Common Viola String Combinations
Many violists don’t just choose one brand of viola strings for all four strings. In fact, violists are the most common string players to combine different brands for their A, D, G, and C strings. To do this, you can find individual strings on Amazon, such as the Larsen A string, instead of buying a pack of all four strings.
The most common combination is a Larsen A, Larsen D, Spirocore Tungsten G, and Spirocore Tungsten C.
Each brand of viola string will bring out different qualities in your instrument and many people like to mix and match string sets.
Experimenting can get pretty expensive, but if you are a serious enough player you will want to find the right fit for your instrument and playing style.
- Gauge/Thickness: Viola strings come in many different widths and gauges (thickness) which impacts the tone of the sound. This is one factor you’ll definitely want to experiment with.Thicker strings are usually better for violas as they provide a fuller, richer sound. A violist never wants to be mistaken for a violinist after all.
- The material of the string impacts the sound. Traditionally, strings were made out of animal tendons, but now they are generally made of synthetic material wrapped in metal coil or solid metal.
- Ball vs loop end: Strings come with either a metal ball or loop on the end that is meant to connect with the tailpiece. If you have fine tuners, make sure which kind of end your tuners require. If you aren’t using fine tuners, you will need the ball-end variety.A ball-end string can usually be converted to a loop end one by pushing the metal ball out from the end using a needle-nose pliers or fingernails.
- Price: Strings are expensive, there’s no way around it. Typically having to be replaced at least once a year and costing upwards of $100 on average for a full set, viola strings aren’t easy on the budget. It’s important to find a balance between sound and price while searching for the perfect strings.
While there are a lot of options for strings and you may feel perplexed at this point, this guide will help you select some starting varieties that will let you experiment with the sound of your viola.