Arguably the most popular instrument in the world, the violin is notorious for its emotional dramatic sound, widely referred to as human-like.
The beauty of a violin lies in its strings, making your violin cry. The right set of violin strings takes your performance to a whole new level, however, choosing one can be a rather confusing task.
Thanks to our detailed buying guide and list of the 5 best violin strings, we’ll be helping you bring your beloved violin to life.
Best Violin Strings 2021 Reviews
Best Overall: D’Addario Prelude Violin String Set
Kicking off our list with one of D’Addario’s most well-crafted string sets, the Prelude is your destination if you’re seeking premium quality at an affordable price.
Steel strings are often accused of lacking richness in their sounds when compared to natural gut strings, but you’ll definitely forget about that with Prelude’s undeniably warm tone.
Prelude strings are made of solid steel core, delivering high reliability and durability for extended use. The unique sealing pouches boost the protection of the strings against elements of corrosion. The Prelude strings offer truly impressive resistance to humidity and temperature, withstanding the wear of frequent usage like a champ.
They’re designed to have a quick response time along with a wide range of adaptability. You’ll find Prelude strings available in full and fractional sizes, which is great news if you like to mix and match with other sets.
D’Addario Prelude strings are universally compatible with almost every violin since they fit 4/4 scale violins with medium, light, and heavy tension options. They’re manufactured in the USA, employing centuries of string production experience.
Thanks to their consistency, longevity, and affordability, Prelude strings are an ideal choice for both new students and those who’ve been at it for years, deeming them our editors pick.
What We Like
- Great value for money
- Consistent performance
- Humidity resistance
- Available in fractional and full sizes
Thomastik Dominant 4/4 Violin String Set
Holding a special place in the hearts of anyone passionate about playing the violin, the renowned Dominant brand holds the innovation record when it comes to violin strings, after all, it was the world’s first encounter with synthetic strings.
The manufacturer’s creation process of the strings is highly impressive, made of multiple nylon strands joined in a way that produces sounds almost identical to vibrations of natural gut strings. Dominant sets the standard for synthetic core strings in terms of quality.
The Dominant strings come as a whole complete package which includes Aluminum/Perlon A and D strings, Silver/Perlon G string, as well as Aluminum/Steel or plain steel E string with ball or loop end.
Once you play the strings, your violin may sound metallic-like at first, this is a normal thing to happen with new strings. You just need to ‘relax’ and break them in.
The Dominant set is scaled for 4/4 size violins, presenting high versatility. Moreover, the strings are a medium gauge, adding to their appeal.
The Dominant series is among the all-time most used strings owing to their class-A craftsmanship and exceptional sound quality. Their outstanding flexibility and durability make them an ideal option for all sorts of violinists.
What We Like
- Reliable quality
- Top-notch construction
- Rich complex sound
D’Addario Helicore 4/4 Size Violin Strings
Another one of D’Addario’s greatest creations, the Helicore string set is the go-to weapon for many violinists on the hunt for a warm melody to melt the hearts of anyone who dares listen.
Well, maybe not so “dramatic” but it’s pretty close. The addicting sound is matched by no other and is mainly a result of the fine craft concepts that went into the strings.
The Helicore strings are built with a multi-stranded steel core, producing the infamous crisp warm tone. The strings are also smaller in diameter, specifically designed to give a fast bow response, while providing a stable consistent pitch thanks to the cutting-edge computer-controlled winding technology.
The Helicore strings’ twisted construction also deems them as one of the highly versatile stranded-steel core violin strings on the market, since they sound very similar to synthetic strings. Beginners, as well as professionals, can equally enjoy the output of these strings.
Furthermore, the strings are exclusive to fit 4/4 size violin, measuring at 13 inches playing length. The medium tension works for the majority of players’ styles, but heavy and light options are also available.
The Helicore set features 4 strings, where the unwound E string is plain steel core (tin-plated). You choose an Aluminum A string or an Aluminum E string, however, not together.
What We Like
- Twisted core offers a wide tonal range
- Amazing warm sound
- Available in all 3 tension options
Fiddlerman Violin String Set
The more affordable cousin of the famous Thomastik Dominant series, the Fiddlerman synthetic strings are often compared to the world’s most popular brand delivering almost the same signature rich overtones but costing a fraction of the price.
The Fiddlerman strings are synthetic Perlon core of high-quality German construction with no cheap steel intervention whatsoever. The A and D strings bear aluminum winging, the G string has an old school nickel winding, and the E string is steel-wound with ball end.
These hand-made strings offer amazing durability against a frequent student’s practice. The fact that each string is packed individually from the others in seals pouches only serves to further protect them from corrosion.
The Fiddlerman strings are also particularly resistant to humidity to provide users with significant longevity. They’re made to fit full-sized violins, both 4/4 and ¾ scales.
Being of medium gauge, these strings are rather versatile with a soft warm sound, resembling gut strings. They settle in pretty easily and quickly so you can start enjoying their tone in no time.
All in all, the Fiddlerman strings are surely worth a try; however, some players don’t appreciate the disappointing range of the nickel-plated G string, so you may want to replace it if you share the same opinion.
What We Like
- Perlon core synthetic strings
- Easy to settle in
- Great customer service
- Compares to Dominant strings
Starvilio Full Set High-Quality Violin Strings
Last but definitely not least, this economical string set is an awesome option for violin lovers with a knack for deals. Offering a decent clear sound that’s not easily distinguishable from more expensive brands.
The thing we love about the Starvilio violin strings is the insane practicality you get with the set. Starting from the fact that they’re manufactured to be the same size, fitting both ¾ and 4/4 size violins. This means you can use this set on virtually any violin out there.
The strings here are made of steel core material, promising a long time of dependable performance. They also feature round nickel wound for extra durability, along with ball end for simple installation.
The Starvilio violin string set includes the 4 pitches of G, D, A, and E strings, each individually packed for more protection. A neat addition, however, is the bonus E string offered with the package.
This is such a nice touch that comes in handy if your original E string snaps since you won’t have to buy another whole set to get the same sound effect.
Besides the student-grade bronze strings, Starvilio also offers silver-label professional-grade with chromium wound, as well as gold-label concert-level strings made of real silver.
What We Like
- Bonus extra E string
- The same set works for both ¾ and 4/4 size violin
What To Look For In Violin Strings?
Admittedly, buying violin strings isn’t easy, especially when you’re new at it. The types and terms can be overwhelming, but don’t fret just yet!
Here, we’ll be going through all you need to understand about strings before making a purchase.
Right off the bat, you’ve got to familiarize yourself with the core materials used in manufacturing violin strings. Basically, there are 3 major materials where each one uniquely affects how your strings behave, sound, and last.
Natural Gut Strings
This type of strings was the first ever to be used in violins, hence the oldest. It’s typically made from sheep intestines, just like most instruments were constructed back in the day.
While natural gut strings deliver a distinct warm rich sound, they’re not as popular as they once were. One of the reasons being their organic origin which makes them highly prone to climatic conditions.
This means the integrity of the string’s structure would be compromised on exposure to changes in humidity and temperature, and so, you’ll need to frequently tune them.
Natural gut strings offer the lowest tension compared to other materials. They’re not an ideal choice for beginner violinists since they’re also characterized by having a slower response time, requiring patience and experience yet to be gained by new musicians.
Many violinists consider natural gut strings to be overpriced, especially as they don’t last very long.
Centuries after the natural gut strings, steel core strings came into the picture and rapidly took off. Steel strings are everything natural gut ones aren’t, meaning they deliver a fast response with crisp and bright sound quality. However, they do lack a certain complexity to their melodies.
Steel core strings offer outstanding stability when it comes to withstanding temperature and humidity changes since they’re the least type affected by them.
This deems steel strings an excellent choice for beginners as they don’t require much tuning and will probably serve for extended periods.
Synthetic strings combine the best of the steel and natural gut worlds, providing a rich sound with a stable pitch. Such a blend marked a milestone in violin history.
They were first introduced to the world in 1970 by Thomastik-Infeld, an Australian company, under the brand Dominant which became one of the most universally popular strings to this day.
Synthetic strings are ideal for beginners, they’re affordable with a great ability to resist climate changes, promising a long time of usage.
Another important aspect to consider is the gauge of the strings. This directly relates to how thick the string is, which, in turn, affects the quality of the sound produced by the violin.
If you’re looking for a brighter and more whimsical sound, you may want to go for a thin gauge, also known as dolce. However, you should be aware that this choice will have you sacrifice volume since it tends to be fairly low.
On the other hand, a thick gauge, also called forte, is capable of producing a rich and darker sound. A thick gauge is an optimal choice for those seeking power and loudness in their performance, but it tends to have a slower response time, so it may not be the best option for beginners.
If you want a blend of qualities offered by both thin and thick gauges, you should opt for a medium gauge. Such a choice lets you enjoy a warm sound without cutting down on volume.
Keep in mind that your violin may not accommodate thick gauge strings, so always check for the fit before purchasing new strings.
The tension of a string is often mistakenly used interchangeably with its gauge, but actually, they’re not nearly the same thing.
A tension of a violin string affects its tonality, so consequently, it’s a rather crucial factor in your decision. Generally, there are 3 tension values available on the market: light, medium, and heavy.
The tension of a string highly depends on its material, independent of the gauge value. For example, we established that natural gut strings possess low or light tension. Alternatively, steel and synthetic core strings have a higher tension compared to gut strings.
Manipulating the gauge of the string may also result in modifying its tension. You can notice this in natural gut strings, where increasing their gauge grants them higher tension similar to that of steel or synthetic core strings. Going too heavy on the tension may cause the violin to give choked sounds.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to strings’ gauge and tension. It’s all about experimenting and finding out what you prefer.
When shopping for violin strings, it’s quite advantageous to choose ones that are color-coded.
Why? Well, color-coded strings make it easier for beginners or students to know where each string goes, and so, chances of messing up the arrangement become almost non-existent.
Luckily, most if not all brands out there manufacture violin strings with color-coding, but not necessarily following the same set of rules. Some even offer strings with color codes at both ends.
You should find charts that explain color codes included in the description or package of the product you’ll be buying.
When To Change Your Violin’s Strings?
Purchasing the best violin strings doesn’t mean they’ll stay in the same ‘fresh’ condition forever.
Just like anything else you use, there comes a time when violin strings lose the original ‘oomph’ and turn stale. They’re still going to be playable, but something will be missing and you’ll definitely feel it.
As a general rule of thumb when it comes to changing strings of a violin, you should do it once every 3 to 6 months, which is typically when strings suffer from a drop in structural integrity.
However, if you’re more of a hobby user who plays for the fun, your strings can probably pass for more time, given they’re of a durable brand.
Apart from the correct timing, you should obviously change your violin’s strings if you notice the sound getting flat or the pitch becoming irregular
Taking Care Of A Violin’s Strings – Bonus Tips
Keeping your strings in good condition is key to getting the most value out of your purchase, here are a few tips:
- Remember to clean rosin dust off the strings after every practice
- Use a soft lint-free cloth for cleaning, no alcohol or solvents
- Make sure to always store your violin inside its case when you’re not playing it
- Keep the violin away from unfavorable temperatures
- Be sure to clean your hands before using your violin so as to avoid transferring dirt or oils onto the strings
Choosing the best violin strings surely isn’t a simple task, considering the various brands, materials, and specs available on the market.
That being said, the D’Addario Prelude Violin String Set takes this one home! It offers great value for the money, a highly sought after rich warm sound, along with incredible resistance to climate changes.