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Darkest, warmest,yet most complex sounding non-gut strings available..

Roosje Urbach

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I would go with the strings that function best on the instrument. I believe that using strings to change the character of an instrument has only a limited range of effect.

I have also observed that a lot of youngsters (I was one of them) seem to be attracted to dark warm sounding instruments only to change their mind later. But maybe Obligatos would could shift the situation slightly for now. I have always though Pro-arte were the darkest string, but I never thought of them as "complex" But a cheap first try maybe, but its not a huge difference over something like Dominants.

But the best solution is a different instrument, or to convince the player to keep going, maybe his/her ideal will change  when they encounter different playing situations. Get the teacher involved too.

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12 minutes ago, deans said:

I would go with the strings that function best on the instrument.

Amen to that.  I have Evah Greens on two late 19th century violins -- one French (Mirecourt), one German (Munich).  The Munich violin produces a dark warm sound (I would say "clear").  The Mirecourt, while still very pleasant, produces a distinctly brighter sound (with just a bit of string scratch at the start of bowing) -- and that's after correcting the neck angle to modern standards.   

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Wow,  I had never expected so many helpfull replies to my question!  Thanks for all your advice. I think I will try the Corelli Cantiga strings here, but also leaning towards Larsen Tzigane. Obligato is also on the list here, but they are a bit on the expensive side. Not a problem if they are worth it though.   Will make a decision next week, and the player will have to decide if he likes them or not. He specifically asked for warm and dark strings, and they had to be free of animal materials..

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13 minutes ago, Roosje Urbach said:

and they had to be free of animal materials..

Yes, lots of people want animal free products. Just thinking though, is the violin animal free? I wonder if anyone makes violins with alternative glues? Just wondering.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Original poster's update + comments and previous experiments:

Deans, it is a good point of bringing more of the violin in the animal free register (and I am dreading an animal free repair for this matter!). But the post was really about strings.. I can comprehend that even a vegan can accept that his/her maybe 100+ year old instrument might contain animal products. I am fully aware of titebond, which I use in many guitar repairs, but I always tend to use animal glue in bowed instruments or historical arch-top guitars.  

Personally I am a great fan of gut strings: Pirastro gold/eudoxa and olive I know well.  For early music styles I adhere to gut strings made by Berndt Kürschner, which I can highly recommend.

But the original post was about the most warm and complex sounding synthetic string on the market right now for a promising 12 year old vegan player.

In the mean time we have already done some experimenting with single strings but we did not want to bias the forum. (We started out with a set of D'Addario Ascenté strings on the violin in question; an old, non figured wood bohemian violin that has been maintained and repaired over the years. No label, nothing special but well set up).  


First we changed the E string from D'addario Ascenté to Pirastro gold.  The player liked the change, but there was no "wow" .  Do not forget player is a beginner that has played for about 3 years!


The A string (D'Addario Ascenté) was changed to a Thomastik Dominant A. Still no wow from the player, although he did not want us to go back to the old string for comparison.


The D string (D'Addario Ascenté) was changed to Corelli Cantiga (medium) and there was a wow from the player, and his bystanding mother (pianoplayer and present at all other string changes).  Personally I could also hear the big difference here, this was the biggest change and improvement in sound in this experiment.


These experiments where done in april 2021, and the player has been playing a different string from a different manufacturer from a different company on each of his strings to this day. His favourite of these 4 is the Corelli Cantiga D.  But this was his first string  experiment, and he liked the set as it was.

After reading your replies to this forum, I was expecting you to point me to Pirastro obligato, and hoping to see a comparison between Larsen Tzigane, Corelli Cantiga and Pirastro Obligato.  But I heard nothing about the Larsen option (while I deeply love the Larsen cello strings), and do hear something positive  about the Corelli Cantiga strings in posts by MBrancalion and Mr.Bean. These recommendations do seem to coincide with the experiments described above.

In regards to your responses and our findings we will be changing strings shortly, and the change will be to a complete set of Corelli Cantiga medium light strings.  (medium light gauge was chosen by player himself).

I will update you with the findings, and thanks for all your input!










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