Violin strings

There are many dozens of varieties of violin strings, and that's not counting the "light", "medium" and "strong" formulations of each string.

Online reviews

My thoughts

String sets

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.

E strings

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.

This page last modified 2013-05-08 11:01