So I just went to check the string selections at Fiddlerman, and found that the daddario helicore strings are the same price as Fiddlerman strings. So which ones should I get? Is one better or are they just different?
I'm a fiddler in the bluegrass and Irish traditions, and string longevity is important
Get a set of each and let your fiddle decide.
Helicores generally hold their sound quite a bit longer than synthetics like Fiddlerman. The Heli A string has had problems unwinding for people after a couple of months, but I've never had the issue. It's supposed to be fixed now I think? Helicores are brighter and clearer (which may be good depending on your fiddle) with better response as well. Neither is better, just different like you said. I personally prefer the way the Helis play and respond quickly to delicate Irish triplets and turns and sound clearer on Bluegrassy doublestops. But if you're used to the Fiddlerman and have an exceptionally bright or loud fiddle, they might be the better option.
Ok I think I'll go with the helicores
Those comparisons have a bunch of variables, are a bit of apples and oranges.
Shar has a good chart that gives general sound qualities of different strings in terms of volume, projection, tone clarity.... it lists most popular brands; Fiddlerman brand is probably relabel attached to a mass produced string (different names)... might be on the chart. Useful to kind of get an idea of the sound you want.
As far as longevity... there are 2 aspects. One is the string physically failing... like the wrapping comes off. (a lot of steel strings seem to last forever in that regard). The other is about tone... some start becoming a bit dull or dead sooner than others. That is, while still physically functional, just doesn't sound as good. Some folks find certain plain e strings initially sound great, but lose brilliance more quickly... so might simply replace the e string more often.
Of course some string will last forever, and perhaps not change tone much, but don't really sound very good on day one.
Edit: didn't see your post. I used to like Helicore heavies... but like many others found the A string aluminum wrapping would fail too soon. So I would just buy extra A strings. They make titanium wrapped A that holds up better. Just pointing out you can buy individual strings. Can even mix different brands to you suiting.
Edited by - alaskafiddler on 02/20/2020 18:50:29
I bounce back and forth between both, different sounds but I like them both. I play about an hour a day not including jams. I get about 9 months on both sets. As far as the Shar music diagram. Fiddlerman isn’t listed, but they make a point of comparing themselves to Dominants. (Which I have never used).
I would go with Helicore because they have been around a while. As was mentioned, fiddlerman are a rebranding (might actually be dominants?) and at that price.....
I have used Helicore *mediums* for five or six years now and have never had any problems with the A string.
I have used Helicore mediums for twenty years and have never had a problem with the A string.
Ok thanks, I tried to buy some helicores but had a billing address problem and haven't tried again yet.
'5-strings' 21 hrs
'Squeaks and scratches' 2 days
'Pre WW2 Fiddle' 3 days