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Looking for a different make of string
Changing from Dominants to something else!
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Chinafiddler
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October 5, 2014 - 7:29 am
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Hi all,

For many years now I have used Dominant strings on my fiddles, I suppose because they sound pretty good, are easy to come by, and not too costly.

However I have decided to look for something different for my Strad pattern violin.

This fiddle is a factory made Sandner concert violin with a rather bright sound and not much depth. For this reason I am looking for something that will partially rectify this problem.

Since it's purchase I have changed the bridge and had the sound post moved which made a big difference, but I think a change of strings is now needed.

Many years ago I used Golden Spiral, and Eudoxa strings, but I have rather lost touch with these and other makes now available.

I am all ears/eyes for any suggestions.

 

Regards

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Ferret
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October 5, 2014 - 7:45 am
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Hi

Just a quick reply because I've got visitors :)

Look at Larsen Virtusoso strings. 

Love them myself.

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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Fiddlestix
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October 5, 2014 - 7:53 am
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@Chinafiddler: In the past 8 or 9 months, I ordered two sets of Zyex (D'Addario) along with the "Kaplan" non whistling E string.

In the mean time, I purchased a set of, "Obligato" (Piastro) from my luthier. I find I get a warmer richer sound with the "Obligato" strings, but I still have an unused set of "Zyex" I need to use before I buy any more "Ob's".

They are a little more pricier than the "Zyex" but I think it's worth it to me. That's just my opinion. Different violins may require different strings or a mixture of, but I'm sure you are aware of that.

 

Ken.

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fiddle chick
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October 5, 2014 - 9:56 am
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I tried Dominants but found them to have a rather dull sound on my instrument. I'm currently using Warchel Ambers and I get a much fuller (and sweeter) sound, although they are a little louder than I would like. I was very happy with the Warchal Karneol set. Haven't tried anything else to compare them to. Good luck. 

Let the bow flow.

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fiddle chick
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October 5, 2014 - 10:00 am
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And I forgot to mention.... Warchal offers half price for a trial set of Ambers and Karneols. (By trial, I mean first-time buyer of those particular strings).  At that price, it's worth it to try them out.

Let the bow flow.

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pky
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October 5, 2014 - 10:56 am
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I first used cecilio steel strings then changed them to dominant with Pirastro gold E, then zyex, then pro-arte, and I just put on a new set of corelli crystal light weight.

When I first switched to Dominant, I had only played for a few months so the only difference I heard was the non metallic sound on G D & A. When I first used Zyex, I loved it, it sound clear and clean compared to the dominant that sounded a little hoarse. But the second set of zyex had the same sound as the dominant. Then I tried pro-arte, it was okay, just loud and that's when I decided to try light weight strings. The set of corelli that I just put on (three days) sound sweeter and I think I like them the best among all the strings I have tried on my 7/8 violin; although I also thinned my bridge, so not sure if the effect was from the bridge or from the strings LOL

I have heard about warchal Amber strings and am going to try them next. Fiddle chick where did you get them? I have looked around and was not able to find them.

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fiddle chick
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October 5, 2014 - 12:01 pm
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I got the Karneol set from FM's Fiddlershop, but I got the Ambers directly from Warchal. They offer half price for first time buyers. They also just came out with an Avant Garde A string which I'll probably try someday, even though I totally love the Amber A.

Let the bow flow.

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Chinafiddler
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October 5, 2014 - 8:48 pm
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Hi all,

 

Great lots of help and suggestions.

Now I have some information I can see what is available here in China.

Unfortunately availability is not as good as it is in the West, but it's getting better.

Thanks.

 

Regards

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coolpinkone
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October 5, 2014 - 9:54 pm
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Pierre (Fiddlerman) ships world wide.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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cdennyb
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October 5, 2014 - 11:17 pm
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@CF, if you have a model 801 or 801A or 804/805 violin, the mfg has set it up to originally come with Tonica strings, as the Dom's were optional per personal client preference. Perhaps you might put a set of strings the maker has decided to use as they are usually pretty well versed at what works best on their various models. You haven't mentioned what year your violin was made but I assume recently as you're still looking for that perfect string set for it. In many cases on high end instruments all the strings will NOT necessarily be from the same mfg. Many professionals play a variety of different strings and in their excellent proficient playing abilities perhaps they notice a big enough difference in their characteristics to chose one type over another from simple experience in the real world.

http://franz-sandner.de/en/por.....-801a.html

Of course we all know that as a new violin ages, the sounds change and of course the violin will then "tell us" what it likes best. Everyone usually jumps right in a tells what they are using on a violin that is in most cases is totally different than yours, but they work great for them on their instrument. You might as well flip a coin when using another persons recommendation, including my own. (which I will not bore you with as I'm sure you've had many different strings in your many years as a violinist). I have 4 different violins and have about double that many string mfg names on them so I have no single string preference as each instrument has it's own "likes".

I hope this "personal opinion" has enlightened your decision.

hats_off

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Chinafiddler
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October 6, 2014 - 5:40 am
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Hi cdennyb,

Yes my Sandner did originally come with Tonica strings, but after using them for a while I found the sound to be unsatisfactory. I then changed to Dominants and have used them ever since.

I also had the fiddle set up by GCV in Guangzhou which included a new bridge and sound post adjustment.

This somewhat improved matters, but I think a different string will help as well.

Incidentally I have just discovered that the instrument I bought is in fact a Dynasty model, and not a Concert, not that this matters.

Now because this is PRC and availability of good string is not so good I will probably try either Pirastro Gold or Obligato and see how things go.

The only strings I can buy locally (that is in a music shop) are Tonica, hence I will have to go online and purchase a set of the above mentioned strings.

 

Thank you for your input and help.

 

Regards

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cdennyb
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October 6, 2014 - 7:58 pm
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Well, it's a good thing you now know which violin you really have now! Was there any chance you just played the instrument so much they "wore out", got tired and just needed replaced and not necessarily the mfg changed? If they sounded good to start with perhaps another set will b ring back that 'ol time fiddle sound.

The internet is a wonderful place, I buy literally hundreds of dollars worth of parts and materials from mainland China and Hong Kong/Taiwan... from electrical components for my multirotor aircraft to instrument parts and supplies to car parts. It's a very reliable source for stuff so you really shouldn't have any trouble finding cheap strings right there locally within a few hundred miles or so and the shipping would be really inexpensive as opposed to getting them shipped all the way to me here in the US.

 

Good luck in your string project, would be good to hear a sound clip of before and after of you playing, and I don't mean a youtube video. Sound recordings are easily done with phones and computers and you should easily be able to post a couple of sound bites here.

Look forward to really hearing a pro play a little for us.

hats_off

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Fiddlerman
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October 6, 2014 - 11:31 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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The Larsen Virtuoso strings are fantastic but very costly.

The Obligatos are also expensive but not quite as bad. Way better than Dominants though IMAO. A string that is designed to darken the sound would be the new Kaplan Amo strings by D'Addario. They too are expensive. :(

On my violin, the Zyex is by far the best for the price. For me they are way better then the Dominants but I have noticed that it is not the case for all instruments. Since your violin has a bright character naturally, I would guess that these strings would suit you well. How is the power/projection on your violin?

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

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Chinafiddler
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October 7, 2014 - 5:21 am
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Hi,

 In fact it was only when I took the Sandner home that I realized that the bridge was in fact in the wrong position. Then I started wondering if the sound post was also misplaced. With this in mind my wife and I took a short break holiday to Guangzhou and paid GCV violins a visit. They agreed that the set-up was terrible and advised me to have the bridge changed and sound post adjusted. This they did and things were much better, but overall I was still not satisfied with the sound. This is when I changed to Dominant strings and I have to say that there was a noticeable improvement in depth of sound.

Time went by and I continued to play this instrument, but as it was a replacement for my old antique Bavarian I was always measuring the sound against this and it came up short.

Finally I decided to have a fiddle made for me by a well know maker and started my search at GCV. Here I auditioned a couple of their more expensive instruments but made no decisions at that time. Later I was told of a couple of very good Luthiers in Beijing and I made some enquiries. One maker offered to make me a copy of the 'Le Duc' Guarnerius Del Gesu which looked wonderful, very like the real one, but his prices were staggeringly high. The other maker offered to make me a copy of 'The Lord Wilton' Guarnerius del Gesu also looked wonderful, and his prices were far more affordable, but I didn't like the idea of travelling all the way to Beijing. With this in mind I contacted several of his old customers for advice and recommendations. They praised his instruments very highly so I took the plunge and ordered my fiddle. Three months later I was the proud owner of my Lord Wilton copy complete with uneven 'f'  holes.

Like all new fiddles it sounded a little tight at first, but in time it improved and is still improving each day.

 

This is the problem!

 

The sound of this instrument is so much better than the Sandner, but I think I can still improve this factory fiddle with different/better strings, but certainly not Tonica!

 

OK so you want to hear some sound clips, well this is not out of the question but please understand I am no professional!

Sadly there are big gaps in my technique due to the fact that I started to learn when I was 21, and then later I had to bring my career onto the front burner for development purposes. This meant that playing and practicing was not possible for a few years.

 Having said this I think considering everything my playing is not bad for an old geezer with nerve damage in his right shoulder.

Fiddlerman you asked about power/projection, well it's pretty good actually, just very bright (IMO).

 

Regards

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Fiddlerman
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October 7, 2014 - 7:06 am
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You should also have a good luthier look at your sound-post. When I first bought my Jan Larsson violin it sounded great and like all brand new violins, it got better quickly over the next few months. However, wood is a living material and does change shape. The top rises on new violins and the post as adjusted will be too short. My luthier checked it regularly and changed it twice within the first year. Once after a few years and then again after quite a few more years. He changed my post 4 times to compensate for the rising top. I didn't know anything about adjusting sound-posts back then and wouldn't have trusted myself to do it either but he definitely made the instrument sound better every time.

When a post is too short, you must pull it outward towards the f-hole to get the right tension. The outwards adjustment gives the violin a slightly brighter sound. For a darker sound you would want to test a longer post. We are referring to slight differences but I have seen posts that were several millimeters too short.

How much are you willing to spend on strings?

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

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Chinafiddler
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October 7, 2014 - 7:28 am
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Hi Fiddlerman,

Guess I better take my fiddles to GCV or Hong Kong Strings for a checkup!

Very interesting and educational, thank you for telling me.

I am afraid to say I am the kind of fiddler that actually knows very little about fiddles.

Yes I know who the great makers are and where they originated, and I know the basic of how a fiddle works, but that is it!

Now to how much I want to spend on strings!

Well my only real hobby is my fiddle, and without going into detail I am very comfortable financially, so price is not really a consideration, so long as they are available here.

You mentioned Zyex, well so far I have come up with a fat zero on tracking these down, but Obligato are available.

Even Hong Kong Strings don't stock Zyex, but I have only checked their site, maybe I will give them a call and see if they can acquire them for me.

Regards

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Fiddlestix
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October 7, 2014 - 7:45 am
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cdennyb said

 

Look forward to really hearing a pro play a little for us.

hats_off

Denny, Denny, Denny...... What is, Pierre ?...... LOL    dunno

 

Ken.  

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Fiddlerman
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October 7, 2014 - 7:47 am
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The main reason that I mentioned Zyex is that they are inexpensive in the states. We sell them for $41 or $45 depending on if you want them with the silver D or not. We do and have shipped to China. Not sure how accurate the shipping costs are in our system but you get to see that before checking out.
The Obligato's are great and warmer sounding than Dominant.
Forgot to mention Evah Pirazzi Gold strings. Also a great choice but expensive.
I think I prefer Larsen Virtuoso Strings over the Evah Pirazzi Gold strings though.
That being said, since you can get a hold of the Obligato's, I believe you will not be disappointed. Dark and powerful strings. Perfect solution for overly bright instruments. The idea when these strings were developed was that it would be a replacement for the warm sound from gut strings but they are IMAO much better.

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

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Chinafiddler
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October 7, 2014 - 10:18 am
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Hi Fiddlerman,

 

Well I know I can get Obligato, and Evah Pirazzi Gold, so I think this is where I will start first.

I'll let you know how I get with them.

Thanks for the advice.

 

Regards

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happyjet
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November 2, 2014 - 10:17 am
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I use Pirastro Tonica strings in my Gliga Gems 2. They sound quite good and and do not cost too much. They also last for a long time. I have had my set for 3 months and I haven't noticed much decrease in the quality of the sound.

Playing a piece is easy... Playing it right is not...

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