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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.
@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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.