A new school year is starting and lots of us are getting our instruments ready for more rehearsals, concerts, and lessons. More playing! My students are always asking what kind of strings they should order, so here’s a quick post with my 3 most recommended strings for (pre-college) students.
I am picky about strings for a lot of reasons, but for students especially, I want to make sure that everyone feels confident about the sound of their own instrument. If a student goes to a local guitar shop and purchases very cheap (or old!) violin strings without a recommendation, their instrument will sound a lot harsher/screechier/louder than the violins with the strings I’m recommending here. When the student is in group classes, orchestra, etc. they inevitably notice a difference in sound quality compared to other violins, and the almost always blame themselves and not the strings. By sticking to this list, we can make sure each instrument is sounding is best, so that everyone can feel confident about their equipment and the sound it can make.
Things to remember:
- Most instruments will be fine with Medium Gauge. Ask your violin luthier what they recommend if you want to know what would be best for your instrument.
- Check the end of your E String to know what to order. Your choices are “Ball End” or “Loop End.” Most fractional sizes will have a ball end, but you can visually check the string to determine which one you need. (Don’t know which you have? D’Addario Orchestral has a great interactive graphic here.) The other strings all have ball ends and this does not vary from instrument to instrument.
- To order or buy local? These specific strings are not always found at local guitar/rock/band-oriented shops. Strings have a shelf life. If you find some locally, make sure to ask how old the strings are (how long they’ve been sitting on the shelf). A year or two is ok, but sometimes they’ve been there FOREVER. In this case, I always recommend ordering from a major company like the ones I’ve linked below. They’re almost always cheaper (watch for Free Shipping deals), fresher, and come directly to you.
P.S. Sometimes, these strings can make a cheaper violin sound nicer! But be careful, proper installation is VERY important. *Leave a comment below if you are interested in a rachelviolin.com post/video about string installation.*
Dominant Violin Strings (Thomastik Infeld)
These are the most popular strings in my studio. They are a great price point and some people like them just as much as other, more expensive brands. These strings are perfect for students and professionals and for almost any violin. They have a great, versatile sound and are NOT HARSH. These are perfect for my Suzuki students, from Pre-Twinkle to Book 10 and beyond. When I can’t get my hands on my Evah Pirazzi’s, I always go for Dominant.
As described on their website, Thomastik Infeld’s Dominant Strings are “widely regarded as the reference standard, Dominant strings, made with a highly flexible, multi-strand Perlon core, provide the tonal warmth and feel of a gut string while being impervious to changes in humidity. The sound is soft, clear and rich in overtones and intonation is stable. One of the world’s most popular strings!”
Potter Violin Company (almost always the best price on EVERYTHING)
Vision Violin Strings (Thomastik Infeld)
For about $10 less, you can get the Vision violin strings by Thomastik Infeld. These are not quite as sophisticated as the Dominants, but they still sound great when compared to the instruments with Dominants. Although I highly recommend them for young students and beginners, I do not recommend these for professionals.
Thomastik Infeld’s description: “Wound on an advanced synthetic core, Vision strings are designed to settle in quickly and to achieve a stable tuning within a very short time. They impress with a focused, clear, open and brilliant tone; a perfect fit for today’s modern sound. Vision strings can be mixed with almost any synthetic core string.”
Evah Pirazzi (Pirastro)
My favorite strings! My colleagues love these strings, my students love these strings, my teachers loved these strings. Almost EVERYONE loves getting a set of Evah Pirazzis. I love so many things about them, but the Pirastro website describe them way better than I could:
-Evah Pirazzi strings have a core made from a modern synthetic multifilament fibre.
very intensive and powerful, excellent for soloists
-outstanding playability and exceptional response at any of the dynamic levels
complex sound, rich with overtones based on a brilliant core sound
-Evah Pirazzi strings translate every minute impulse from bow and fingers into beautiful sounds.
-expressive, great nuances
-enormous dynamic range
-outstanding tuning stability
-absolutely insensitive to variations in temperature and humidity
-suitable also for electric or electrically-amplified violins
There are a lot of great strings out there for students. What are you favorites? Tweet @_rachelviolin or comment below and tell me which ones I should try next!