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Dominant Pro - tension issues


Daviolin

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I've been trying the new Dominant Pro, and I'm getting a lot a high tension feeling, fast détaché is hard to play and the strings feel stiff, unresponsiveness when playing with low bow pressure. That didn't happen with Obligato. So I've decided to check the tensions from the official websites, here they are:

 

Obligato:

G: 4.5kg

D: 4.7kg

A: 5.4kg

Total: 14,6

 

Dominant Pro:

G: 4.6kg

D: 4.5kg

A: 5.5kg

total: 14,6

 

It's interesting how the total tension is the same, they're just distributed differently. Do Thomastik and Pirastro measure tensions the same way?

I'm not sure if it's worth it to try getting used and adapt to Dominant Pro, or just leave them. Anyone has used both and experienced the same?

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52 minutes ago, Nick Allen said:

I'd just leave them. I heard them on like 15 different fiddles and they sounded pretty lame on all of them. 

I actually like the sound, much more than regular Dominants. It's just the tense/stiff feeling that doesn't really make sense, when they should be the same tension as Obligato. I'm really curious about these tension values, how accurate and comparable they are.

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I don't think you can expect any string to play like another, just because the overall tension is the same.
The construction will be fundamentally different from one to another, especially as Pirastro and Thomastik, seem to have come from different starting points for string manufacturing.

One string could have a large core, with few outer wraps, another a thin core, with most of the mass coming from the outer wraps. They will not feel the same, and never could.

The way string tensions are measured could be misleading, Pirastro always used to use kilopascal, and may not convert simply.

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35 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

I don't think you can expect any string to play like another, just because the overall tension is the same.
The construction will be fundamentally different from one to another, especially as Pirastro and Thomastik, seem to have come from different starting points for string manufacturing.

True, but that doesn't really help, because precisely about those facts, people say that Pirastro strings usually feel more stiff and Thomastik's are softer, which is the opposite of what I'm feeling here.

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15 minutes ago, D27 said:

True, but that doesn't really help, because precisely about those facts, people say that Pirastro strings usually feel more stiff and Thomastik's are softer, which is the opposite of what I'm feeling here.

Which is why I mentioned different ways strings can be constructed, it will alter the feel.

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25 minutes ago, D27 said:

True, but that doesn't really help, because precisely about those facts, people say that Pirastro strings usually feel more stiff and Thomastik's are softer, which is the opposite of what I'm feeling here.

Some of that "feeling" also depends on string angle, scoop and a couple of other things. The total thickness of the string would be one of those.

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  • 1 year later...

Finally went to a shop that had one box. Current box set is a bit overkill. Will put on later this afternoon.

The Pirazzi's price were significantly ( 1 Pirastro e- string ) more expensive than the Dominant Pro set. The shop owner told me that he had to hold that price for at least a few more shipments.

Will report back in a while... 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/26/2021 at 11:05 AM, D27 said:

I've been trying the new Dominant Pro, and I'm getting a lot a high tension feeling, fast détaché is hard to play and the strings feel stiff, unresponsiveness when playing with low bow pressure. ( ... ) 

Too lazy to do physical measurements but will get to that in a bit. The set is with the DPro steel e ( e2 mi2 ) and the aluminum d- string.

About 12 hours at rehearsal volumes with a piano and about 24 hours of quieter practice at home. Break in was longer than most strings at around three hours, but most was quieter practice. It was very dry than very humid for the past few weeks.

I am glad you had mentioned higher tension, because I do feel something and might agree with you. Perhaps the diameter of the aluminum d- as I generally use a silver d- for Dominants. I was not playing with a great range of dynamics within the practice, but as you describe, it is a bit less responsive as the attacks require a bit more mental focus on my part.

The rosins used were not Andrea, but Leatherman and Jade and Bernardel. 4+ year old Italian instrument. Maybe the a rosin like Andrea might make the strings attack a bit faster. And that might not be the correct description. I am just having to play with a bit more deliberation when playing faster passages.

Once the string is moving, though, the instrument generally sounds louder. It's like a large sedan where once it is moving, it glides forever. I catch myself stumbling during fast passages and on autopilot on broad melodic sections. It is like any other string set that requires time.

The strings are ok. I will have to change the e- and switch to a silver d-. This set will now go on the sister instrument picked up about the same time. That instrument is far warmer and requires more work to play. Then on some other instruments or given to a student. Will have to order another set or two with the silver d-. I can see how these might help a few of my students. It's like playing Football ( Soccer ) with 1lb weights on the ankles. At times they feel like Dominants on body builder's steroids. A bit bulky sound, not so subtle. But in a large hall it is not so much about subtleties.  

The sound quality is another issue, as it would not be familiar with many players I work with.

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Taught a student working on the Mendelssohn with the DPro strings.

So loud that I found myself annoying. Student did not practice much over the summer due to travel. She was a bit hesitant to play. Every time a demonstration was offered, not being as familiar with the strings, had to re- state the demonstration ( crescendos, accelerated runs, arpeggios ) to make my point. The intent might not be to out play the students. I felt as if I were shouting at her as we stood 2+m ( with masks ) apart.

The surface of the string is treated with? During some pizziacato work, how often do we do this? the strings made surface sounds when the finger made contact. Louder ( noisier ) than any other bowed string tried recently. She is not playing the Tchaik 4th, but I have to play pizz as a duet. The plucked sound is better. 

Still, useful set of strings. Will try to better understand. 

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Go Practice, have you tried Rondo strings from Thomastik?   

They may be midway between Pi and Dominants; Pi being my luthier's preferred strings, so I haven't put on Rondo yet.  I generally don't like Dominants- mellow and plebian, to my ears (except not true on a Strad I once tried, to reference another thread, and where the owner always uses Dominants).  

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Not yet. It's on my list. During the past few years, it was difficult to get into bigger spaces, so did not really upgrade many strings. The current situation has evolved to where somethings are not as critical. There are more pressing issues.

Yes, many people have gone Pi crazy. Attending an event before the pandemic, almost every male conservatory level student was playing Pi. ( how's that for specific? ) I sound pretty bad with them on most of my instruments, but may sound good on the old French? That might be a good pairing. They can be articulate, dynamic, clear, sensitive... all valuable qualities. Might be lingering a bit too long on every note as one might have to with the Pirazzi. Since the Pi are ( so ) responsive, I might be squashing the new pitch with the smear of the previous note. And could not develop a rich vibrant midrange. Just have to learn how to play 'em.

I will get another set of Pi and try the Rondo. Maybe next month. Thank you.

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On 7/26/2021 at 8:05 PM, D27 said:

I've been trying the new Dominant Pro, and I'm getting a lot a high tension feeling, fast détaché is hard to play and the strings feel stiff, unresponsiveness when playing with low bow pressure. That didn't happen with Obligato. So I've decided to check the tensions from the official websites, here they are:

 

Obligato:

G: 4.5kg

D: 4.7kg

A: 5.4kg

Total: 14,6

 

Dominant Pro:

G: 4.6kg

D: 4.5kg

A: 5.5kg

total: 14,6

 

It's interesting how the total tension is the same, they're just distributed differently. Do Thomastik and Pirastro measure tensions the same way?

I'm not sure if it's worth it to try getting used and adapt to Dominant Pro, or just leave them. Anyone has used both and experienced the same?

Hi D27thank you so much for your very honest feedback, we are so sorry to hear that you have problems with your DOMINANT PRO strings! Would you please send us your detailed feedback via pm@thomastik-infeld.com so we can connect you with our string experts? They know every single string trick and problem solver and they’ll help you finding your perfect string set which creates for you the best possible playing experience!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Switched from the DPros to PIs. Spent 3+ hours at this point.

Have not measured yet, but the diameters feel smaller, like the DPros. ( Not measured yet )

There is a break in required. All three sets required a level of breaking in and rosin coating, Dominant, DPro, PI, say, 20min to settle in a bit. Stretch and re- tuning. Not un reasonable. The experience is each case was not linear, in that the change occurred, with the presence of more warmth and more dynamic range. Until that point, the strings sounded a bit more restrictive, tight and unresponsive.

I purchased this living Italian maker instrument with Dominants. Kept the Dominants for 3 cycles. Then DPros were not an improvement and the PI were better than the the DPros ( both at $xx% over Dominants. ) The DPros were more robotic and louder. The PIs are better. Playing solo Ysaye is more clear and responsive. Through music school, maybe this is the way to go. With out my rant over missing midrange and warmth, perhaps the PIs will be on for another two weeks. Then the regular Pirazzis go on. 

I am grateful for Thomastik. But until I tried them, I was unsure what students were hearing when playing the PI. They are very fine strings, but the qualities compensate for what living makers are creating. I will try the PIs ( a new set ) on my old French and new French. Have not tried my top three rosin choices yet.

Still trying to locate violin Rondos through Retail channels. I paid more for the PI violin strings than anything before. The Pirazzi Violas with a Larson A were less expensive. There are always firsts. First time violin strings cost more than viola strings. Not strictly an inflation issue? Maybe there are fewer violinists now.

Can we address the pricing issues? I have never thought about sending students to Guitar Center for Donminants...

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Let me say that my current Italian instrument has never had Pirazzis on them. The next set, due early October.

Then Rondo, if I can find a set in a shop. For my playing, Dominants are still are very helpful, but Cantiga and the Alliance series will offer a better value. On a older "German" violin, the Cantiga will be the next the set. I do return to Zyex from time to time. Some like the sound better than Dominants.

I do not ask my students to change brands of strings, as I can not hear and feel their experience. Most competitive players get my 80+ hours strings. Will update again. Maybe they like free stuff.

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  • 5 weeks later...

The PInfelds are more familiar than the DPros.

I have been speaking to a student about garlic. It is one of the ingredients that adds a middle flavour that fills out the process of chewing. Not too much, but the lack of it matters. There is some satisfaction in the flavour for many, but not all. Having tested positive for the "Covid" virus, his sense of taste was lost.

There are other musicians who I have spoken to whom had lost sensitivity in their hearing after having experienced the Covid virus.

Fortunately, having been careful and circumstances fortunate, my limited skill set have not degraded ( as much. )

The PI are ok. Given the price and playability, perhaps the Dominants require more work but are the better value. Not sure that a violin that has only known Dominants, tends to like the Dominants more than anything new.... but the sound and feel is better with the less expensive strings.

Aside from the e- string debate, the midrange or body, of the sound develops slowly with the PI after 100+ hours of play. After a dozen hours they sounded quite good. The clarity is nice but usually after 100+ hours, the strings are replaced. Will finally change to Pirazzis. 

The midrange tends to take it for granted.

So with garlic and olive oil, the midrange matter. It is only a fraction of a $usd but the flavour is significantly better. 

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Yes, yes. Rondos first and then the Larsons.

Between cellos and violas, I spend thousands on Larsens a year. Still unsure of the quality ( ...ies ) that I like, but the variety has made it possible to dial in better tones and feel for many students. The Tziganes for the violin were a bit underwhelming. It did many things very well, like daily playing. But it was difficult to locate the edges/ limits of where it sounded expressive and where it was a bit raspy. I played the Ravel with the Larsens and a colleague said I lacked polish ( the irony. )

Each instrument will behave different, but Jargars can still rock ( on cello. ) On an older "German" Strad copy, they make me nostalgic for the old timers from Casals to Rostopovich. I can feel the limits of the instrument and my playing, and it is lovely. Predictable is too unkind and mundane a description. I hear it from kids. The feeling of just playing, and enjoying, like good practice.

Now the PI will go onto a Guarneri pattern, before giving the set to a student. Changed my mind. Geez, every kid is playing them. Have to try them some more. I might like the Vision variety better. Maybe better there. The Tziganes were easier to push around on the DG pattern over the Strad. 

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  • 1 month later...

Larsen Soloist, A- Med cello, broke. Again.

When the string pitch starts dropping... I thought, well it's stretching. Then when trying to bring up to 444+hz, breaks at core, unravels at peg. Nearly always at or below silk at the pegs. This must be nearing one every half year. Viola or cello. Statistically, I purchase a 18+ A- strings ( viola, cello ) a year.

Must be my set up.

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  • 2 months later...
On 9/1/2022 at 10:43 PM, l33tplaya said:

Go Practice, have you tried Rondo strings from Thomastik?   

 ( ... )

Having taken your suggestion to heart, finally started switching out to the Rondo on violin. Switching one string at this time to comparing with the existing set that are not that old, the complexity is good ( not saying which string yet. ) With a few hours ( maybe three? ) the sound and feel are reassuring. Adapting is getting easier to adapting into a newer sound. The trip VSA and visiting, hearing, friends play has been a catalyst. Without getting into personal sonic preferences, the economics and educational benefit appear to be moving ( me ) in this direction.

With some time on newer sets of strings, the perception of the current sound of strings is shifting.

The other night, in front of Colburn admiring the Gehry, there must have seen been a dozen Ferraris drive by in ten minutes. More than a half a dozen years before at the same corner, waiting for friend to go hear Gehry speak out west. Shiny, slick, though there were other exotics, the Ferraris are more settling and stylish to the eye?

So are the sounds of bowed strings. Not trying to over simplify the example, but students are producing or expressing better with these new strings. My position is changing. Though my own performances must including an inductive pan with frying oil at the rear of the stage to emulate the best of the 78s, perhaps with an egg if the recording was purchased at a second hand store.

The newer strings are expensive and not sure how long they will last. Nor has it been easy to get into larger spaces but for better students the newer strings make it possible to explore. It is important to test the range of any instrument/ string/ setup combination.

From a manufacturing process the major string companies can supply these variety of strings as per the availability of materials. Not sure from the retail standpoint. Having to stock a wide variety makes it an expense. Still not making online purchases on the whole, I was irritated by being forced into making a bulk purchase online from a boutique- y publisher. Cutting costs in the shipping department is sad. I also do acknowledge that shipping costs have risen a significant amount.

Anyway, started sipping the drink...

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Yes your point is well taken. That's what I am thinking in terms of possibilities. But also possibly stress points closer to the silk? 

These are cello strings, not vln/ vla. Excellent ebony. I have adapted the set up burnishing the string grooves and with "rounded" micro- chamfers at the enter/ exit points of the strings. Graphite. The Larsons feel narrower than some similar a- strings.

I could keep breaking the a- and get an average on how many pounds they tolerate. For the time being, the string is on a fractional. 

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15 minutes ago, GoPractice said:

Yes your point is well taken. That's what I am thinking in terms of possibilities. But also possibly stress points closer to the silk? 

These are cello strings, not vln/ vla. Excellent ebony. I have adapted the set up burnishing the string grooves and with "rounded" micro- chamfers at the enter/ exit points of the strings. Graphite. The Larsons feel narrower than some similar a- strings.

I could keep breaking the a- and get an average on how many pounds they tolerate. For the time being, the string is on a fractional. 

I don't know that there are any inherent stress points in string construction close to the silk.

It does not matter what instrument, violin, viola or cello nor does the quality of the ebony matter much, at least in the short term.  The contour of the nut and the radius (unless the string groove is V shaped as some prefer) are what matters.  If a smaller diameter string was used on the instrument for a long time and then even a slightly larger one put on, it will bind and break just like you're experiencing.  

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