A Complete Guide to Violin Strings for Beginners
Whether you have a top-of-line professional instrument or a good beginner violin, it’s important to pair it with the right strings. Your strings will impact your sound quality and your instrument's playability, and getting the wrong type of strings for your goals and skill level can lead to learning difficulties and frustration.
We know finding the right set of strings can be a daunting task, especially if you're new to stringed instruments. Trala aims to make every aspect of violin playing accessible, so we've created this post with a typical beginner in mind. Now let's look at the best violin strings for beginners and where you can find them.
The 3 main types of violin strings
There are three main types of violin strings: gut strings, steel core strings, and synthetic core strings. Each offers unique tonal characteristics and requires specific maintenance to stay in tip-top shape. Here's an in-depth look at the three types.
As their name suggests, gut strings are made out of a substance called “catgut.” But they aren’t made out of cats! Catgut is made from sheep or goat intestines. They're available as either unwound strings or gut core strings. Gut core strings are wound with metal, typically silver or copper.
These strings are popular for their warm sound and complex overtones. They're a top choice for violinists who specialize in Baroque music because these are the strings that would have been used during the time that music was written.
While they undoubtedly have a rich sound, they are not the best option for beginners. They're more suitable for advanced players, as they require frequent tuning because of their sensitivity to humidity and temperature changes.
Steel core strings
Steel core strings contain a metal core that offers significant stability in pitch. They're easy to tune and need less frequent tuning than gut strings, since they're not as susceptible to temperature or humidity changes.
Their clear, bright sound makes them a preferred choice for bluegrass and jazz musicians. They're also suitable for beginner violins.
Synthetic core strings
Synthetic core strings are often made from nylon and composite fibers. They're popular because they offer the best of both gut and steel core strings. Like gut strings, they produce a warm tone. And, like steel core strings, they have a stable pitch.
They're suitable for violinists of all levels. Their excellent projection helps beginners create their best sounds, and their warm sound helps advanced players produce richer tones.
A brief overview of string tension and gauges
String material isn't the only factor that determines sound quality. Beginners and intermediate violin players looking for new strings also need to consider string tension and gauges, as they can affect sound and, consequently, impact learning and growth.
A string's gauge is its thickness. Violin strings can have a thick, medium, or thin gauge. Thick-gauge strings produce robust, high-volume sounds, while thin-gauge strings produce brighter, less-projected sounds. Medium-gauge strings fall somewhere between the two extremes, providing a balanced tone.
String tension is the force you have to apply to a string to generate your desired tone. Typically, string gauge determines string tension. Thin-gauge strings have low tension, thick-gauge strings have high tension, and medium-gauge strings have moderate tension.
It’s important to consider your experience level when choosing string gauge and tension. Thin-gauge, low-tension strings are best for beginners, as they're easier to handle. You can move to strings with medium and high tension and gauges as you progress in your learning, as they're more resistant under the bow than their thin counterparts.
The best violin strings for beginners
You'll come across numerous violin string brands, some better than others, when you start playing the violin. We know choosing the right one can be as challenging as finding the right violin brand.
You can find different strings on major marketplaces like Amazon or in violin shops. We've got you covered if you choose the latter. Trala has partnered with Fiddlershop to make your shopping experience more convenient.
1. Thomastik Dominant Violin String Set
The Thomastik Dominant Violin String Set consists of synthetic core strings. These strings provide the tonal warmth of gut strings and the sound clarity of steel core strings. They have a high projection and carry no risk of sounding metallic.
This is one of the most popular options for beginners because it's easy to tune and unaffected by atmospheric changes. The set provides heavy, light, and medium-tension string options, so you can stick to the same brand even as your skills progress.
Get a high-quality Thomastik Dominant Violin String Set at the best price at Fiddlershop.
2. D'Addario Prelude Violin String Set
The D'Addario Prelude Violin String Set is a suitable choice if you're looking for more affordable strings. But affordability isn't their only pro.
D'Addario Prelude strings are made of a steel core, with the A string wound with aluminum, D and G strings with nickel, and E string with steel. This makes them resistant to humidity and temperature changes, eliminating the need for constant tuning. They're a top choice for beginner violins because they produce warm tones and provide excellent bow response.
Lucky for you, you don't need to shop around to find a set. Fiddlershop carries durable D'Addario Prelude Violin String Sets to support you throughout your learning journey.
3. D'Addario Helicore Violin String Set
The D'Addario Helicore Violin String Set is a step up from the Prelude set. The strings are made from multiple steel strands, so they offer warmer tones. They're a great choice if you want to enhance your clarity without increasing brightness and if you want a quicker response time.
The Helicore set is available in different tension varieties — medium, light, and heavy — giving players more control over their desired challenge levels. This set is especially suitable for beginners because its strings are easy to break in.
You can purchase the D'Addario Helicore Violin String Set directly from our partner site when you enroll in Trala classes. And, if you’re on a budget, Fiddlershop even has an interest-free installment payment option.
4. Pirastro Obligato Violin String Set
The Pirastro Obligato Violin String Set is the optimal high-end purchase. It offers excellent sound quality, making it popular among soloists. The strings are made from an exclusive core material that offers the warm tones of gut strings and the pitch stability of synthetic core strings. Violinists who enjoy fast runs will love their exceptional responsiveness.
The Pirastro Obligato Violin String Set is a fantastic purchase for beginners, as it provides excellent playability and tuning stability. Buy yours from the Fiddlershop for guaranteed satisfaction.
5. Pirastro Tonica Violin String Set
The Pirastro Tonica Violin String Set is an excellent alternative to Thomastik-Infeld's Dominant strings. This set's violin strings are made of a nylon core wound with aluminum and silver. Like all synthetic core strings, Pirastro Tonica strings produce a well-balanced tone and can project without sounding metallic.
They're especially suitable for beginners because of their responsive left-hand feel. They allow you to play high positions easily and respond well to numerous bowing styles, including legato, staccato, and détaché.
As with many of Fiddlershop's violin strings, you can pay for your Pirastro Tonica Violin String Set in installments.
Learn violin basics with Trala
Steel and synthetic core strings are the top choices for beginners, as they are easy to tune and offer a stable pitch. With this list of the top brand choices, you can ensure you have the right strings for your first violin lesson with your Trala teacher.
If you still need help choosing the right strings, our instructors are happy to assist. Trala provides one-on-one lessons with expert violin teachers to give beginners the guidance they need to get started with the violin or advance their playing.
Ready to begin your lessons? Find an expert Trala instructor today!