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An In-depth Look at Orchestral Strings

Orchestral Strings

When it comes to sound quality, the most important decision you'll make for your stringed instrument are the string themselves. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' answer, so knowing what you're looking for in terms of tone and care (as everyone's situation will vary) is absolutely crucial for musicians. From cost, to temperature to individual preference, there are a variety of factors that need to be considered before a decision should be made.

Ball End or Loop End?

If you're considering violin E-strings or viola A-strings one of the first things you'll probably notice is that they are offered with a ball end or loop end. In terms of sound creation this is no real difference, it all comes down to whether your instrument has fine tuners or not. If your 4-stringed instrument has a fine tuner for each string (and they are all identical with two prongs or a center-slit post), then you will most likely require a ball end E-string. On the other hand, if only the highest string has a hook-shaped fine tuner, you will need a loop end E-string.

Fine Tuners Factor In

Attached to the tailpiece, fine tuners are devices used to adjust your instrument's string pitch. By tightening or loosening the tension of a steel string, you're able to change the sound, making them an invaluable addition to most musicians' instruments.

Materials

Plain Steel Core String

Long lasting and almost completely unaffected by temperature and humidity changes, plain steel core strings are manufactured as a single alloy steel strand wrapped in a thin metal winding with some even being plated with other metals. Wound to tone down their inherent hissing sound, these strings produce a distinct tone and are quite durable and affordable, making them perfect for beginners.

Note: Fine tuners at the tailpiece are required due to lack of stretch in plain steel core strings.

Rope Core Steel String

Winding multiple steel strands together to form a rope, these strings have a warmer sound that plain steel strings, as well as a quicker response than gut core and synthetic strings. Preferred mostly by fiddlers, cellists and bassists in a variety of genres, these strings have a bright, complex tone with an instant response.

Gut Core Strings

Crafted from thin threads of sheep or lamb intestines often wrapped in a thin metallic winding, these strings have a beautifully rich, warm tone. Sensitive to temperature and humidity changes though, gut core strings need added care in order to function at their highest capacity. As well, because of the amount of stretch needed to change the intonation, fine tuners are not used.

Note: If replacing you are strings with gut core, it's important to remember that these strings respond slower and take more time to stretch and stabilize.

Synthetic Core String

Engineered to blend the durability of modern strings with the flexibility of natural gut, synthetic core strings are the most popular amongst veteran string musicians. As well, because they stabilize quickly, synthetic core only takes days instead of week to be used reliably. Most commonly crafted of perlon, these strings can vary greatly in sound quality, so make sure you research your strings adequately.

Trust Woodwind & Brasswind

Remember, when selecting orchestral instrument strings you should always consider the musician's skill level, age and planned use. If you're a student, a great place to start is by speaking with your music or band teacher.

In the end, no matter which strings you decide on, if it's with Woodwind & Brasswind you'll have complete piece of mind. The Woodwind & Brasswind's 45-Day Lowest Price Guarantee means that if you find the same strings advertised for less elsewhere, we'll make up the difference. When you buy your strings from Woodwind & Brasswind, you can buy with complete confidence.*

* Strings are a non-returnable item.

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