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.010 - E
.026 - A !!! (different than what Denny and Ken report)
.034 - D
.030 - G
I did wonder about the G string being thinner than the D, since I have never seen that before. But I figure this is a new product, and that the strings and gauges might have been matched by how they sounded and felt to Pierre rather than by math. It also could be a matter of differences in the alloy of the wrap or thickness and composition of the synthetic core that could necessitate different string thicknesses than I am used to seeing.
I've re-checked that A string measurement, and I am definitely seeing .026 rather than the .028 that Denny and Ken have. Even checking the string at different places, it is def .026 on my set, which might indicate some inconsistency or error at the manufacturer.
I think Denny also mentioned the wound strings acting rather springy, which I found unusual in a synthetic core violin string, leading me to wonder if the core of the wound strings might be something like synthetic around a thin steel core under the wrap. Most synthetic core strings I've tried did not try to stay coiled when taken out of the package.
But these are a new brand of strings, and what would be the point of them *not* being a bit different than other brands? So I have assumed the D being thicker than the G and the strings being a bit springy were intentional. Seeing that other people are getting a different thickness on the A than I am does raise some question to me about the consistency at the manufacturer. But it would take more than just the measurements of a very few people's sets to know if this is widespread or if maybe my set is just out of spec.
We'd also have to know what the gauges are supposed to be, meaning what Pierre ordered, to know if we are actually seeing a problem with things like the D being thicker than the G.
One thing that makes me wonder just a little bit is that the Fiddlerman strings do not seem to intonate quite where I'm expecting. It's probably a difference of a mm or less, and one could get used to it, but it did make me wonder about the gauges.
On the (acoustic) instrument they sound ok to me. The volume on the strings of the set seems reasonably balanced, and none of the strings feel uncomfortably taut or flabby. They tuned up fine and none of them broke.
They have a reasonable amount of power/volume. I find them a little slower on response than what I was using last (Pro Arte J56), so they take a little more weight from the bow, digging in a little more to get strong tone. That didn't surprise me with a set of strings designed/picked by Pierre, since he is a rather aggressive player.
The tone on the G string seemed a bit thin to me, compared to the Pro Arte G. But that is a matter of taste, and the Pro Arte G string is my favourite sounding G string to date, since I like the warmth. So it would not be unusual for me to like a different G less than the Pro Arte silver wrapped G. The Fiddlerman G seemed a little thin on tone to me comparatively, but so much of the sound is a matter of taste. It certainly puts out enough sound to work musically in the set, but it just isn't as warm as I personally like to hear.
The E seems maybe a little shrill to me. It got better with settling in for a couple weeks. Still not my favorite E in the world or anything, but I can work with it.
The D and A sound good. The A really sings out on my violin, really nice sound. The D is a little more hesitant and not quite as strong (which seems odd considering the thickness), but a nice sound that fits the mood of some pieces well.
Some strong good points are the wind and the wraps are nice and consistent and they seem to be good quality. They tuned up easy for me and hold tune very well.
Overall, I find the whole set a bit bright and loud to my tastes. Again, that didn't surprise me, since Pierre is a soloist and tends to like timbre that really will stand out in the mix. Not as unpleasantly brash as I found Helicores to be, and not near as bright and loud as when I strung my violin with guitar strings as an experiment, but brighter and louder than most brands I have tried so far. Some folks might love that, though.
Now some disclaimer.. I'm not an experienced enough player to feel comfortable saying if a set of strings is definitely good or bad. Or how they *should* be. From other instruments I've played longer, like guitar, I know that much of what is "great" is a matter of tastes and what an individual player can make good use of, and what works well on your particular instrument.
If I was going to play on Fiddlerman strings for years, probably some sound post adjustment and getting used to them so I make necessary adjustments to playing style/technique for some months would take care of many of the things I initially wasn't so fond of. It takes time with any brand/gauge of strings to really be able to get the most out of them. We are all different, and even beyond matters of tastes, one players' "crap" can sing like a bird for a different player or on a different instrument. I've seen plenty of that over the years.
These seem to be decent quality strings, a long way from "crap", but just not exactly what I personally like, and they are taking some getting used to. They tuned up easy for me and held tune well, and nothing felt flabby or overtaut.
Just personally, I probably wouldn't buy another set. In the same price range, I like Pro Arte J56 a bit better.
But to be fair, I would remind that I have only been playing for 3 yrs so far and what I think is good may not be what a more experienced player would consider good. My violin is a 160$ Shar and not a professional or vintage instrument and while it was shop adjusted at Shar (presumably for their brand of strings), it has not seen a luthier since the day I bought it. It is in good shape, but is def a student instrument, and maybe not what these strings were developed/selected for.
I have been kind of hesitant to do an official review on Amazon. Pierre is a great guy and I would like to be able to say that these are just the most wonderful strings I have ever met and I'll never even consider using anything else. But honestly, I can't. They certainly are not the worst either, though. Seeing that the A string on my set is a significantly different gauge than Denny's and Ken's, I could have just gotten one freak set out of a thousand or something. Or maybe their sets are the ones that are odd, no way of knowing for sure with just 3 measurements. That can happen with any brand of strings. I have def seen some weird things once in a while over the years from even very reputable guitar string companies.
These are a new brand of strings, that just hit the market, some "teething troubles" and checking and feeding back with the manufacturer is to be expected to get everything sorted out just perfect. I am sure that every brand of strings goes through that process.
They are definitely playable, they sound ok. I really do not think they are likely to damage the instrument. They hold tune well. If you try them, they may be just what you personally like and have been looking for. On your violin, they may sound 100% wonderful.
In other words, "Your mileage may vary"
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
Be what it may, I'm very impressed with the tonal quality of the FM strings. I'm definitely impressed with the E string. I have been using the "Kaplan" non-whistling E string.
When I changed to the FM strings on my "Concert Master", I removed the "Zyex" strings and removed the "Kaplan" E also, just to try the FM E and I like the sound.
Pierre can attest to the amount and different brands of strings I've ordered in the past couple years, not to mention the sets of strings I've purchased from my luthier, like "Oblagato" , "Enfeld Reds" also, "Evah Perazi"
The only thing I wonder is their life span (how long with they last) in comparison to the other's, but then it's a matter of how often one plays and how frequent.
Ok, it's Saturday, March 05, 2016. Today I visited my luthier, "Mark Schwartz Violins", as I do every Saturday weather permitting here in Michigan,
When I walked in, Mark was eating lunch, so I chatted with, David, his apprentice luthier (and also professional cellist). David mentioned to me that they had gotten in the "Fiddlerman" string shipment that had been ordered.
Mark finished his lunch, walked out of his office and greeted me with a "hi, Ken and his normal warm smile. We chatted about violin's, bow re-hairing and a couple other things regarding my one particular violin.
Mark said, "we got the "Fiddlerman" string I ordered" and nodded his head in approval.
He then told me of a customer who came in his shop this past week, Mark said he bought a new rather pricey violin which was equipped with "Dominant" strings. He liked the sound of the violin a lot, but asked Mark if he would change the string's, Mark put on aa set of "Fiddlerman" strings. Mark told me his customer liked the sound even more with the "Fiddlerman" strings on it.C another positive for "FM" strings.
Chalk another positive for "FM" strings.