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News from the Bench / 5 Popular E Strings Reviewed


Comparing 5 Different E Strings

The packages for a Warchal Amber Violin E, a Tonica Violin E, a Kaplan non-whistling E, a Wondertone Gold Label E, and an Evah Pirazzi violin E string rest on a table.

I recently had the opportunity of trying out several different E strings on my violin to compare the sound and quality of each string. It is very common for people to come in to the shop and ask our opinion on which E string would work best for their violin. I realized there were many popular strings I had never played, so I brought home five strings and compared them with my Larsen Virtuoso set. Although it is not a prominent problem, my violin has a tendency to whistle on the E string so I kept that in mind while trying out the strings.

Evah Pirazzi Steel E String
The package of an Evah Pirazzi violin E String.The Evah Pirazzi strings are known to be bright and powerful, making them a go-to string for soloists and those who have violins that lack in power. I found this E string felt like it had a lower tension compared to the others, making it responsive and easier to play fast notes. It did seem to lack on projection, though, especially compared to the Larsen Virtuosos. It also didn’t eliminate the whistle, but steel strings are not designed to mask that problem, so it didn’t surprise me.

Gold Label Wondertone E String
The package of a Wondertone Gold Label violin E String.The Gold Label Wondertone E string can blend with almost any set of strings. They are commonly traded out for the Dominant E, as they provide a smoother and warmer sound. This string feels like it has a higher tension than most of the other strings, but this did not affect the responsiveness of the notes, even when I played multiple fast notes in a row. It was quite powerful, but blended well with my other strings, while still holding a clear, crisp sound. I was very impressed with this string and didn’t have any negative comments besides not completely masking the whistle on my violin, but then again, it was not designed for that reason.

Tonica Wound E String
The package of a wound Tonica violin E String.The Tonica Wound E String is designed to be warmer than the regular steel string. I was quite impressed by this string, especially with the responsiveness on the faster notes. I thought it blended nicely with the rest of my Virtuoso set, though it felt like it had the highest tension out of all the strings and I personally found it a little harder to play. The other observation I made was that it didn’t resonate for very long, so when I played longer notes, I had to work harder to create an even sound. I did notice that it almost completely masked the whistle, which I was impressed with.

Amber Spiral E String
A Warchal Amber E string is pictured. Unlike other E strings, this string has a spiral coil in the string before it is installed on a violin. I have spoken with several people who are nervous about this string because of the unusual spiral design which is noticeable before you install it. The “spring,” which visually disappears once the string is installed on the instrument, is actually the main reason this string is so successful at eliminating whistles. I enjoyed playing the Amber Spiral E. Unlike a standard, steel E string but much like a wound string, I found the Amber Spiral E took some time to break-in and didn’t open up until after 15-20 minutes of playing. The more I played it, the more it began to resonate and the more it developed an even, warm tone which blended nicely with my Virtuoso set. Even though the tension feel of this string is about mid-range, the responsiveness wasn’t quite on par with the Gold Label or Steel Pirazzi string. But, that being said, it completely masked my whistle and over all I really enjoyed playing with this string.

Kaplan Non-Whistling E String
The packaging for a Kaplan non-whistling Violin e string.I have mixed feelings about this string. It is designed to mask whistles, similar to the Amber Spiral E, but I still heard a couple whistles throughout my time playing this string. Besides that, I really liked the power and clarity that this string provided. It was also very responsive, but didn’t blend with my other strings well enough for me to exchange the Kaplan for my Virtuoso E string. I would still recommend this string to people who are hesitant about the Amber Spiral E, as it performs rather well.
Overall, I found the Gold Label E string would be a great compliment to almost any set of strings on your violin. Not only with my instrument, but with other violins I have played, it blends very nicely while still providing a nice sound. I would recommend the Amber E string to any instrument that has a whistle on the E string. It completely eliminated the whistle on my instrument and I really enjoyed the sound and performance of the string overall. After I tried all of these strings, I still reverted back to the Virtuoso E string. I felt like it complimented my other strings better than any of these E strings, but I have also played with the Virtuoso set for a few years now and I have found that it is the best set of strings for my personal instrument.

These are the results that I received from my personal instrument, and I found that they worked very well, but not every instrument will have the same response. Some violins may need different strings to complement their voice, and I would encourage you to try a few different strings to find out what works best for you and your instrument!

If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to call, stop by, or e-mail us!

Charlotte was a restorer with Lashof Violins for over 5 years and has been a violinist for over a decade.

Posted on: 26th July 2016