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jacklinks

Economics of violin string choices

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Hopefully this question is ok in the Pegbox section. It is hardware related but not the instrument itself.

Assuming you like the sound of each on your instrument, are you better off buying more expensive strings like say Peter Infeld that supposedly last longer than you are buying say Evah Greens which are also good but some say don’t last as long.  

Are there more expensive brands that may give you twice the life of less expensive brands and sound better the entire time? If so, what are some examples of brands where it may be more economical (i.e. a $100 set that lasts say 250 hours vs a $70 set that only lasts say 125 hours).  Maybe it’s not reasonable for any set to last 250 hours. I don’t know.

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There are so many variables here.

1. What is the primary use for your instrument? Professional orchestra? Solo career? Occasional gigs? Teaching?

2. Sound alone is not how I choose strings.  I also look for responsiveness and what the strings do to my instrument.  I like Evah green a lot and use it primarily; however, Evah gold seems to warm up my violin and takes a little edge off.  Not necessarily changing the sound but the timbre?  I'm not entirely sure if that is the correct word choice.

3. What does "economical" mean to you?  I think $80 to $120 for a set of strings is my comfort range, but it may be different for others.

Here is my answer: Buy what you like and what you can afford.  

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IMO Dominants still are the best value and work on just about any instrument. The new formula Tonicas, which sound more like Dominants than before (at least to me) are cheaper, but so far in my hands they didn't last as long.

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1 hour ago, Michael_Molnar said:

The "problem" with Dominants is that there is no standard e-string.

Good point, I generally use Gold Labels with them. But most string vendors now days offer combinations of brands priced as "sets".

But as far as violas go I'm beginning to warm up to the full Dominant set including the A (used to combine with Jargars)

 

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1 hour ago, violinnewb said:

3. What does "economical" mean to you?  I think $80 to $120 for a set of strings is my comfort range, but it may be different for others.

I’m not really asking about affordability. The question is more of are there any higher priced strings that are generally better sounding and playing strings that end up being less expensive than middle tier strings because the middle priced strings may not sound as good for as long. Or do all strings drop off significantly after basically the same number of hours of play? But I realize it is a difficult question to answer because certain strings match up better than others on certain violins, regardless of the string price.

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Metal core strings, e.g. Helicore, last longer than most gut or composite core strings.  Whether they sound better is a subjective judgment but most classical music players seem not to like them.

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It is hard and expensive to study a musical instrument.

So, once you get a good match of strings that suits your instrument and playing style, forget the price and get the strings, and change them when necessary.

I hate when I see one of my violas strung with bad or old strings.  

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15 minutes ago, jacklinks said:

I’m not really asking about affordability. The question is more of are there any higher priced strings that are generally better sounding and playing strings that end up being less expensive than middle tier strings because the middle priced strings may not sound as good for as long. Or do all strings drop off significantly after basically the same number of hours of play? But I realize it is a difficult question to answer because certain strings match up better than others on certain violins, regardless of the string price.

For me, I love both Evah green and gold, I don't know the approximate number of hours before they expire.  I just change them when I hear unevenness or feel that the strings are not as smooth under my fingers.  

With all of that said, Manfio said it best:

5 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

It is hard and expensive to study a musical instrument.

So, once you get a good match of strings that suits your instrument and playing style, forget the price and get the strings, and change them when necessary.

I hate when I see one of my violas strung with bad or old strings.  

 

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4 hours ago, deans said:

IMO Dominants still are the best value and work on just about any instrument. The new formula Tonicas, which sound more like Dominants than before (at least to me) are cheaper, but so far in my hands they didn't last as long.

I started out with Dominants, worked my way through a number of brands, including Olive, Alliance, and Tonica New, before using what I do now, which is a mix of Warchal types chosen string by string to suit my various fiddles.  I used Goldbrokat E's until recently, when I went to using the Warchal spiral E.  Dominants are, IMHO, a durable and dependable workhorse string, and are widely available, but aren't necessarily the best string for everything and everybody. :)

OTOH, if I'm selling one on, I still put Dominants on it.  It's a respectable choice nobody can fault as being cheap.

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Might as well throw my two cents in as an Old Time/Bluegrass player. If you're playing classical music you're not going to want these I'm told. But after using Helicores for a long time I switched to Prims Orchestra (heavy) stainless steel strings. They're relativly inexpensive and have a good response and last forever. Highly recommended on my side of the tracks.

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5 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

Life is too short for drinking bad wine and playing with bad strings or instruments.

Good analogy. 

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Personally, i really dislike Peter Infeld.  They are very mushy to play on.  Evah Gold are the same price, play better and last longer.  I get 200 hours out of them.

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On 7/10/2019 at 1:36 PM, MANFIO said:

So, once you get a good match of strings that suits your instrument and playing style, forget the price and get the strings, and change them when necessary.

 

On 7/10/2019 at 5:20 PM, MANFIO said:

Life is too short for drinking bad wine and playing with bad strings or instruments.


Manfio with the truth here.

FWIW, I've recently fallen in love with the Warchal Timbres.

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