The sound that your violin produces is much dependent on the type of strings that you are using. The type of strings definitely adds to the qualities of that sound in a certain way. Although there are indeed many factors that help in producing quality violin sound; yet, the type of string that you are using will surely play a crucial role in your violin setup. Of course, even if you have new strings, you would never really sound good if you don’t know how to set up properly your violin or if you are simply learning the rudiments of violin playing. Yet, if your violin strings are really great, no doubt, you can inevitably produce superb and high-quality sound.
Your playing style and your musical style too should have a bearing on the type of strings that you should buy. You don’t want to shell out your hard-earned money for strings that are not really good for your violin. Hence, you should carefully choose your violin strings. Make sure that they would go well with your violin and figure out the basic attributes that you should look for in violin strings.
Characteristics of the Violin Strings You Should Consider
When buying a set of violin strings, you should beforehand be cognizant of the different attributes that a violin string should have. Knowing these attributes will help you zero in on the right strings. Thus, it is important to take a look at the following salient characteristics of a good set of strings:
1) Consider the Gauge
Each violin string has its own specific thickness, and this thickness is called “gauge.” The thickness of the string contributes to the determination of the tone of the string. If you would use thicker strings, for example, you could produce a more robust sound. However, thicker strings require greater force to press on it to make them produce sound. They also require heavier stroke from the bow. But the sound that they produce are definitely more robust and darker.
On the other hand, the thinner low strings will have lower tension. They also produce a brighter tone and are more responsive. They, however, produce a lower sounding volume.
2) Consider Its Core Material
As mentioned above, there are three different types of strings according to the made of the core. First, there are those strings that are made of gut. There are also those made of steel and synthetic nylon. Each core type has a bearing on the tonal quality of the string. The gut strings belong to the very first type of strings used in violin. They are mostly made from sheep intestines. The sound they produce has a classical tinge on it and of warmer tones. Gut strings are usually covered with a type of metal that increase the range of the pitch of the strings and extend their longevity.
The steel strings, on the other hand, are great strings and are highly recommended by most violin instructors. Why? Because they could retain their tune even after long periods. They are also resistant to the vicissitudes of the weather. Moreover, the sound that they produce is more brilliant than those of the gut strings. Lastly, there are also those with synthetic core strings. This type of strings, of course, is a modern creation and are the right mix of the best characteristics of the gut and steel core strings. Hence, many students prefer this type of strings.
3) Consider Its Tension
Every string has its own tensile quality, and this is called “tension.” The string’s tension also has a bearing on the tonal qualities of the strings. If you set, for example, your strings at a higher tension, they would produce brighter tones. On the other hand, if you set then on a lower tension, they produce warm tones. If you are someone who prefers higher-tension strings, you should go for steel core strings because they can be easily tuned in with higher tensions. You should not, however, confuse string tension with string gauge for these two are different concepts. They may be related to each other, primarily, if you are referring to a specific type of strings, but they are different.
If you are shopping around for strings for your violin, you should remember then that strings come with different tensions. You can buy light, medium, and heavy-tension strings. But always bear in mind that the gut-core strings generally have lower-tension average as compared to steel-core strings or synthetic-core strings.
4) Consider Your Musical Style and Preference
At the onset of your study of violin playing, you surely already have an inkling as to which musical preference you have and what type of music you prefer to play. The strings you should use should largely depend on your musical inclination. If your musical preference is jazz, for example, you need to choose steel core strings. If you are a chamber musician, however, you should choose synthetic core or gut core strings.
If you are a student, you would surely prefer the synthetic core strings. Why? Because this type of strings carries the right mix between the gut and the steel strings. Moreover, they are fantastic to play and do not change their tunes as quickly as the gut and the steel core strings.
5) What Should I Choose: Expensive or Cheap Strings?
The materials out of which a violin string is made usually determines its price. Adding to its cost is the manufacturing and distribution process. You will be, however, with the idea that some cheap strings outlast expensive strings. Why? Because cheaper strings are made of cheaper yet harder materials.
On the other hand, some expensive strings are made of more delicate materials. Some of them are made of silver-wound Perlon core. Always remember that cheaper strings are ideal for use by beginners because, first, they are not expensive, and second, they are affordable.
The Most Expensive and the Cheapest Violin Strings
The materials out of which a violin string is made usually determines its price. Adding to its cost is the manufacturing and distribution process. You will, however, with the idea that some cheap strings outlast expensive strings. Why? Because cheaper strings are made of cheaper yet harder materials.
On the other hand, some expensive strings are made of more delicate materials. Some of them are made of silver-wound Perlon core. Always remember that cheaper strings are ideal for use by beginners because, first, they are not expensive, and second, they are affordable. But, the cheaper strings are more hard-feel as they were made from, the more fragile materials.
What is the Most Expensive Violin Strings on the Market?
This article is not about the most expensive brands of strings on the market today. However, it is good to know, especially, if you are beginning to play the violin that the most expensive strings on the market comes by the name of PIrastro. The Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold Series Violin String Set that comes with a Goldsteel E string and the gold-containing G string is very expensive because it comes with exceptional features. First, it really produces incredible sound. It also offers an excellent swift response. Plus, it provides the finest left-hand feeling.
Moreover, its subtle tone is within the pianissimo range. It also produces a broader range of dynamism for soloistic play. Furthermore, it is very pliable and is easily playable. If you want something for your solo and orchestral performance, this one is a great choice.
Other Brands that You Should Consider
If you want the cheapest brand on the market today, you should check the D’Addario and the Supersensitive’s Red Label. Of course, these two may be the least likely brands of strings that you are going to buy. These two strings, however, may be prevalent among tyros in playing violin because they can purchase these strings at a meager price of under $20.
Pisastro Chromcor and Prim
As you go up the ladder of the price range, you will find various string brand alternatives that you can check out. Brands like those of the Pisastro Chromcor and Prim are good alternatives. Some old-timers in playing violin had used these two brands because they suit well with the older genres of music. Moreover, these strings have steel cores, and they are pliable and playable.
On the other hand, you can also go for the Helicores among the midrange-priced strings. This set of strings is also made of the steel core. But these steel-core strings have twisted strands. These strings also produce smoother sound as compared to the Pisastro and Prim that have solid cores. The sound that these strings produce, however, is characterized by greater edginess as compared to the synthetic core strings. They can also last for a year before replacing them.
The Savarez’s Corelli Crystal string set is another good alternative. It has a synthetic core. If you are looking for less expensive yet better classical-sounding strings, this one should be your best choice. The Savarez’s Corelli Crystal isn’t widely known among violinists, but it is a good choice, though, you certainly need to replace them every 6 months. The Dominants with their synthetic cores, on the other hand, are more expensive. The Dominants are very popular among classical players, and these strings are known for producing excellent sound and for longevity.
Another expensive option is that of the Evah Pirazzi strings. The Evah Pirazzi strings are the most costly on the market today. They may also be the costliest. Experts and excellent musicians who want quality strings often prefer this brand of strings. They do not shy away from shelling out much money for this type of strings because these strings are awesomely great, though they last shorter than those of the Dominants.