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Fiddlerman strings?
help choosing new strings to try
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Michelle.Lea
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November 30, 2016 - 2:59 pm
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hey guys!  So i've got a pretty good starter student violin, and i'm trying to do some small upgrades.  earlier this year I replaced the strings it came with with some d'addario ones.  definite improvement.  but now I'm considering trying some synthetic core ones, and see that Fiddlerman has his own brand in his online store.  Anyone try these?   I'm looking for a deeper sound - i find the d'addario ones a little harsh at times. 

I want to get a new bow as well, right now I just have the one that came with my violin.    any advice and/or recommendations welcome!

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BillyG
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November 30, 2016 - 4:40 pm
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Which D'addario's ?   Personally, I like the Preludes a lot ( they are steels ) for some things, but  to my ears they can be a bit strident / sharp / harsh for certain styles of music (but I like them a LOT for down in the dirt fiddle stuff), but I'll regularly swap between them and Dominants ( which are synthetics - by Thomastik ) when I want something more "mellow" sounding.  

I should add that I also use FiddlerMan's FM strings - and find them just as nice sounding as the Dominants - and darned near half the price !!!!   I wouldn't hesitate going for those.....   they're nice synthetics and will definitely lose the "harshness" you describe / hear ( harshness, has its place of course... LOL )

I also experiment with e-bay $5 string-sets - which at that price are always steels - and why not ?   ( Most of them, like most of the early rosins I experimented with, end up in the trash-can, but sometimes, I'll keep the occasional set as stand-by strings....  LOL  )

And oh yes - even with the most expensive strings I've ever used (Larsens) I always change the E to another type - usually the Kaplan, but that's just me and what I feel the fiddle (or violin if you prefer, depending on what I'm trying to play on my FM Concert ) "prefers" to my ear and style of music I want to play.   It's a symbiotic relationship - you - your playing 'style/ability/technique' - musical genre - the fiddle itself - its (the fiddle's) set-up - the bow - its tension - its hair - the rosin - all add to the overall sound - and SOMEWHERE, just somewhere - there is a balance to be found for what you want to do at the time....

As far as the bow goes - I have 4 - one is a cheap thing that came with an EV I have and I can use it, but it can be hard work for some reason - probably the hair/rosin combination - I suspect the hair itself may be synthetic on that bow.  The second is a wooden stick (not pernambuco I might add) and actually is OK, but the hair isn't keen to take rosin and needs relatively frequent attention/re-rosining.   The other two are FM's CF bow, which are largely used by me 100% of the time, and they are nicely balanced, with nice rosin take-up.  They work well for me.    No doubt, over time, I'll get the chance to experience more and more strings and bows ( and more fiddles !!!! YAYYY ) and my opinions / knowledge will change.

Don't read TOO much into my words - I'm not even 3 full years into playing - these are just my observations to date.....  but honestly - in general - and it WILL depend on the instrument itself of course - you won't go far wrong with the FM bow and strings....

Good luck with your planned "upgrade"....... thumbs-up

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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OldOgre
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November 30, 2016 - 9:04 pm
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Hello there Lea.

I recommend the FiddlerMan Strings, they are great sounding strings for the price. I use them on two of my violins.

hope this helps you deside.

With violins there is no fretting over the music.

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Fran
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November 30, 2016 - 10:07 pm
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I love the Fiddlerman strings!  Give them a try 🙂

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Charles
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December 2, 2016 - 9:56 am
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The Fiddlerman strings are usually compared to Thomastik Dominants, which are rated as squarely in the middle of the tone range by most people (see the string charts below).  They're about 1/2 the price of the Dominants, though, so if you like the sound of the Dominants, I'd recommend the Fiddlerman strings.

If you're using the D'addario Preludes, the FM strings will be a lot less harsh.  On the advice of my teacher, I tried the D'addario Helicore, and I like them pretty well. They're fairly pricy, though. (I prefer the dark, rich end of the tone spectrum, by the way.)

 

As you can see from these charts, neither the Dominants/FMs or the Helicore are anywhere near the darkest and richest sounds out there. But all the cheap ones are on the "bright, clear" (aka "shrill, piercing" 🙂 ) end of the spectrum. If you want to go for the richest sound from strings, prepare to shell out quite a few bucks. (That's one reason I'm using the Helicore - they're more towards the dark end than most steel strings, but they last like steel strings do, rather than the much shorter lifespan of synthetics.)

A couple of string charts I've found useful:

Violin String Chart | SHAR Music - sharmusic.com

http://www.violinstringreview......rence.html

You'll notice they don't use the same terms, and they don't place the same strings in the same place. Both of those charts are somebody's subjective opinion (possibly a group of somebodies). Additionally, as one article I glanced at while finding that stuff mentioned, every violin interacts with any given string in its own way. You're probably just going to have to experiment to find something you like.

 

Re the bow, depends on your price range. Like Bill, (and pretty much everyone else who uses one), I'll recommend the Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber bow.  There are better bows, and for that matter, better CF bows - but only for a LOT more money. I got one for the durability, and I like it well enough that I'm about to get a second one (for convenience, mainly.)

If you're wanting a better bow and have the money to spend, I'd look at their 1-, 2-, or 3-star Pernambuco bows. If you're looking for a better CF bow, I can't help. I know they exist, but know very little about which ones have a good rep.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 5, 2016 - 8:32 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11962

Thanks Charles.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Michelle.Lea
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December 5, 2016 - 11:55 pm
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thanks for the advice guys.  the more I read on strings, the more it seems it really is an individual thing!  I love the idea of someday being able to play irish style fiddling, but maybe I don't have to have steel strings to do that.

I'm also still really new (less than a year) so I'm trying to take that into account too.  I'm using the Preludes right now, and that E string is just hard on my ears lol.  so I may try some FM ones out soon!  the worst that can happen is I go back to the Preludes or try something else!  same with the bow. 

just not sure if I should change 2 things at once though, or I'm not going to be able to tell what made it better (if either does)

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
December 6, 2016 - 7:33 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
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Michelle.Lea said
....
just not sure if I should change 2 things at once though, or I'm not going to be able to tell what made it better (if either does)  

  Absolutely.   Change one thing at a time, work with it in that new "configuration" for a few days.   Some strings settle-in very quickly, some others may take a few days and a few hours of playing to reach their optimum sound, and they can often just react differently under your bow - you need to get used to them.

 Some changes you make can be immediately obvious, others can be much more subtle and may only become evident under certain conditions of playing (like how 'forte' or 'pp' you're trying to play, how far up the neck you are playing and so on).

  Yup - change one thing at a time - as I have learnt from bitter experience !!!

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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MrYikes
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December 6, 2016 - 9:02 am
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Warchal Amber E string might help your ears.  It is probably the warmest E available.

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coolpinkone
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December 6, 2016 - 2:27 pm
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@BillyG 

I have a question for you.  I also have FM strings on a violin at home, however I used them for the electric violin.

I have Larsen strings on both violins.  Bill not the Virtuoso ones, but "regular" for the lack of a better term.

Not to put you on the spot but in your opinion would the FM strings satisfy after the Larsen experience.   To be clear I only order all my strings from Fiddlerman, so however you answer it will be a sale for FM 🙂

I have never bought strings elsewhere and never will 🙂 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
December 6, 2016 - 3:50 pm
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coolpinkone said
@BillyG 

I have a question for you.  I also have FM strings on a violin at home, however I used them for the electric violin.

I have Larsen strings on both violins.  Bill not the Virtuoso ones, but "regular" for the lack of a better term.

Not to put you on the spot but in your opinion would the FM strings satisfy after the Larsen experience.   To be clear I only order all my strings from Fiddlerman, so however you answer it will be a sale for FM 🙂

I have never bought strings elsewhere and never will 🙂   

Heyy Toni - @coolpinkone - the Larsens I tried were the "virtuosos" - and - to be honest (which I always am - and just expressing my own LIMITED experience) I found them "difficult" to play.   To me / for me - they had such a different response to bowing - AND fingering - I felt they were really low tension - but that is NOT the case - they're not - but - they do exhibit a much stronger ( wider ) vibration - I often found that moving from a note on the G ( and it still vibrating / ringing open string ) to a note on the D, for instance - woukd cause a "rattle" of the now-open G sting against my stopped fingernail on the D.    Of course - that was actually BENEFICIAL in a round about way - because it taught me to be much more precise with my finger placement.

Now - because of this - and don't get me wrong - I liked the sound of the Larsens a lot - but I still have an "open mind" about them - in the sense that - well - to me - I would not necessarily be "driven" to choose them as a day to day string ON THE INSTRUMENTS I HAVE - yours may well behave differently ( bear in mind that I actually DO like the steels (Preludes) for some fiddle stuff - and I swap strings quite regularly - usually between the Preludes, Dominants and the FiddlerMan strings ) - THESE - the preludes / doms / FMs are currently my strings of choice - with the doms and FM being tonally similar, the preludes being sharp and un-missably "present" LOLOL- but I like that a lot for some things...

Returning to your question - and - I appreciate your Larsens were different from mine - I'll answer it this way - *IF* you have ( and I'm sure you have ) used Dominants - then the FM strings are, to my ear - pretty much the same - so - I guess - not being there to hear you or your instrument under my ear or as a listener - I would suggest that you compare what YOU feel about the dominants (which as I say, I assume you must have used) compared to the Larsens on your acoustics and go from there.

The other thing to do of course is play the acoustics with the current Larsens to within an inch of their life - exploring all your playing styles and indeed genres...  THEN take the FM strings off your EV and fit 'em on the acoustics - and again - play the fiddle to within an inch of its life.   LOL - I would record the "before and after" and take PLENTY time doing this experiment - I would give it a week with playing every day for both string types.....   LOLOL

I just KNEW you wouldn't like my answer Toni !!!!!    There is NO quick fix for these horribly subjective and instrument-dependent issues !

Please let me know how it goes !  pink-violin-girl

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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coolpinkone
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December 6, 2016 - 4:33 pm
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@BillyG 

ha ha.. Of course I adore your very thorough answer.  And I think you are right. Nutshell version... what sounds good on my Ming and my Soloist.  Opposed to perhaps something else.  

I have not a lot of experience with strings.  When I had a rental violin the first year the strings were provided when they broke or needed new ones.  Overtures...nothing fancy.  When I bought that violin I used some strings...  I believe I used Pro Arte (what a good G string)...  strings for a year or so, and then Zyex.  That was on my violin that was comparable to the FM concert violin.  So only two brands.

When I got the soloist I only used Zyex for the first year or two.

Then only the Larsens on Soloist and Ming.

So I have never tried Dominants  on my violins.   I think there was a time when I wanted to try some "fiddle" type string and I got some metal type strings on a German Violin that I don't have any longer... but that wasn't really my thing.

So I guess I just have to either stay with the Larsen strings.... or try the FM strings... I mean the price is so reasonable.

I usually by a gold E string.... of some kind... I don't recall what one that is.   

I have to say that I really like the Larsen strings... but what if.. oh oh oh what if there is something better for my violin and I am missing out.  🙂

Thanks again. I adore your answer and I adore you buddy.

Cheers.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
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December 7, 2016 - 12:08 pm
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Toni, there are many different types of strings that you should give a try. The Vision Solo strings for example. Call us about an "open" package deal. We can sell you a set of unused strings at a way better price since the packaging was compromised. The strings are exactly the same.
Same thing applies to the Kaplan Amo strings for example.
Evah Pirazzi gold are loved by many great players.
The Fiddlerman Strings may easily satisfy you as do the Dominants with many professionals. I feel they are compatible.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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coolpinkone
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December 12, 2016 - 3:25 pm
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@Fiddlerman Thank you so much for this info.  I am an open package kinda buyer.  Especially when I want to try new strings.

This is good to know... I need strings for Ming JZ 905. (At least I think I do as I have been playing on the Larsens for 17months now).  I will be so happy for new strings... If I remember it is nice to get great sound without extra effort. 

If you think the FM strings are worthy for my Ming, then I'll take your recommendation on that too.

I have been wanting the Evah P. Strings as well. 

And pretty soon I need to make a decision on a wood bow.  I will get another FM carbon fiber because they are great to have, but for me I just want to play with a wooden bow...(that is what my soul calls for).  

Congrats to you, I have been here almost 5 years and your selection and your shop has so many choices ... its a good thing...Congratulations again for all the excellent products.

Cheers Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 13, 2016 - 3:31 pm
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Thanks Toni. A lot has happened in 5 years. Glad that you have been around for all of it. We opened Fiddlershop in 2012. 🙂

The Holstein 2 and 3 star bows are great IMAO!!!
As for the strings, it's impossible to know what works the best but I love the Vision, Vision Solo, Kaplan Amo..... and the list probably goes on and on..... LOL

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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