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Problems with Steel Core Strings
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Fort Lauderdale
October 24, 2011 - 11:14 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13271

I often get asked about which type of string is best and which strings I prefer. One of the problems with steel core strings is that they are not as flexible as synthetic or gut core strings and because of this they are sensitive to hard and strong playing. When you draw the bow over strings you are pulling the string thus adding tension to the string resulting with the pitch rising which makes it much more difficult to play in tune.

Another characteristic of the common steel core strings is that the sound is not warm and with some instruments can sound metallic.

I recommend choosing perlon or high quality gut core strings over steel core. The lower the string the more it is affected by bow pressure pitch changes. E strings are too thin to be made of anything else and not much affected by bow pressure since the pressure on those strings is high to begin with.  Steel "A" strings also work well for the same reason. D, G and C strings  need  to be more flexible. Great gut core strings are very expensive and not necessarily good for your instrument. Many instruments crave the added tension from certain perlon strings for producing a strong sound.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city

October 25, 2011 - 4:52 am
Member Since: October 7, 2011
Forum Posts: 2849
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Thanks for the video, FiddlerMan! That explains why i have to move fingers back, when play dynamics..

Checked, wrote down.. perlon.. good core..


Fort Lauderdale
October 25, 2011 - 10:12 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13271

Barry said:

my 2 cents.  If the classical styles are your thing, then by all means use the perlon core strings. But for fiddle styles most players choose steel core for the tone.

Some classical violinists do too Barry. Some intruments need that additional tension. They do make perlon strings with more tension btw. If you want more volume the first thing you should try are the "Hard", or "Stark" choices of the perlon strings.

Fiddlerman once made the comment that fiddlers use steel because they are inexpensive, but thats not true. Many famous fiddlers use steel for the tone and responce . Also steel is chosen for its volume properties as a fiddler is usually the only violin in the group compared to the many violins in an orchestra.

All about personal choice.


I don't remember saying that about fiddlers (BTW, I call all violinists fiddlers regardless of the style of music. I'm a fiddler) but I probably was probably just trying to say that steel strings are cheaper.

Lastly, some violins need the added tension that steel core gives, alternatively heavy, stark, gauge of perlon strings to get more volume but other violins choke. I have tried quite a few different steel core strings to get more volume. My fiddle won't get louder with steel core. I strive to have the strongest fiddle around. I've played concertos with symphony orchestras and need to be equal in volume to the whole orchestra and be heard all the way in the back of great big halls. Same thing with chamber music in small groups in big halls. It is very important for me than to have a strong enough sound to be heard when I need to. Also, I have played with a lot of fiddlers. I love to play bluegrass, country, blues, Irish, and I wish I had played more of it as well. I have never met a fiddler that can match my volume.


I took the steel core strings off the CVN-200 and put my used Obligato strings on it before sending to gStretch and the volume was quite a bit more on that fiddle as well plus it was possible to play strong and stay in tune.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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