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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Admittedly this is something I know basically nothing about. But when has it stopped me from posting? Practically never! ;)

Anyways, I have come to realize that sometimes string ensembles use strings which create a metallic screeching sound I do not find pleasant. Other string ensembles seem to use strings that have more warmth to their sound.

For example, for this reason only, I much prefer the late Beethoven quartets by the Amadeus Quartet to the versions of the Alban Berg Quartet. In my youth this problem went to the length of me considering the great late C# minor String Quartet unpleasant and not worth of my time.

There might be another explanation for this huge difference in the warmth of the chamber music string sound. It is unfortunate because, in this case, otherwise I love the playing and interpretations of the Alban Berg Quartet.

Could some one with more experience and knowledge comment on the matter? Thank you!
 

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True, the string material make a huge difference, well known to professional bow musicians.

Problem is, a musician wants to be loud most times. On the street you want to attract more passers-by. If you play with a pianist you must overload the violin. In a concert hall, you want to accommodate more public, but then you must be heard everywhere. When 2 trumpets, 3 trombones and 4 horns play a banal forte, 50 bows must saw like crazy just to be perceived. And what about playing violin solo with a symphonic orchestra?

Even loud instruments like the clarinet must push their loudness and adopt "brilliant" instruments, mouthpieces, reeds, or they have lost the battle. That's why big bands kept essentially saxophones besides brass and percussion.

So bow players choose strings that play loudly, strident (I mean, have a "good projection"), but have no warm tone. Plain gut strings, which sound so nicely, are practically abandoned. Metal winding is the norm, with different alloys sounding differently. Even gut cores get slowly replaced.

The same holds for the instruments themselves, favouring old Italian instruments for being loud and clear over warmer instruments, especially for soloists.

If playing chamber music only, and in a small room (which is uneconomical) or with amplification, the musicians can agree to bring nicer instruments, or the usual instruments with nicer sounding strings. But if only one brings the usual hardware, the result is horrible.

Experimenting that isn't extremely expensive, so you may try a few string sets, as it brings much for less money than a different violin. Pirastro, Thomastik, Corelli.
Ask a professional for advice, since trying all existing materials would explode the costs.
 
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Btw has anyone here tried Thomastik Rondo strings? They're hideously expensive at ~$400 dollars a set (!) but wow are they gorgeous. I put some on my cello and now I don't think I can ever look back. Until I'm broke, maybe. :lol:
 

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289€ in Germany (they're made in Austria, within the EU), incl VAT, ouch
Add 20€ shipping and (?) 19% import tax, you're at 403usd.

That is, US inhabitants pay extra 80usd to the gov, just like EU inhabitants do, to buy across the Pond. The politicians told it was good for us.

Meanwhile we pay extra extra 19% to buy over the Internet outside the EU, for instance in the UK.

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What does the tungsten spun bring? Warmer, more brilliant, louder, neat tone starts...? I suppose the string is less thick?
 

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289€ in Germany (they're made in Austria, within the EU), incl VAT, ouch
Add 20€ shipping and (?) 19% import tax, you're at 403usd.

That is, US inhabitants pay extra 80usd to the gov, just like EU inhabitants do, to buy across the Pond. The politicians told it was good for us.

Meanwhile we pay extra extra 19% to buy over the Internet outside the EU, for instance in the UK.

==========

What does the tungsten spun bring? Warmer, more brilliant, louder, neat tone starts...? I suppose the string is less thick?
Actually the C and G on the Rondos are wound with a tungsten and chrome combo as far as I can tell. They don't have the gravelly sound of the Spirocore C and forunately not the metallic sound of the G but plenty of volume and power. The A and D though are absolutely beautiful. At that price I hope I can push at least a couple of years out of these strings. :lol: But cellos being such sometimes weirdly individual things, what sounds good on mine might not sound so good on another, and vice versa.
 
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