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I am looking for a new set of violin strings which provide bright, clear and responsive sounds. The set could be a mix of many different brands or lines or even just the same throughout. I am doubtful and ambivalent since there are so many brands and lines out there:
Pirastro (tonica, evah pirazzi,oliv,eudoxa,etc)
Thomastik Infield (Vision)
I appreciate every comment from your experiences. If you have any other brands and lines which are also significant please write in your comment as well.
I find it difficult to remember string qualities so I have developed a method to help. I buy several sets of (ebay) Opera perlon strings ($5 a set). I use one new set for two hours, then take it off and put on the strings I want to use. This gives me a consistent comparison. I do much the same with bows, using FM carbon bow as the basis.
Hia Van - @madison - Oh - and welcome if I missed your introductory post. I'm with @MrYikes on that - but - here's a relatively recent thread that may be worth reading - feedback on strings etc from different players on the forum - https://fiddlerman.com/forum/t.....r-strings/
P.S. IMO - just go with the FM string set for starters - it's a pretty good choice, and in my relatively short time of playing, yup, tried all I mentioned in the link above (and others I forgot to mention). Yes - there ARE significant differences - perhaphs "how you like the sound" - personally - I DO have a like for steels on a lot of fiddle tunes - BUT - that is just ME. We are all different.... Besides - I swap the steel preludes out from time to time for synth and change 'em to FM or Larsens (which I struggle with a bit because of their slightly lower tension - but I love their resonse - and I'm getting my bow pressure and finger placement (wide vibrations on lower tension strings) under control.....)
There IS no "best string" of course - it depends on the sound you want, your bowing skill, and the instrument itself ( or even the bow - and maybe just even maybe the rosin - I prefer a "grippy rosin" - but again - that's just me ).
Others have said this elsewhere - sometimes it is just as good to get a few sets of different strings (obvioulsly unknown origin) off e-bay - I did that in the past - most were dumped, but some played OK. Having said that - I wouldn't really recommend that route... better to work with known makes, and make your decision over a period of time, and, perhaps, even change between string sets depending on how you like the sound depending on the type of piece you are playing.
Good luck Van !
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
Hello and welcome to the forum
It would be easier if you told us what are you using at the moment, and as
@BillyG said, it's up to you, your style, your playing approach and the instrument.
However, since swapping strings is one of my favorite procedures (and it's costly, time consuming and mind blowing as well lol), I would risk to say some general things.
From those you're listing I would definitely start with the visions. They seem to be consistent, especially as far as responsiveness is concerned (they are not that bright, but most of them have indeed an edge to the sound). Thomastik has some charts on their website, comparing their strings, you are searching for the "focused" and "bright" tones...The regular visions could work just fine, and they are affordable. You could also try the vision titanium range, if you want a little more power (the orchestra version is really soft to the touch, while the VT solo, has a huge sound, but with an apparent overtone that may or may not suit your instrument). Most vision types were exceptionally easy to play on, extremely fast to respond. They could lack some other features, but they were also fine as a set. The only issue to consider is that if you you go with the Vision Titanium Solo (my very set at the moment which I find complex enough, and full) that they are not at all forgiving. What you play, you hear it. No hiding
I would also skip Tonica, like Pierre said, it's a different thing. Now the Evah Pirazzi could be great if 1) you are ok with slightly more tense strings 2)Your bowing is powerful/vigorous enough 3) You don't mind that they are somehow thicker than most regular - medium strings. When I used them, I caught myself digging in. Lots of power, lot's of great sound. But if you want something delicate maybe get a thinner string. If you treat them like a low tension or thin string they will sound weird imho. They are a solo string, I understand that they can be pushed into their limits to receive huge loads of bow pressure without having a sound break. If you need to do the above, if you need to be heard over an orchestra or a grand piano, they are great. I would still in your case begin with the visions, or the oliv if you want to go with gut strings.
You also mention some steel core strings (helicore etc) Unless you are playing an electric, or you are into rock/bluegrass and only I would prefer synthetics. However, the Chromcor could also be a choice if you like steel core strings. But it's my impression that most steel core could sound a little harsh sometimes.
@Fran I would change them if I could not produce perfect fifths, if one of them sounded really funny, if I got the impression that they are dead or uninspiring and if they've been there for a long time. I consider that a whole year could be a long time
Do you like low tension? If yes, then the Pirastro Violinos are good. Long lasting, and soft to the sound. Easier to record as well. Otherwise, the Corelli Crystal could also be a solution. I found them to be calmer than the Dominants.
@Fran To be honest, in my teens I would replace steel core piranitos (didn't care that much about my sound back then) only when they would break, so this whole practice did work, but it was definitely not ideal.
However, by replacing strings more often, your instrument should be more "stable". I didn't know you were using steel core. They should last longer than the others. But I would be concerned about the increasing tension the instrument would get after some time...Anyway, you may find the sound a little smoother whatever string you choose, if you move from steel to synthetics.
When you choose something let us know of the results please
@Fran Fiddlerman has a video showing how to change strings. He's got some good tips in it.
I put on synthetic strings a couple of weeks ago. They're called Charm. I've been playing Helicore for quite awhile, so these are a big change. I'm just getting used to them, but I don't plan to get them again. They were also expensive. I'm going with FM strings next time. I also might try a variety of strings over time—just to see if I can tell what the differences are.
Perfect. Thanks so much for letting us all know. We just got a review from ViolinStringReview.com as well.
I'm so happy Pierre! That's great!!! I hope this will spread the word about your strings!!!
And I have to admit that Shawn has done a great job with this website of comparing strings, while everybody can contribute as well
That's great. I just read the review by, "Shawn Boucke". I wondered as I read the review who this guy was. Was he just an average violinist or a professional, so I "Youtubed" him. Seems he is a professional all right and oddly enough lives in my town, "Waterford, Michigan.
I've had 4 sets of "Fiddlerman" strings and am very pleased with them. In fact I just replaced a set of, "Oblagato" strings with the "FM" strings.
The last set I just bought, I got from my luthier, Mark Schwartz, but I'm wondering about the Viola string sets. Mark showed me a pack of them and on the front it says,"Fidderman", not Fiddlerman, why, is this a misprint or the way it is.
Pierre, can you explain this ?
Love the FM strings.