Which Violin Strings to Buy for a Rental?

While there are hundreds of different brands of violin strings, often folks just need to buy a simple set for a violin that they are renting from their local violin shop.  Often the shop charges double the price on accessories and to be honest, no parent renting a violin (like a small half size or whatever) wants to buy a $100 set of strings for the rental that they will eventually give back!

Just which strings should you get for a rental?

  • First, make sure you know which size you need. For rentals, mostly school aged kids, violins will come most usually in ¼, ½, ¾ and full, (4/4) size violins.  Some smaller too, but you ask the shop you are renting from first, or a teacher, which size it is that you need.  Some school teachersmight require students to have a spare, back up set to keep in their violin case.
  • After you know which size, then you’ll also make sure that all the (tailpiece) end of the strings, are BALL ends. Usually this too, is a no brainer, but occasionally we see rental violins come in with a loop end E (especially on 4/4 violins).  Again, simply looking at the tailpiece, you can see a ball end in which the string is secured into.  When in doubt, ask the teacheror the shop renting the violin to you.
  • In most cases, parents don’t need to go out and buy such an expensive set of strings to put on a small violin.  First, the youngster will probably not care or hear any difference, so a set of steel strings or cheaper synthetic strings are just fine for that reason.   Many of the finer sets of strings (more expensive ones) only come in a full size anyways for this same reason.

Just what strings are “good”, and the BEST deal for your money on the rental?

We think by far, the best strings, with the best quality and playing life, would be a set of Tonica strings by Pirastro.  They are well under $40 (just get the steel E!) and they come in all sorts of fractional (smaller) sizes.  Another good brand, are the Corelli Crystals.  These too are affordable, yet have a nice quality and are made from synthetics.  Also lastly, steel strings last longer and are usually cheaper: We recommend Helicore.

For older students, or bigger violins (3/4-4/4):   Usually older kids (still renting) that need a full sized violin, they will and can appreciate the better sounding strings.  Get the Tonicas to save money, but get better performance.  This also holds true for exceptional students (ones that take violin lessons!) and will be able to appreciate tonal differences, we would urge these people to buy synthetics or better (yes, you can splurge) as long as the student will keep this violin for a while (before returning it), and can merit the extra cost.

  • Brands
  • You name it…we combine it!
  • Evah Pirazzi, Passione, Obligato, Gold Label, Olive, Chorda, Eudoxa and Paranito and Tonica
  • Dominants, Infeld Blue, Infeld Red, Peter Infeld and Vision
  • Helicore, Zyex, Prelude, Golden Spiral, Kaplan, Pro Arte
  • Helicore, Kaplan and Prelude cello strings
  • Prim
  • Brilliant, Nefrit, Ametyst, Karneol
  • Westminster E strings in all sizes
  • Strings geared to be used in “period" music…gut strings.