Gut vs Synthetic Violin Strings | Violin Lounge TV #309

by | May 22, 2019 | 18 comments

Listen if you hear the difference between modern strings and gut strings! What are the advantages of both? Which should you buy? Watch here:

In this episode, I’m going to compare gut strings to synthetic core strings

In the last couple of decades, synthetic core strings are the standard for violinists worldwide. You probably know Thomastik Dominants: one of the first popular synthetic core strings.

The centuries before that all violinists played on gut strings and a lot of people still like gut strings. Of course, gut strings are used in period performance.

While gut strings are used by various players, some say that the sound of gut strings is superior to that of other strings. Watch the video and judge for yourself what you like best.

Pirastro Eudoxa gut strings

I wanted to experience this so I bought a set of Pirastro Eudoxa strings. I LOVED the sound! It’s subtle, it’s warm, it’s rich… but what I didn’t like about gut strings, is the constant tuning. They go out of tune so often and so much that it just wasn’t practical for me. Also, the lifetime of these strings wasn’t very long at around 2 months.

Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold Strings

These are the strings that I normally play on, a combination of Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold G, D and A strings in combination with a No1 soft E string. Sometimes I can use a set for almost half a year depending on how much I play in that time. Their tuning stability is very good and I love their sound as well. They have more power than the gut strings, which comes in handy playing with a pianist.

Conclusion

I liked the sound and the experience with gut strings but I am sticking with the Pirastro Evah PIrazzi Gold Strings. DISCLAIMER: Of course, this is how it sounds with this specific type of gut strings, this specific type of synthetic core strings, on my violin with my playing and it can be very different with different brands, different types, different players, and on different violins.

So what type of violin strings are you playing on?

Leave a comment below!

Most valued features of gut violin strings:

  • warm subtle sound
  • soft feeling under the finger tips
  • tuning stability

Most valued features of modern violin strings:

  • warm powerful sound
  • soft feeling under the finger tips
  • tuning stability
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18 Comments

  1. Fred

    Violin E Pirastro No1
    A-D-G Pirastro Evah Pirazzi
    Viola Pirastro Eudoxa, but the next set wil probably be Evah Pirazzi

    Reply
  2. James R Merson

    I just switched to Peter Infield Reds and love them. I have never tried gut strings si I should probably give them a try.

    Reply
  3. Sherylin

    What a difference they are in the sound. I agree, the gut sounded better. 🙂
    As for what I am playing on?
    I think they are steel guitar strings LOL.
    Not very good but they do the job. 🙂
    Thanks for this video.
    Could you do a whole song for us using the gut strings?
    Thanks Zlata 🙂

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Hmmm, already got rid of the gut strings, haha, but I might use them again. However, they are especially tricky in recording sessions because of the tuning problem.

      Reply
  4. Stephen

    I tried many brands and models. My favorites are Pirastro Obligato and Larsen Tzigane.

    Reply
      • Stephen Kwan

        My violin has no label inside, so I don’t know the history of it. It looks very antique. It has double purfling. The neck is grafted. The rib height is less than 30mm. The overall weight is very light.

        I have another full size violin that my friend gave me long time ago. It is heavy. It might be because the wood is thicker. The rib height is 33mm. The neck was shorter than a regular full size violin, so I changed it with a full size neck many years ago. Recently, I put on Obligato viola strings to turn it into a 3/4 viola. It sounds pretty good.

        btw, I am not a professional player. I am a violin lover still struggling with intonation.

      • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

        Very interesting, Stephen, oh, don’t wel all struggle with intonation? Even professionals… Violin playing is never perfect, but luckily that’s not the goal…

  5. Janie Upham

    I use Thomastik Dominants. My fiddle was handmade in 1872 in Glasgow, Scotland. I’ve often wondered if older instruments would prefer gut strings, since that’s what they were tailored for, so speak! Thank you your insights and video. — always a pleasure.

    Reply
  6. John Schmincke

    Type of strings on my violin are unknown at the moment as it just arrived a few months ago. They sound nice after I re-set the bridge however this instrument is a work in process lovingly. Regarding your “string difference video”, the difference I hear from listening to music thru headphones I’ve mortgaged over the past 55 years is yes, those gut strings are a bit warm (not overly), do have a pleasant sound (probably more so coming from your instrument which looks very nice).

    Gut vs EP Gold to my ears was almost night & day. The gold strings were real-time HIGH definition listening as opposed to a flowing sound that seems to arrive in a micro dragging way to my ears somewhat delayed making following a tad off.

    Replaying this video numerous times, the EP strings bring the quality of performance closer to listeners. I’ve not used this product but thanks to this video, I will in time.

    Thank you for sharing 🙂
    John

    Reply
  7. Alberto Cudich

    I have a old 18th century violin. …possibly German….
    I’m 76 year young and still playing…..( my violin is older than me!)
    I’m from Argentina and since 1987 I live in California
    I used from 1964 to 1998 Eudoxa strings,..then Evah Pirazzi and now Evah Pirazzi Gold with Evah Pirazzi Gold pleated E.
    I play in a symphony orchestra and a quartet, but lately my fingers are not very happy with the high tension of the Evah Gold…so I’m thinking to go back to Eudoxa……but struggling with to do it because of the tuning problem.
    I normally watch in Youtube your videos..I enjoy them very much
    What do you think that I should do?
    Warm reegards
    Alberto Cudich

    Reply

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