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Today, I’m doing a quick video on the differences between the types of strings you can install on your violin.
There are 3 primary types of strings for the bowed string family of instruments and there are pros and cons to using each of them.
1. Gut strings
2. Synthetic core strings
3. Steel core strings
The strings are different in 2 primary ways.
1. They materials that they are made of
2. Their performance characteristics.
1. Gut strings are primarily made of sheep intestines and this particular material is the oldest way to make violin strings. Often the top 2 thinner strings for a violin will be just gut but the lower strings will be gut that is wrapped with some kind of metal. Examples of these strings would be Pirastro Eudoxa and Gamut strings. These strings are recommended for advanced players who want a traditional sound and play older music.
—Who is using these strings? Most of the people choosing these strings play older styles of music like Baroque style.
—Pros: Arguably the best sounding strings because they produce a very natural, sweet, mellow sound.
—Cons: They can be expensive, they have a shorter shelf life, they generally stretch more, so it can take more effort to keep them in tune. They are generally not considered very “responsive or powerful”. They tend to be more quiet in nature and are not as well suited to modern concertos that have very aggressive styles.
2. Steel core strings have a solid steel core and are generally wrapped in some kind of metal as well.
—Who is using these strings? These strings are favored by a lot of folk or live band types of players because they are usually very powerful strings that can cut through the sound of the rest of the band. They are usually very responsive as well and easy to play
—Pros: They also tend to be the least expensive types of strings. They are generally very durable, and stay in tune longer. These types of strings are also very commonly seen on less expensive instruments because they are more durable, less expensive and tend to stay in tune. They can be the best choice for beginning type of players. Examples of these strings would be D’Addario Prelude and Helicore strings. These strings are recommended for folk players and beginners.
—Cons: They usually produce the least warm or sweet sound as the sound tends to be more brash and bright.
3. Synthetic core strings have a synthetic core of some type that try to mimic gut and are generally wrapped in some kind of metal as well.
—Who is using these strings? These strings are favored by a lot orchestral players because the sound is usually a warmer, sweet sound then most solid steel strings and many of these strings can be quite responsive, easy to pay and powerful as well.
—Pros: These strings are often considered the best compromise between a pure gut string and the powerful cheap steel core strings. Examples of these strings would be Daddario Zyex and Evah Pirazzis. These strings are recommended for intermediate to advanced players.
—Cons: They are often fairly expensive, do not last as long as most steel core strings and are more temperamental in terms of staying in tune. They stretch more when they are initially installed on an instrument. It is very common for these strings to loose their “pitch” after a while and are impossible to tune to a perfect pitch and the nice sound quality they have when new fades within 4-6 months generally.