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Do you always have 'expensive' strings on your violin? It would be really great to have the best strings for your violin every time but being so can get quite expensive. Currently, I use a set consisting of dominant G, D, A strings and a Jargar E forte string, which I believe doesn't come as expensive as other sets of strings, but where I come from they can get quite pricey due to import taxes and delivery fees. My question basically is:
Do you always use the best strings you can have for your violin or do you just have them every now and then(like when you're performing) and use strings of lesser quality more regularly?
Also consider answering this question in the context of practicing in the sense that practicing with less than optimal string configurations can be optimal too or not.
And yes, I do recognize the fact that more expensive does not mean better but I think you get the point of my question. I address this question to all of you, professionals and amateurs. I myself can't go back to using cheaper sets once I started using dominants. How about you?
It isn't a mater of price but a mater of which strings sound best for your violin and the way you play. I used to believe that starting out a cheap violin is best since you don't know if you will like the violin or not. Now I have to rethink this. If you start off with a poor quality violin and you work at playing it but it never sounds good to you, you might give up. If you start with a better quality violin and after a short while you notice every now and then a beautiful sound coming from it you continue to play. I think the same goes for strings. On some of my violins I use Pro-Arte, $22.59 + shipping, which I like the sound of and then on other violins I use Zyex, $44.99 + shippimg, and now I'm trying Zyex with a Pirastro Gold Label, $5.58 + shipping. Once I have the sound I like out of the violin, putting on a cheaper or even a different set might only make me not like that violin anymore.
I only had "expensive" strings once, and it was given to me by a friend here, before it came , I used steel strings that costs around $2.... After the "expensive strings" became unusable, I used steel strings again, untill now. cheap steel strings are working for me, as long as they can make sounds, I'm the one who makes adjustment to make a better sound, even though it's not as good as the "expensive" one. The reason of me using steel strings is because I can't find any synthetic core strings for sale around, If I can find a seller locally, I would definitely buy one, but after that, I won't buy another one again or regularly buy one, I will buy again if I have saved up some money but I would be using steel strings for a while, they can still "sing" beautifully you know.
cheers! - ⁰ℨ
Like Oz, so far I have tried one "expensive" set of strings. Not super expensive, like 30$ strings. In fact, same brand Oz tried. And yeah, they were worth it. They sounded very nice and I played the heck out of them for a few months until they were pretty much worn out.
Some of it depends on the instrument, too. I've tried a couple "expensive" sets (more mid-priced, really) on my electric violin, and there I did not like the sound better. The strings I have found that I like for my electric are about 9$ a set off Amazon. ( I won't mention the brand, unless someone actually asks, since Pierre doesn't carry them in Fiddlershop). But it is possible, especially with electric instruments for the "best" choice in terms of what you like and what holds up well not necessarily being something that would be considered particularly good on acoustic violin. It is somewhat a different instrument, and I think it will probably be some decades yet before there will be a clear "best" or "really good default" for electric like Dominants are said to be for acoustic.
So back to talking about acoustic. My immediate inclination would be to put another set of the 30$ strings I liked on my acoustic when I restring next. However, a thing I learned from guitar over the years, is that it is actually best to try a variety of string types and brands in your first few years. To try and find "best" right away would be difficult, if not impossible, since you won't necessarily know what will sound good based on reviews or other people's opinions. You also won't know what is quality and what holds up well until you have personally seen both "good" and "fail".
So, when I restring my acoustic next, it will probably be a mid-priced set, but not the same brand as the ones I tried and liked. At less than 2 yrs on violin, I feel I should be trying different stuff to gain experience and hear feel the differences for myself, rather than thinking I know enough yet to decide on "best".
Would I string it with something cheaper? Yeah, maybe as an experiment, but I not would expect any miracles out of it. My acoustic is currently strung with a wierd experimental set of strings. I documented that experiment a bit here on the forums
But the next set will probably be some standard violin strings in the 30$-50$ range. Other than experiments (which should run for a minimum of a month before deciding the strings are "junk", since it can take a week or two for violin strings to really settle in and for the player to get used to them), I figure "under 30$" strings probably aren't going to have the sound I liked best. Nothing wrong with keeping an inexpensive set around for emergency backup.
I have heard people say that strings don't make that much of a difference. That rosin doesn't make that much of a difference. That the bow doesn't make that much of a difference. For me though, so far, I have yet to find an upgrade in any of those things where I couldn't hear a difference and where other people who are not players couldn't hear the difference. Most people who say it won't make a difference are still running with whatever came with their instrument from the factory, so far as I have seen. LOL
Less than optimal strings can be ok and better than nothing, if it is what you can get/afford at the moment. But at least if you can manage it, it doesn't seem like good sense to pay 10$ to sound noticeably crappier than you know you could sound for 30$ or 50$. It is going to kill some of the fun/enjoyment of playing, and that does not encourage us to play.
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
I just put on a set of Vision Solos, $75.00 ish bucks a set. I think they sound wonderful and the action is much better. Will I buy them again? All depends if I am Rollin large or not! Lol! It was definitely a splurge. What do I recommend you do? Try different brands if you want, no biggie. Fiddlerman says he uses the zyex strings, I think he still sounds better than me and his strings cost half as much!
"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.
I've tried several strings, from cheap to expensive. There's without a doubt huge difference between them. My main violin is equipped with Pirastros Gold Label strings, and so far it's the best strings I've used on her. I don't mind spending so much money on strings for my favorite. I've tried some really inexpensive strings on her as well, I think they cost about 2$ or so. Never again. They just made my violin sound bad. So to sum up, I would rather cut my budget other places, so I could get some nice strings that works on my violin.
However, on my cheap violins, I don't bother to get expensive strings. I know they can't sound so much better with them, and they doesn't get played much anymore.
'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.
One thing I found out @ 2:00 am this morning, is that you should never move the sound post trying to acquire a better sound using worn out string's.
This is what I was doing yesterday while tring to get a better sound from my 5 month old worn out Zyex string's.
The last set was purchased in April from Fiddlershop and at that time I bought the Kaplan Gold Plated E string, great sounding string but still whistled and hisssss'd when bowing from the A string to an open E using very little bow pressure. This time I bought the Kaplan Non Whistling E string (wound) and what a difference, no more hisssss or squeel. They are a bit pricey, but well worth the money, I'll not use any other E string in the future, unless this one break's and I have to resort to the regular E.
I guess "expensive" is relative. have a preference for Pirastro synthetic core strings. I currently have a set of Pirastro Tonica's. Price wise I've seen them anywhere from around $35.00 to 65.00 for a set. Not that there aren't other brands that are also quite good. Steel strings sound to brassy. Wound gut strings are nice but they are pricey, quite affected by humidity , etc. I have never tried pure unwound gut strings although I do know some violinists that seek them out for certain types of music. I like the synthetic core as they seem to be a nice balance between steel strings and gut strings. Good volume, good response, never had one break on me, not going out of tune because of humidity. In fact once they are broken in I find they just tend to stay in tune. Rarely do I ever pick up the instrument and find a string that has gone way out of tune.
The other day I thought about adjusting my sound post to try to get a better sound on the e-string in the higher positions, but I will be the first to tell you that I am not very mechanically-inclined and most likely would have to take my violin to a luthier. The same applies for changing the tail-piece. I wouldn't touch it. Of course, that's me.
"Violin is one of the joys of my life."
My e-string does not sound as rich as the other strings. I would think that if something is not right with the acoustics on my violin, I would notice it on the other strings. I think it is possible that I don't like my e-string. If I could remember what brand it is, I could tell you. Sometimes I wonder if I can just get a better string or maybe a better instrument, lol.
When I was in high school, many years ago, I had moved to a school in another town that had a marching band, but no orchestra. There was a girl in the band that played the oboe in PAYSO, Purchase Area Youth Symphony Orchestra. She invited me to come and audition. I took her up on it even though I hadn't touched my violin for a year and a half. It was hard for me to be interested because I played everything by ear. I wasn't very heavy into theory. Our teacher that taught group lessons didn't stress theory at all. He would just yell at us if we were off. The reason I no longer played was because I found it almost impossible to play anything new that had any difficulty because I didn't know how to sight-read.
My violin a very old instrument that my mother played when she was 12. Right in the middle of one of the practices, the connector that wraps around the button at the bottom of violin popped, and suddenly I was sitting there in orchestra practice with my strings hanging down by my arm with the tail-piece dangling. I was so embarrassed! I probably should of just stayed there and watched the orchestra practice, but I wanted to get the violin working and get back into the practice. I had waited all week for the practice. I enjoyed practicing more than I did the actually concerts we had in the spring, which included one of my favorite pieces of music, Finlandia.
With getting back in the game in mind, I put my violin in the box and started walking around Murray, Ky, home of Murray State University (big music program). I was hoping I would find some nice person at a music store that could help me fix that tailpiece somehow. Probably, if I had $4 or $5, I could have been back in business. Anyway, when I got home, my stepfather replaced the connector with fly fishing line.
I never really got serious with the violin again until my daughter started playing in 2001. I took lessons from a real private teacher and played in Chandler Symphony Orchestra, the whole nine yards.
Sorry to go off target, but this thread kind of makes me think how knowing how to work on my violin would have came in handy.
"Violin is one of the joys of my life."
E-string's are relatively cheap, unless you go to the, "Kaplan Non Whistling" E-string or the Gold plated, they are rather pricey, but after calling, "D'Addario" this morning and speaking with a rep., I was told they last approx. 20% - 40% longer than the plain steel E-string because of being wound.
The set of "Zyex" string's I put on mine last week I also put on the non whistling E and it sound's much nicer than the plain E.