Many students ask what brand/type of strings I use on my personal instruments, so I thought I would post my favorites and why I like them.
Violin: D’Addario Zyex
Zyex help provide a wide-range of tonal qualities from warm to rich, but also remain very responsive. They break in almost immediately and last quite a long time.
Viola: D’Addario Helicore
The number one issue that I have as a violinist who also plays viola is string response time, particularly on the thicker G and C strings. The Helicore strings are extremely responsive, yet produce a warm and powerful tone.
Cello: D’Addario Kaplan
Cello is not my primary instrument, however I have been fortunate to have studied privately during my undergraduate and graduate work, so I purchased a decent cello and want it to sound great. Kaplan cello set help me get a warm and rich tone across the entire instrument.
Double Bass: D’Addario Helicore Orchestral
A favorite of mine since I first started teaching, the Helicore Orchestral double bass strings are the perfect balance of warmth, power, and response. They work well for both pizzicato and arco playing.
* Note: While D’Addario offers a variety of playing tensions, all strings I use are medium tension.
What strings do I use in an educational setting?
As an educator, I understand the budget constraints that most schools have. I also want my orchestras to sound their best. Having fresh, high-quality strings one of the most important factors that helps accomplish this.
For school-owned and entry level student instruments, I highly recommend D’Addario Prelude for violin, viola, and cello. For double bass, I changed strings less frequently so I was willing to spend more on bass strings. Instead of using Prelude on my double basses (which are decent strings), I would upgrade all of the bass strings to Helicore Orchestral. I would upgrade all sizes (even 1/4 size!) of double basses. The power and warmth of the Helicore strings were totally worth the extra cost. They also last a long time before needing to be replaced. When I first arrived to my teaching position in Las Vegas, I change all eight of the school basses from the stock steel strings to Helicore and noticed an incredible difference in my bass players ability to play with a good sound and play with better intonation!
I appreciate the quality and consistency of D’Addario strings. For years, I used strings from other companies, particularly those companies based in Europe. I found that the quality was not always consistent from set to set. I would also have a considerable amount of breakage near the ball end of the string, which was extremely frustrating when you have paid a lot of money for strings and only have one backup set. I don’t like to return items to the store.
In my quest for the perfect strings, the D’Addario Bowed sales staff, Lyris Hung and Liz Benoit Crew, were extremely knowledgeable in providing useful information and professional guidance that helped me make the best choice for my instrument and my playing style(s).
Finally, I love that all of the D’Addario bowed strings are designed, engineered, and manufactured at the company headquarters in Farmingdale, New York. USA proud!