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VeganCello98

New Cello strings

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Hii :)

I need to get new Cello strings, particularly the A string (the core is showing on that one...) and I'm not sure what to choose.

I have played the Cello for about 4 years and I currently have pirastro piranito strings. I like them quite well but I'm thinking of maybe upgrading. I still want steel strings, I like the sound :)

I have had my strings for about 2 years (I think) but I haven't really used my C and G strings a lot so they are still fine and it feels like a shame to just throw them out.

So I'm thinking of maybe only getting a new A string or both getting new A and D strings. And to possibly get a different A string from the rest of the strings. Does anybody have any suggestion of what would be a good combo? Or if I change all of them what a good upgrade set would be? :)

 

 

 

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VC98, I don't have any experience with Jargar, but from my limited experience and research it is quite common to mix and match strings. In fact it seems uncommon to use a full matched set. Mostly it seems like people match their C and G and their D and A strings. Luckily the A string is also the cheapest, so you can try different ones and see what you like. I have sometimes found very cheap lightly used single strings on Ebay and will buy them just to have as spares or to try something different. I think good string shops will also let you try a few different strings to see what works for you, at which point you should buy from them and not go find it cheaper online. 

BTW, I don't know if the Pegbox is the most productive forum to ask this, as it is mostly populated by luthiers who like to talk about making and repairing instruments. Maybe the Fingerboard forum? I never go there because I am terrible at playing cello and never practice anymore. 

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A bunch of the cellists I know always recommend a combination of Jargar and Helicore (usually C G Helicore, Jargar D, maybe Jargar or something else A), but on the two cellos I experienced personally I felt that was holding the instruments back. I went with Kaplan on a French cello I restored and I felt that gave it the sound I wanted, but they are not budget strings.  :) 

You might get better feedback asking other cellists, after they get to hear or even play your cello to get a feel for it.

 

1 hour ago, glebert said:

I think good string shops will also let you try a few different strings to see what works for you, at which point you should buy from them and not go find it cheaper online. 

I have never seen a shop that lets you try strings before buying! I'd love if they did that.

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There are incredibly many different strings on the market. Jargar strings are good strings, but somewhat old fashioned. Nobody uses the g and c strings any longer. Standard nowadays are c and G strings with a wire core, like spirocore, magnacore, helicore, belcanto, eva pirazzi etc etc. Ifvyou plan using jargar a and d strings, which potentially is a good choice, combine them with a c and g of any of the before mentioned brands. As a cello teacher, for relatively simple cellos, especially if the cello hasn't been xperimented with, i usually recommend a set of helicore or kaplan as a cheap and good start. If you like to mellow down the top strings, you can then try jargar regular, for more power jargar superior or special, or Larsen soloist, for instance. For more focus and more power on c and g you can try spirocore, more focus but smoother is belcanto. As a whole set, Eva Pirazzi is very nicely balanced with a mellow sound. Eva gold is more brilliant and the c string can sometimes be too flabby. I can go on for hours talking about more strings. But for your apparent level, I think these are good starting points . Good luck! 

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Edit note: any of the strings mentioned in this thread will be a step up from piranito, which I never recommend. The c andvg piranito are of the oldvfashioned single core type. Like Jargar, but inferior in quality. I would highly recommend replacing them. 

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6 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

I have never seen a shop that lets you try strings before buying! I'd love if they did that.

I may have been off on that, it was something I had read on other forums. For myself I just do trial and error since I don't have a good shop that is very accessible to me. 

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My Caron started life with Larsen/Spirocore.

Ive also used with success Pirastro, Dominants( Caron himself told me to remove them, but I really like them) and  I’m now using Versum strings, which are extremely expensive but really good. I don’t recommend Helicore or Crown

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11 hours ago, FoxMitchell said:

 I went with Kaplan on a French cello I restored and I felt that gave it the sound I wanted, but they are not budget strings.  :) 

Kaplan are budget strings when compared to Pirazzi, Magnacore, Versum, Perpetual, etc.  An entire set can be had on the Bay for about $65.  Good for the price, but won’t push your cello into the next realm.  I’d say to keep it on the less expensive side, Spirocore chrome C and G with Evah Pirazzi A and D.  It’ll give you a different experience than what you’re used to for less than $200.  Although, I prefer the Tungsten C and G for the extra $50. 

Note: Kaplan’s are cheaper and better overall than the Pirantos, if you ask me. 

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I set cellos up with Spirocore and Larsen. I tried the Versum D and A but decided that the former combination generally sounded slightly better. I know these aren’t the steel strings you asked for, but I don’t think it makes sense to buy steel strings if you want an upgrade.

You could try Helicore if you want a metallic sound. I put them on cellos for customers on a tight budget. They’re more of a student level string and generally don’t have much tonal complexity.

As a few have already pointed out, Jargar used to be the best for A and D, but string technology has left Jargar behind, and they just don’t compare to Larsen most of the time. 

I’d keep the A and D the same brand, whatever you choose. If you feel like one string just doesn’t sound right, you may need a soundpost adjustment. 

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Ok, so I see some reactions here which contain incorrect Information, and some opinions here I emphatically disagree with. I will therefore now attempt write a General guide for understanding how the different types of modern Cello strings work, attempting to clearly differentiate between what is a fact, and what is my personal opinion.

The most important Thing to know is that Cello strings come in four different Kinds, the key difference being the core material:

1. gut core strings

2. synthetic core strings and cores that are neither steel nor gut

3. solid steel core strings.

4. rope steel core strings

 

Why such a Variety? well, before the 20th century, strings were made of gut, low strings wound with a silver or Copper wire. With improvement of the Quality of steel, the reduction of the Price of steel, the increase of the Price of labour, the financial crises in the 20ies and thirties, it became attractive to produce steel strings for their longivity mainly at first. Such very Basic strings, a single core wih a single wire wound around it, were quite crude and not attractive to professional musicians other than those travelling to the tropics. The introduction of better windings (flat wire), the introduction of dampening materials between the core and the winding, and the introduction of the wire core (in the 50ies, Spirocore) greatly improved the tonal qualities of steel strings, so that by the 60ies, they could almost compete with gut strings Sound Quality wise, and had big Advantages what stability is concerned and some what projection of Sound is concerned. Then the shift towards steel core went very fast. In an attempt to combine some of the qualities of gut strings and steel strings, strings with synthetic cores were introduced, I believe Dominants were the first ones around. 

With a few exceptions, most notably historically informed Players, what one sees and hears nowadays are Cellos strung with solid steel core upper strings, and wire core lower strings. Apart from the strings developed by Warchal (synthetic core, save the a string), Velvet (silk core), and Pirastro obligato (synthetic core, but only for the lower two strings!)All sets of professional quality that have come onto the market roughly the last 20 years are exactly this combination. Before that, the sets were made with a similar core for all strings. Spirocore strings were all wire core strings, also for a and d. Jargar strings, early Larsen strings were all solid core strings. So when you wish to select a new set of steel strings for your Cello, you should Keep this in mind: the top two should be single core strings, the lower two wire core, that is what generally works best. On some exceptional Cellos one may want a single core g string, or inversely a wire core d string, but that is extremely rare. The reason why you see the combination of Larsen a and d (often solo) and Spirocore g and c (often Tungsten wound), is because These two Brands were the best in the 90ies, and arrived at something that seems to work quite universally quite early. The Budget Version of this was top two Jargar and lower two Helicore. All newer sets by the various string makers are variations on this concept.

As I mentioned, the newer sets on the market are already a combination of wire core strings and solid core strings. The Variation is in the exact material of the core or winding, the exact diametre of the core or thickness of the winding, the properties of the dampening material (usually fibres in combination with a resin) and the Tension.

A lutier in this thread gave the impression that steel strings produce a bad Sound, and that Larsen strings are not steel strings. The latter is wrong, and the former I,  a fervent gut string Player, do not agree with. Regular Larsen and Jargar a and d strings are really quite similar. What you will prefer is very personal, and it may depend on your Cello; if you had a different Cello, you may prefer the other. The ideal string combination for you and for your Cello can only be arrived at through endless experimentation. It is not possible to foresee how a particular string will Sound on a particular Cello. There are tendencies, ofcourse. The sad Thing is, as you Progress, you will start liking other Things and your previously preferred strings will no longer be your preferred strings. Welcome to the world of Equipment Freaks!

Just a short note on synthetic core strings. I have yet to encounter synthetic strings that truly come close to the Sound of gut strings. Usually, they Sound dull, not warm, in comparison, and some have serious drawbacks what playability is concerned. I have played a few Cellos on which obligatos sounded quite nice and worked well, but the top two strings have a steel core. I have yet to see any professional Cellist use Warchal strings. Velvet strings Combine some qualities of gut with better playabilty, but they are a lot thicker than steel. Dominant is interesting in some way, but much to low Tension, not loud enough and also loses its Sound too quickly. I do not currently believe that synthetic core strings are the definitive answer for Cellos.

to come back to the OPs Question, as the OP has not experimented with his Cello at all, seems a relative beginner on a Budget, I stand firm on my advise to start with Helicore and take it from there for the future. The upper strings are a too punchy for most high Quality Cellos, but on lower Quality Cellos, that is usually what they Need. If it is too punchy, try a Jargar or Larsen a string. The lower two helicore strings are quite mellow in comparison to for instance spirocore, but as most cheap Cellos Need improvement on the top two strings, that would likely fit well. And I've played one particular Cello on which a whole set sounded phenomenal.

Personally, I use Jargar Special forte a string, Jargar Special d string, and Tungsten wound Spirocores on the bottom, but this is expensive. And I arrived at this set after a lot of experimenting. Spirocores are not so nice for Amateurs to have to Play in, and can really take 6 months or so if you don't Show them all the Corners of the room in your playing, and during this time can Sound quite awful. If you have a lot of Money, go ahead and try the newer strings: Perpetual, Magnacore, Eva Gold, the list goes on. But it is expensive and can be just as bad as anything, depending on the Cello, especially if you don't know what you are Looking for.

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19 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I set cellos up with Spirocore and Larsen. I tried the Versum D and A but decided that the former combination generally sounded slightly better. I know these aren’t the steel strings you asked for, but I don’t think it makes sense to buy steel strings if you want an upgrade.

You could try Helicore if you want a metallic sound. I put them on cellos for customers on a tight budget. They’re more of a student level string and generally don’t have much tonal complexity.

As a few have already pointed out, Jargar used to be the best for A and D, but string technology has left Jargar behind, and they just don’t compare to Larsen most of the time. 

I’d keep the A and D the same brand, whatever you choose. If you feel like one string just doesn’t sound right, you may need a soundpost adjustment. 

My cello teacher is a working pro, and uses Helicore C and G with Larsen D and A.

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Not long ago, I set up several cellos of the same model and manufacturer. I put Spirocore/Larsen on one, Helicore/Larsen on another, and all Helicore on a third. The Spirocore/Larsen setup sold less than two hours later and the other two cellos sat through a couple appointments. The Helicore/Larsen one was shown a couple more times, then I was asked to change to Spirocores on the bottom during another appointment. The cello immediately sold. A few days later I came in and saw that the one with all Helicore had been already switched to Spirocore/Larsen to make it saleable.

I work with a well-respected local teacher from time to time who insists on the Helicore/Larsen set for all his students. It’s not unheard of, but it’s definitely not the norm.

I’m very happy to change strings for customers and customize the setup, but when doing setups, I only use strings that will get the best results.

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On ‎10‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 6:13 AM, The Violin Beautiful said:

Not long ago, I set up several cellos of the same model and manufacturer. I put Spirocore/Larsen on one, Helicore/Larsen on another, and all Helicore on a third. The Spirocore/Larsen setup sold less than two hours later and the other two cellos sat through a couple appointments. The Helicore/Larsen one was shown a couple more times, then I was asked to change to Spirocores on the bottom during another appointment. The cello immediately sold. A few days later I came in and saw that the one with all Helicore had been already switched to Spirocore/Larsen to make it saleable.

I work with a well-respected local teacher from time to time who insists on the Helicore/Larsen set for all his students. It’s not unheard of, but it’s definitely not the norm.

I’m very happy to change strings for customers and customize the setup, but when doing setups, I only use strings that will get the best results.

Spirocore C & G come in three different material versions: steel/chrome; silver and tungsten (at very different prices). Are you using the silver version?

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Just to endorse what Foxmitchel said. Why buy eBay when any good online string shop offer the same price, next day delivery and qualified advice simply by lifting the phone? Plus the very real risk of fake strings! 

Re the above thread, we always start with Spirocore C and G with Larsen D and A and then take it from there depending on how the Cello sounds. One very dull new English Cello came alive with Eva Pirazzi

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44 minutes ago, reg said:

Re the above thread, we always start with Spirocore C and G with Larsen D and A and then take it from there depending on how the Cello sounds. One very dull new English Cello came alive with Eva Pirazzi

What are your default Spirocore C & G? Chrome, Silver, Tungston?

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This is all just great and fascinating. Now all we have to do is find out what kid of sound the OP thinks is an improvement. In the end, "your results may vary", and unless you've got an unlimited budget for experimentation, keep in mind the old Chinese maxim:

"Be careful what you ask for, because you just may get it!"

 

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13 hours ago, Guido said:

Spirocore C & G come in three different material versions: steel/chrome; silver and tungsten (at very different prices). Are you using the silver version?

Tungsten only. Players in my area would feel cheated if I ever put the steel or silver versions on.

It just doesn’t make sense to me to spend time doing the best setup work you can, only to finish it off with second tier strings. Players of all levels can tell the difference. Of course, there are exceptions, but the rule still holds for the majority. 

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2 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

Tungsten only. Players in my area would feel cheated if I ever put the steel or silver versions on.

It just doesn’t make sense to me to spend time doing the best setup work you can, only to finish it off with second tier strings. Players of all levels can tell the difference. Of course, there are exceptions, but the rule still holds for the majority. 

 

31 minutes ago, reg said:

Gulp!

I have zero personal experience with cello strings, so I'm in no position to argue anything.

But, I have read in the meantime that the choice between silver and tungsten is not a choice between "better or worse" (in contrast to what the price difference may suggest). Apparently, the silver produce a warmer sound and are actually preferred by many players. And it may depend not only on player preferences but also on the characteristics of the cello which ones might be the better option.

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