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Softest strings, easiest to blend in?


stephen maloney
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Hi guys. I would like your opinions on something.

I want to find a set of strings, at whatever price point low or high, that helps to play in a more understated fashion. Meaning, definitely not steel strings or even Dominants, which I like but are more soloistic.

The goal is softer sound, easy response, warmth, and blending. Smooth and lower volume.

Often times folks are looking for stronger, brighter, and so on. I'm looking for the opposite, for playing in an orchestral setting where you don't want to stick out.

What do you recommend, based on your experiences?

Thanks,

Steve.

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I agree with tonica. You can also try Violino, and also something I found out when I tried a Kaplan non whistling E string. Use Dominant or any other strings really with this E string and you will get a very mellow and soft sounding instrument!

Also don't forget that you can always use a tourte mute to get a soft and lower sound without sacrifying the responsivity of your strings

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Hi guys. I would like your opinions on something.

I want to find a set of strings, at whatever price point low or high, that helps to play in a more understated fashion. Meaning, definitely not steel strings or even Dominants, which I like but are more soloistic.

The goal is softer sound, easy response, warmth, and blending. Smooth and lower volume.

Often times folks are looking for stronger, brighter, and so on. I'm looking for the opposite, for playing in an orchestral setting where you don't want to stick out.

What do you recommend, based on your experiences?

Thanks,

Steve.

My first choice would be Violino, followed by Tonica.

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I don't agree that Tonica is what you are looking if you want a low volume string. I use them for more volume. It is a good string if you want a smooth tone with plenty of volume. Tonica is more comparable to Dominant. Eudoxa would fit your needs much better.

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Thanks again. Per your suggestions I am leaning toward the Violino as a first step, might try the Eudoxas afterwards; I actually did try Tonica before and found them quite similar to Dominants.

By the way, I'm a bit annoyed at how often the Dominant A string unravels; I wonder if it was a bad batch or the standards are slipping or something; I'm going through one every couple of weeks... <_<

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a lot of the posters dont seem to recognize the question, obligatos are really bright not mellow, gut core would definetly be what your looking for and wound e so eudoxas fit the bill just fine, the synthetics all seem to have a harder mettalic edge to them.

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Grateful for all the input. From what I understand the Eudoxas (and gut core and even plain gut) is more what is used in European orchestras, example Vienna Phil. I was speaking recently to a professional symphony musician and it seems that the average Euro orchestra may not have the same sheer volume of sound in the strings (brilliance,edge) as say, Cleveland Orchestra, but what they have in spades is the "warmth" and "roundness" of sound. I don't know how this translates technically; I'm guessing the perlon/nylon/steel core strings have more higher frequencies and string resistance. I've seen American players "push" more into the string (weight/index finger/DeLay school, etc.) and Europeans tend to "pull" more out of the instrument (son file).

The idea of using a mute is priceless! That's like, "covert violin operative" in the orchestra! Maybe I should put a heavy brass practice mute on there too, hehe. Or as my friend Marshall suggested in high school, "Instead of rosin, just use a bar of soap - nobody will hear you!"

Have a great weekend!

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I am surprised that orchestras are fitted with Eudoxa. I used one set some time ago and it's really soft under the fingers, really wonderful to play with it, the fingers don't need to press the string, but as it is often stated, they were never in tune very long and I had to tune them every time I was simply changing from my flat to the place where I get my lessons. And they are really not forgiving so that one has to be a good player first to use them ( and I have been playing violin for only 6 years so..).

I think the joke is that in an orchestra, the player who is always the last to be in tune is the one whom violin is strung with Eudoxa. I don't even mention the price... :)

You could try Passionne. I have never used them but they are supposed to be as good as Eudoxa without the tuning issue. However I believe a set is about £70 (100), so ... :(

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I would be shocked if anyone in the Vienna Phil was using pure gut strings.

Lyndon- I believe you are mistaken about Obligatos. They are quite warm to my ear (and "warmth" is what they're formulated for and advertised as).

Aricore and Violino are the Pirastro strings I would try after Obligato. Eudoxas wear out quickly (although if you've got the $$$, go for it... or go a step up for Olivs).

You may find that blending sets will get you better results than using 4 strings of the same kind. For example, the Spirocores I use on my C & G sound completely different depending on whether or not I'm using wound-gut strings up top.

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I think the joke is that in an orchestra, the player who is always the last to be in tune is the one whom violin is strung with Eudoxa. I don't even mention the price... :)

Yes, that's always the challenge, isn't it, Robert!? And of course it's not easy to then blame our equipment with clear conscience! (Hey Steve, why so out of tune? 'Well, it's the Eudoxas'...)

6 years of playing, eh? That's cool, way to stick with it. What sort of stuff are you working on at present (I assume classical, or?)

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I have tried a bunch of strings on my 2002 Tesuo Matsuda violin and I keep coming back to Obligatos. I find them very warm and easy to play. I have not had the problem of them having a short life compared to other brands. They break in and become stable faster than any other string I have tried. I used to like the old Correlli Alliance strings, but I don't like the Alliance Vivace as well.

Best,

Dwight

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Yes, that's always the challenge, isn't it, Robert!? And of course it's not easy to then blame our equipment with clear conscience! (Hey Steve, why so out of tune? 'Well, it's the Eudoxas'...)

6 years of playing, eh? That's cool, way to stick with it. What sort of stuff are you working on at present (I assume classical, or?)

Yes, classical (learning Vivaldi at the moment). I decided to learn classical first. then in 20 or 30 years, when I can play Beethoven concerto I will try something more difficult... :)

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Yes, classical (learning Vivaldi at the moment). I decided to learn classical first. then in 20 or 30 years, when I can play Beethoven concerto I will try something more difficult... :)

Hehe.

Vivaldi is such a genius.

It's funny about the Beethoven concerto. Perlman, one of my heroes, has recorded the thing like 4 times including on video. But one time I was watching a show called "live from Lincoln Center" and from the beginning of the broadcast something was off. His bow started shaking all over, went behind the bridge, just completely fell apart. A total disaster.

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I have tried a bunch of strings on my 2002 Tesuo Matsuda violin and I keep coming back to Obligatos. I find them very warm and easy to play. I have not had the problem of them having a short life compared to other brands. They break in and become stable faster than any other string I have tried. I used to like the old Correlli Alliance strings, but I don't like the Alliance Vivace as well.

Best,

Dwight

Thanks Dwight!

I lived in Texas for 10 years, btw!

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  • 2 weeks later...

you should try out the wondertone solo strings. There suppose to be a mix between the evah pirazzi and the obligatos. Idk never tried them but they got some good ratings. I still prefer the evah pirazzi strings. Some people argue that there too bright or they wear too fast but for me there one of my favorite strings.

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If I may step into teacher-mode for just a second, I think it's worth noting that the best way to blend with your section has little to do with strings.

The most important orchestral skill (as with any musical endeavor) is listening. Make sure you can hear the rest of the orchestra while you're playing, and you're already blending.

As a string player, observing where and how the rest of your section is playing in the bow and matching it is important for blend.

Finally, solid intonation will help with blending.

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Thank you all for the suggestions. I've been using Dominants for many years and just yesterday strung up the fiddle with Vision for the first time. Awesome strings! They strike me as more mellow than the Dominants and I like them very much, even to the point of not going back to Dominant.

That said, I will try some of your other string suggestions and report back (and as Lymond said, it would help to play in tune, sometimes this is easier said than done!!)

:)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sounds like this is a job for Obligatos!

Spot on - I'm finding these are excellent. So far I find that both Vision

and Obligatos are preferable to Dominants, by far. Especially with Obligatos

the feel is smoother, warmer, and without that metallic "Thomastik-twang".

Highly recommend the Obligatos! Thanks for the heads up on that, much 'obliged'.

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