Strings are arguably the most integral component of the violin. Based on the length and tension of the strings, the quality of the sound produced by the violin will vary. Sadly, finding the optimal strings for your violin isn’t an easy feat, as violins react differently to different types of strings.
The same set of strings that sound exciting on one type of violin can sound too dull or too bright on another type of violin, which is why you need to get acquainted with your instrument’s unique needs. That said, this article attempts to showcase the best violin strings on the market today.
Best Strings Overall
The Thomastik Dominant is the first-ever set of strings to make use of synthetic nylon as its core material, which makes it an ideal set of strings for both novice and virtuoso violinists. In fact, this is a set of strings that a lot of professional violinists utilize as their primary strings.
These violin strings are perfect for a wide range of musical preferences, thanks to the exquisite pitch and excellent stability that they offer. The Thomastik Dominant strings are considered the industry standard when it comes to manufacturing synthetic core violin strings.
The Thomastik Dominant strings are available in various lengths and gauges, so no matter what your musical preference is or how skilled you are in playing the violin, there’s a set of Dominants waiting for you to pick up. It’s also worth noting that these strings are some of the most durable.
The Thomastik Dominant set provides a ball-end steel E, silver-Perlon G, and aluminum-Perlon A and D. The price tag on this set of strings might be a little steep, but considering its quality, we can’t really complain. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, this set is worth your money.
D’Addario is a prominent name in the strings market and it’s a brand that’s known for putting out excellent strings for all string instruments. The D’Addario Prelude set is perfect for beginners, as it provides a stable sound that novice students will find satisfactory. It’s also pretty affordable.
The Prelude is strictly appropriate for beginners and we don’t recommend it for intermediate and professional players. After your first year or two as a violin student, you’ll find yourself in need of upgrading to a better set of strings such as the Thomastik Dominant.
Due to the excellent combination of warm tone and affordability that they present, the D’Addario Prelude strings are typically utilized as practice or teaching strings. These are steel core strings, meaning that they provide excellent stability and relatively bright sound quality.
The D’Addario Prelude strings are available in light, medium, and heavy tensions. What’s more, they’re featured in full and fractional sets. This set of strings is compatible with almost all violins on the market and they’re ideal for mixing and matching with other sets with them as the base.
Best for Professionals
Pirastro is a violin string brand that’s quite popular amongst professional violinists, and the Gold set is one of the brand’s most notable offerings. If you’re a soloist, this is a set of strings that we strongly recommend for you considering that the Gold E string is matched with Dominants.
This is the only set of violin strings on this list that features a gut core. To be more specific, the strings are made from modified synthetic fiber. In other words, you should expect them to have a break-in period and to offer an excellent response. The tone is generally rich and warm.
Gut strings are known to have great tension levels, which is why they’re favored when it comes to generating full volume. They’re also great for producing complex overtones. However, this is a set that’s susceptible to humidity and temperature changes, just like all other gut core sets.
When it comes to gut core strings, you’ll have to use the right bow speed in order to get the right sound, which is why this set of strings is recommended mainly for virtuosos. If you fail to use the correct bow speed, you’ll notice a slight buzzing noise that’s quite inconvenient.
Best for Beginners
This is another set of violin strings that are perfect for beginners and students. These strings are some of the best when it comes to producing a clear, warm tone and fast response. We strongly recommend this set for anyone who’s planning to pursue pop music in general.
This set of strings is compatible with all violins that feature a 13-inch playing length. We feel the need to point out that the E string is made of plain unwinded steel, so you shouldn’t expect a lot of projection from it. What you can expect, however, is excellent tone consistency.
When you purchase the set, you get to pick between aluminum A and E strings. This grants you a lot of freedom. Sadly, you can’t have both in the same package. The set is quite affordable, so if you’re hellbent on having both the aluminum A and E strings, you can simply order two sets.
The D’Addario Helicore is available in a wide range of tensions and gauges that you can select from. However, you must keep in mind that different gauges can sometimes come with different windings. All in all, the Helicore is far more superior than the Prelude in terms of warmth.
Most Value for the Price
If you want to stock up on violin strings so that you don’t have to order new ones every time you need new strings, we recommend purchasing this multi-pack from Cecilio. This 4-pack of strings is the most affordable product on our list, as it costs a little under $15. How cool is that?
The strings feature a steel core that’s winded with nickel. The strings are for the pitches G, D, A, and E. The strings come in various sizes, so you’ll surely find ones that meet your needs. This is a set of strings that offer a consistent tone and pitch throughout the mid and late grades.
It’s also worth pointing out that these strings are surprisingly durable. You’d expect that a 4-pack of violin strings that costs under $15 would be rendered useless after a short period of time, but it’s definitely a long-lasting set of strings. It’s perfect for students who wear out their strings.
Tips on Buying Violin Strings
When shopping for violin strings, you can’t just purchase the first set of strings you lay your eyes on. There are a number of factors that should influence your choice. Let’s go over them briefly.
It’s necessary to know that there are three different types of violin strings, namely gut, steel, and synthetic, with each type providing its own peculiar tonal virtues. The maintenance requirements for each type tend to vary as well. It’s vital to learn about each type before making the purchase.
Gut core strings are made from sheep intestine and tend to be wounded with silver, copper, or some other type of metal. Gut violin strings offer a rich, warm sound with complex overtones. In addition, gut strings have remarkable tension levels that help in generating full volume.
Although many professionals opt for gut core strings, there are a few drawbacks to bear in mind. Gut strings are very susceptible to humidity and temperature changes, so frequent tuning will be needed. Further, gut core strings are the least durable of the three types of violin strings.
Steel core strings are the most optimal pick for bluegrass, country, and jazz musicians, as they have a really distinct bright tone. However, the sounds overtones that this type of strings creates are less complex than the sounds produced by gut core violin strings.
One of the many reasons why steel core strings are preferred by a lot of musicians is that these strings offer excellent stability of pitch. Moreover, steel strings aren’t as affected by atmospheric changes as gut strings are, so you don’t have to worry about frequently tuning them.
Synthetic core strings are relatively new compared to gut and steel strings. This class of violin strings combines the warmth of gut strings with the stability of steel strings. It offers superb pitch stability and it has the ability to stay in tune even after the strings have been stretched.
Violin strings that are made of synthetic materials like nylon or synthetic nylon are more popular than gut and steel strings because they’re not at all affected by climate changes. Moreover, this type of violin string is also quite affordable and boasts excellent responsiveness and projection.
The gauge or actual thickness of the violin string has a major influence on the violin’s tone. If the strings are thick, they’ll offer a more robust sound. Thicker strings aren’t the most responsive, so you’ll need a lot of pressure to depress the strings and a heavy bowing stroke for them to sing.
Thinner violin strings, on the other hand, boast a great deal of responsiveness that makes them a lot easier to maneuver than thicker strings. However, thinner strings aren’t very great as far as projection. If you’re a novice student of the violin, we suggest you go for medium gauge strings.
The tension of the violin string has a notable impact on the quality of the tones produced. Higher levels of tension help you create brighter tones, whereas lower levels of tension are much better at creating warmer tones. If higher tension is what you seek, we recommend steel core strings.
Style of Music
Even if you’re still learning the basics, we’re certain that you know exactly the type of music that you’d like to pursue. Your choice of violin strings should be based on your music inclinations. To give an example, if you’re into jazz and country, you should lean more towards steel strings.
If your genre of music is centered around a rich, mellow violin tone, we strongly recommend that you go for gut or synthetic core strings, especially if you’re a chamber musician. Also, if you’re a beginner violinist, you’ll find synthetic core strings to be the perfect fit for you.
When in the market for violin strings, it’s important to take your playing ability into consideration. By correctly assessing your playing ability, you’ll be able to buy a set of strings that will help add to your skill level. Failing to do so will have you end up with strings that are difficult to play on.
If you’re a beginner violin student, synthetic core strings are what you should opt for because, in addition to their warm tone, they offer great responsiveness and projection that make them a ton of fun to play with. Not to mention that they retain their tune for extended periods of time.
Hopefully, the information provided in this article has helped make the process of selecting new violin strings easier for you. Kindly let us know which one of the above-mentioned products you think is the best, and as always, we’d be glad to answer any of your questions.