Which violin strings are best?
The strings of a violin are one of its most important features, as they greatly affect the overall sound and playability of the instrument. While violin strings’ cores were traditionally made from a sheep’s intestines, most modern strings are made from polymer, steel and other synthetic materials, which offer improved durability and tuning stability. If you are looking for a professional-quality set that has a superior tone, consider trying the Pirastro Evah Pirazzi set.
What to know before you buy violin strings
Matching the violin strings to your abilities
It is essential that you choose the correct strings to suit your skill level, as well as your preferred playing style and musical genres. For a start, it is not worth paying for a premium set of strings when you are still working on improving your technique and getting a feel for the instrument as a whole. At the same time, it is worth choosing a set of medium to light gauge strings with lower tension, so that you won’t suffer fatigue and can gradually build up strength in your fingers.
Violin string gauge
String gauge refers to the width of the string in relation to other strings of the same pitch. Wider string gauges are categorized with higher numbers and give a louder, fuller sound. Thinner gauges are easier to play and have a faster response, making them well-suited to fast, dexterous playing. Medium gauges find the balance between the two and are very popular due to their versatility of style and playability.
Violin string tension
String tension also determines the tone and playability of your violin. The thicker the string, the more tension is placed upon it, and, therefore, the more difficult it is to play. However, higher string tensions produce greater fullness of tone, so it’s worth experimenting with different tensions to find the perfect balance between tone and playability for you. It is worth considering synthetic core strings if you prefer the sound of higher tension strings, as these offer less resistance under the fingers.
What to look for in quality violin strings
Different types of violin strings
Violin strings can be categorized into three types, namely steel core, synthetic core and gut strings. Steel cores are the most popular by far, and they are notable for their durability and tuning stability. Gut strings offer a warmer tone than their steel core counterparts, but they are more prone to breaking and are more easily affected by changes in temperature and humidity, making them less able to stay in tune. Synthetic core strings are a good compromise between gut and steel, as they are durable, tonally stable and retain the warmth of traditional gut strings.
The best violin strings have their own characteristic expression of tone that simply doesn’t exist in lesser-quality sets. You will immediately notice the difference in quality once you graduate to playing on premium violin strings and the different warmth and brightness that they convey while producing less “whistle” when switching strings. While each violin is unique in the way it sounds and plays, you can substantially improve your tone simply by using better violin strings.
As with all stringed instruments, how violin strings are manufactured and the materials that are used, greatly affect the performance of the string. The best string makers use advanced techniques and high-quality materials that bring out the best in the tone and durability of their products. It’s worth experimenting with different manufacturers at first to find one that is best suited to your ears and fingers.
How much you can expect to spend on violin strings
A good set of entry-level strings should start at around $15, with midrange options costing between $20-$35. Premium options cost upwards of this, with some professional violin string sets costing as much as $130.
Violin strings FAQ
Do violin strings differ according to musical styles?
A. Yes, there are types of violin string that are better suited to certain musical styles. As a general rule, steel-core strings are well-suited to bluegrass, jazz and folk, while synthetic- and gut-core strings are usually favored by classical players.
How do I know if my strings need replacing?
A. Strings need to be changed regularly, even if they are not visibly damaged or broken. Put simply, the more you play, the more often you must replace your strings, but there are some telltale signs to be aware of. If tuning becomes unstable, if you see the wrapping fraying or if you notice a flatness of tone, then it is time to change your violin strings.
What are the best violin strings to buy?
Top violin strings
What you need to know: The Evah Pirazzi is the most affordable set from this premium brand and is well-suited for intermediate to advanced players.
What you’ll love: These strings each have synthetic cores and are a great choice for soloists with their full tone that cuts through the mix. They are ball-end strings, making them firmly anchored and easy to change, but you have the choice of a loop on the E string.
What you should consider: Some players may find the Pirastro Violin Evah Pirazzi to be a little too bright compared to some other premium sets.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top violin strings for the money
What you need to know: This reasonably-priced set from veteran string makers D’Addario is a great choice for students and teachers alike.
What you’ll love: The Prelude range has solid steel cores, making them highly durable and warm in tone. They are well-packaged in sealed pouches, making them suitable for storing over long periods and they will fit any full-scale violin.
What you should consider: As entry-level strings, they will not sound as full as more expensive options, but they make ideal practice tools.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Dominant strings are renowned for their durability and are an affordable yet high-quality option that is enjoyed by both amateurs and professionals.
What you’ll love: This set has an aluminum-wound E string with a ball end, which is easier on the fingers than its unwrapped counterpart. They are clear sounding, long-lasting and offer excellent tuning stability.
What you should consider: This set may take a little while to settle in before they start sounding their best.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Luke Mitchell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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