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Sep 29, 2022 - 12:55:58 PM

Creole

USA

43 posts since 4/19/2022

Wondering if Dominants are worth the $. I play/practice every day about an hour plus. Playing Pirastro Tonicas currently and they have held up ok for just around 3 months and then I noticed the A String sounding a bit less brite.

Sep 29, 2022 - 1:06:55 PM
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Swing

USA

2197 posts since 6/26/2007

I have used Dominants for years..they are good and will last if you keep your nails trimmed and replaced the E string with something better like a Larson E (forte) or some other E string..for a long time I used an Oliv Gold plated E and felt that was a great combination but have switched to the Larson as it is less expensive and sounds great...now, having said that..there are other very good synthetic string sets out there but they will cost more... try the Dominants... they will last more than a few months..

Play Happy

Swing

Sep 29, 2022 - 3:02:42 PM

668 posts since 6/11/2019

I like Dominants, I use them on my "classical" fiddle. I think they should last at least 6 months if you play a lot every day. A year if you swap instruments around.

I like Tonicas, too, I have used them interchangeably with Dominants and they are said to be equal in disposition, though less expensive.

I also like Pro Arte--when introduced, I believe they were intended to compete with Dominants also. But they are probably half the price. They are "warm," which my left ear likes.

I mention these cause they are marketed as competitors to Dominants. If price was no factor, I would probably just purchase Dominants (and replace the E)

Sep 29, 2022 - 3:04:38 PM
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668 posts since 6/11/2019

By the way, I assume since you had electricity to post this, you are up in "Floribama" and didn't get pounded by Ian. Cheers

Sep 29, 2022 - 3:16:57 PM

Creole

USA

43 posts since 4/19/2022

We dodged the bullet for certain. I was only powered down for 14 hours and was lucky to be 100plus miles North of the eye walls in Clearwater area. Praying for all those south of us.

Edited by - Creole on 09/29/2022 15:17:59

Sep 29, 2022 - 5:09:57 PM
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907 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Creole

Wondering if Dominants are worth the $. I play/practice every day about an hour plus. Playing Pirastro Tonicas currently and they have held up ok for just around 3 months and then I noticed the A String sounding a bit less brite.


Dominants remain the industry standard. They're really not so expensive when you compare them with other high quality sets, many of which retail well over $100.

Tonicas are excellent as an economical alternative to Dominants, although they're not quite as rich and warm. Incidentally, they're much more popular in Europe, especially France.

A strings are the most likely to wear out in any synthetic set because they're wrapped with aluminum, as opposed to the silver in G and (silver) D strings.

If you're playing pretty heavily, any set can wear out in not too long. I once had a customer who changed her strings every two weeks. She also used the most expensive set money could buy at the time. It seemed like overkill at the time, but she ended up getting the most coveted spot in the country's best music school, so now I'm not so sure anymore. 

Sep 30, 2022 - 3:29:13 AM
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2000 posts since 4/6/2014

imo if you practice for 3-4 hrs a day you will be through the A string with Dominants and most other synthetics in a month or so. Especially if you play fretted instruments as well. I've even had them go in a week or two when i first started and still had the "Death grip" from the guitar, and was sliding into notes which is part of the BG/OT/Cajun sound...Then when i replaced the A string the D string was ready to go as well.

A set of steel strings will Last a year or more, (Ive had my cheap Chinese steels on for about 4 or 5 yrs). And if you get used to them will have a more BG/OT sound. You can also get away with other Trad fiddle styles and even some swing.

Sep 30, 2022 - 10:33:27 AM
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907 posts since 3/1/2020

The general rule of thumb is that if you play an hour a day, a set of strings ought to last about six months. If you play a lot more, sweat heavily, or use a heavy bow arm, the strings may wear out more quickly.

To get the longest life out of them, always wash your hands before touching the violin. Keep the string grooves lubricated with graphite and only use a dry cloth to wipe the strings clean after each playing period. Keep the instrument in a stable temperature and humidity as much as possible. All of these things can help.

Sep 30, 2022 - 10:40:12 AM
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2000 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

The general rule of thumb is that if you play an hour a day, a set of strings ought to last about six months. If you play a lot more, sweat heavily, or use a heavy bow arm, the strings may wear out more quickly.

To get the longest life out of them, always wash your hands before touching the violin. Keep the string grooves lubricated with graphite and only use a dry cloth to wipe the strings clean after each playing period. Keep the instrument in a stable temperature and humidity as much as possible. All of these things can help.


Are you talking about synthetics, Gut or steel ? Or all of them?

Sep 30, 2022 - 11:07:41 AM
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2000 posts since 4/6/2014

Also the A string had a tendency to unwrap (with Dominants), half way through a gig just when the damned things are broke in and sounding less "breathy". You can tell i am not a fan... i dont even know how much they are now, but i know they don't last as long as steel strings, even cheap ones. but when they are at their best (just before the A string unwraps and the D string follows suit) They are a joy.

Edited by - pete_fiddle on 09/30/2022 11:10:11

Sep 30, 2022 - 1:04:18 PM
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907 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle
quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

The general rule of thumb is that if you play an hour a day, a set of strings ought to last about six months. If you play a lot more, sweat heavily, or use a heavy bow arm, the strings may wear out more quickly.

To get the longest life out of them, always wash your hands before touching the violin. Keep the string grooves lubricated with graphite and only use a dry cloth to wipe the strings clean after each playing period. Keep the instrument in a stable temperature and humidity as much as possible. All of these things can help.


Are you talking about synthetics, Gut or steel ? Or all of them?


That tends to apply to synthetic and steel strings. Gut strings are not as stable and tend not to last as long.

A string issues are more common with Larsen and Evah Pirazzi than with Dominants. Your experience of only about a month is unusual, so I wonder if something else might be going on to precipitate their demise. Even when I was practicing five hours a day my strings lasted very well.

Sep 30, 2022 - 2:22:36 PM
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gapbob

USA

856 posts since 4/20/2008

I switched from Dominants back in the 80s, I found that the A string unravelled too quickly (a few weeks). They sound good though, but there are many synthetic strings. I've been using Vision, mostly for price, and have found them fine, but have some Evah Perazzi and Obligatos I am trying out, or plan to try out, on some of my fiddles.

I change strings about every year or two, but consider that I rotate through four fiddles, so I am not wearing them out too quickly.

Edited by - gapbob on 09/30/2022 14:22:49

Sep 30, 2022 - 11:24:52 PM

2000 posts since 4/6/2014

Just had a look at the price of them now (dominants), looks like they have come down a bit!...rare in these times. They used to be around £50 or even £60 now they are £32..Are they being manufactured in China these days?

Dominants from China?

Oct 1, 2022 - 2:34:30 AM

DougD

USA

10869 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

Over here they're about $75 from violin shops. I doubt they're made in China, but ebay is full of fakery. I don't buy anything there anymore except used tools and car parts.

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:29:24 AM
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907 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Just had a look at the price of them now (dominants), looks like they have come down a bit!...rare in these times. They used to be around £50 or even £60 now they are £32..Are they being manufactured in China these days?

Dominants from China?


Fakery is quite widespread in online string sales. What I've been told is that Thomastik has two factories for their strings: one in Vienna and one in China. The Chinese factory covers the Asian market. I've heard that there are small differences in the strings. Some online sellers are able to subvert the MSRP rules that Thomastik has in place for their distributors by purchasing their strings from the Chinese factory and importing them. 

In the US, a set tends to sell for about $55-$65 at violin shops.

I talked to the president of a wholesale company a few years ago when he visited the shop to offer his line of products. He would make a few trips to China each year to visit the factories from which he sourced his inventory. Apparently, there is a gigantic market for knockoff strings there, and he said his string manufacturer told him he could get their synthetic set with any silk color combination he wanted so that he'd could copy anything. He ended up picking a color scheme nobody else used so he could market the strings as his own unique product, but he said the exact same set could be found all over China with Dominant silk colors. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 10/01/2022 06:37:45

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:38:08 AM
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RobBob

USA

2876 posts since 6/26/2007

I personally hate Dominants. They are $77 at my favorite online store and the Dominant Pro strings are $96, I've rounded up on each price. Been using Tonicas lately but will probably go back to steel strings as I find Chromcor, and Prims work just fine for old time and occasional bluegrass fiddling. IMHO Pirastro makes the best strings in the business but their Flexocor-Permanent, the better option than Helicore, are $88 and well, that is kind of pricey for a Jack Benny fan.

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:51:53 AM
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795 posts since 8/10/2017

I never change the strings unless they break. I don't see any wear. I think I have really dry fingers because I have trouble sometimes getting the "buttons" on my phone screen to work. I use Thomastik Alphaques on my fiddle. Nobody I talk to has ever heard of them. Even when I go to buy them at the store, they have to look carefully in the drawer and then are surprised they have them because even they have never heard of them. I think they are "forgiving" strings, for young players or something. A friend of mine buys the expensive strings and every couple of weeks they are unraveling from the sweat of his fingers.

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:52:50 AM
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Mobob

USA

222 posts since 10/1/2009

For those of you who use synthetic core strings for old time, do you find you must change your technique?

Oct 1, 2022 - 7:17:59 AM
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Swing

USA

2197 posts since 6/26/2007

String prices have changed, but I can get a Dominant set for $51.50 with no shipping charges... add $7 for Larsen Forte E string and you have a great combination...

Play Happy

Swing

Oct 1, 2022 - 7:29:07 AM

DougD

USA

10869 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

After a particularly depressing version of our traditional yearly jam at a festival a few weeks ago, some of us were sitting around and I asked the three fiddlers what strings they were using. One had D'Addario Preludes, one Dominant Professional, and one a set of used Alphayue that another friend had sent him because he didn't like them. I think my ukulele is strung with LaBella, but I don't remember.
Our last Highwoods show was in 2008, and Walt Koken had a brand new to him fiddle he'd just bought from David Bromberg. After the show he remarked that it was a little hard to play because it still had "plastic" strings on it. I didn't ask him if he'd had to change his technique, but there must have been a difference.

Oct 1, 2022 - 8:02:17 AM
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68 posts since 12/26/2021

It seems odd that so many people use a different E string from the set they buy. Presumably the manufacturers strive to engineer a set with a balanced and compatable sound.

My fiddle came with Fiddlerman synthetic core. The G string had a great sound, full rich, but it overpowered the other strings. The D was just right, the A was slightly weak, and the E seemed over bright. I'm certain a bit of this was technique due to taking roughly a half century vacation from the violin. I switched to Prim's and it was "Aaaah!" The strings all played on the same team.

That said, following other discussions, I ordered a Lisa E string which is on its way. Hopefully it will take some of the cringeworthiness out of my high notes. Maybe it will fix my bowing and intonation!

Oct 1, 2022 - 8:39:07 AM
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Players Union Member

Earworm

USA

398 posts since 1/30/2018

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

...I use Thomastik Alphaques on my fiddle. Nobody I talk to has ever heard of them. Even when I go to buy them at the store, they have to look carefully in the drawer and then are surprised they have them because even they have never heard of them. ...


Diane, My daughter uses Alphayue's on her violin and she likes them. I also notice that they almost never get mentioned though LOL. We buy them from Shar.

Oct 1, 2022 - 10:51:31 AM
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907 posts since 3/1/2020

Alphayue is pretty popular as a budget string option. There’s a lot of talk about them on Violinist.com. They’re decent strings that don’t cost a lot, but Tonica is even better for just a little more.

A previous shop where I worked was using Preludes on their rentals, but I convinced the owner to switch to Alphayue when they came out. The improvement was immense. A lot of people say that steel strings never go bad or break, but the Preludes on the rental violins were constantly breaking and having to be replaced. In addition to sounding better, the Alphas actually lasted better as well.

About E strings: yes, the manufacturers do strive to engineer sets that work together. However, the E string tends to be the weak link in almost every set. There are some that are decent in sets, but you often end up paying more just so that the silk at the tailpiece end matches the rest of the set. Despite making the best strings overall, Thomastik is notorious for making mediocre E strings. The one exception thus far has been the Rondo E, but it still isn’t better than the Goldbrokat, which works well on everything and costs considerably less. Violists typically use a different A string and cellists typically use one brand for the lower strings and one for the upper.

Oct 1, 2022 - 11:17:14 AM
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668 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Mobob

For those of you who use synthetic core strings for old time, do you find you must change your technique?


Seems no one has answered, so I'll take a shot at this--though this is revisited a lot here and I'm not the best to answer it

I play a lot of different stuff, so I don't choose strings based on that, but have different strings on different violins due to their disposition

IMO:  Left hand:  steel, especially solid core (think Red Labels) takes more pressure to stop a note due to more resistance to bending the string down.  You can just about touch a synthetic with the weight of your finger and stop it.  So, less tension in your left hand

Right hand:  Steel is more responsive to the bow.  If you use mainly the upper half of the bow and use a lot of quick sawing, steel is the way to go.  Synthetic needs a little more pressure to sound, so this favors a long bow adding use of the frog end.  Personally, I'm a pretty ham-handed so the synthetics hide my pressure flaws without crunching the note.

There's exceptions to all this, of course.

Oct 1, 2022 - 12:01:15 PM
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RobBob

USA

2876 posts since 6/26/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Mobob

For those of you who use synthetic core strings for old time, do you find you must change your technique?


I think you must be mindful of the string tension. It actually helps my playing. Using the bow with just the right tension on the hair and playing with a less aggressive attack help.  There is a more subtle approach required for the plastic strings. I usually default to steel but am enjoying the challenge of playing the Tonicas at the moment. Based on years of experience, this phase too shall pass.

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:35:33 PM
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13 posts since 9/18/2019

I like Dominants. They are my favorite set. If you get Set 135B it comes with a 129 Chrome steel E string and imo is as good as any E you can find, so no need to replace it. A strings always wear out quicker than the rest for more than one reason. Might be worth keeping a spare A on hand (it is #131).

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