There are many dozens of varieties of violin strings, and that's
not counting the "light", "medium" and "strong" formulations of each
- Corelli Alliance (medium)
- I've used these for quite a while. I think I started because
they were expensive and were described as "long lasting." They sound
ok, and certainly do maintain their sound for a good long while. They
are quite loud, and need a fairly high tension, but don't seem to need
a particularly long break-in period, and maintain tune well.
- Infeld Red (medium)
- Just put on a set of these (with a Jargar medium E). So far they
have a very harsh "metallic" buzz, and won't stay in tune. They do
seem to take much less tension, but unless that harsh sound goes away,
I'll have to switch.
- A couple weeks later: The buzzing is mostly gone, but I'm not
real happy with the sound, and they seem to need a lot of tuning. If
I wanted to tunes strings all the time, I'd use gut! There is still
an odd quality to them. Maybe overtones? I'll use them through FLV
and then decide.
- I gave up on them at the beginning of January. The odd tones
were still there. Part of the trouble was likely the bow needing
rehairing, but I switched when I opened the case and all but the E
were unwound after I got back from New Years and the AAS meeting
(just one week!).
- Hungarian instrument: still has that strange
pseudo-overtone thing going on, but they make the instrument a lot
less harsh. Certainly better than the steel strings I'd put on
because they were cheap, and I think I like them better than the
Infeld Blues that I'd put on in Hungary (though it's been years
since they were fresh, so...).
- Pirastro Tonica
- Replaced the Infeld reds with these. They won't stay in tune at
the moment, but it's only an hour... On the other hand, there are no
strange tones and the sound isn't too bad. But they don't seem very
"complicated" -- a basic, pure tone, I'd describe it. We'll see how
they break in. (note: I bought them because they were on sale for
$25 at Prodigy Instruments for the set.)
- After more than two years with these, I guess they're fine.
Nothing amazing, but also nothing to complain about. The 'e' has
been a bit problematic, but not terrible.
- Thomastik/Infeld Dominant (medium)
- These are supposed to be the most popular violin strings ever.
So said the lady at the shop. The 'D' on the Tonicas broke today
(05.08.2011) and she didn't have a set of Tonicas, so I tried these.
They do sound somewhat harsh, with a bit of a hum, but I hope it
fades. They also seem to need a fair bit of stretch, and the initial
installation was a series of "tune it up, it stretches with a
'pop'", that was a bit nerve wracking. Going to let them settle for
a day or two.
After two years, the Dominants had lost all of their punch, and were
far too soft. They also sounded rather shrill. Unfortunately, I
don't have any notes on them from between the install and removal.
But I don't recall being all that impressed.
- Warchal Brilliant Medium (Hydronalium D)
- (First installed April 2013) It took a few days for them to
settle down and not need retuning every 15 minutes, but they seem
pretty stable now. Installation gave me the first interesting
surprise: they felt very "solid" and sturdy. It might just be
because they are a bit thicker than the Dominants.
- They are much louder than the Dominants, and feel very
responsive. I have to be careful, as they transmit whatever motion
the bow has, so slipping comes out as a buzzy noise. But with stable
bowing, I'm very impressed with both the volume and tone of the
sound: not strong overtones, but pure and clean.
- Corelli Crystal
- Hungarian instrument: Replaced whatever was on before (I
think the Reds?) with these, in April 2013. Not particularly
impressive, and I think quieter than the previous.
- D'Addario Prelude mittel
- Nathalie's instrument: Replaced her very old Corelli
Crystal in April 2013 with these (she wanted something cheap). I was
impressed, considering that the set was $15. Quite loud, and not too
hard on the fingers. She seems to like them.
- Corelli Alliance medium E
- I was getting a fair amount of whistling with this string.
Partly I need to improve my technique, but I think it got worse over
time, so the string may just have been worn out.
- Jargar medium E
- No "E-whistle" so far, but I just installed it. May be
contributing to the buzz of the Infelds I installed with it. I would
describe the sound as "bright," though I don't know if that is
appropriate or not.
- Pirastro Tonica
- Installed with the Tonica set above. Just started with it, but
it seems fine enough. After a year or so, it had some whistling, but
not as bad as the Alliance.
- Thomastik Dominant
- Just installed (May 2011), no whistling yet, but a bit stiff.
- Warchal Brilliant Medium Loop
- Installed April 2013. I'm getting an occasional whistle or
squawk, and I think I know what I'm doing that causes it. Hope I can
fix the problem myself.
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