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I played my instructor’s violin during my second lesson. It had Obligato strings. I used my bow and fell in love with Obligato. Was not sure if it was her better violin or the strings.
I ordered a set of Obligato Strings with Gold E for my violin from Fiddlershop. I put them on my violin yesterday. I was not sure if I would like them on my violin as much as I did on my instructor’s expensive violin. If I had know how much that thing cost when she handed it to me to play while she “fiddled” with my violin, I would have said that Inwill wait!
i started this thread to review my Pirastro Obligato Violin Strings.
When I played my instructor’s violin with the Obligato strings, it was heavenly. The sound and feel of the bow across the strings, oh my. My playing, not so heavenly. I dearly wanted a set. Was not sure I could afford them. I didn’t even bother to check Fiddlershop for price at that time because I had already seen a super high price somewhere for them for violin, cello price was super high.
I went on Fiddlershop and read about Pirastro Violino strings. Seemed to be a lesser costing version of Obligato offering from Pirastro. Obligato are also Pirastro. I ordered them. They were mellower than the Dominants that came on my violin. They were not as soulful as the Obligato on my instructor’s violin and my bow did not feel as nice and smooth on the strings. But they were more like what I wanted.
A couple weeks ago I came across the Obligatos on the Fiddlershop site (That is my candy store. Love to browse) and realized they were a lot less than what I had seen on the other site. I ordered them. Here is what I found about them, so far. I will update after I have used them longer, so please do not mention other strings in this thread. Please keep it for the Pirastro Obligato.
I installed them yesterday. The gold E string is so pretty! I know, a little “girly” comment. LOL I don’t really go by that. I would have liked a darker colored violin, but that one did now sound as good to me, so I do not go by aesthetics. The packaging was great. True to form Pirastro. I dated the individual string packs so I know when I put them on.
The package, and write-ups I have read said they have to be retuned often right after installing and will take a few days to settle. That was true for yesterday evening. I installed them on and tuned my violin. Then I played them. HEART BE STILL, but not too still! I love them, so far. I did have to continually retune the strings, mostly the D and A as they were used most. The E pretty much kept its tune.
First: My bow flows beautifully across those strings. It feels so wonderful when the hairs cross those beautiful strings. It was just like when I played my instructor’s violin. Lovely.
Second: I pulled my bow slowly across the Gold E string. My instructor did not have an Obligato E. She has the Kaplan non-whistling E (I quite liked it). When I bowed the open E, it sang. It is such a beautiful sounding E on my violin. Very soulful. That is what I am looking for in sound on this violin.
Third: The other open strings are just as beautiful. So rich and full and soulful. I played “Danny Boy”, my go to test song, downloaded from “Fiddlerman”, I believe. It was simply gorgeous, compared to other strings and violins I have played it on, not saying my playing was gorgeous.
Fourth: On playing songs from my lesson book, with tuning in between, I find they all sound so much better and the feel of the bowing is much more pleasant, even with the carbon bows (I prefer wood). That was a true test because I am working more on those songs. I could really tell a difference in the way the strings sounded and the feel of the bow as it stroked those strings.
I have yet to play it today. We have errands to run after I get my hair washed and dried. I will be playing it later today, and will have to tune it, I am sure. I am looking forward to it. I will let you know if I am still in love with these strings.
In closing. The price was a little more than I would normally pay, but I had played them on another violin, so the “liking” risk was diminished considerably. They seem to agree with my violin. Will they agree with yours? I can’t say that because of the differences in the violins, bows, rosin and bowing.
They are so soulful sounding on my violin. The sound was so rich, and full yesterday. I don’t think Rudolph ever sounded better since I bought him.
Remember, I stated that I had replaced the Dominants that came on Rudolph with Pirastro Violinos (a lesser Pirastro Obligato). The Violinos were warm and very nice, not quite what I call soulful. I could hear and feel the difference immediately. I could not feel any difference between playing the Dominants and Violinos, but could hear the difference. I could actually feel the difference between the Violinos and Obligatos.
Rudolph seems to have fallen in love with them, as have I. I hope my feelings, and Rudolph’s feelings, about these strings stay or even deepen. Truly worth the money, they were under $100 and, for me, if they last even three months, that is a little under $33.33 a month and is doable. I don’t play recitals, with groups, etc. All my playing is at home and lessons, so I would think they would last at least 3 months. Will keep you posted.
Again, please do not comment on another string here so I can keep my comments about these Obligatos from getting mixed with others. It would be great to see a thread about another brand/model string for reference. Thank you.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”
Loved your account of discovering the Obligatos, @cid
I had them for a bit (until I manhandled them over cleaning, my bad) and they were certainly warmer than the Evah Pirazzis that preceeded them.
Also tried Violinos as a less costly version of the Obligatos. According to the manufacturer, they have the exact same core, the difference is in the metal wrapping.
Of course, no wrapping is going to make strings sound warm and wonderful without good bowing... seems like your work on that is paying off 🙂
Since we frequent the same "candy shop", you've probably seen this Obligato review by Michael O'Gieblyn: Obligato review with real time graphics of the harmonics. Posting it for those who haven't.
Hope your ménage à trois (you, Rudolph and the Obligatos) continues!
Very interesting cid. I will say, keeping in mind that we are only talking about Obligato strings here 😉 that great strings do not sound great on all violins or we would use the same string set on all instruments.
Obligatos work great on my Larsson violin.
I wish there was a set of strings that made every violin sound like a million dollars because that would make our jobs much easier.
That was why I was not positive the Obligatos would work on Rudolph. Even though the Violinos were close, and made by the same company, I was still not positive about the Obligatos. But at least having felt them as I played, it gave me confidence to buy them since I used the same bow and rosin. Still could have been a bust, but less of a chance. I am happy with them, so far.
It was interesting, to me, to realize how different the bow felt while bowing, did not know that would be the case, but different materials, windings, etc, that would make a difference, right? That was the first time I noticed anything along the lines of feeling the bowing. I have used many cello strings and really never noticed difference in the feel of the bow across the strings.
I bought them for my viola, too. Put them on yesterday, also. Will put something in the viola section later.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”
Mine seem to be staying in tine better now. They were almost in tune when I got Rudoulf out this morning. I think the D string needed tuning. They do tend to need tuning again after about 45 minutes of playing, though. I am hoping that issue stops after a while. I would think that it would. My instructor uses them for concerts. Do performers in orchestras stop to retune every 45 minutes? It is mostly the A string.
My E string is still beautiful. I still love the feel of my bow as it goes across the strings. For some reason, today, they did not sound as “soulful”. I don’t know why. They have only been played on for a few days. Maybe I was off with my bowing? I still think they are an improvement and Rudoulf loves them better than the Dominants and Violinos, but they didn’t have the depth(?) today. I do not think I would buy the Violinos again, after having used these Obligatos.
Given that they do not sound as good today, even so, if they stay like this for a few months, I would still say they are a win because, even with the slightly less deep or soulful sound, they are the best of the three I have used.
They call me, “Mellow Cello”
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