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Strings... $$$... OUCH!
Anyone Else Feeling The Pain?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (21 votes) 
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ELCBK
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August 5, 2023 - 6:47 pm
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Man, how can younger folks afford 'good' new strings? 

I LOVE my Violin strings, but I'm forcing myself to start squeezing a little more mileage out of them - more than usual.  Even though I know my Mortimer would sound better with a new set right now, I just spent well over $200 for 5 Violin strings!  

...if I had a better Violin - would the strings matter as much?

...grumble, grumble... covid inflation... grumble... 😖 

 

It's not so noticeable playing electric, but I can sure tell when strings aren't sounding as good as they used to when playing acoustically - and I find myself pressing harder with my fingers, trying to compensate (I'm working my way out of that impulse 🙄). 

Well, I'm NOT giving up my strings! 

I don't think it's very motivational for young students to feel they have to use lesser quality strings, though.  🤔... seems they'd have to be changed out more often, so I'm not so sure that cheaper strings are really cost effective.

 

Anyway, think the days of changing my strings out 3 times a year has passed. 😔 

...and I still really want a 6-string - at least adding the E string back (that I'm playing without) will be the least expensive string!

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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August 5, 2023 - 9:31 pm
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What strings are you using that cost so much? The most expensive set of viola strings I've ever used (Vision Solo + Larsen A) cost me $108. I know a lot of violists who use premium strings (Evah Pirazzi, EP Gold, Peter Infeld) and I can find all of those sets for under $150.

Evahs, by the way, are actually less durable than most other synthetic brands and might be the most expensive strings to use for that reason; I've heard people describe Vision Solos as the "poor man's Evah Pirazzi" because they're somewhat less expensive and easily last twice as long.

I'd imagine the bottom strings for 5 and 6 string violins might be extra expensive because they're a niche product?

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ELCBK
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August 5, 2023 - 10:49 pm
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@AndrewH -

Yeah, I used to think the Virtuoso were expensive. (lol) 

I've been using on VIOLIN - Vision: Low 'F' & 'C' - Rondo: 'G', 'D' & 'A' (Chrome A - even more $$).  They sure add up!  Actually, I like the Rondo so much I'd use ALL Rondo, if they were available. 

 

I'm into the 6th month with this current set. 

🤔... I might be happier with my strings longer if I try a different rosin.  I probably should change to something lighter during Summer with higher humidity - somewhat controlled inside, but still much different than Winter months.

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wtw
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August 6, 2023 - 1:51 am
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AndrewH said
What strings are you using that cost so much? The most expensive set of viola strings I've ever used (Vision Solo + Larsen A) cost me $108.

Lovely viola combo, Vision Solo + Larsen A, I'll go back to it next time — I just switched to 'standard' Vision (had to give them a try too!), but it's definitely not the same — anyway, that cost me around 120€, which is slightly higher, but as I didn't buy them online, that would explain the difference.

I've been tempted now and then to try the Obligatos, but they're close to 200€ and that's a bit much.

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ELCBK
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August 6, 2023 - 2:51 am
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@wtw -

Our US dollar is terrible right now, but seems we can get Obligatos for much less here. 

I'm using Rondos also on my VIOLA, with a Larsen 'E' (5-strings). 

I used to like Obligatos, then Larsen Virtuoso (solo) - but the Rondos for 'Viola' are actually LESS expensive than the Virtuoso!  I like that Rondos are not overly fat strings, have quick response, plus they settle faster & STAY in tune! 

It's crazy that my 5 VIOLA strings cost LESS than my 5 VIOLIN strings! 

...part of the high cost is my Vision 'Low F' string on my Violin - but there is no competitor making one.  I LOVE the extra low range it gives me - if they ever make one for VIOLA, I'll be 1st in line for one!

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stringy
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August 6, 2023 - 6:12 am
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I use pirastro tonicas great strings, and only cost 25 quid, can't go wrong with them

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AndrewH
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August 6, 2023 - 6:06 pm
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I don't feel like I've lost too much by sticking to mid-priced strings. And that's true not only on my viola (professional instrument) but also on my violin (intermediate/advanced student level workshop instrument). Currently my viola strings are Kaplan Amo, and my violin strings are Vision + Gold Label E.

I've thought about trying EP Gold or Peter Infeld, but I haven't been in a hurry to do it because of the price tag.

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Gordon Shumway
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August 7, 2023 - 10:06 am
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I've always stuck to mid-price. I've not tried Tonicas yet, though*, but Lyndon on VCom swears by them from the common-sense pov. I've got a set for back-up. Everything depends on your individual instrument, of course. My Gewa is bright: my Breton is warm.

* I began on Dominants but grew to dislike them.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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August 7, 2023 - 5:55 pm
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Unfortunately, having 5 strings on VIOLIN is a little painful in the pocket no matter what string configuration I use - unless you like Helicores. 😖  

The better 'C' strings for VIOLIN cost the same as their VIOLA counterparts - usually not the case for the other strings.  My decision to use a Low 'F' string, instead of a $6+ 'E' string, basically adds $50.   

I really shouldn't make a fuss over the cost... in 20/20 hindsight, since the cost of 5 strings is barely less than 6, think I would've been happier with a 6-string Violin from the start. 

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ABitRusty
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August 7, 2023 - 11:15 pm
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i have one violin that i keep helicores on.   havent played it much if any for a bit and played it a couple weeks ago.  I was kinda surprised in how they felt and sounded.   actually kinda liked both.  idk..ill have to investigate further.  

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 17, 2023 - 12:01 pm
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Great question. I guess it will always boil down to what they need the strings for. If they are students, their success will warrant spending more. You can get strings that are OK that don't cost an arm and a leg. 😂
But you're right, they are outrageous.

The worse part is that they are barely cheaper from the wholesaler. There are even odd situations in which we have to sell the strings at a loss after counting shipping and handling, believe it or not.

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

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ELCBK
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August 17, 2023 - 3:07 pm
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@Fiddlerman -

Just out of curiosity - do you think the price increases are caused by; a lack of business competition, high demand, import/export fees, rising material & labor cost, or just a combination of all these factors? 

🤔... possible lucrative business to start.  Always advertised as 'made by hand', but people are capable of creating ingenious production machinery - hard to believe something isn't available, considering the demand for all the instruments that use wound strings.

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AndrewH
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August 17, 2023 - 4:38 pm
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One parallel trend right now is that the same handful of string manufacturers keep coming up with new brands that they're trying to market at premium prices.

Since this is happening faster than growth in the string playing population, I suspect they're splitting their existing production capacity between more product lines, resulting in reduced supply of older mainstay string brands. Thing is, not many people have switched yet. The newest string brand I've actually seen in orchestras is the Kaplan Amo that I use myself, introduced in 2014. So I'm guessing it's decreased supply of mainstay brands caused by reallocation of production capacity, without a corresponding decrease in demand.

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Fiddlerman
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August 22, 2023 - 2:38 pm
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ELCBK said
@Fiddlerman -

Just out of curiosity - do you think the price increases are caused by; a lack of business competition, high demand, import/export fees, rising material & labor cost, or just a combination of all these factors? 

🤔... possible lucrative business to start.  Always advertised as 'made by hand', but people are capable of creating ingenious production machinery - hard to believe something isn't available, considering the demand for all the instruments that use wound strings.

I'm not sure. When COVID hit, we had difficulty getting stuff. Production was obviously down due to lockdowns and illness. While all this is happening, employees are still expected to get raises every year. It's not always easy to make a business successful. I am guessing it's a combination of things. Inflation, post pandemic, difficulty in obtaining materials, and a lot more.

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

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Ripton
Vermont, Massachusetts or somewhere in between
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August 23, 2023 - 8:34 pm
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you're not alone @Fiddlerman . I just went to replace my Vla D string and did a search around. prices are all high everywhere. 

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ELCBK
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August 25, 2023 - 12:59 am
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HEY FOLKS! 

DON'T MISS OUT ON THE GREAT BIG STRING SALE HAPPENING AT THE FIDDLERSHOP!!! 

...yep, I stocked up!

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Strabo
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August 25, 2023 - 2:40 pm
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Helicore up by ~50%!

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AndrewH
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August 25, 2023 - 7:30 pm
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That's interesting. The Kaplan Amo strings on my viola are also made by D'Addario. I remember prices for those going up by over 30% in mid-2020 because D'Addario had to shut down production completely for a few months, but by the time I needed to buy them again (February 2021) the prices had come back down to just a little bit higher than my previous purchase in early March 2020, and they haven't changed much since then.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 7, 2023 - 2:06 pm
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ELCBK said
HEY FOLKS! 

DON'T MISS OUT ON THE GREAT BIG STRING SALE HAPPENING AT THE FIDDLERSHOP!!! 

...yep, I stocked up!

Thanks Emily.

Everyone, please keep in mind that we have a best price guarantee at Fiddlershop. Sometimes shops advertise lower prices than MAP which is against the wholesalers policies. We don't do that to avoid being let go as a retailer. That being said, if someone is legitimately selling a string set for less than us, let us know and we'll match or beat that price.

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

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Mouse
September 7, 2023 - 2:11 pm
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As someone who has used Fiddlershop for many purchases, string, instruments, etc, I can honestly say that the customer service and pricing is the best. I do not make these statements unless I truly feel that way after doing business online or in person at any type of business.

🐭

The Bumblebee Flies!

Please ignore any typos. My typing ability on a real typewriter did not transfer to these device key pads.

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