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Is it the wraps?
Are those pretty wraps what make violin strings so expensive?
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Strabo
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February 24, 2024 - 7:14 am
Member Since: October 4, 2021
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I sometimes wonder what makes violin strings so expensive compared to mandolin strings (which are of course eight strings instead of the fiddle's four).

A set of four Dominant violin strings is currently selling for over $70 USD. Helicores are priced at about $55, and a set of Prims (my current fav) will cost around $35.

Meanwhile the most popular mandolin string, Daddario EJ74 phosphor-bronze,, sells for about $10 for a set of eight, and there are many other choices in that price range. Other special types of mando strings are in the $20 range.

Thomastik mandolin strings are outliers. They are excellent strings, very smooth and clear, stable and long-lasting. I have used them to play JSBach music. But they cost almost $60 for a set, vastly more than anything else in the mandolin world.

Why are the Thomastiks so relatively expensive?

Maybe it’s the silk (?) wraps on the ends of the strings. All violin brings seem to have wraps, but the Thomastiks are the only mandolin string that I am aware of that have wraps. 

Can the cost of those nice, colored wraps be what makes violin strings so much more expensive than mandolin strings? Is that even possible?

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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February 24, 2024 - 7:51 am
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Those silk wraps have nothing to do with the price. Similar silk wraps are found on the very cheapest steel violin strings.

One of the big differences in the winding. Violin strings are always flat wound, because the round winding used on strings for most plucked instruments would chew through bow hair. I notice that the D'Addario mandolin strings have a round winding, while Thomastik mandolin strings are flat wound.

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