Finding the best violin strings for your instrument can be a difficult task if you don’t know what you’re looking for. In the article, we’ve collected and reviewed the best-loved violin string sets so you can choose whichever one suits your style or level of play. It’s important to bear in mind that all violins are unique and strings will always sound different on different instruments. Though many of these are high quality, you should be prepared to spend a bit of money and experiment with different sets of strings to find the tone that sounds the best for you.
You will notice that in some of the sets, there is a tendency to mix and match different combinations of tensions and how the strings are wound. A quick word of warning though: if you are just starting out, work out a realistic budget. Strings can get to be quite expensive so beyond your first change of strings (you should always endeavor to fit a new set as soon as you by an instrument), buy according to your ability. Here are a couple of factors to consider when buying strings:
The thickness of the string is an important factor of string sound. Thicker strings tend to be louder and more resonant, but are often more difficult to fret. Thinner strings are somewhat easier to play but are more prone to breakages.
Traditionally, string were made with gut. It is still possible to buy gut or wound gut strings, but most manufacturers will go for synthetic core strings with a metal winding or solid metal.
In addition to the core, it is important to consider how the strings are wound. There are many different metals which wind strings, and each has its own characteristic tone. These can include gold, silver, aluminum, nickel, and steel.
10 Best Violin Strings 2019
D’Addario Prelude Violin Strings
D’Addario are one of the most prolific string makers, not just for violins but for instruments of all kinds. The Prelude series of Violin Strings are among the most popular violin strings on the market. There all gauges available in the series, light, medium and heavy gauges.
The variability of the strings, including different sizes between 1/4 size and full size 4/4, means that they are often recommended by violin teachers. The solid steel core ensures that they have great durability and are designed with bow response in mind.
In addition, the versatility of these strings means they are appropriate for all players, from beginners to advanced student players. In comparison with more professional strings, they are also immensely affordable.
Thomastik Infeld Dominant
Often referred to as ‘The Reference Standard”, these strings are known for a clear and distinctive tone combined with excellent playability. Each string has a malleable nylon core, which means that they have a competitive durability, lasting longer.
Each set boasts a mix of chrome steel, aluminum and silver windings giving them a rich resonance similar to that of gut strings but without the lack of durability, they are known for. The sound produced when playing these strings is soft, round and clear. Though the windings are metallic, the sound remains full of the mellow deepness of the nylon core, though subtle overtones can be detected with a careful player.
The flexibility of these strings lends themselves well to the maintenance of tuning, even under extreme temperatures, ensuring that your instrument remains sounding as good as the first time you strung it.
Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Steel
Since the early 2000’s Pirastro have been making their signature Evah Pirazzi strings. All of the range have at their core an innovative synthetic multifilament fiber, custom made for Pirastro.
As a result, the strings boast a vibrant, energetic sound which makes them ideal for solo playing.
These steel wound strings offer superb responsiveness, able to translate all the nuances of both bow and fingers and ensure that overtones and core sound are given volume and dynamism. For those who play modern electric and piezo equipped violins, the steel windings are ideal.
The synthetic core means they have a great deal of durability, regardless of climate, temperature, and humidity. For the same reason, they can retain tuning easily, even with the most temperamental of instruments.
Pirasto Evah Pirazzi Gold
Like their steel counterparts, The Pirasto Evah Pirazzi Gold string set also features a multifilament fiber core. In addition, they feature a pure gold wound G-string, a silver wound D-string and aluminum wound A-string.
This results in a startling array of tonal variation and color. Each string is full-bodied and large in volume and projection. They are especially popular amongst skilled players, responsive to both quiet and powerful passages, with beautiful harmonics and resilient under strong bowing.
One issue that many players face is ‘break-in’ time, as strings settle to there instrument. The core of these strings, coupled with the supple gold, silver, aluminum, and stainless steel windings means that these strings settle quickly to the instrument.
D’Addario Helicon strings come in light, medium and heavy gauges. Each set is created with a steel core of many fibers, and a small string diameter. D’Addario is known for their quality materials and excellent workmanship, meaning the strings produced are warm and clear in tone as well as pitch-stable and durable. The diameter of these smaller string creates a quick bow response.
They have become an industry standard for those seeking the higher end of inexpensive strings. As well as being great for beginners and students, they can be used professionally. Nevertheless, they provide a great foundation for new players.
Fiddlerman Strings boast a synthetic core, a fiber known as Perlon. This means they take very little time to settle into the instruments they’ve been applied to. The tone they produce is high in clarity whilst retaining a neutral richness.
They boast a similarity to gut strings without any of the issues of low humidity resistance, as well as being more reasonably priced. The price often puts off professional players in the belief it will mean they are inferior. But Fiddlerman themselves have conducted blind tests, which resulted in some professionals being unable to tell them apart.
Obligato Ball-end Strings
Created by Pirastro, Obligato Violin strings use the same multifilament synthetic core that the rest of the company’s products use. The synthetic core means that there are a greater durability and tuning stability than those of steel or steel fiber cores. The malleability of the strings means they can stretch and contract with extreme variations of humidity. This means that the instrument they are applied to is easy to transport and retune.
In addition, the compound gold/steel E-string, aluminum A-String, and silver D and G string windings give them a bright, rich spectrum of tone along with a dynamic range of response.
Stravilio Nickel-wound Ball-end Strings
Stravilio are economical steel core strings with a beautiful bronze hue on their windings. The steel core ensures they have strength and robustness that makes them ideal for students and beginners. They come only in medium tension and in both 3/4 and 4/4 lengths.
In attempting to reduce the cost of the strings, Stravilio use nickel to wind. Nonetheless, they retain a bright rich sound. They are secured to the tailpiece via ball-ends, making them an easy choice for beginners, rather than fiddling with loop ends.
Red Label Super Sensitive Steelcore
As another economical brand, Red Label Super Sensitive also use inexpensive but durable materials in their construction. For this reason, they have been often recommended by Suzuki method violin teachers and come in a wide range of sizes and tensions.
They too have nickel windings and a steel core, optimized for excellent tone and sustain. The steel core ensures they have enough strength to put up with rough-handed early players and ensuring they don’t over and over on new strings.
D’Addario Pro Arte
D’Addario’s economical, student-centered, offering, the Pro Arte string sets, are built and designed to offer maximum versatility. They have become a standard set for both professional and beginners, often found as back-ups when more expensive strings wear out.
They are synthetically cored and wound with aluminum except for the G-string which is wound with silver. The tone produced is often described as warm but dark, with an excellent response to bowing. They are well known as a string which set in quickly, hence why they are so widely used for professional players.
Each of the string brands listed above has their own qualities, and it is certainly worth experimenting with each brand as you progress in your playing. The best violin strings in each category, in my opinion, are as follows:
Beginner: Fiddlerman Strings are both durable and offer a professional sound for a fraction of the price of higher end strings.
Intermediate: D’Addario Pro Arte are an important resource for both professional and intermediate players, and a staple for most players kit bag.
Professional: Pirasto Evah Pirazzi Gold offer the most professional, dynamic tone on this list and boast a huge range of professional players across the world.
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