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Jan 29, 2020 - 12:48:50 PM
169 posts since 4/15/2019

What brand of strings do ya'll use on your fiddle and why? I had been using Visions and they were ok. Have a good mellow sound to them. Even after 6 mos. they still sounded good. Then I decided to give Fiddleman strings a try because they were cheaper. Was not satisfied with them. I am looking for something that will give me more of louder sound maybe. I am thinking about trying Dominant. Any suggestions? I play bluegrass. Or at least that's what its supposed to be!

Jan 29, 2020 - 1:46:31 PM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2564 posts since 2/3/2011

I had good luck with Jargar, but it's Prim for me these days.

Jan 29, 2020 - 2:01:34 PM

30 posts since 12/16/2016

I’ve used D’Addario Helicore violin strings (medium tension) for more than 15 years. They sound great and last years, and that’s with almost daily playing. I’m an old time fiddler and do a lot of cross tuning, these strings hold up. I tried heavy tension strings for the increased volume for a couple days but found them to be less responsive for my bowing. My fiddling pals are now using them, too.

I played Thomastik Dominant strings for many years and liked the sound, but they didn’t last as long. The A string would begin to unwind, or the A or E string would break, and that was likely aggregated by the cross tuning. The coating would turn my finger tips black, too, but that might just be my skin oils.

Jan 29, 2020 - 2:02:20 PM

850 posts since 8/11/2009

Prims for me too. I play around with E strings I mostly use the Prim Lisa E, the Prirastro Gold, or on my main fiddle a Warchal coiled E. I have also used Helicores and Dominants, but currently do not.

Jan 29, 2020 - 2:02:56 PM

1655 posts since 12/11/2008

It hurts me to say this but when I tore some aged steel strings off my cheap old German trade fiddle and replaced them with a set of Dominants, I was shocked at how good that old fiddle sounded. Was it just a case of fresh strings or the superiority of the Dominants? In any case, I'm now paranoid about tuning to the fiddle to Cross A. Suddenly, it's Cross G for me.

Jan 29, 2020 - 3:05:21 PM

52 posts since 1/21/2017

I've tried quite a few brands, but I always come back to Prims. They last forever, and there's never any surprises. Old reliable.

Jan 30, 2020 - 5:46:34 AM

2044 posts since 10/22/2007

I've had a set of Prim's last 6 years. They are what i tend to use. Evah's are great but i can't say how long they last. I actually tried them as loners.

If you don't have the cash for Prims, D' Addario Preludes are of similar construction. (solid steel core) D'Addario Hellicores have a stranded core, meant to sound more like a Dominant string.

End of day, Prim's long life offsets the price for me. I use just a plane single strand E-strings. Once again, for durability.

Edited by - farmerjones on 01/30/2020 05:47:33

Jan 30, 2020 - 6:39:25 AM
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Earworm

USA

130 posts since 1/30/2018

Pirastro Chromcors. It’s all I’ve ever used, so I don’t have much to compare with, but I like them. Good power, sweet tone.

Jan 30, 2020 - 6:58:53 AM
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2273 posts since 10/1/2008

I firmly believe that for each instrument and pair of ears ... ie. taste ... there is a perfect string. $$$ and time .... A good place to start is either Helicore or Prim if you cross tune a lot and Dominant or Eva Pirazzi if you don't. As a 'grasser I finally settled into Prim strings with a Lisa E . THey are a cost effective choice for me. I have to admit trying and loving the Platinum plated E string from Peter Enfield but $$$. Champagne tastes on a beer budget. < sigh. R/

Jan 30, 2020 - 7:01:39 AM

Earworm

USA

130 posts since 1/30/2018

quote:
Originally posted by stevo-msla

I’ve used D’Addario Helicore violin strings (medium tension) for more than 15 years. They sound great and last years, and that’s with almost daily playing.

Steve, how many years do you make them last? Do you wait until they break to change them, or something?

Jan 30, 2020 - 7:54:50 AM
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4837 posts since 9/26/2008

I have settled on medium Prims with their “Lisa” E (because the E in the set is not as sweet sounding). I found Helicores to be less durable, particularly the A string. Rumor has it the A string is no longer an issue with them, but I discovered Prims and won’t be switching back.

About string longevity. Steel strings do indeed last many years, but that doesn’t mean they sound as good as they did in the first 6-12 months. Guitar strings can last decades, but they sound dead after a year (sooner really, if you play regularly). Wiping your fiddle strings with a clean cloth will help them last but ultimately, wear from sweat and bodily oils dull them and will affect tuning/intonation. Do yourself a favor and change your strings occasionally.

Jan 30, 2020 - 9:55:04 AM
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Viper

USA

228 posts since 1/6/2011

I've been using Prims for the last few years. Just tried the Lisa E recently, and am liking that configuration.

Jan 30, 2020 - 5:31:07 PM

52 posts since 1/21/2017

I guess I'll have to try the Lisa E again. I had put one on with my last set of prims, but switched back to the prim E. Didn't like it for some reason that I don't remember. What is it that everyone likes about the Lisa? I've always thought the Prim E was just fine.

Jan 30, 2020 - 7:42 PM

2044 posts since 10/22/2007

Don't know about Lisa E strings but at one time one could get a set of Prims with a wound or solid E string. My experiences tells me the wound E strings unwind eventually. I don't think i'm heavy handed. Maybe wound E strings don't squeal as easily. Maybe a little.

Jan 31, 2020 - 8:45:29 AM
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30 posts since 12/16/2016

Earworm asked how long I keep a set of Helicores on my fiddle. It’s pretty subjective, for instance recently I changed a set because I noticed it had been 5 years and was really surprised. And the new set was an improvement but not so much that I also swapped strings on my second regularly played fiddle with the same age of strings. Though I will soon, it’s just not that critical, and I’ll be using both at a contradance this Saturday. I’m pretty casual about swapping strings, especially on my fiddles and banjos. And, for instance, I change strings on my mandolin and guitar only once a year, that’s about the time they begin to require retuning while being played, but also they aren’t played daily like the fiddles are. I’m obviously less critical of the condition of my strings than others, and am okay with some loss of brightness. Steve

Jan 31, 2020 - 9:51:28 AM

1240 posts since 10/13/2010

Had Helicores for years and they're great but thought the were a little bright for my fiddle.

I recently put Larsen Tziganes on to get a warmer tone and am loving them now.

I find this chart helpful when choosing strings: sharmusic.com/Pages/How-To/Str...ng-Chart/

Jan 31, 2020 - 1:17:02 PM
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1655 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan



About string longevity. Steel strings do indeed last many years, but that doesn’t mean they sound as good as they did in the first 6-12 months. Guitar strings can last decades, but they sound dead after a year (sooner really, if you play regularly).


In my acoustic guitar playing heyday, the 1970s-1980's, I'd put fresh strings on my guitars every four weeks.  First two days they'd sound hard & trebly but the next two weeks delivered tonal bliss. From then on, it was a slow road down the path from mellow to moribund. 

Feb 2, 2020 - 4:34:18 AM

6 posts since 6/16/2019

Has anyone used Tonica strings?

Feb 2, 2020 - 8:33:20 AM

280 posts since 6/21/2007

I change my strings every March, to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day and festival season. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Helicore and Fiddlerman. They sound different, but both sound good.

Feb 2, 2020 - 10:16:01 AM
Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2252 posts since 2/2/2008

Infelds from Thomastik

Feb 2, 2020 - 11:39:04 AM

DougD

USA

9767 posts since 12/2/2007

Fivestride - I usually use steel strings, but had Tonica on one fiddle and am getting ready to put them on another. A good value in a good synthetic string.
Old cowboy - Do you want to use steel or synthetic core strings? It probably doesn't matter so much for Bluegrass, but if you crosstune you probably would want steel core. I think a lot of Bluegrassers like Helicore, sometimes heavy gauge.

Feb 2, 2020 - 12:26:06 PM

6 posts since 6/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Fivestride - I usually use steel strings, but had Tonica on one fiddle and am getting ready to put them on another. A good value in a good synthetic string.
Old cowboy - Do you want to use steel or synthetic core strings? It probably doesn't matter so much for Bluegrass, but if you crosstune you probably would want steel core. I think a lot of Bluegrassers like Helicore, sometimes heavy gauge.


Feb 2, 2020 - 12:33:01 PM

6 posts since 6/16/2019

I'm an adult who started learning April 2019. I bought my violin from a fiddler and it has a mellow dark tone. It really needs new strings. I want to fiddle but also want to play some classical and worship music. Tonica was mentioned as a good all around string. I have no clue what's on the fiddle now.

Feb 2, 2020 - 12:44:50 PM
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Tyler94

USA

81 posts since 7/21/2019

I've tried a lot more strings than I should have....Preludes, Dominants, Visions, Zyex, Chromcor, Flexocor, Helicore, Tonica, Violino. None were "bad". I've had some where they made horrible whispy noises every time I bowed and made dry gritty double stops, then I cleaned the strings and they sounded lovely. I've also had some that seemed weak and spongey, then on a different day seemed just right. It really comes down to settling on a string and learning how to make it sing.
All of the synthetics (Visions, Dominants, Zyex, Tonica, Violino) I could generally lump into a similar group. All sounded nice, warm, and rather "violinny". None were as crisp or clear as steels, or as responsive. Each had certain unique characteristics, of course. Visons were somewhat clearer and "smooth". Dominants were dead in the middle of the range imo. Not too quiet, loud, soft or overbearing. Tonicas are about the same but a better deal at about $15 cheaper. Violinos were veryyy mellow and soft. Good for loud, bright fiddles. Zyexes were similar to the middle-of-the-road Tonicas and Dominants but a tad softer (too soft) on the G string and the A string sung pretty sweet.
Steels seemed to vary more than synthetics for me, and seemed to need cleaning much more to sound their best. Helicores have a clear but sort of meaty tone. Flexocors are similar and very nice, but after the first set the A strings just started sounding horrible and making falsing notes every time I put my finger on it. The B note repeatedly came out as Bb, e.g. It might just be my fiddle though. Chromcors were a little quieter and, being solid strand and not braided core like the other two, had less overtones and richness. A very smooth string though. Preludes are more of student grade strings but still are very decent for their price.

I ended up settling on medium Helicores. Most folks wouldn't recommend steel core strings for my fiddle since it's bright and loud, but it forced me to develope finesse to tame them and I've really grown to like them. I just wipe them every night before casing my fiddle with a soft bamboo microfiber cloth and they sound great and last for ages. Steels are also the only kind that hold up to cross-tuning so they were a must for me. Synthetics feel soft and crunchy when I try them now, but some make them sound great.

Feb 2, 2020 - 2:40:39 PM

DougD

USA

9767 posts since 12/2/2007

Fivestride - I think Tonica might be a good choice for you. At least they won't break the bank. If you want to know what's on your fiddle now, there are sites online they will help you identify them from the silking colors.
Tyler - Did you never try Prim? For a lot of people they're the end of the search. Helicores are good, and the mediums feel nice under your fingers. If you ever want to experiment some more, Pirastro Superflexible and Spirocore have similar core construction. I agree with you that there's a lot more than just the brand of string involved.

Feb 2, 2020 - 2:47:20 PM

6 posts since 6/16/2019

@DougD thanks for all the info and recommendations!

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