The Violin Channel recently caught up with Pirastro USA’s Marketing Manager, Mr Ed Mingo.
In a VC-exclusive blog, Ed talks us through the considerations for choosing your violin’s perfect E-string.
“Many professional violinists believe that finding the perfect E string to match their instrument and playing style is an integral part of personalizing their tone. By being positioned directly over the instrument’s sound post, the E string greatly affects the overall sound by transferring the higher frequency tones to the denser wood on the back of the violin. This makes changing the E string a simple, effective, and fairly inexpensive way to adjust the tone of your violin.
The tin-plated carbon steel or what is also known as the “plain steel E” is the most commonly used by violinists. Known for their clear up the middle tone, strong projection, and easy bow response the plain steel E strings are also usually inexpensive. A medium or .26 gauge E typically comes with many popular violin sets. For the player looking for a little more power and warmth a stark, strong, or .27 gauge plain steel E is also very popular choice.
“Goldstahl” or gold-plated E strings are often used by more advanced players looking for a powerful, darker tone, with more color and overtones. By plating the carbon or chrome steel core with a denser gold alloy we are adding mass to the E string which provides it with the darker more powerful sound. However, the gold material tends to slip more under the bow giving the string more colors and overtones but also making it a little more unforgiving to the player.
For the player looking for a long-lasting string that is not affected by hand perspiration a stainless steel or chrome steel E would be great choices. The extremely durable stainless steel E provides the player with a big, noble, smooth sound, with excellent bow response. While the brighter sounding chrome steel E is very popular with fiddle, mariachi, and other ethnic styles of playing.
Wound E strings are the perfect choice for the player looking for a non-whistling E. Winding the steel core with a flat wire outer wrap provides a pleasant, warm tone that is very forgiving under the bow. The stainless steel flat wound E string is extremely durable and closely resembles a plain steel E in projection. While the more traditional aluminum wound E strings provides a more brilliant but subtle tone.
Platinum-plated E strings are the newest and most exciting additions to the line of E strings. The extremely stable surface of the platinum plating offers the player a tremendous amount of sound colors and abundant overtones. This combined with a big, warm core sound and instant bow response, the new platinum E string allows players to explore all new tonal possibilities.
Whether you are a professional symphony player, Nashville session fiddler, student, or just enjoy playing the violin there are many E string options available to help you find your signature tone.