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Viola Strings Choices


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6 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

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I use Obligatos for people who want to blend in and Evah Pirazzi for those who want to push to the front. What are other people seeing their customers asking for?

It is often cost in meeting many random violists. In the higher end, of the range, Rondos keep being mentioned.

Your instincts are more correct, certainly amongst my friends. But the tonal qualities fade if the players tend to push the strings. Even some complain that Obligatos do not last playing later Beethoven during a three evening/ matinee programming. There are several incredible local players that also sound incredible with Obligatos. That might be the standard for the rounder broader sound, but my reality, is that the Pirazzi last 2x longer and the Olive set, in smaller spaces sound better/ intimate/ expressive.

The Pirazzi gold is amazing in that they might be in the middle, possibly lasting longer. The current set on viola is a little too loose in the low end, making it harder for to coax out dynamics and shape the tonal range.

The hot set is that Rondo. So many players have mentioned the set in passing. Work gets in the way, but will try soon. Maybe mid- April. Given the x- factor of live performance, the regular Pirazzis have been incredibly reliable and tend to be heard/ felt by other players in chamber or with piano. In orchestral playing, it is not the loudest, but can easily sit in the middle. 

I also have Cantiga, Zyex and Tonica sets ( all sets really and Helicore ) that are tried in passing setting up instruments. The set ups are mostly for students who regularly rehearse and perform. 

Those sets maintain their "tonal signature" longer than Obligatos. But I used to beat the hell out of Obligatos on a 1930s Cremona model < 16.5in Italian. Stepped away from the Strad pattern for over a decade. Switch to a wonderful American instrument that communicates better. Will maybe visit the Strad pattern later this year. As a violist, we work to be heard even more than 2nd violinist. I have yet to locate a gentleman's viola of yesteryear.


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Perhaps the question might be from the player and that from the shop. If I were currently buying for a shop, just on street cred, it might be the Rondo, Pirazzi Gold, Helicore, Dominant with a variety of a- strings including the Larsen and Jargar, but other a- string combinations might provide better sound for the variety of violas out there. Normal Pirazzi and Obligatos might be special order? But might have a set for myself, and can offer to customers.

Does the instrument body type/ sensitivity/ tonal colour matter? 

These strings are for instruments less than 16.5in and greater than 15.5in. Perhaps more specifically out west, but not sure what is hot in Oregon or Washington.

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