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Dwight Brown

String Choice for New Instrument

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I just bought my first good violin, a 2004 Bronek Cison from W H

Lee.  The instrument has lots of power and a very nice open

sound  I have been a school orchestra teacher for the last 25

years, and I was a viola major in college and at IAA.  I find

teaching with the violin to be easier than with the viola.  I

like to be able to play all the kids parts for them and I can read

bass clef at sight better on the violin (go figure) and of course

the first violin parts get pretty hairy on the viola.  The

violin has Thomastic Vision strings, I have used Dominant strings

over the years for their durability, but I have never been real

fond of them.  They seem to sound like rubber bands until you

break them in.  In my youth I always loved Eudoxa gut strings,

they seemed to always feel just right.  I am also looking at

Evah Perazzi and Obligato strings.  Am I being an old fart to

want to use gut again?  I suppose the good news is that

strings are not that expensive and they are all somebody's

favorite.  Another possibility is Correli Alliance, I have

used these in the past and they work well.

Thanks,

Dwight

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I'm a violinmaker and not much of a player at all. I have always (by that I mean almost always) strung my newly completed violins with either dominants or tonicas just because they are well known and a good middle of the road string as far as tone goes. Also it is so common to see brand new violins strung up with dominants that I worry about putting pictures of violins on my website if they are strung up with something other than dominants. I worry that people will wonder why I'm putting something different on my violins, am I covering up a deficiency in the tone because I'm using a different string? After I use up my stash of dominant strings I think that I will start using gut strings because I like the tone more. Hopefully people don't wonder too much why I won't be using dominants.

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You're correct about Dominants being the standard string, and I

have used them a lot.  I just never thought they were as nice

as Eudoxas.  I am a bit confused by all the new strings on the

market, and I wish I could try them all.  With my old "shop

made" violin I settled on the Corelli Alliance which I think are

Kevlar core.

Dwight

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Interlochen1978

 In my youth I always loved Eudoxa gut strings,

they seemed to always feel just right.  Am I being an old fart to

want to use gut again?  

No doubt you will find support for almost any product on the market if you ask enough people.

If you do want something of the feel of gut in a synthetic string

try Zyex from D'Addario.

Zyex is not a specificly a violin string development the same fibres/strings

are used in a number of applications, including tennis racquets.

And guess what.......

Michael Darnton found a quotation some years back

from the tennis perspective where players were saying,

"the closest thing to the feel of old gut strings"

zyex

I learnt tennis too with wooden racquets and gut strings

and Eudoxa on my first nice fiddle.

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Hello Interlochen1978,

I have many instruments and have a private collection which are mostly on loan to students.

There is a lot of discussion about strings and people have their own personal preference, but this is based on one or two instruments or listening to their pupils violins.

Here is my opinion.....take or leave it......

The old favourite dominant is probably the brightest string for a mellow or too quiet instrument. They sound terrible when first on, but this does not carry to the audience, hence the popularity amongst soloists who do not have a sponsorship type agreement. If you put traditional pirastros on (eudoxa and olive), you will be cutting down on your projection.

Out of evahs and obligatos, the general consensus seems to be that the evahs tend to suit more violins and obligato are a bit like a bad mannered person, only liked (but cherished) by a few. I rate them both, but a betting man would opt for the evahs.

Alliance are well used in the profession, but interestingly liked by players with modern (20thC) loud violins.

What I can say therefore, is that with a quiet or mellow Violin, try dominant (or vision).

On a superior instrument not lacking in projection, go for warm strings (evahs or obligatos or olive).

I know the W H Lee instruments (although they are rare-ish here) and you'll most likely be safe with a quality string that doesn't need the metallic edge of dominants.

Don't take aim everyone!

T_D

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Interlochen,

Some thoughts, from a guy with no live playing experience, but who

has done hundreds of hours of very careful (recorded) tests with

perhaps 30 top brands, and in various gauges:  (any on quite a

few violins)

If you used to love gut, I can't imagine you will like Evahs.

 They are very bright, though they do have a nice timbral

range.

Zyex have a sort of gut-like wrmth, but are also very boring,

IMO.

Dominats are not the most luscious, but they seem to work on all

instruments, and it's hard to find any specific fault with them.

Some top pros still use them.  The evahs have more sizzle, so

some pros have switched to them.

Some other synthetics that are sort of gut-like:  Warchal (boh

types)  and Tzigane.  The Tziganes are a bit thin

compared to Dominatns, but have a wonderful singing quality.

 Sort of in-between real gut and Evahs.  A Very fine

string that also works well on all fiddles.

Pure-Gut:  Well, that's what I use now, but possibly not worth

the trouble for you.

Finally, there's the new contender:  Passione wound gut.

These just came out (I'm awaiting delivery on several

gauges right now) but already the reviews are exceptional.

 People are raving about them.  They supposedly have

"most" of the warmth and timbral range of pure gut,  but

without the surface noise & with faster bow response, because

of course they are wound (thus thinner.)  Real players are

saying that they are not dark like Eudoxas, and have more depth

than Olivs.  If that's not enough, they break-in

quickly (for gut) and are said to be as stable as typical

synthetics.

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I'm playing on Zyex (lights) right now. They are extremely stable. They might be a good choice for someone who plays gigs in all kinds of venues. I've tried Vision Ti strings but they're expensive and fairly advertised as a soloist string, all power and overtones. My favorites are Evah's. Infeld's are much like Dominants. Pirazzi has a new gut string, Passione, that looks interesting. D'Addario is introducing a new composite string later this year. Lots of choice but Evah's are good on my violin.

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I'm using bare gut D & A on both my good violin and my beater violin. The beater still has a dominant G on it, and I find the bare gut strings to be more tuning stable than the Dom. The good violin has a Eudoxa G still on it, it is very unstable compared to the bare gut.

I don't think I will ever go back to wound gut or synthetic D or A.

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As is typical with these questions, you get one vote for every type of string on the market. Different strings sound different on different violins. The solution is to ask your luthier what he suggests you try for a start, whether synthetic or gut. Then you can see whether or not you like those, and, as a function of that experience, your luthier can advise you on what to try next if you are not happy. Since we cannot hear your instrument with whatever you have, we really are not in a good position to advise except in the most general way. Good luck!

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I'm a big Warchal fan - karneols = dominants, brilliants= evahs.

I've been getting alot of mileage out of these strings.

Best,

Jen Ford

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I also found that Warchal Karneol is comparable to Dominants, but with less "new instrument" sound (a big plus point). It's longer lasting than Tonicas on my violin, too. By the way, has anyone tried Warchal Ametyst on a new instrument? I'm very curious how it might sound.

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Well I tried an Olive Goldshtal E string with the Vision strings -

better.  Then I switched to Corelli Alliance Vivace G, D, and

A and finally added a Corelli E string.  The instrument is

much more even and the E string has a more singing quality.

 The Corelli strings do not have the problem with sounding

like rubber bands when new (like Dominants)  I will stick with

the Corelli strings for a while.  I have a set of Eudoxas on

deck however.  I remember the first person who told me about

Eudoxas.  It was my first concert at Interlochen, and our

concertmaster was Andres Cardenas.  He showed me his

 J.B. Guadanini with Eudoxas on it.  He was 17 or so and

I was 14!

Dwight

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Took my supposed old ugly Italian "Phantom of the Opera" fiddle in for setup, and ordered a set of Passione strings becuz of the buzz; now it seems that free samples might have been available? Where does the line form?

BTW, it was interesting to note that the soundpost in the above fiddle had a string attached, presumably in order to set it upright. The luthier wasn't too surprised, but I certainly was. I'm told that while it wasn't common practice, it was far from unheard-of. It appears that you learn something new every day, at least if you leap from interest to interest like a galvanized frog. Keeps the mind young, and the wallet empty, I find.

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I like very much  Vision Titanium Solo and Pirrazzi. I don't

think Warchal strings are for the "American violinist". They are

way too loose, and if playing a Guarneri model fiddle, they start

cracking after a certain point.

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I think that if you ask 5 violinists about strings, you'll get 6 or 7 opinions. I like Dominants, but I've found a much less expensive set of strings from China that I like almost as well -- at about a third the price. My opinion? A fresh set of cheap Chinese perlons sounds better than an old set of Dominants, and because they are cheaper, I can afford to change them more often and keep a fresh set of strings on my violin all the time. I change strings 3 or 4 times a year.

I also deal in violins, so I have had the opportunity to try many different string combinations. For fractional sizes under 3/4, I don't even stock perlon strings any more, because they tend to be too dull and indistinct to hear well, which is even more of a handicap for a young student. For violas under 15.5 inches, I use steel strings for the same reason -- perlons just don't seem to have enough tension.

Just got in a sample of rope-core strings that I plan to try on my personal violin next week...

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My opinion? A fresh set of cheap Chinese perlons sounds better than an old set of Dominants, and because they are cheaper, I can afford to change them more often and keep a fresh set of strings on my violin all the time.

celticfiddler

It sounds interesting. What brand of the Chinese perlon strings is and where can they be bought?

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