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Strings | Sheet music & Further information | Luthiers, Bow makers & Cases

Viola d'amore Strings

Information on available strings for Viola d'Amore is scant. The table provides some of the available strings that have been found thus far. The individual preferences and the interplay between strings, instrument, bow and pieces played are manyfold. A few notes stem from particular experiences of individuals. Each player is encouraged to experiment with various string types and brands. The following sites have some data on Viola d'amore strings in general, and gut strings in particular:

Dimitry Badiarov's site
Damian Dlugolecki's site


Playing Strings
Price US$
Thomastik-Infeld Dominant
Dominant viola d'amore strings

These are fairly widely used strings. They have a synthetic perlon core and are wound with silver. These strings can be obtained from major vendors such as www.juststrings.com.
Some have had some issues with a' and f# ripping out at the ball almost immediately after putting them on. Additionally the A string unravelled near the peg a couple of times. Thomastik generously replaced those strings. On some instruments the sound is quite viola like, a bit piercing-sharp particularly on the upper three strings. On others they produce a very pleasing tone.

Set 95
8-18 each

Thomastik-Infeld Superflexible
superflexible  viola d'amore strings

Also fairly widely available strings with a rope core (steel core? contradictory information on box and on website). They are supposed to be a bit more durable, but also have a higher tension at the same pitch, hence will produce more strain on the instrument.
Some tried those as an alternative to the Dominant a' and f'# that ripped at the ball (see above). The problem is that the strings of the same pitch are of very different thickness, hence, can not be mixed and matched, because clearance for the bow is reduced to zero. The sound is also more piercing.

Set 80
8-15 each

Pirastro Gut Strings
Pirastro  viola d'amore strings gut

A through a: silver wound with loop; f# through d": unvarnished gut without knot. Usually sold as sets not as individual strings. Available at southweststrings.com and 123music.com.
The upper gut strings start to fray after 2-3 hours of playing, which seems rather quick. Tension is very unequal between upper and lower strings and ff-playing on the lower strings may cause them to touch one another. Gauges are interchangeable with Dominant.

Set 80

Damian Dlugolecki Gut Strings
Oregon, USA
Dlugolecki  viola d'amore strings gut

Available directly from Damian Dlugolecki. Viola d'Amore strings are available and listed on the web-site. Various constructions and gauges are available: (un)varnished gut, roped gut, demi filee, silver wound gut, copper core silver plated gut.
He has excellent information on gut strings on his web-site, responds quickly to e-mail, and is most helpful on the phone.

Set ~ 200
5-65 each.

Bernd Kürschner Gut strings, Germany Bernd Kürschner makes a wide variety of gut strings in five different twist strengths and silver-plated copper as well as fine silver strings.
Also offers a string calculator for non-standard applications as an "accessory" (approx. $18).
Set 120-150
7-32 each
Pyramid Saiten, Germany d" f# gut; d' gut aluminum, a' A: silver-plated wire with gut core. For metal playing strings, inquire directly. See www.pyramid-saiten.de/

Set 120
1020 each

Set metal strings ~25

Northern Renaissance Instruments (NRI) gut strings
Directly available from NRI as gut, roped gut, open wound and close-wound with silver-plated copper. Two qualities.

Set 180-240
12-46 each

Aquila Corde, Italy, gut strings Directly available from http://aquilacorde.com/catalogo14.htm. Gut, gut wound with silver-plated copper or silver.
Has good background information in string making, history, use of gut strings.
13-43 each
Aquila USA, Oregon Directly available from http://www.aquilausa.com. Various (un)varnished gut strings, silver wound gut strings, to be ordered by gauge. Check Aquila Corde Italy site for appropriate gauges. 13-43 each
La Bella, New York Directly available at http://www.labella.com. Strings available in gut, varnished gut, silver-plated copper wound gut, and various wound metal strings. You will need to know what gauge you need for each application. variable.
Dogal Strings
Venice, Italy
Viola d'amore strings are listed on their website, but without any details.  
Sympathetic strings
Thomastik-Infeld Superflexible
Thomastik resonance
These are fairly widely used strings and can be obtained from major vendors such as www.juststrings.com or Damian Dlugolecki. Lower strings are copper wound, upper strings are steel. Set 30 - 55
3-5 each
Bernd Kürschner Gut strings, Germany Available directly from Bernd Kürschner. 35 each
Pyramid Saiten, Germany d" d': steel, a A: silver-plated wire on steel. Available directly from www.pyramid-saiten.de/

Set 20
23 each

Northern Renaissance Instruments (NRI), UK. Directly available from NRI as iron, brass or steel strings. Either individually or as 5 m coils.

Sets 24-40
coil sets 14-47
4-13 each
7-13 each coil


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