hesitate to mix and match brands for my personal taste as a player though. I find I have a better chance of controlling response and volume by experimenting with a basket full of strings than by taking one brand and assuming it will create a matched feel.

To some players, near match of tone color at the expense of varying volume and response is important, but not to me. I prefer to have a variety of tone colors and very much want an even volume and similar feel under my bow.

Marilyn Wallin

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