The type of viola strings used on a violin has a great effect on the sound of the instrument. Different kinds of strings can have different tones and sound quality. Also, strings made of some materials stay in tune longer and often last longer than others. The three most common types of violin strings are all metal strings, synthetic core strings, and gut strings.
All metal, or steel core strings are known for their volume and their pure, clear tone. They have great pitch stability and stay in tune even after they are first put on the viola. Many country, bluegrass, and jazz players prefer to use steel core violin strings because their simple and direct sound does not have the complex overtones found on some other sets of strings.
Steel core strings are the easiest to play and are popular among beginning and intermediate level players. One criticism of steel core viola strings is that they can have a slightly thin or metallic sound that is not well suited to classical music.
Synthetic core strings are usually made of a type of nylon called perlon. They have a thick, rich sound that is subtler than steel core strings. New synthetic core strings have less pitch stability than steel core strings and take a day or two to properly stretch out and stay in tune. Once they have stabilized, they do not need to be tuned often and have a good, consistent tone.
Gut core strings are known for having the warmest, most complex sound of any viola strings. Most classical players and soloists prefer gut core strings for their rich overtones. Gut core strings are not recommended for beginners or intermediate players because they are much harder to keep in tune and can have an instable pitch.
Each type of violin string has its own advantages and disadvantages. On kind of string is not necessarily better than the others, people who play different types of music on the violin prefer different strings.
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