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Helpful Information About Strings

More Information on Loop vs. Ball vs. Removable Ball Strings:

How to Install a String

Do you need a loop end or ball end string?

Core Materials

The core of the string is the material that gives the string its strength and ability to hold tension. It also contributes a great deal to the thickness and density of the string. Core material affects all aspects of the string.

Gut core strings produce the most complex, richest sound. It is the traditional material for strings, and has a long history. Since gut is a natural fiber, it will react to changes in temperature and humidity. It is most popular for soloists or baroque-style players. Use with fine tuners is not recommended.

Synthetic core strings are meant to sound as similar to gut as possible, but with superior stability and durability. Stronger than gut, synthetic strings are not as susceptible to changes in humidity. Sound is generally brighter than gut, with a faster response. Use with fine tuners is not recommended. Synthetic strings are also known by the terms "nylon", "perlon", "synthelon", or other trademarked names, like "Zyex". Because of high elasticity, these strings are easy to tune with the pegs, so fine tuners are not necessary, but still optional.

Steel core strings are brighter in tone and more responsive than gut or synthetic strings. A steel core consists of a single strand of steel that is not as susceptible to climate changes and will generally last a long time. Steel strings are difficult to tune without fine tuners, because they lack elasticity.

Rope core strings are steel-core strings with multiple strands, or a spiraled steel core. They are typically brighter than steel. They have the fastest response of all the string types, and a similarly less susceptible to climate changes. Use with fine tuners is recommended.


Manufacturers use different terminology in describing string gauges. Soft, light, medium, heavy and thick are a few terms used to describe gauge.

Soft, Light, Dolce, Weich, Thin - Lower tension, low bow pressure, smaller dynamic range, and a brighter sound.

Heavy, Thick, Stark, Forte - Higher tension, more bow pressure, large dynamic range, and a more powerful sound.

Medium, Mittel - The most popular string gauge used because it balances the tension and sound qualities.

String Winding and Plating Materials

Winding is a metal wrapped around the core of strings to give them more density without sacrificing flexibility or elasticity. Winding effects the thickness of the string, and many aspects of the response and sound. Plating is added in lieu of winding (typically on violin E strings) to change the properties of the way the string interacts with the bow or the fingers. Plating does not noticeably effect the thickness of the string.

Winding Materials:

Titanium - $$$ - Lightweight and yields a warmer tone than aluminum. Less susceptible to corrosion. Hypo-allergenic.

Aluminum - $$ - Lightweight and yields a bright tone. Susceptible to corrosion.

Carbon Steel - $ - Extremely durable and cheap. Can be less comfortable on fingers.

Chromesteel - $ - Easy response and a lively sound. Less susceptible to corrosion.

Silver - $$$ - Warmer sound.

Tungsten - $$$$ - Used to increase volume output, allows for lower strings to be thinner, more flexible.


Plating Materials:

Tinned Steel - $ - Warmer tone.

Silver - $$$ - Warmer sound.

Titanium - $$$ - Adds power and clarity. Less susceptible to corrosion. Hypo-allergenic.

Gold - $$$$ - Primarily used on violin "E" strings for its sweet solo characteristics

Chrome - $$ - Adds Brilliance. Less susceptible to corrosion.

Stainless Steel - $$ - Warmer in sound.

Additional Information for Bass Strings

‘Extra Long’  = E string for a bass with an extension
Orchestral Tuning = G D A E
Solo Tuning = A E B F#
5 string bass tuning  G D A E (B or C)
6 String Bass tuning  C G D A E (B or C)

Q&A: With Charles Avsharian on E-Strings for Violinists

Q: What do you look for in an E-string?
A: Tone quality and durability. I happen to prefer a really brilliant sound. I am currently using a Corelli Crystal E which may be too bright for some musicians...they are powerful and sound great on my Lupot.

Q: How often do you change E-strings?
I have had some last for many months.

Q: What about thickness and wear on your fingers?
One has to decide about the gauge/thickness by trial and error. A thick string will add pressure to the top of the violin - could be good or bad. I use a medium gauge.

Q: What is it that is most important to you about an E-string?
CLARITY. Pure ringing and responsiveness all the way to the end of the fingerboard. A PLEASANT SOUND. When played alone, (open string - not a cheap and annoying tone). AS SMOOTH AS POSSIBLE. Not producing a strident, ugly sound. POWER. Especially up high where the brilliance is absolutely needed and expected. LONG-LASTING. Not prone to breaking or becoming false quickly. "WHISTLING" RESISTANCE.

Q: Any other comments to any one considering trying a new E-string?
If you can't stand whistling... try the 'wound' E-strings.