VC WEB BLOG | D’Addario’s Fan-Chia Tao: ‘New Strings to Make Your Violin Sound Like a Cello’ [OMG]

In a VC-exclusive blog, D’Addario's String Designer Fan-Chia Tao talks us through his latest invention: violin strings that play in the same range as a cello

Fan-Chia Tao

The Violin Channel recently caught up with D’Addario Orchestral Strings‘ respected Research & Development Director, Mr Fan-Chia Tao.

In a VC-exclusive blog, Fan talks us through his amazing latest invention: the D’Addario Helicore Octave Violin String Set which plays an octave lower than traditional tuning - allowing a violin to play in the same range as a cello.




“Many violinists want to explore lower registers than the violin G-string. This was not possible with purely acoustic instruments because the violin body is too small to act as an effective acoustic amplifier for notes lower than the G-string. For low frequencies, you need a very large body to make an effective acoustic amplifier and radiator of sound. That is why cellos are larger than violins, and why small violas do not sound as good as large violas in the lower registers.

Electronic amplification now makes it possible for players to reach lower frequencies than their acoustic instruments allow, so players are exploring lower registers on their violins. Five string violins, which have a C-string like the viola, are popular, and there are even six and seven string electric violins. However, some violinists want to play in the register of the cello while using a standard violin, so they string their violin one octave lower. This instrument is called the octave or baritone violin.

The choices of violin strings for octave-lower tuning are limited. Some players use a combination of violin, viola, and cello strings, but cello strings will not work well. They are much too stiff and therefore respond poorly. You’ll also need to carefully cut and dress them before use on a violin.

D’Addario has introduced a new Helicore Octave Violin set of strings designed specifically for octave-lower tuning on a violin. A lot of effort went into the design of these strings to optimize the sound and response. The low octave G-string is not just a shorter cello string, but a true violin string designed for the cello range.

This new Helicore Octave set allows violinists to explore a completely different voice, using standard acoustic or electric four string violins.

- Fan”