How are Violin Strings Made?
Not every string is right for every violin. Rather, each reacts differently to the different types of strings. Some strings may cause your violin to sound too dull, so you need to be particular when choosing your strings. Here is a comparison of the three main types of strings:
Gut Strings: For centuries, strings have been made from the intestines of sheep. The intestines are dried, strung, and cut into shape. Gut strings are known for their rich tonal quality, but they require more frequent tuning because they are sensitive to changes in the weather. Modern lower-pitched gut strings have a gut core but are usually wrapped in silver or copper wire to make them sturdier, while retaining the warm overtones for which they are famous. Musicians playing Baroque or early classics may prefer gut strings. For an interesting video explaining the process of making gut strings, click here.
Steel Strings: Steel strings have a steel core. These types of strings are used for more specialized playing, and in modern music, like country fiddle music and jazz. Steel strings are more stable in pitch than gut strings, and have a long playing life. Steel strings create a bright, clear sound with few overtones. They are especially good for beginning and smaller instruments.
Pirastron Evah Pirazzi’s are common synthetic violin strings. They are made of silver and have a perlon core
Synthetic Strings: In the 1970s, Thomastik-Infeld changed violin strings by using perlon (a type of nylon) for the core instead of gut. There are several advantages to synthetic strings. First, synthetic strings hold their tuning longer because they aren’t impacted by changes in humidity and temperature as much as gut strings are. Second, synthetic strings have a quick response. The string manufacturers have developed strings using a variety of high-tech nylons and composites. Many believe synthetics can deliver similar rich and quality tones as gut strings, but with more stability. Today, most violinists use synthetic strings.
Sometimes choose to vary their E strings, and use a type that is different from the rest of the strings. Some companies, such as Hill and Westminster, sell only E strings. Other companies sell the E strings separately. Since E strings aren’t prohibitively expensive, it’s worth trying different strings until you get the right sound for your instrument.
Often when you get a new violin, you may not know what type of strings your instrument has. You can call us and we can let know what strings you have when you tell the colour of the silk at each end of the string.