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Choosing Strings: Steel-Core

Achieving Optimal Sound
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Types of Strings: Synthetic-Core | Gut | Steel-Core
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Steel-Core Strings

Steel-core strings are thinner in diameter than synthetic or gut strings. In general, they have a simple, bright, well-focused sound, a very quick response, and they maintain good pitch stability. The volume they produce depends on the instrument they are installed on. In general, they will give a well-adjusted instrument an edgy, thin, and cutting-through quality of sound. They are often used by string players who play jazz, country, bluegrass, rock, and alternative music.


JSI Special Cello Set includes Jargar Chromesteel A and D strings, combined with the Helicore Tungsten-Silver Wound Steel G and C strings to create an resonably priced set of well-balanced strings for most cellos.

JSI Master Cello Set is made up of the smooth and projecting Larsen Alloy Wound Steel A and D strings and the powerful Spirocore Tungsten Wound Steel G and C strings. This set is considered one of the best cello string combinations for advanced players.

Belcanto by Thomastik-Infeld for Cello and Bass set a standard of excellence for arco and hybrid performance. Wound on a distinctively twisted steel rope core, these popular strings respond quickly to the bow yet are soft under your fingers. They have a dark, warm tone which resonates exceedingly well with a wide range of color and nuance. Belcanto strings are easy to blend and have outstanding projection and sustain using moderate effort. They settle in quickly, intonate extremely well and have exceptional tuning stability. In addition, pizzicato expression is open and free, making them an excellent choice for players who need hybrid strings.

Belcanto Gold by Thomastik-Infeld for Cello combine the latest production technology and high quality materials to produce cello strings that are transparent, rich and warm in timbre. Belcanto Gold strings quickly achieve and maintain pitch stability while having excellent response and staying in tune extremely well. Mixing Belcanto with Belcanto Gold allows players to customize tonal preferences within a string brand without sacrificing tension balance. These strings last a long time, resist corrosion and are 100% nickel free...good news for players with an allergic reaction to nickel!

Black Diamond Fiddle strings include a steel E & A with silver-plated round wound D & G strings designed for fiddlers who play traditional bluegrass and country music. At this writing, these popular strings are the least expensive violin strings available!

Chromcor by Pirastro for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass are attractively priced single filament steel core strings, excellent for student instruments. They are especially long-lasting with a clear and very brilliant sound. Chromcor strings are suitable for all musicians, especially for the fiddler. These are also popular for electric or electrically-amplified instruments.

Chromcor Plus by Pirastro for Viola and Cello have a single filament steel core, wound with chrome steel. These strings have an overall slightly darker sound than Chromcor. The Cello A and D strings have a slightly bright sound while the G and C strings create a warm sound with a short decay. Chromcor Plus are known for their exceptional tuning stability and immediate playability. These are also popular for electric or electrically-amplified instruments.

Evah Pirazzi for Cello by Pirastro are powerful strings with richness, depth, and projection. The A and D strings are steel-core and the G and C strings are rope-core. These popular cello strings offer excellent response, pitch stability, and are capable of providing expressive nuances with a brilliant core sound.

Evah Pirazzi Gold Cello Strings by Pirastro are clear, full, and with character. These steel strings provide a variety of overtones with great projection, without any metallic sharpness. Evah Pirazzi Gold cello strings are extremely responsive and react quickly over the entire dynamic range, even with very gentle bow pressure. With their reduced playing-in time, the instrument achieves its full sound spectrum in no time. These strings are also very suitable for electric or electrically-amplified cellos.

Flexocor for Cello by Pirastro are carbon steel rope core strings offering a warm sound, big volume, wide dynamic range and a quick response. Flexocor Cello Strings are known for their pitch stability. These strings are ideal for both arco and pizzicato passages.

Flexocor Permanent for Violin by Pirastro are steel rope core strings producing a warm, round, and powerful sound. These strings respond easily and remain stable under changes in humidity and temperature. Flexocor Permanent Violin Strings offer great projection and modulation with a smooth and lively tone.

Flexocor Original for Double Bass by Pirastro, extremely popular with bassists, feature a core material of high tensile carbon steel rope wound with chrome steel. These strings are outstanding for arco and can withstand a powerful and heavy bowing arm. Original Flexocor Bass Strings offer powerfully brilliant sound with a short sustain, great projection, big tone volume, instantly playable and are absolutely stable with a very quick response.

Flexocor Solo for Double Bass by Pirastro have slightly more tension than the Original Flexocor Bass Strings. These popular double bass strings offer a large, non-metallic tone.

Helicore by D'Addario for Violin, Viola, and Cello are multi-strand twisted steel-core strings having a relatively warm sound, for steel-core strings. The small string diameter provides for quick bow response. Helicore boasts excellent pitch stability and longevity. We use the Helicore G and C strings to make up the JSI Special Cello Set. Helicore strings are often used on electric string instruments.

Helicore Hybrid for Double Bass by D'Addario are multi-stranded steel core strings that produce a moderately warm tone quality. The core design makes for strings that are very easy to play under the left hand. Damping is optimized to create a good balance between pizzicato sustain and bow response, allowing for good performance across many playing styles, from symphonic to jazz or bluegrass.

Helicore Orchestral for Double Bass by D'Addario are multi-stranded steel core strings that produce a warm tone quality with excellent bow response. The core design makes for strings that are very easy to play under the left hand. Damping is optimized for arco use, but they also work well for pizzicato applications where a very warm, less-sustaining sound is desired.

Helicore Solo for Double Bass by D'Addario are tension-adjusted specifically for A-E-B-F# scordatura solo tuning, one whole-step higher than standard tuning. They are multi-stranded steel core strings that produce a warm tone quality with excellent bow response. The core design makes for strings that are very easy to play under the left hand. Damping is optimized for arco use, making them ideal for solo performance.

Jargar for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass have been sought after for many decades by a very loyal following. Jargar strings have a warmer sound than most other all-metal strings. We have chosen to include the Jargar viola A string in the JSI Special Viola Set and the Jargar cello A and D strings in the JSI Special Cello Set.

Kaplan by D'Addario for Viola, Cello, and Bass are aimed at the most discerning orchestral musicians. Kaplan strings offer a rich tonal color palette and superb bowing response in beautifully balanced sets. The set provides clarity and warmth from low to high registers and allows versatility and control throughout the dynamic spectrum.

Larsen for Violin, Viola, Cello are very popular strings, especially with cellists, for their pure and clear sound. We have chosen to include the Larsen cello A and D strings in our JSI Master Cello Set.
Though listed here, the A string of the Larsen viola set is steel-core while the D, G, and C strings are synthetic-core. These viola strings offer a big, brilliant tone on most violas, being slightly darker than Dominants. They're known for their punch and power to the sound, with an amount of depth and complexity.

Larsen Soloist Edition for Cello offer more brilliance and projection than regular Larsen steel-core cello strings.

Larsen Wire Core Cello G and C strings are tungsten wound. These powerful strings give further clarity on the lower strings of most cellos.

NS Electric Strings by D'Addario are designed especially for use on electric stringed instruments by expert electric instrument designer Ned Steinberger and the D'Addario string company. They are available for electric Violin, Viola, and Cello, and a choice of Electric Upright Bass srings including Contemporary Bass, Omni Cello-Bass, and Traditional Bass which are the NS standard double bass string length. Since volume is unlimited for electric instruments, NS electric strings focus on tone quality and expressive nuance rather than acoustic power. These strings provide the richest tone quality for electric instruments, and have also been found to offer greater tonal subtleties for acoustic instruments as well! The strings are made from stranded steel cores wound with aluminum, brass, tungsten, nickel, and stainless steel.

Permanent by Pirastro for Viola and Cello are high-quality steel and rope-core strings with a rounder, warmer sound than other steel-core strings producing a clear and powerful sound. The Permanent cello A is especially good to match with gut strings.

Permanent Soloist by Pirastro for Cello offer a powerful volume, quick response, and long life. These strings, recommended by many professionals, are specially engineered with greater tension to produce a more focused and powerful tone for the solo cellist. These are slightly brighter and a more powerful version of the "standard" Permanent cello strings.

Piranito by Pirastro for Violin, Viola, Cello are Pirastro's least expensive steel-core strings and they work very well for small-sized student violins, 1/8 size through 4/4 size. The viola and cello strings come in full-size and are also popular student strings.

Prelude by D'Addario for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass are solid or multi-stranded steel core strings, depending on instrument, that produce a warm tone quality with good bow response. The special core design and reduced tension creates strings that are very easy to play, especially for younger, developing players. Ideal for use in educational environments, Prelude strings maintain a clear, warm sound that blends well across the ensemble. These are the educator's preferred choice for student strings due to their unique blend of warm tone, durability, and value.

Prim for Violin, Viola, and Cello are inexpensive, bright strings having an edginess to their sound that is very popular with fiddlers. These strings have been made in Sweden since 1943 to a very high standard of quality..

Red Label by Supersensitive for Violin, Viola, and Cello are among the most popular strings used by students. Economically priced, Red Label Strings are made with high quality winding and core materials that provide the durability and dependability required by school orchestra programs.

Spirocore by Thomastik-Infeld for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass are bright sounding with a good deal of edge, and perhaps the loudest strings made for bowed stringed instruments. The cello G and C tungsten are high-tension strings with a big sound that are especially popular with cellists who are looking for more brilliance. We chose the Spirocore tungsten/steel G and C strings together with Larsen upper strings to create JSI Master Cello Set. The silver G and C have less of an edge to their sound. Spirocore bass strings are the most popular with musicians who play mostly pizzicato, such as jazz upright bass players.

Superflexible by Thomastik-Infeld for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass are an advancement over conventional solid strings. These popular steel rope core strings are perfect for universal use. The steel rope core reduces the string's stiffness, improving its elasticity. Superflexible strings are responsive and the tone seems to literally radiate from the instrument without harshness. The durability, tuning stability and purity of open fifths is unsurpassed. Superflexible is a dependable all-round string for the discerning musician, at home with every type of bowing and in every musical situation.

Synthetic-Core Strings | Gut Strings
Next Section: Electric Instrument Strings

Notes About Strings

  • The most popular strings are the mid-priced synthetic-core strings.
  • Using gut-core strings can warm up an instrument instantly; the Passione brand stabilize in pitch very quickly compared to other gut-core strings.
  • Players often start with the medium gauge or tension of strings (when offered a choice) to see how their instrument responds to the manufacturer's generally balanced tension, before experimenting with different gauges and tensions.
  • If you have remaining questions about which strings might be best for your instrument, please contact us and we will be happy to help!
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