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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Zyex vs. Helicore vs. E.P. Green...

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Flattmountain - Posted - 12/26/2020:  14:40:44

I have a 1903 F. Lincoln Johnson that on which I have only ever used Evahs.  It has a very complex tone, i like to think of it as a 'dark rich velvet in the wintertime' texture. The time has come round again to where a string change is in order, However, the price of the EPs are going up, and I would like to try another less expensive string.  Since I have never used any other string and would like to preserve the current sound and feel as much as possible; I was wondering if y'all have any suggestions for under $50? 

I have used the D'Addario Helicore on other violins, and I know them to be ok for the price, but before i go back to them, I would consider the idea of the Zyex strings. From what I read, they should be pretty mellow, which is what i like to hear when playing oldtime and sometimes irish. But I have no idea how warm my violin really is itself, and whether or not a warm string would bog it down.

I know that without hearing and playing, it is near impossible to tell anything, and I'm not expecting any string to equal the EPs... Some additional opinions and options would be greatly appreciated :)


UsuallyPickin - Posted - 12/26/2020:  16:27:55

I like Dominant silver or aluminum wound for a fiber core string. But that price has gone through the roof too. If you decide to go with a metal core look into Prim strings. They deliver a good full tone on my fiddles and are inexpensive. R/

Flattmountain - Posted - 12/26/2020:  17:06:23

@usuallypickin Thank you very much!

DougD - Posted - 12/26/2020:  17:38:58

I'm really not too familiar with any of these strings, but that won't stop me from having an opinion. I doubt any of the options mentioned will please you if you really like the sound of Evah's (I've never even known anybody that used them)!
Zyex have never been popular around here - most people found them kind of "dead." But one person's "dead" might be another's "mellow." I think the Zyex core material is unique to that string, so it probably sounds different from anything else.
Pirastro says the core material in the Evah's is also used in Obligato (even more expensive!) and Violino, which might be worth a try. Pirastro describes them as warm, but the tension might be lower.
Really my only experience with "plastic" strings is with Tonica, which I like, but might not suit you. Prim is a great string in its own way, but I doubt its what you're looking for.

Flattmountain - Posted - 12/26/2020:  18:08:05

@DougD I definitely appreciate your opinion. Thanks for giving it :) I will keep that in mind about the zyex strings.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 12/26/2020:  18:51:55

Evahs are some of the brightest sounding strings on the market. If you want warmth, Dominant or TI will be a good balance. Obligato will take you a step further in warmth.

The Evah Gold set is quite nice as well—a lot of players really love them. They’re more expensive, but you do get what you pay for.

Under $50 I would recommend Tonica or Alphayue. For only a few dollars more, though, you could get a considerable improvement with one of the sets like Dominants.

I’ll add that the setup will make an even bigger difference in tone color.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 12/26/2020:  19:34:16

Prim 1st, Helicore 2nd on steel core.

Alphayue for synth core. Dominants good, too, but downvotes for price. Steel core is my choice mostly because responsiveness and endurance. Big fat synth core strings need more bow pressure, IMO--ie, steel core soundpoint 3 = synth soundpoint 5.

I change every 3 months, seems all strings these days get dull pretty fast. $50 is too much to pay X 4/year. Pirastro is pretty proud of their strings.

RinconMtnErnie - Posted - 12/26/2020:  19:54:56

I actually have used Zyex strings, but it's been maybe two years so I don't remember much other than I like them well enough. I'm toying with the idea of putting a set on a fiddle I have that has a high action that can't be easily changed due to a built in pickup in the bridge. I mostly use Helicores and Prims, but I've put on Zyex strings around Christmas to play Christmas music, then switch back to Helicores when they wear out. I definitely like them for the price for a synthetic core string. I have Kaplan Amos on a bright instrument to warm it up, but those are more expensive. 

RobBob - Posted - 12/27/2020:  13:38:59

Prim works best here.

Flattmountain - Posted - 12/27/2020:  15:21:16


Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

Evahs are some of the brightest sounding strings on the market. If you want warmth, Dominant or TI will be a good balance. Obligato will take you a step further in warmth.

I’ll add that the setup will make an even bigger difference in tone color.


That must mean that my violin itself is very dark, as it is currently quite warm... which also means I probably don't want too dark of a string. 

I wonder if i would want to set it up differently if i used different strings...

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 12/28/2020:  07:01:46

If I remember correctly a fiber core string will vibrate over a larger area than a steel core string. Gut flexing even more so. So yes to your question, but it isn't necessary to do so immediately. When you find the string you prefer tonally then you may want to take your instrument in to have the setup tweaked. Enjoy the search. R/

DougD - Posted - 12/28/2020:  07:57:31

Dilen - Some websites, like Shar, have charts that place different strings according to bright vs warm and subtle vs direct. You could look for strings near Evahs on the chart, which should have similar sound (although I'm not sure all their placements make sense to me).
If you're shopping by price, you could consider Dominant, Tonica, Alphayue and maybe Thomastik Vision. One problem might be that lower priced strings are aimed at student instruments, which tend to be very bright, so the strings are marketed to mellow them out some, which might be the opposite of what you want.
I'd say Rich Maxham has more day-to-day experience with strings than most of us, so I'd consider his suggestions.

Apltrez - Posted - 12/29/2020:  07:02:56

I would second the notion of checking on Shar's site for the violin string chart. For the first time ever I took the chart to another level. Click on the string then click on it again when the strings come up and scroll down and you will see a more exact "graph" of rating the strings from subtle to direct and warm to brilliant

very helpful

DougD - Posted - 12/29/2020:  07:55:29

There is also a lot of useful information in this guide to choosing strngs by Richard Ward:

snakefinger - Posted - 12/29/2020:  13:05:27

Helicores will be a touch brighter but will save you a considerable amount of money. I’ve not personally found anything cheaper that I liked.

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