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Andreas Preuss

String choice

How do you decide which string to use?  

29 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. How do you decide which string to use?

    • I don't care, because I use same strings for over 5 years
      1
    • Always when a new brand comes up in the market I try it
      4
    • I take the recommendation of a friend
      0
    • I follow the suggestion of my teacher
      0
    • I trust the advice of my violin shop
      0
    • After doing research on different brands I make a decision which to buy
      23
    • I buy only the cheapest strings I can find
      1
  2. 2. Describe your profile

    • I am a professional violinist
      10
    • I am a professional violist
      4
    • I am a professional cellist
      0
    • I am an amateur violinist
      15
    • I am an amateur violist
      6
    • I am an amateur cellist
      3
    • I use always a set of strings of the same brand
      1
    • I use a blend of strings
      10
  3. 3. Where do you buy strings? How often do you change your strings?

    • In a shop, because I need someone to change the strings
      0
    • internet
      22
    • In a shop, but I change strings mnyself.
      8
    • I change strings every mnth
      2
    • I change strings every 2-6 month
      13
    • I change strings every 6-12 month
      7
    • I change strings only when they are defect
      9

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  • Poll closed on 06/05/18 at 05:34 PM

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I usually try any new offerings from Thomastik or Warchal that are released; I stopped trying the new offerings from Pirastro - although I absolutely love their gut strings and used Evah Pirazzi for several years as a teenager, I am no longer a fan of their synthetic strings. If a friend or colleague switches to a new brand of strings (or I get to try them on an instrument at a violin shop) and I am very impressed by the improvement, then I may purchase a set to try them myself, or I ask my friend if I can try their old set for a few days after they take the strings off (which isn't ideal, but it helps me decide whether or not to buy a new set to try).

Right now I am very happy with the Jargar Superior synthetic set, although I found that the set worked much better on my instrument with an experimental low-tension aluminum D string (which was made in limited quantities as an alternative to the default high-tension silver D string). I'm still using the A and G strings, substituting the Vision aluminum D string; I've heard rumors that they are planning on putting the Jargar aluminum D string on the market, but I have no idea when this will happen. For my E string I am alternating between Jargar Forte and the heavy-gauge Warchal Amber.

I really liked the Warchal Amber set as well, but I think the D string was too high in tension for my current instrument (which works better when the D string is somewhat lower in tension than the G string, which is probably why I don't like the Pirastro synthetic sets anymore), and I couldn't figure out a good substitution like I was able to do with the Jargar set.

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For me, it is a long term process of occasionally trying new strings, but I don't want to be a constant tweaker. Once I've found a set I like, I do tend to stick with it for a while. I have found that I usually end up with a mixed set. Right now on my viola I have a Larsen "soft" A, Obligato D, and Warchal Brilliant G and C. This, on my instrument, is a very well-balanced set that is responsive and sounds great. The last change I made was a few months ago to take out the Warchal Brilliant D, which wasn't working for me, and going back to the Obligato D I had been using before. 

 

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17 hours ago, devaraja42 said:

I usually try any new offerings from Thomastik or Warchal that are released; I stopped trying the new offerings from Pirastro - although I absolutely love their gut strings and used Evah Pirazzi for several years as a teenager, I am no longer a fan of their synthetic strings. If a friend or colleague switches to a new brand of strings (or I get to try them on an instrument at a violin shop) and I am very impressed by the improvement, then I may purchase a set to try them myself, or I ask my friend if I can try their old set for a few days after they take the strings off (which isn't ideal, but it helps me decide whether or not to buy a new set to try).

Right now I am very happy with the Jargar Superior synthetic set, although I found that the set worked much better on my instrument with an experimental low-tension aluminum D string (which was made in limited quantities as an alternative to the default high-tension silver D string). I'm still using the A and G strings, substituting the Vision aluminum D string; I've heard rumors that they are planning on putting the Jargar aluminum D string on the market, but I have no idea when this will happen. For my E string I am alternating between Jargar Forte and the heavy-gauge Warchal Amber.

I really liked the Warchal Amber set as well, but I think the D string was too high in tension for my current instrument (which works better when the D string is somewhat lower in tension than the G string, which is probably why I don't like the Pirastro synthetic sets anymore), and I couldn't figure out a good substitution like I was able to do with the Jargar set.

devaraja42,

thanks for the detailed reply.

Jargar Superior is actually one of the most interesting synthetic strings. I came across them through a recommendation of a professional violinist and tried them successfully on my own replica instruments. My experience with them was so far, if they work well on an instrument, they work really well. If not, they produce a very strange sound.

 

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1 minute ago, Zeissica said:

For me, it is a long term process of occasionally trying new strings, but I don't want to be a constant tweaker. Once I've found a set I like, I do tend to stick with it for a while. I have found that I usually end up with a mixed set. Right now on my viola I have a Larsen "soft" A, Obligato D, and Warchal Brilliant G and C. This, on my instrument, is a very well-balanced set that is responsive and sounds great. The last change I made was a few months ago to take out the Warchal Brilliant D, which wasn't working for me, and going back to the Obligato D I had been using before. 

 

Zeissica,

thanks for answering. And I am very relieved to hear that there are musicians who go actually for a totally mixed blend. I think this more than often the best solution for the sound of the instrument. Here in Japan, where I am living, things are really different than the rest of the world. The only 'blend' I can see is using a different E-string especially when a Dominant set is used (everyone knows supposedly that the Dominant E often makes noise and doesn't sound that great anyway.)

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6 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Jargar Superior is actually one of the most interesting synthetic strings. I came across them through a recommendation of a professional violinist and tried them successfully on my own replica instruments. My experience with them was so far, if they work well on an instrument, they work really well. If not, they produce a very strange sound.

Joshua Bell is using them on the Gibson ex-Huberman (sometimes with the silver D and sometimes with the prototype aluminum D), but I think he stuck to using the .28 gauge extra heavy Goldbrokat E string. I heard a rumor that he was also using the full set of Jargar Superior at some point.

I agree that it works really well on some instruments but not others; it almost gives off a "sour" tone quality on the instruments that don't receive it well. It is not the highest tension synthetic, but instruments that require less tension would probably still work better with Dominant strings. I use Jargar Superior on one of my violins, Dominants on the second, and Peter Infeld on the third (which I rarely play and I am attempting to sell).

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I always used a Larsen medium A with my other strings on my viola. I have tried Dominants, Lenzner Supersolo (gut) and Warchal Ambers (which were much like the gut ones) and now Brilliants. This time I got a synthetic A with the Brilliants and have not yet replaced it with a Larsen. It really reminds me of the pure gut A that broke in one day.

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On 2018/4/6 at 6:19 PM, thirteenthsteph said:

I always used a Larsen medium A with my other strings on my viola. I have tried Dominants, Lenzner Supersolo (gut) and Warchal Ambers (which were much like the gut ones) and now Brilliants. This time I got a synthetic A with the Brilliants and have not yet replaced it with a Larsen. It really reminds me of the pure gut A that broke in one day.

Do I see in your process the seek for a certain desired sound? In my experience string choice on violas has a bigger impact on the playability and sound characteristics than on a violin. (some violinists here will probably kill me for saying that)

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9 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Do I see in your process the seek for a certain desired sound? In my experience string choice on violas has a bigger impact on the playability and sound characteristics than on a violin. (some violinists here will probably kill me for saying that)

I'm not sure whether the impact is greater on violas. Maybe it's magnified and easier to tell... Some people may be more sensitive so even small changes in their violin's sound would be noticeable. Others can put on anything and play just like always.

In regard to my process, I guess you can see how my desired sound and ideas how to get it changed. The Dominants were on when I got the viola, so no choice there. They were a bit hard and metallic and I wanted a fuller viola sound. When I got the gut strings the sound was definitely fuller, but I was under the impression that they were too dark to project. I then got the Ambers because they advertise gut sound without the disadvantages of gut and, in my experience, they get that completely right. Other than the D string, which so far seems to me characteristically nasal (not in a bad way, I came to like it very fast) in both Warchal sets I've tried, the rest of the set truly sounded very much like my previous gut set, but with more power. I had those on for a year or so, so they had to go. Recently I decided on trying out their Brilliant set to see if it would give me more projection and a livelier C string.

Basically what I'm trying to achieve is a sound that is full and also open, in the sense that the strings respond well and feel easy to play and grip with the bow, as I dislike using pressure, but I also want that sound to be heard by others and not just me... I've found that this depends greatly on the player and the room so it's difficult to judge when you give it to someone else to play. I also like the slightly softer As (like the Larsen A or this synthetic Brilliant) as I believe they have these characteristics in terms of the feeling on the fingers and bow. But all this is a set-up issue and not just a string issue (and, well, an instrument issue also) so I'm just trying to maximise what I described with what I've got. It's never going to be Grosz' Gasparo da Salo, the dream sound. :lol:

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3 hours ago, thirteenthsteph said:

Basically what I'm trying to achieve is a sound that is full and also open, in the sense that the strings respond well and feel easy to play and grip with the bow, as I dislike using pressure, but I also want that sound to be heard by others and not just me... I've found that this depends greatly on the player and the room so it's difficult to judge when you give it to someone else to play. I also like the slightly softer As (like the Larsen A or this synthetic Brilliant) as I believe they have these characteristics in terms of the feeling on the fingers and bow. But all this is a set-up issue and not just a string issue (and, well, an instrument issue also) so I'm just trying to maximise what I described with what I've got. It's never going to be Grosz' Gasparo da Salo, the dream sound. :lol:

Thirteenthstep,

I think your explanations are very instructive for me as a maker. I don't know any viola player here in Japan using Warchal and I think after what you described it is definitely worth trying. 

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Thirteenthstep,

I think your explanations are very instructive for me as a maker. I don't know any viola player here in Japan using Warchal and I think after what you described it is definitely worth trying. 

Thanks!

I'm glad what I said is helpful in any way. Please bear in mind that I am just an amateur viola student. So far I do think that the Warchals are the best strings I've tried, but I haven't tried that many and I don't play that great an instrument. If you make a viola that sounds like that Gasparo do send me a message. :lol: I'm kidding; as if I could afford it!

I'd be very interested to hear what life is like in Japan, especially for a luthier.

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