Perhaps one of the most important, quickest, easiest, yet most often overlooked factors when it comes to violin sound is the type of string you choose.
It can get so confusing. Steel? Perlon? Gut? Prices can range from just a few dollars to over $200 for Evah Pirazzi Gold. They come in gold, silver, aluminum… the array and number of permutations is endless. Some players fine tune their instrument so that they use different kinds of strings for the E or the G, etc.
Personally, I think inexpensive steel strings are a good choice for beginners and on smaller fractional sized instruments. They are durable, settle fairly quickly, are less affected by temperature variation, and stay in tune well.
As a player gains in knowledge and skill, they will quite likely develop a preference as they learn what works for them, and what ‘fits’ their particular instrument.
I’ve found a chart online that I feel is useful. It demonstrates pictorially where the popular brand names fit in the scale of four factors: Warmth, Brightness, Complexity and Cleanness (if that’s really a word).
To learn more about strings, please visit the link on the sidebar of this blog.
Of course, price can be prohibitive. Some of my observations over the few years I’ve been trading and repairing violins. Note: the prices I’m quoting are in CDN funds.
Evah Pirazzi Gold at $200 and Evah Green at around $120, are fantastic.
Kaplan Ammo at around $100 was very good at matching a Justin Derazey violin that passed through my shop.
I find Tonica, Zyex and Pro Arte to all be acceptable for a similar price range at around $50 to $80. They are all synthetic and have slightly different characteristics.
Preludes are a good old standard as far as steel strings, at around $25 to $30.
Ascente are okay for an entry level synthetic string at around $35.
I have yet to use Obligato, but they are rated as very warm, and they are very popular. On the other end is Helicore, very bright and I also hear many speak highly of them.
Thomastik Dominants are wildly popular, but to date I haven’t been in love with them.
So many to choose from. All it takes is time and money to find out which is best for you and your instrument!