Are you a beginner violinist who needs some guidance on what type of violin strings to purchase? Below, violin teacher Montserrat P. shares some expert tips on how to choose the best violin strings…
Choosing the best violin strings for your instrument is extremely important. Finding the proper strings guarantees you’ll be able to play your violin to its full potential, which leads you to achieve more efficient development as a musician.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have the right guidance, selecting your strings can turn into a rather complicated and confusing process. It is not a matter of what type of violin strings you want, but instead the type of strings your instrument needs in order to produce the sound you want.
If you’re a classical violinist, for example, you wouldn’t want to choose violin strings that are better suited for a country fiddler or vice versa.
There are several different types of strings available. Lucky for you, we’ve created a mini guide that will help you to find the best violin strings to suit your instrument and desired sound.
Let’s get started!
Violin Strings Review: Three Main Types
Before you can choose the best violin strings, you need to know your options. There are several different types of strings you can choose from, and getting familiar with each and every one of them is the very first step toward making a sound decision.
1. Gut core strings
Gut core strings were the very first type of violin strings made. While many claim that they are made from cat gut, these strings are typically made with sheep intestines.
In terms of sound, gut core strings have a warmer, more complex sound than others and a very low tension. They are usually preferred by professional musicians who specialize in baroque music. These strings do have their disadvantages—specifically, they are more expensive and less durable.
Gut core strings are very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes, which make them prone to getting out of tune and/or breaking. Let’s just say that there’s a reason why they are mainly used by professional violinists.
2. Synthetic core strings
Synthetic core strings are the most popular choice among musicians. This type is much more stable in pitch, deals better with temperature and humidity changes, and costs less than gut core strings.
Besides the previously mentioned benefits, many professional musicians and students prefer synthetic core strings, because they are also more flexible when it comes to playing different music genres.
Even though the warmth and complexity of the gut core string is still present, the sound of a synthetic string is less complex and a little bit harsher. Nonetheless, synthetic core strings are still a very good option for both experts and beginners.
3. Steel core strings
Steel core strings were introduced as an alternative to gut core strings. The string’s core is covered by metals, such as silver or steel, which makes them much easier to work with when it comes to tuning, for they are not affected by changes in the atmosphere.
This feature, along with their extremely low price, is why steel core strings are widely used by beginner students. Tuning your instrument is not something you learn in your first private lesson, and steel core strings offer the stability needed for the student to be able to practice without having to worry about tuning his or her violin.
However, these strings do not have any warmth in their sound. They are often described as loud and bright, which is not particularly liked among classical music circles. However, this sound is perfect for jazz, bluegrass, and folk music.
Tips for Choosing the Best Violin Strings
Now that you’re familiar with the three main types of violin strings, you’re one step closer to finding the best violin strings for you and your instrument. Here are some other tips to consider.
- Weigh the pros and cons: Take some time to really think about the advantages and disadvantages of each type to help you decide which one best matches your level and aspirations. The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision and end up regretting it later.
- Ask the right questions: Are you an intermediate student exploring different styles? Or do you consider yourself a hardcore baroque player? Ask yourself these types of questions before making a decision; you do not want to end up with the wrong strings.
- Seek a second opinion: Even though you know your musical self pretty well, it’s never a bad idea to ask for a second opinion. Ask your violin teacher or your fellow students what strings they use or if they have any suggestions.
Choosing the Right String Gauge
Once you’ve determined which type of string you want, the next step is to start thinking about the string gauge, which is just a fancy way to refer to its width.
Most players stay in the middle gauge because it offers the best of both worlds: the volume of the thicker gauge without its massive tension and slow response, and the precision of the thin gauge without its low projection.
So, which string gauge should you choose? Well, that depends on your instrument and what type of sound you want to make. If your violin is already loud enough, for example, you might want to turn to a thinner gauge. If your instrument has a hard time projecting its sound, a thicker gauge might be better.
At this point in the process, you will really want to ask somebody with more experience for some help. An experienced violin instructor will be able to tell you what your instrument needs in order for you to achieve what you want.
Where to Buy Violin Strings
Now that you have gone through the process of figuring out which strings you need, you’re ready to buy them and start working your way toward the peak of your artistic development. Below is a list of websites where you can find awesome brands that carry the best violin strings.
- Shar Music: This online violin store has a wide variety of violin strings to choose from as well as other accessories. The site gives you all of the information you need to make a confident decision, including information about the brand, warranty data, and helpful ratings and reviews from actual customers.
- Johnson String Instrument: Serving as New England’s largest violin shop, Johnson String Instrument carries all of the top violin string brands at great prices. Don’t live in New England? Don’t worry, you can purchase items online through the company’s website.
- JustStrings.com: With a name like JustStrings.com, you know this online musical instrument strings and accessories store has an impressive selection of violin strings.
Other Helpful Resources
- Violin String Review: If you want to find some honest reviews of violin strings, visit Violin String Review, a website dedicated to supporting and promoting strings.
- Violin Information: Authored by a professional violin maker, this website has tons on great information about the ins and outs of purchasing strings and other accessories.
- Consordini.com: This informative website has a ton of great reviews on a wide varitey of violin accessories. Check out this post on the 10 best violin strings.
Now that you have this information, go and start the process of finding the best violin strings for your instrument. Hang in there, ask for help when it gets confusing, and remember how amazing it will be once your strings are ready and you can start playing!