i received my Obligato strings for my Eastman viola yesterday, purchased from Fiddlershop, of course. I will string my viola some time today.
My hopes are that my viola will get a more soulful sound. The sound with the current strings that it had in when purchased has improved as my bowing has improved, but they are not soulful enough. Many people use mellow/warm or bright. I think of what I am looking for is soulful. A soothing soulful sound. Right now, “soothing” is not in the cards because I am just learning, and soothing, it is not. 😂 I am taking violin lessons at the moment, and working on viola on my own, for now.
I will let you know how they are after I get the courage to change the strings. I always hesitate when I change strings. I was being oh so careful with my violin last time, checked the bridge after every turn, even tiny turns. Right at the end, the bridge popped. I could have sworn it was perpendicular before I gave the peg the next little nudge so I could start using the fine tuners. Maybe I tapped the bridge when I shifted positions to check the bridge and then back to the scroll to nudge the peg that time, and didn’t notice. I could see where the bridge was, and put it back, sounds good and the vibration feels the same (not sure if that would change with the bridge out of whack) but it still intimidates me. Will get used to changing them out,.
The Bumblebee Flies!
I put my Obligato strings on my viola yesterday evening. I then played and tuned for about 20 minutes. Then I tuned it and put it away. So far, I liked them, just not as much as I was thinking I would.
Now my disclaimer before I report on my playing on them today. I am playing on an Eastman 100 16” viola. I am using a carbon viola bow. My rosin was Jade cello/violin viola rosin (green). You may have, and most likely will, have different results with your viola, even if it is the same brand and model.
I took out my viola late this afternoon. I was very surprised. It was not out of tune by much. I did have to do some tuning as I was playing. This will be going on for a few days as the strings settle down.
Ok, I hope I get this done. My daughter keeps posting photos and videos of my granddaughters on her shared photos. Of course, I have to check as soon as I get a notification, this has been a busy day for shared photos and videos. So cute!
Back to the matter at hand. I still like the sound. I can really tell with the open strings because I am still learning, and right now, on my own while I learn my violin with an instructor. I played my standard, “Danny Boy” that I used when selecting my viola. At that point, it was all I had memorized, and could play. I liked the sound much better than what I got with the original Dominants it came with. It had a mellower sound. I put Obligatos on my violin and was describing the sound as soulful. This is not quite soulful, strong, and mellow on the viola. They are mellower than Dominants. My violin is a much better quality instrument than the viola, by a long shot. When I get better, I may upgrade. Also, I am not as experienced bowing the viola, but mostly, I think it is the quality of the instrument and quality of the wood. They are not at the same quality level. I knew that when I purchased.
The lack of as deep, mellow and soulful sound as my violin, is not a surprise, but they do make my viola sound better than the Dominants did. It is not an inexpensive viola, just not my violin level.
The strings bow nicely with these strings. It is quite noticeable compared to the Dominants.
I do like how they bow and prefer the sound over the Dominants, but there are a couple things I am a little disappointed by, the D and A strings. I am not thrilled with the sound of the A and D strings. This is not an issue with the violin Obligatos. I was quite surprised.
They do not have as pleasant a sound as the violin version. They also seem weak. Now, it could very well be my playing. I do have an issue with the A string on the viola, and my bowing might not be as strong on the A string. I am not sure why the D is such a bummer. This might just be my bowing. Because I like how my bow feels, and the overall sound being better than the Dominants, I will leave them on for a while. I might put my Jargar D and A strings on later. I think I still have them. I had them on a cheap viola for a little while to see if I wanted to get a better viola.
Right now, I am not sure I would buy them again for my Viola. I will check back in a few weeks and update this, after I have played them for a while.
The Bumblebee Flies!
Helicore are steel core, right? So, they would be bright and not as soulful as synthetic core?
I have, or had - not sure if Inchanged them - Spirocore C and G on Belle (one of my cellos - pawn shop cello) and Larsen D and A. That worked well in her. But I am not sure about steel core in my viola.
Does steel core pretty much always = brighter, sharper sounds?
The Bumblebee Flies!
Ok, I played my viola this morning. It was pretty much in tune with the Obligatos when I took it out of the case. The only string off was the G and that was jist a tad flat. Just a little tiny fractional turn of the fine tuner fixed it.
I played my normal songs, Danny Boy, English Country Gardens, some songs I have memorized from the Suzuki violin and cello books that I rewrote in alto clef for my viola.
They sounded really nice today. Even the D and A strings sounded very nice. I was surprised. Maybe I shouldn‘t be? Do they improve with sound quality, as well as being able to stay in tune as they stretch and settle? It seems to be what has happened. I really like the Obligato Strings.
This viola is rather bright, normally. It was with the Dominants that it came with. It is is a bit mellower now. It is still hollow sounding and does not have, what I guess you more experienced people refer to as, depth?
I am just learning, but the hollow sound does make it hard to play and feel like I am actually doing a good job. This is the viola itself, not the strings.
This will be my last report in the Obligato Strings on my viola. They are sounding great, the only issue now is my viola’s lack of depth and its having that hollow sound, and rhe fact that my viola is too large.
The Bumblebee Flies!