Best Violin Strings Review in 2017

If you own a violin, then buying violin strings is going to be part of your life. Even the best strings break and you will need to replace them eventually. Choosing which strings are best for you is based on some element of trial and error, but there are still important factors to consider before making any strings purchase.

Things To Consider

What are the strings made of?

Best Violin Strings

Catgut – Originally, this is what string makers used for violin strings. Sheep’s intestines were stretched, dried, and then twisted before being strung on a violin. No actual catguts were ever used to make strings. It is possible to purchase these today, but they are only available from a very limited number of custom string makers and only upon special request.

Metal 

These strings have a steel core and produce a vibrant sound. They are typically comprised of a stainless steel core wrapped with a number of different windings. Technological advancements led string makers to design woven or roped metal cores, which leads to a sound reminiscent of that produced by catgut. It is not close enough to satisfy most intermediate or better musicians though so you are more likely to find these on beginner violins.

Synthetic Materials 

Polymers are the future of violin strings. In the mid-20th century, string makers began using a nylon core to produce a sound closer to that of the expensive and temperamental catgut. The core is then wrapped with aluminum or silver depending on the quality and sound you expect it to produce.

Whether or not your violin has a fine-tuner will also affect which type of string end you will need. Some violins only have a fine-tuner for the E string and choosing an E-string with a removable ball end will give you the most versatility.

What type of end do they have?

There are three styles of string ends available: loop ends, ball ends, and removable ball ends. You will need to choose strings based on the way your violin is set up. Some violins can accommodate more than one option. If you are unsure of what you need, check with a luthier to confirm your selection. You should only need to do this once per violin.

For synthetic and steel strings, A, D, and G, the three lower strings, will always have a ball-end. The E-string can come with either a ball end, loop end, or removable ball end.

What is your budget?

If you are using a lower end violin, especially as a beginner, investing a great deal of money in strings will likely be unappreciated by all who listen. Save the higher end strings for when you upgrade to a better quality violin.

However, if you are at the point of performing regularly, then investing in strings that are more durable is worth the extra investment. For fine art performances where a silent and attentive audience hears every nuance, the investment in more expensive strings is an investment in your career.

It is important to note though that price is not always an indicator of what is best for you. Over and over again you need to remember that the strings are just one component of your musicality and they need to be considered in light of your instrument, bow, rosin, and abilities.

Once you find a string you like, ordering multiple sets is a good idea. This can help you save money and ensure you are never without exactly the right string exactly when you need it. Another reason to order multiple sets is that in the event one of your strings breaks, you have a matching replacement.

Five Best Violin Strings

Artisan Violin Strings

Best Violin Strings

Considered an excellent, low-cost string, Artisan produces clear tones that are warm and bright. These strings are versatile and useful for players of all abilities. Violin instructors often prefer them because they have a stable pitch that requires less re-tuning. Sold in a four pack with G-D-A-E, you can also buy a four pack with all E strings, all A strings, or two each of E and A strings.

They are made with a stainless steel core and are extremely durable. This means they will hold up well for students who may not have mastered an appropriate level of pressure or may be a bit hard on their first set of strings. Keep in mind that these have a ball end.

After a few days of regular practice, they are easy to break in. The type of music you will play on these strings does matter. It is adaptable for just about any style. However, note that, for classical music, there could be a longer adjustment time because these strings require proper control, pressure, and speed. That is often the case with less expensive strings and should not necessarily be a deterrent.

Pros

  • Sold in multiple configurations
  • Virtually no break-in period
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons

  • Not well suited for fff compositions
  • G-string may have some manufacturing issues
  • Poor choice for classical music lovers

D'Addario Prelude Violin String Set

Best Violin Strings

This medium tension string is very popular with violinists replacing their first set of strings. In these strings, D’Addario offers durability and economy combined with a lovely warm tone. These are solid, overall strings. That means they will suit a wide variety of purposes. Violin teachers are pleased that these strings stay in tune longer than some other brands. You can only imagine what a task it is to have a class full of violinists trying to tune their instruments regularly.

Like other strings on this list, they are suitable for electric violins. The frugal minded would appreciate the pouch that these strings come in as well. It is unique and protects the strings from exposure longer than a simple paper pouch. In addition, there is a color-coded chart on the inside of the pouch to let you know which string goes in which position.

Pros

  • Comes in light, medium, and heavy tensions
  • Comes in multiple sizes from 1/16 scale to 4/4 scale
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • May produce a dead sound
  • Wear out quickly
  • Common to snap within first few weeks of use

Fiddlerman Violin String Set

Best Violin Strings

As can be expected in this list, all four strings are available in this set. The convenience of this means that even if you just need to replace one string at a time, you will have all four available without having to worry about which one you need. These strings are German made with a synthetic Perlon core. All of the strings have a ball end, but the ball end on the E string is removable.

The sound of these strings is smoother than steel core strings, but you will pay for that improvement in sound quality. These are best played with light fingers on the left hand. Novice players who have been playing on lower quality strings may not even realize they were heavy handed but when switching to these strings, it will be obvious they can lighten up.

They are advertised as being as good as Dominant Strings in blind tests by professionals. Even if that is not the case in your opinion, Fiddlerman has an excellent reputation for helping instrumentalists be 100 percent satisfied with their product.

Pros

  • Fiddlerman has an excellent customer service reputation
  • Removable ball end on the E-string
  • Synthetic core

Cons

  • May experience some unraveling
  • A-string is occasionally whiny
  • Some fit issues in violins with fine tuners

D'Addario Helicore 4/4 Size Violin Strings

Best Violin Strings

These are versatile strings that are suitable for a wide range of playing styles. This particulate set is popular among fiddlers who are always looking for projection and volume. These strings deliver and are widely known for providing full projection and greater volume than similarly priced strings.

However, they are incredibly versatile, even classically trained violinists who perform the classics like these strings. They are steel strings, but produce wonderfully dark sounds that surprise some players. Light under the fingers, they are all well-matched, allowing even newer players to produce even tones. Helicore strings hold their tuning well even with a more aggressive, fiddler style.

The gauges of these strings are not evenly matched. This is fine for some players, but others will be bothered by the difference in how each one feels under the fingers. Personal preference is a major factor in whether or not someone will like this set of strings.

Pros

  • Consistent sound quality across batches
  • Versatile strings for lots of different playing styles
  • Very smooth

Cons

  • E string whistles more than expected
  • Very thin and may break
  • Mismatched gauges for all strings in set

Thomastik Dominant 4/4 Violin String Set

Best Violin Strings

This set is a mixture of synthetic and metal strings. They are all ball end and the full set includes an aluminum/perlon A, aluminum/perlon D, silver/perlon G, and an all-steel E. The use of different materials for each string helps you get the best sounds possible out of every violin. On even lower quality instruments, you can produce sounds that were not there with cheaper, metal strings.

These strings are very flexible which gives a warmth of tone that is stable over a long life. These strings are considered the “reference standard” by which all others ought to be measured. Of course, personal preferences will mean some players do not like these despite their high price and stellar reputation.

They are some of the most neutral strings on the market which is probably what makes them so popular. Of course, this is probably why the violinists who do not like them, really do not like them. The G-string is noted to be especially good because it does not choke on very high notes.

It is recommended that you tune these strings slowly, over several days, to avoid snapping. Over-tuning is an issue with all strings, but if you rush the process on these finer strings, you will most likely snap them. After two to three weeks of moderate practice, these strings should be perfectly set for your style of music and method of playing. For string aficionados, it is a pleasure to listen to the way the sounds evolve as you become accustomed to playing them.

Pros

  • Different materials for each string
  • Stay tuned for a long time
  • Produce a neutral sound from the first note

Cons

  • E-string more likely to squeal and need to be replaced
  • E-string more fragile than others in the set
  • More expensive than most string sets

Conclusion

Choosing a set of strings is a highly personal decision. So much depends on your playing ability, musical style, and the instrument you play on that it is often a matter of trial and error to find the best fit. For that reason, the Fiddlerman is going to be the best choice for most violinists.

There are many reasons for this, but their satisfaction guarantee is the most important. Over and over again, violinists share stories of Fiddlerman sending replacement strings to make right any issues they may have experienced. Additionally, these strings have synthetic cores which makes them the most adaptable and durable. The price is not prohibitive for even beginning players.

Stephanie Su
 

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