Let’s start by clearing up a big myth. Violin strings were never made from catgut. They were made from sheep’s intestines. This was stretched, dried, and twisted very tightly.
So to dispel the popular belief, the best violin strings have never had anything to do with cats. Other than what they sound like when a starter plays for the first time. This is rather unfair, of course. It isn’t an easy instrument to learn at all.
The technology has changed somewhat, and now you can get nylon polymer strings and other synthetic strings if you choose. They are significantly cheaper than the ‘catgut’ alternative. The original strings are still available and used by some, but technology now produces excellent alternatives that even the concert players use.
So, let’s take a look at the best strings for violin and find the perfect set for you…
Top 10 Best Violin Strings On The Market Reviews
1 D’Addario J56 4/4M Pro-Arte Nylon violin Strings, Medium – Best Synthetic Violin Strings
D’Addario needs little introduction to anyone who plays a stringed instrument. Formed in Salle, Italy, in 1974, they are now based in New York with European headquarters in the UK. For years they have produced strings that have gained an enviable reputation. They are still a family run business, and the CEO is a member of the D’Addario family.
The J56 Pro-Arte string is a medium tension full length and size string. It has a playing length of 13 inches and is fitted with a ball end.
A superior synthetic…
These strings are designed with a synthetic core. This firstly gives the strings a warm and mellow sound. Some players think they produce a ‘dark’ sound. That is what they are looking for when they play some pieces of music. The second benefit of such a construction process is that they are not as susceptible to humidity and temperature changes.
Violins and similar stringed instruments are often affected by internal and external climatic conditions. The temperature and humidity can play havoc at times. These are less sensitive to those conditions. The strings design also means that they will break-in very quickly and not need an extended period before they are at their best.
They are manufactured at a lower tension than some other strings. This can have a big impact on how they sound and play. The lower tension allows them an improved response to the bow and increases their playability. But it also has a big effect on the overall tone.
If you are looking for strings that offer a warm, mellow tone, then these are certainly worth considering. Set at an attractive price point.
- Strings produce a warm and mellow tone at an attractive price point.
- Not over-sensitive to humidity or temperature.
- Purely synthetic string set.
2 Pirastro Violin Evah Pirazzi Gold Set, Medium Gold Ball – Best Violin Strings for Performances
Pirastro is one of the leading names in the manufacture of strings for the violin. The very name has become a byword for absolute quality. They are handmade in Germany, where they have been making them since 1798.
Built for performance…
If you want to push the boat out and spoil yourself one day for a Violin player, this is it. A set of the Pirastro Violin Evah Pirazzi Gold strings will make the violin sing. These are strings that are designed for the performing player. They deliver one of the warmest sounds that you will ever hear and are manufactured for near perfection.
The sound that they will give the audience goes above what is offered by most strings. The sound is subtle yet full-bodied, capturing every little nuance of the player’s delivery and style. As the name implies, they will give you a golden sound.
Quality, above all else…
The serious musician, especially soloists, will recognize the quality immediately. These are a full-size string set with a medium gauge. All of the strings have a ball end fitting. The ‘E’ string is stainless steel, and the ‘A’ is aluminum with a synthetic core. The ‘D’ has a synthetic core and is silver wound, and ‘G’ a synthetic core and is a gold wound.
Of course, it does not need to be said that this level of quality doesn’t come cheap. They are expensive. But for the quality of sound, you will get worth every penny.
- Handmade in Germany by a world-renowned violin string manufacturer.
- Warm and rich, yet subtle sound.
- Only the price point which will scare a few people.
3 Thomastik Dominant 4/4 Violin String Set – Best Quality Violin Strings
From the land of Beethoven, we go to the land of Mozart. Both of them are quite well-known for knocking out a tune or two hundred.
Strings that dominate the rest…
Thomastik-Infeld is based in Vienna, Austria. They have been making strings and rosins for fretted and bowed instruments for over one hundred years. They are famous for their ‘Dominant’ string. This is one of the earliest of Perlon design strings.
Perlon-core strings were created as an alternative to gut strings. They are a nylon-based product. They do provide a near similar warmth and a good quality tone. But they don’t have the extended playing-in period.
The Dominant has become a standard of quality and playability by which other synthetic strings are measured. The company is regarded very highly in the world of the violin and often considered the makers of best quality violin strings. Their attention to the smallest details results in excellent quality strings.
A history of quality…
The ‘E’ string on this set is aluminum/steel construction but the ‘A,’ ‘D,’ and ‘G’ all have a multi-strand Perlon core that is very flexible. The ‘A’ and ‘D’ have aluminum winding and the ‘G’ silver. They all have ball endings.
The sound they produce is very close indeed to the sound of a gut string. But it is more convenient as it doesn’t come with some of the problems that gut strings can have.
Great for any level of violinist…
These simply must be considered as one of the best quality violin strings because of the history and standing in the world of the violin string. They are excellent for the beginner as they are going to help them produce a great sound.
They are also very durable. These strings are set at a very reasonable price point and make an attractive option.
- Well made strings by an established manufacturer.
- The Dominant string is highly regarded for its tonal qualities and flexibility.
- Some may prefer more traditional designs.
4 JSI Special 4/4 Violin String Set – Best Violin Strings Combination Pack
JSI, or the Johnson String Instrument company, was founded in 1976 in Massachusetts. They are an interesting company in many ways, sourcing most of their products externally and selling them on. The vast majority of their products listed are quality items.
A humane touch…
They also run a project to give decent instruments to young learners in under-privileged areas of Massachusetts. Hats off to them. Shame, more businesses, and governments don’t do similar.
This is a full set of full-size strings for the violin. They are medium gauge. It features a variety of strings in the package from two of the most renowned manufacturers, Pirastro and Thomastik. The lands of Mozart and Beethoven joining forces. That can only be a winner.
A premium combination…
This particular package includes a loop-end steel ‘E’ string from Pirastro and a Thomastik Dominant ‘A.’ This has a ball-end and has a Perlon core and is aluminum wound. The ‘D’ is also a Thomastil Dominant string with a ball-end that has aluminum winding over the standard Perlon core. Finally, the ‘G’ with its Perlon core and silver winding has a ball-end fitting.
Needless to say, when you use the strings of two of the world’s finest manufacturers, the sound is going to be good. The combination is not what some might call the top of the range concert strings. But the quality is there to be heard.
Quality with a conscience…
If you want a combination pack that combines quality from both of these manufacturers, this is a good option. You will also be helping to support a worthy project. No bad thing. Given the attractive price point, this might be considered the best violin string combination set you can buy. They are very good, after all.
- Strings manufactured by some of the best manufacturers.
- Quality sound and performance.
- Some might not want a loop-end ‘E.’
5 Thomastik Peter Infeld 4/4 Violin Strings Set with Platinum E – Best Professional Violin Strings
We return to Vienna, not a bad place to be if you play the violin, for another string option from Thomastik. A special set for the company as it is named after the man who ran the business for many years. He was also its driving force until he died in 2009. As a committed and passionate musician, what better eulogy than to name a violin string after him.
The pro’s choice…
These are strings that have been made for the professional musician. The latest technologies have been employed to create and manufacture an exciting and rewarding playing experience. Not only for the audience but also for the player. They have been made for solo work with orchestras, quartets, or individual recitals. Therefore, they have to generate a great sound, and that they do.
They have excellent projection without compromising on sound quality. This has been achieved by one of the principal manufacturers of violin strings. They give a rich, warm, and dark tone that has real depth and great quality. The timbre and the character of these strings is stunning.
They can be played so that the sound is big and absorbing. Or they can be light and nuanced, giving the player a wide range of repertoire options.
The projection we mentioned is sufficient to reach the back of any venue to rise above an orchestra. They can blend with gentle expression, or they can become robust and dynamic.
Quality comes at a cost…
They have a platinum-plated ‘E’ string and an aluminum wound ‘A.’ The ‘D’ and ‘G’ are silver wound. Apart from the ‘E,’ they all have the Perlon synthetic core that Thomastik is world-famous for. They are not the cheapest option available, but the quality is exceptional.
The quality of these strings is a great testament to a man who ensured that the business kept its values and standards. And are easily a contender for the Best Violin Strings for Professionals on the market.
- Well-made strings by world-renowned manufacture.
- Inspiring sound for the professional or the amateur player.
- Might be expensive for some.
6 D’Addario Prelude Violin String Set – Best Beginner Violin Strings
D’Addario Prelude Violin string is a well-known and respected budget range string. It is sometimes recommended by teachers to their students. This is because, apart from not being expensive, it produces nice warm tones. And not being affected too much by heat and humidity, they offer a consistent level of performance.
Perfect starter strings…
These are a full-size 4/4 scale string with a medium tension and are extremely durable. They have a playing length of 13 inches. However, they do not produce the level of sound and performance that more expensive strings offer. At this price point, you could hardly expect that.
The Prelude is what you might call a good all-rounder. A very good string for beginners and improvers alike where the precision of specialized strings is not a priority.
Built for beginners…
They are designed with a solid steel core, which makes them long-lasting but also gives a nice tone. The steel core is the reason they are not affected by climatic conditions and not affected by corrosion. This gives them durability, and they can stand the extensive use by a beginner player.
The bow response to the string is quick and smooth, also an asset for a young or beginner player. They come in a sealed pouch, which ensures they are in peak condition.
Everything you need in a starter violin string…
It is not hard to see why these are teachers’ favorites. They are cost-effective, produce a nice sound, and are hard-wearing. For a budget string, there is not much more you can ask for.
- Good quality, a hard-wearing string for a beginner at a very attractive price point.
- Steel core means they do not suffer from climatic conditions.
- Some will need better quality.
7 Super Sensitive Steel core 4/4 Violin Strings – Best Budget Violin Strings
Another budget level brand of strings. Some people may choose to ignore such products as being not good enough. But it should be remembered firstly, that not everyone can afford expensive strings.
In which case, these strings, and other similar brands, fill a very important place. And secondly, they sometimes offer a different sound. Unless we are very much mistaken, that is the case with these strings.
These strings tick both boxes. They are cheap enough to be very affordable. But they also offer something a little different. More on that later.
Durable and reliable construction…
They are a steel-string with a nickel winding. That delivers a sharp tone, and it is a tone that cuts through a little. Some will call it thin. We shall discuss that soon.
These strings are recommended by many Suzuki method instructors, so they must be doing something right. They have certainly grown in popularity in recent times.
They are strings that you can rely on for two things…
Firstly they produce a consistent sound. They do not get affected by early wearing after breaking-in or get affected by moisture.
Secondly, they are durable and hard-wearing. They might be very cost-effective, but you are also going to get your money’s worth. No bad thing. They are certainly made with the student in mind.
So what is the difference?
Now we may be wrong here; it is only what we can hear. When you hear a violin, you are hearing the instrument, but also the strings are playing their own very important part.
These are steel with nickel winding, as we have said. That makes the sound quite sharp. Thin, as we have mentioned, to some ears. In an orchestra, that might be true, but in a bluegrass band with a guitar and a banjo? That is a different story.
Cuts right through…
When we heard these for the first time, we thought of the town dance scene in Back to the Future 3. That is where these strings might belong. We are not saying they can’t play with an orchestra or quartet. Of course, they can. But in that small combo situation, they are going to sing and cut right through.
For the price point, an excellent set of strings for a beginner and in the right environment a unique-sounding choice.
- Very attractive price point.
- Hard-wearing with a stable sound.
- Some will want higher quality and a warmer sound.
8 D’Addario Helicore 4/4 Size Violin Strings – Most Versatile Violin Strings
Back we go to D’Addario again. This time for their Helicore string. This is a medium tension string for a full-size 4/4 violin. They have a playing length of 13 inches, and are designed in the main to be versatile and to suit a variety of players. These don’t excel in any one area, but they are suitable for different abilities and playing styles.
Protected against the elements…
They are made with a stranded steel core that is wound except for the ‘E’ string. This is a tin-plated carbon steel without a winding. They have a slightly smaller string diameter. D’Addario thinks this may offer a quick and smooth response to the bow.
Being made from steel, they are protected from corrosion caused by humidity or heat. But also protected from the natural moisture that occurs during playing or practice. They will also, of course, be durable and hard-wearing. They are packaged in individual pouches to ensure they arrive with the buyer in perfect condition.
For solos and symphonies…
They deliver a nice warm tone that is not particularly sharp, which makes them ideal for individual or orchestral performance. They are not designed for the use of starters or early beginner students. But if you are at an early performance and concert level, they will be perfect.
We say they may not be suitable for very early players purely because of cost. These are not that expensive. But there are cheaper alternatives we have looked at here that would suffice the very early beginner. These cost a little more and will be needed by those performing for their tonal qualities.
A very good competent string that isn’t going to break the bank.
- Nice sounding string for performers at a decent price point.
- The build means they are durable and not affected by heat or humidity.
- Some will need a higher quality with a different string construction.
9 Prim 4/4 Violin String Set – Best Bluegrass Violin Strings
Prim is a string manufacturing company based in Taby, in the principality of Stockholm in Sweden. They have been producing quality violin strings since they were founded in 1943. It is very much a family run business and is now in its 3rd generation of family management.
Quality construction materials…
These strings are a full-size 4/4, medium gauge set. They all come with ball ends and are of steel construction. The ‘E’ string is chrome steel winding, and the ‘A’ string has a steel core with chrome steel winding. The ‘D’ and ‘G’ strings are the same with steel cores and chrome steel winding.
Looking at the construction materials, you would be right in thinking that they are going to be quite lively. You would be right. The interesting thing is that where all metal and steel strings are often very piercing, these are not.
Yes, they are sharp and bright. But they aren’t too bright and still retain their warmth of sound. They don’t have any of those unpleasant metal noises that can often occur with some cheaper brands.
Made to last…
One of the big plus points with all-metal strings, of course, is their durability. You will certainly get your money’s worth from these strings. For the quality of sound that you get from these Prim strings, they make excellent value. They can be tuned in quickly and efficiently and bed in very quickly.
Once again, though, we have the feeling that these are going to appeal more to ‘fiddlers’ as opposed to ‘violinists.’ These are going to be great in a bluegrass band or for playing old-time songs.
Quality all the way…
Regardless of their suitability for bluegrass, that isn’t to say they are not suitable for the orchestra. But sometimes you can just hear where they will fit. They are used by quite a few professional players, and pros only buy quality.
At an attractive price position, these are excellent strings for the money whatever you use them for.
- All steel construction means they will be durable.
- A good sharp sound with still decent warmth at a great price.
- Some will want a smoother sounding string.
10 Pirastro Evah Pirazzi 4/4 Violin A String – Best Violin Strings for Soloing
For those who know about these things, say the name “Pirastro.” The people will know exactly where you are coming from. They have been one of the big names in violin strings for a very long time. The quality of what they produce is well-known and respected. They can be expensive, of course. But as they say, if you want one of the best, you usually have to pay for it.
Stand out during solos…
This is a single ‘A’ string with a medium gauge for a 4/4 full-size violin. It has a ball end fitting.
Improved technology led to the evolution of violin strings. Now, the synthetic core is accepted in today’s world. These modern core designs help to give warm tones, and certainly, with this string from Pirastro, that is exactly what you get.
This synthetic core, with its aluminum winding, generates a wonderful sound with real depth. And it has an almost dark feel to the sound. It is, therefore, excellent for those players who are playing solo pieces. The pronounced delivery of the sound of this string reaches out to its audience with a dynamism that is exceptional.
Pirastro violin strings are the preferred choice of many professional players, which is not that surprising. This is a string that has a great sound.
- Well made with typical Pirastro excellence.
- Rich, warm sound.
- Only the price, which is not cheap.
Best Violin Strings Buyers Guide
Strings will make all the difference
This is one of those rare occasions when a conclusion cannot recommend too many things. Having the best strings for your violin and you is vital. If you are a pro, you will know that.
If you are a professional player, there is very little we can say about what strings you buy. You are already probably fully aware of what’s on offer. You have probably already decided on the most suitable violin strings for your needs.
But if you are a starter, this is not the case. What do I buy? Which materials are best? What gauge? How much should I spend? All of these issues will play a part.
Ask your teacher…
There is one person that can give you the best advice. Your teacher. It is almost certain you have one. They will know how you play, your style, your weak points, and the strong points. And will be able to recommend what is best for your style and what you are hoping to achieve. They will be the best place to get the advice you need.
We have looked at some quality strings in this review. So, let the teacher know what you have read and ask them for recommendations. It is likely they will know best.
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So, what are the Best Violin Strings?
We probably wouldn’t go for the really expensive stuff. We are not buying for Vanessa-Mae or Nigel Kennedy. But some great strings have come out of the home of Mozart. So to Vienna, we go and pick the …
A string with a huge reputation at a reasonable price and our choice of the best strings fr your violin you can buy.
May your violin serenades always sound sweet.