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IMHO - Pirastro Tonica is definately a lot better for the smaller size violin. I used Dominant on my daghter's 1/8 and 1/4, end results = not very nice at all. As soon as we changed to Tonica (for her 1/4 size), the sound was so different, a lot warmer and projected a lot better. We continue using the Tonica for her 1/2 until we changed to Warchal - totally another class yet again. She was having a bit of trouble getting the artifical harmonics out from her 1/2 for Czardas but chagning to Warchal, no problemd with artificial harmonics at all. Now that she is using a 3/4 which came with Obligato (set up by the seller), we have been using Obligato every since then. Note however we did not like the silver E from the obligato and we have to buy the Gold E.



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In my experience Tonicas & Dominants work similarly on my violins. I think the Tonicas have a bit more complexity of sound under the ear, but it's likely nothing that would be evident to listeners. (I did find that Thomastik uses larger ball ends than Pirastro, but that information is probably only useful to players who use a Pusch tailpiece with integrated fine tuners... Pirastro strings fit; Thomastik not so well!) -Steve

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Richard Ward's string review at the Ifshin website is very good. It is based on an article he wrote for STRINGS Magazine a few years ago, but it seems to be updated to include the latest strings.

It is clear from the string review, and from my own experience, that different instruments can have very different requirements for optimum stringing

A few years ago, (last time I looked) for example, Ifshin violins strung their Jay Haide violins (the store brand) with either Dominant or Tonica strings. They made their selection based on each violin's characteristics. They also slected balanced mixed sets for their cellos.

But that is just a starting point - and as the owner of an instrument one may want to experiment - if you are not completely satisfied with the sound or playability of your instrument.

As an example, I have one nice violin that I ahve never been happy with since I bought it in 1972. But now, at last, using the new Larsen TZIGANE strings, it has come into its own and sounds as good as any other fiddle I have (actually - a bit better right now). However on my other violins those strings are horrid.


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