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Which Strings?


I was wondering if you had any recommendations about strings.


One of my favorite subjects -- Cello Strings. Here are a few of my observations:

1. Many of the big time players are now using the new and expensive Larsen A&D in combination with the Thomastik "Spirocore" C&G. Starker uses the Larsen A and Meneses uses both the Larsen A&D.

2. Another popular choice for the A&D in combination with the Dominant G&C are the Pirastro "Chromcor Plus." The Chromcor Plus was designed to be used with synthetic core strings.

3. PRIM makes an under-rated cheap set of steel strings that seem to work well on many cellos. The PRIM D string works well in combination with a Jargar A and Dominant G&C.

4. The "Best" Setup:

D'Addario "Helicore" A,D,G,C. These are new strings and when all four strings are used as a set, the sound is even with a wide dynamic sound from the bottom to the top of the instrument. The harmonics are all very sympathetic from one string to another, making tuning easier. The fifths are perfectly aligned. The strings are thinner than most others on the market and are easy to play without the rubber band effect found with gut and synthetic core strings. The entire length on the string is playable and produces a beautiful sound, even the C string can be played all the way to the end of the fingerboard. The A string, because it is quite thin, is easily overpowered and requires some getting use to. But once you get use to this you will appreciate the new ease of playing. If you can only experiment with one set of strings, try the Helicore. They run about $93.50 for the set from Southwest Strings, (800) 528-3470.

Ron Welch


I will answer your question by quoting Steven Doane and Jeffrey Solow, two of the cello professors that I have interviewed.

Steven Doane -- "Eudoxas on the bottom two. I enjoy playing with all four Eudoxas when I get the chance in a hall that's sympathetic. I've been using a Chrome Core Plus D since it has a reedy quality, reminding me of a gut D. But when I use a steel A, sometimes a gut D has too much drop off. I find it's better if I use all four Eudoxas. Or C and G Eudoxas, a Jargar Forte A, and a Chrome Core D."

Jeffrey Solow -- " What I like to use is steel A and D and silver on gut G and C. What I grew up with when I first started was Prim on top and American Gold or Black Label on bottom. Then I used Eudoxas, but they were spaghetti-like and didn't work too well. Now Olive has come out, which is more like American Gold or Black Label. I don't like Prim anymore because I find the 5th's are bad on the D string and they are too metallic. So what I generally use now are Medium Jargars on top. I find I can't put gut strings on the bottom. The tension isn't really even across the cello. I find that I am fighting all the time. If I don't do that, I use all steel and I usually use Prim G and a Spiracore C. Usually a steel Spiracore C, or silver, but usually just steel. I find a Prim G is a really good match for a Spiracore C. I don't particularly like Dominants, although I have played cellos that were set up with them that work very well. But I just don't like them. I feel that they have a sandy quality and have a sharp attack and then they feel like they will collapse. So though I have my favorite strings, I find that other strings may work better on other cellos. I used to play with a forte A, but now I play with a medium A.

As you can see, everybody has their own preferences. I wish there was a "right" answer.

Tim Janof

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Tim Janof, ICS Director
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