5 Best Violin Strings For Beginners To Pros (All Budgets)

If you’ve been hustling the internet trying to find some fantastic violin strings, I’m glad to say that I can help!

Maybe you’re a complete beginner or a professional violinist.

Either way, I’ve found the very best violin strings on the market to help you up your game. I’ve been playing the violin for years, and I’ve always thought switching up my strings is the easiest (and most cost-effective) way to upgrade my instrument!

So, let’s find you the perfect violin strings to suit your experience and playing style!

Snapshot: Top 5 Best Violin Strings

  1. D’Addario Prelude Violin String Set
  2. Thomastik-Infeld 135 Dominant Violin Strings
  3. Pirastro Obligato Violin String Set
  4. D’Addario J56 Pro-Arte Nylon Violin Strings
  5. D’Addario Helicore Violin Strings

Choosing Great Violin Strings

Best Violin Strings

Sometimes, it’s challenging to know what to look for when you’re choosing violin strings.

Most people just stick with what their teacher tells them to buy or whatever strings their violin arrived with. However, switching it up with some new ones can be a fun and affordable way to experiment with new sounds.

I think it’s essential to consider your playing style when you’re choosing new violin strings.

Are you a classical player or a fiddlist?

Are you heavy or light-handed?

It’s also a great idea to think about how you’d like your violin to sound. More mellow or brighter and more playful?

Whatever your style and sound preferences, we’re going to find the strings that suit you down to a T!

The Best Violin Strings in 2020

1. D’Addario Prelude Violin String Set Review

D’Addario Prelude Violin String Set, 4/4 Scale Medium Tension – Solid Steel Core, Warm Tone,...
  • EDUCATOR’S CHOICE – Designed with quick bow response and ease of use in mind, D’Addario’s Prelude violin strings are the educator’s preferred choice for student strings. Due to their unique...

D’Addario Prelude strings are absolute classics. I think they’re great strings for beginners and progressing students. In fact, they’re the favorite amongst teachers, so if you’re still learning, you’re going to love these strings.

Materials

D’Addario Preludes are steel-core strings. Originally, violin strings were made from gut, typically of the sheep variety (they must have been stinking). However, as time went on, companies began to make violin strings from different materials to create different tones and sounds. Steel-core strings like these are incredibly precise, so they’re great for students. They really punch out the notes and offer a lot of volume too.

Playability

Prelude strings have excellent bow response and a nice firm feel. If you’re still a student, you probably hear people talking about “training your ear” all the time. As a learner, you’re just trying to figure out when you’re in tune, and when you’re not, hence “training your ear.”

Unfortunately, the violin is one of the hardest instruments to learn because it’s so difficult to tell whether you’re in tune or not, especially at the start. So, these strings are brilliant when it comes to learning intonation. Trust me when I say you’ll know when you’re not doing things right!

Sound

Prelude strings are known for their unique warm tone so, if you love that mellow sound, you should give these guys a go. These strings will elevate the sound of a cheap violin as well. If you can’t afford to get a great-quality violin, I would always suggest upgrading your strings. That way, you’re going to get a much better sound quality without having to spend hundreds of dollars.

Spec Summary

  • Tension: Available in medium, light & heavy
  • Outer Material: Aluminum
  • Core Material: Solid steel

The perfect steel-core violin strings for students with a warm, yet precise tone

Final Thoughts on the D’Addario Prelude Strings

I don’t think there are better strings out there for learners. D’Addario Preludes offer the best playability and are excellent when it comes to training your ear. Also, they will elevate the sound of your student violin!

2. Thomastik-Infeld 135 Dominant Violin Strings Review

Dominant strings changed the game in the violin world. They’re a little more complex sounding and are favorites amongst a wide variety of players. So, if you’ve got a sophisticated taste, you’re going to love these!

Materials

Thomastik-Infeld was the first company to develop synthetic-core strings that mimicked the sound of original gut-core strings. Gut strings were so complex-sounding that they almost had a “confused” tone. I like to think of Dominant strings as the refined version of gut strings. They’ve taken all the lovely tones that gut had and emphasized them (if that makes any sense).

Also, they’re way more durable than gut-core strings, so they aren’t affected drastically by temperature or humidity changes. If you’ve been wondering how the heck a bow would get any sound out of a nylon string, don’t worry. Your violin bow won’t be sliding about all over the place because the nylon core is wrapped in steel!

Playability

Dominant strings have excellent volume and a pretty fast bow response. It takes them a couple of days to break in, but after that, they have a focused tone. They’re also a little more malleable than steel strings, so they’re perfect for folk players and professionals.

Sound

Dominant strings have the perfect blend of colorful and mellow tones. They fall slap-bang in the middle of that scale, I’d say. The way strings sound will vary from instrument to instrument, so it really comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. However, if you’re looking for something that will give you a bit more of a unique tone, go for these guys.

Spec Summary

  • Tension: Available in medium, light & heavy
  • Outer Material: Steel
  • Core Material: Synthetic

Beautiful synthetic-core strings with a lovely balance of mellow and colorful tones

Final Thoughts on the Thomastik-Infeld 135 Dominant Strings

I love dominant strings for their unique sound. I think they’d be perfect for professionals or any players who are on stage more often as they offer excellent projection and they’re so durable. Plus, they’re a little more expensive so they’re not so much aimed at beginners.

3. Pirastro Obligato Violin String Set Review

We all know I couldn’t write an article about violin strings without adding in the “fancy” option. These Pirastro Obligato violin strings are to die for. If you’re a soloist, you will absolutely love these strings.

Materials

Here we have another synthetic core number. The Pirastro Obligato strings have a more modern synthetic core, made from different materials to create a fuller tone. This is often known as a “composite” core, and it’s slightly different from the Dominant core. If you live in a hot climate, these strings would be perfect for you.

There’s no pain like tuning your violin over and over again, just for one of the strings to slip as soon as you start playing. Pirastro Obligato strings solve that problem because they’re resistant to high temperatures. So, they’re not affected by the heat or bright on-stage lighting.

Playability 

These strings have such an excellent response. They’re really popular amongst traditional folk musicians because they can play at super-sonic speeds and know their strings will keep up with them.

Sound

Okay, this is where it gets interesting. Out of all of the strings on this list, I think Pirastro Obligato strings have the fullest tone. They’re perfectly rounded and have fantastic projection and volume. I know they’re a little bit pricier but they have such a special tone. I absolutely love them.

Spec Summary

  • Tension: Available in medium, light & heavy
  • Outer Material: Steel
  • Core Material: Synthetic

High-end synthetic core strings with a gorgeous rounded tone, ideal for soloist performers and folk players

Final Thoughts on the Pirastro Obligato Violin Strings

These strings are perfect for solo performers and people living in hotter climates. They’re durable and incredibly reliable. Plus, they have the most beautiful rounded tone, and their projection is incredible.

4. D’Addario J56 Pro-Arte Nylon Violin Strings Review

D'Addario J56 4/4M Pro-Arte Nylon violin Strings, Medium
  • 4/4 scale violin with a playing length of 13 inches (328mm)

Pro-Arte strings are my favorite. They’re D’Addario’s version of synthetic core strings, and they’re absolutely beautiful.

Materials

As I said, these are synthetic core strings, so they’re much more durable and they break in much quicker than Prelude strings. However, before you jump the gun, it’s important to know that they sound entirely different from Preludes (I’ll get to that later). They’re a little bit thicker than steel strings as well, so you may need to check your violin will be able to hold them. You shouldn’t have any issues, but I don’t want you to have any surprises when they arrive!

Playability

I’m going to go a little bit more into detail about the playability of these strings because they do differ hugely from other D’Addario strings. They’re not for everyone but I still think they’re some of the best! Because they’re thicker than steel strings, their response time is a little bit slower. If you’ve got a heavy hand, you’d probably like these strings.

You may also find them a little bit more comfortable to play with because they’re slightly softer. I mean, I don’t know if playing the violin could ever be comfortable but they’ll give your fingers a little rest from the hard steel strings.

Sound

What they lack in response time, these strings make up for in sound. They have an incredibly colorful, sophisticated tone. They’re not too edgy to the point where the higher strings sound screechy; they’re just the perfect colorful strings. I know people are often put off by the word “colorful” when it comes to violins but I think these strings are ideal if you want to switch up your sound.

Sometimes you want a little bit more edge, especially if you’re going on stage or playing in a band with other instruments. Plus, if you’ve got a professional violin, it’s fun to play with sound. Different strings can pull out different tones from your instrument!

Spec Summary

  • Tension: Medium
  • Outer Material: Steel
  • Core Material: Synthetic

Gorgeous, colorful nylon core violin strings, ideal for more advanced players

Final Thoughts on the D’Addario J56 Pro-Arte Nylon Violin Strings

I don’t think Pro-Arte strings are for everyone. They definitely wouldn’t sound as good on a cheap first violin. However, if you’re a more advanced player or at least past the beginner stages, you’ll love these strings. Don’t be put off by the word colorful!

5. D’Addario Helicore Violin Strings Review

D'Addario Helicore 4/4 Size Violin Strings 4/4 Size Set with Steel E String
  • VERSATILE STRINGS – Designed for optimum playability, D’Addario’s Helicore violin strings are one of the most versatile stranded-steel core strings available. Helicore strings suit many playing...

D’Addario Helicore strings are fantastic. Both professionals and beginners love them. So, if you’re really not sure what your style is or what you’re looking for, these are the safest bet!

Materials

The Helicore strings are steel core strings. Multiple strands of steel make up their core to give a better tone and quicker response time. I think these are like the step up from preludes. If you already love steel core strings but you want to try something new, you’ll love Helicores. They’re incredibly quick to break in as well! 

Playability 

D’Addario Helicore strings are slightly thinner in gauge, so they have an incredible response time. I will say that if you’re spending a lot of time on the E string, they’re quite sore on the fingers. I mean, at this point I’d be surprised if the nerve endings in our fingers aren’t entirely dead. However, if you’re a beginner, with a beginner violin, you might want to keep that in mind.

Sound

These strings are fantastic if you’re looking for clarity without the brightness. A lot of the time, strings that claim to offer tonal clarity are just way too edgy for orchestral players or even soloists. However, these genuinely have a gorgeous warm tone but they’re much purer than other mellow strings.

Spec Summary

  • Tension: Available in medium, light & heavy
  • Outer Material: Steel
  • Core Material: Steel

The perfect steel core strings for any kind of player with a pure, warm tone

Final Thoughts on the D’Addario Helicore Strings

I’d say these strings are the best all-rounders. They’d suit any kind of player from beginner to professionals, violinists to fiddlists! So, if you’re stuck and just want some new strings to give your playing a bit of a re-vamp, these are the perfect ones for the job.

Great Strings Make All the Difference 

A lot of people don’t realize just how much of a difference the right violin strings will make to their playing.

Sometimes the thought of restringing your instrument doesn’t seem worth the end result!

I genuinely believe finding the right strings is just as important as finding the right violin. Whether you’re a professional or a complete beginner, I hope you’ve found the best violin strings to suit your playing style!

Great strings really do make all the difference.

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