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Which strings did my favorite player use?
A list of famous players and their choices for strings.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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cdennyb
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August 10, 2012 - 3:25 am
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thumbs-up 

Everybody seems to be interested in the string combos of artists (including me of course!), so I did some research to try and find out what they used including newer and older artists. Enjoy and if anyone knows of anything different than what I have posted, please let me know.

Jascha Heifetz : Goldbrokat Medium E, Plain Gut A&D, Wound G (don’t know the brand). That he used until the end of his performing career judging by the album photos from the 1960’s that I saw.

Nathan Milstein : Same as Heifetz in the 1950’s with a Eudoxa G, but he moved to using an Eudoxa G&D, plain gut A and Goldbrokat E in the 1960’s. I have been told by someone who saw him in the 1970’s that by then he was using an Eudoxa A as well.

Zino Francescatti : From an album from the late 50’s or early 60’s that I saw, he was using a Eudoxa G, Kaplan Silver D, Eudoxa A and Goldbrokat Medium E.

David Oistrakh : Eudoxa D and G, Prim Steel A (or Chromecore) and a Prim E.

* On a historical note here, the first person to use and recommend the use of a steel A with two wound gut core lower strings was Carl Flesch.

Arthur Grumiaux : Used an Eudoxa A, D, G. Couldn’t figure out the E. In the 1970’s, I saw a cover where he used the Eudoxa steel A, and gut on the two lower strings.

Henryk Szeryng : Used a Eudoxa D and G, a Kaplan A and either a Gold Label E or Kaplan E (they look so alike!). He did also use Olives for the D and G, and on the last filmed broadcast he did for Radio-Canada, he used Olive D and G, plain gut A and a Gold Label E from what I could tell.

Isaac Stern : Used the Eudoxa A, D, G and a Goldbrokat Medium E. Later in his career he kept the E but switched to Dominants.

Frank Peter Zimmerman : Uses Olives for the A, D, G and a Hill E.

Thomas Zehetmair : Unless he has changed, he use to use a full set of Olives.

Pinchas Zukerman : Used Eudoxas until the Dominants came out which he still uses (including the E, I think...). He was the first soloist to switch to Dominants.

Itzhak Perlman : Used Eudoxa in his early career than switched to the traditional combo of Dominants with the Gold Label E.

Hilary Hahn : Dominants with a Gold Label E.

Maxim Vengerov : Used to use Dominants but recently switched to a full set of Pirazzi.

Vadim Repin : Don’t know what he used before but he is currently playing on a full set of Pirazzi.

Ilya Gringolts : He uses Evah Pirazzi at the moment.

Gil Shaham : Uses Dominants and a Jargar E (don’t know which gauge).

Midori : Uses Dominants and had a Synoxa E for a while, but it could also be Jargar Forte E which looks similar.

Stefan Jackiw : Uses Dominants and a Jargar Forte E.

Ricci: Now using Vision strings (thanks for Buri for letting me know - he saw it in Strad magazine). In the past he has played Dominants, and before that, Eudoxa.

Anne-Sophie Mutter: Dominants with some kind of E... looks like a Gold Label or Golden Spiral.

Joshua Bell: Now listed by Pirastro as a Pirazzi user.

Julian Rachlin: Said on this site that he uses Tonica D&G with a Jargar A and a Kaplan Golden Spiral E.

Cho-Liang Lin: Started his career on Eudoxa, but quickly switched to Dominants (including the E as I saw on an old CBS LP cover), and is now using Infelds which he finds more reliable (according to his statements in Strings magazine).

Aaron Rosand: Listed on the Pirastro site as now using Tonica Weich (Silver D) since the late 90's. Strange though as he swore by the traditional Eudoxa G&D and the pure gut A with some E until then. Even forced his own students to use that string setup.

 

Did you notice there isn't any Zyex strings on the list? Wonder why. I know they weren't around when some of those names were alive. But interesting never the less.

"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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SaraO
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August 10, 2012 - 9:10 am
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Neat info. I am having e string issues on my grandpa's violin. It doesn't like the zyex e, or the mystery e that is on there now. I have used a gold label e on another instrument int he past (dominants on the other strings), and I liked it a lot. I need to do a bit of experimenting.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 10, 2012 - 9:53 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Zyex isn't well known amongst professionals but they are incredible.
I used Eudoxa with a gold plated E string for the longest time. When our orchestra stopped paying for unlimited strings and just started giving us an allowance I used Dominant for like 10 years with a Pirastro Gold E string until I discovered Obligato and used them for about 5 - 8 years and not even a year ago gave Zyex a shot. Mind you I've tested most of those above strings and really disliked Evah, by the way. Might just be my instrument but they just do nothing for my fiddle. Zyex is for me, superior to most strings on my instrument and the old masters are slow to make changes or experiment. Before any of them test Zyex they need a good reason. Another great master needs to encourage them to try them. In a way we should be grateful that they are not as popular because the price would be closer to the suggested retail price. I've turned some professionals on to Zyex and many of them have thanked me and wondered why they had not been encouraged to try them before.
@ Dennis, you must know how important the right marketing is. D'Addario should have given free sets to all the great soloists in hopes that some of them would begin talking. Most of those masters have been playing for a long time. You don't have many brand new masters in your list.

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

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cdennyb
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August 10, 2012 - 10:06 am
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well FM, I didn't want to do all the work...leave something for other members to submit if they know and much was gleaned from others and compiled here. Feel free to fill in the info on the more modern players. We can start with you. Thanks for your info.thumbs-up

"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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Picklefish
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Im definately giving the Zyex a try next go around, Christmas I think. What I dont get and will definately ask about when time, Why the difference? or Whats the difference? is it that one brand has a preferable tone to a certain style? I dare say that many of the artists use or prefer a brand due to the free strings and finanacial support (if any). Like in the HHahn video where she wont divulge the brand of chin rest cause she uses whats right for her. Really? I bet if a chinrest sponsored you youd divulge that info. just sayin. Im holdin out for my contract with Rolex. -pfish.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Kevin M.
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August 10, 2012 - 12:37 pm
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My ear is not good enough to tell the good strings apart from each other but I do like the zyex for their ability to stay tuned. Other string I have tried need to be retuned constantly for weeks and the zyex after an hour or so seem to just stay in tune.

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cdennyb
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August 12, 2012 - 11:59 pm
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I have Dominants on the K500 [factory installed] (they stay in tune perfectly from day to day)

I have Zyex on the 90 yr Old German [I installed them] (stay in tune perfectly from hour to hour but on occassion I have to touch the FT's when I start my session depending on the day, weather and how long since I last played it)

I have Preludes on my Cheapo Chinese (stay in tune from month to month!) seldom have to touch the FT's on it. They are amazing for staying in tune. Sound is incredible.

===I like the Preludes for sound first,

===The Dominants second and...

===the Zyex third, but I'm sure that the instrument they are all installed on has a lot to do with the sound quality.

{...did that just sound like I prefer the cheapo Chinese over the 90 Yr Old German or the K500!!???}dazed

 

I have installed the preludes on the German violin, sounded like crap and the sound trace showed that fact. Went back to Zyex on it, they sounded the best.

I put the Zyex on the Chinese violin and they made very little improvement so I went back to the Preludes.

I haven't messed with the K500 yet, except for the new bridge I made. I'm considering trying the preludes on it when it comes due for a change but will also strongly consider the Zyex because they made the German one sound much better.

All of the violins get about 5-8 hrs a week/each of practice time on them, so for Christmas... everyone can put strings on their list for me...blink

"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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gkeese
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I have the D'Darrio Pro-Arte on Ole roy, but in all honesty...I am not a big fan of the sound.  It may just be my violin.  I like them alright, but I think when i get to getting my CM in the fall, (hopefully), I will try the Zyex.  I want that classical sound, not the fiddle sound.  Is Zyex good for the CLassical sound or something else better?violin-1267

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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cdennyb
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gkeese said
I have the D'Darrio Pro-Arte on Ole roy, but in all honesty...I am not a big fan of the sound.  It may just be my violin.  I like them alright, but I think when i get to getting my CM in the fall, (hopefully), I will try the Zyex.  I want that classical sound, not the fiddle sound.  Is Zyex good for the CLassical sound or something else better?violin-1267

I'm no expert of course but look at the names of the strings used in the original post I did. I'd have to say 90% of those players are all classical so if you want a "true classical" sound... pick some of them...but you CM should come with a great set of strings already, so the only thing you might do is fit 'Ol Roy up with a set of Zyex and see if they sound like you expert. Also, the trace from 'Ol Roy shows a little room for adjustment improvement as well...so changing strings may not give you all of the sound and type of tone you are seeking, but the CM should.

"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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gkeese
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August 13, 2012 - 1:45 am
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cdennyb said

gkeese said
I have the D'Darrio Pro-Arte on Ole roy, but in all honesty...I am not a big fan of the sound.  It may just be my violin.  I like them alright, but I think when i get to getting my CM in the fall, (hopefully), I will try the Zyex.  I want that classical sound, not the fiddle sound.  Is Zyex good for the CLassical sound or something else better?violin-1267

I'm no expert of course but look at the names of the strings used in the original post I did. I'd have to say 90% of those players are all classical so if you want a "true classical" sound... pick some of them...but you CM should come with a great set of strings already, so the only thing you might do is fit 'Ol Roy up with a set of Zyex and see if they sound like you expert. Also, the trace from 'Ol Roy shows a little room for adjustment improvement as well...so changing strings may not give you all of the sound and type of tone you are seeking, but the CM should.

 

Well I was going to have Ole Roy as my Fiddle and the CM as my Violin. (I know technicaly no difference, but you know what I mean.)

I want to learn classical music more than folk or "fiddle tunes."  I guess i amjust more into classical because I like Classical/Rock crossover.  So i gotta learn Classical first, then add in some guitar and drums and Iam the next David Garrett.  (Ya know, except for the beer gut, lack of talent and southern twang when I speak!) 

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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gwscheer
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June 16, 2013 - 7:42 pm
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Lindsey Sterling uses Dominant strings 

"Make every note beautiful", Ivan Galamian

“To play a wrong note is INSIGNIFICANT; To play without PASSION is INEXCUSABLE!” , Ludvig Van Beethovan

"It ain't rocket surgery"

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Fiddlestix
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I was told by two different luthier's that "Dominant" string's are much overated. I prefer "Zyex" with the "D'Addario" Kaplan gold plated E string. With the standard E that come's with the "Zyex" set, I wasn't getting enough volume from it and by moving the sound post to increase the volume of the E, changed the sound of the other four string's.

@ Denny: What are the master's of today using now. Most of the stat's you gave were from the '50's', '60's' and '70's'.

Like you said, it's really hard to determine which string's are the best as every instrument play's different. When I got my CM last year it came with "Overture Ultra's" which I changed immediately to "Zyex".

"Zyex" for me.

 

Ken.  1st-place

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Siarl Bychan
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Well, I don't play or follow very much classical music. I have a fiddle to learn Old Time fiddle tunes and Blue Grass. I purchased the Old Fiddler line for my fiddle and they always stay in tune for the most part. I live in the Chihuahuan desert and it is extremely dry here with an average of 10 -15 percent humidity. When there is rain the humidity skyrockets to 50 - 60 percent. So, a little variation does happen by a few minute degrees on my electric tuner. Perhaps for those who make thousands of dollars per performance and have the ear of a cocker spaniel, that may be a huge difference. For me, the beginner and Old Time fiddle tune lover, it's just great. For now.

Siarl

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Johannes
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Strings can have very different effects on different violins, and there's a lot of subjectivity, but I think one of the reasons Dominants are often used is because they're considered middle-of-the-road in terms of balance. Someone with a perfect violin (say, Perlman's Strad and Guarneri) might not need to tweak their sound much, while for beginners it provides a baseline for players to know their violin's "true" sound.

Shar music has a very useful chart showing how many of the different strings sound relative to each other: http://www.sharmusic.com/Pages.....o/Strings/

I started on Preludes, switched to Dominants and Gold Label E for 9 months or so, and as of the past few weeks have been trying out Infeld Reds. My current primary violin, a 1930s factory Laberte, is bright and nasally, as French violins often are, so I figured I'd give the "darkening" Infeld Reds a try. So far, they generally sound more pleasing than Dominants, but maybe a little too mellow. The G string has less of a metallic sound than the Dominant. The E string is less sharp than the Gold Label, but has a tendency to maybe be too sensitive and unstable. I've accidentally bowed blank whistles on it a few times now.

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Hman
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So I spent way more than I should have today, but I bought evah pirazzi's with gold e for $69. Supposedly that's the local favorite combo. I'll never see them at that price again so I figured what the hell. The problem I have is that I have a good ear from years of piano regardless of how good/bad I am at the violin. So even though my fingers can't keep up all the time I can hear every little mistake I make or the difference in strings. I have to say that I've only played on these strings for 5 minutes but they are awesome. I've used Thomastik's dominants, reds, rope core super flex (my fav) but never tried out any Pirastro strings. Figured I'd give them a try. I tried out the Tonica's and didn't really like them so I went straight for the good ones. Yay for local sales! This could be a good thing since now I'll feel guilty if I don't practice... facepalm

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