FAQ

1. What will the sound chart tell me?
The Thomastik-Infeld sound chart positions the individual products according to the sound of the overall set, as has been shown on the majority of tested instruments (70 to 80 percent). Of course, in some cases, instruments can react very differently and individual strings on certain instruments can lead to different results than those shown in the chart. However, the Thomastik-Infeld sound chart is intended as an initial aid in your search for the ideal set.
2. Soundchart Violin
3. Soundchart Viola
4. Soundchart Cello
5. Soundchart Bass
6. How can I improve the lifespan of my string?
First of all, it is important to differentiate the different lifespans. Tonal lifespan: the string is still in complete mechanical working order, but the tone changes. Mechanical lifespan and corrosion: the string splits on the bridge or breaks.

Tonal lifespan
  • With good products, the following applies: a long tonal break-in time means a prolonged tonal lifespan.
  • A good string doesn't overburden the instrument either. Because putting too much pressure on the top of the body when the strings are too tense shortens the tonal lifespan of the string and can damage the instrument in the medium to long term.
  • The D string is considered a key string, both in terms of response and the tonal lifespan of the string set. The D string should be 5 to 10% more brilliant and somewhat more metallic than the rest of the strings. This allows the instruments to provide more brilliance and tone color. You should avoid the instrument sounding too warm from the beginning.
Mechanical lifespan
To avoid a break in the area over the bridge or nut or any tearing of the strings, you should ensure that the grooves on the bridge and nut are adapted to the diameter of the string. If the string is too thick, it can get jammed in the bridge and lead to a reduced lifespan. For very thin strings (silver D string), you must ensure that enough graphite has been applied to the grooves and that the arches and edges are adapted.

Corrosion
Aluminum-wound A strings for violins break more easily if you suffer from excessively sweaty hands. The solution: steel A with chromium steel winding or our innovative plastic A string with chromium steel winding (the VIS02B is currently only available as a custom string. Please direct any inquiries to [email protected]). In principle, the products that are least affected by sweaty hands are silver, chrome or nickel wound strings. We also recommend cleaning the strings with a soft cotton cloth after each time you play.
7. Can Thomastik-Infeld strings be mixed and matched?
In principle, yes. However, when mixing the strings, you must pay close attention to the string tension (tractive effect of the string). The string tension is a fundamental parameter for instruments. It defines the force required to tune it to the keynote at a certain scale. If a string sounds rather nasal or metallic, this can indicate insufficient string tension. A string with insufficient traction normally also feels harder under the fingers. If a string sounds too dull, the instrument might be overstressed. These strings then often feel softer under the left hand. The instrument loses the necessary overtones over the course of time if the tension is too high. When switching back to strings with lower tension, a nasal sound is normally initially heard – the instrument now has insufficient tension again. The instrument must first recover so that the sound can develop optimally again. Too little tension is not a problem for the body of an instrument. However, too much tension can lead to damage of the instrument. As a first step, you should therefore choose strings with similar string tension when mixing different strings. Then, you can test and observe the reaction of the instrument to lower or higher tension. To obtain the ideal result, it is important to be patient as the string and the body must first break-in and breathe together.
8. Why is the scale so important?
A string scale (vibrating string length) that is too small can lead to overloading and a string scale that is too large almost always leads to a poorer bow response. Furthermore, an incorrect string scale provides a poorer sound result and an excessively soft feeling in the left and right hand.
9. Should you change the entire set at the same time?
In principle, yes. When changing one single string, the instrument sounds better, normally more brilliant, in the short-term. However, this positive effect is very quickly lost, so that the set is no longer balanced. Why? Strings share their overtones with their neighboring strings. However, if the neighbor has already checked out in terms of tone, the sound comes to nothing. The exception is an unwound violin E string: this can be changed at any time as it does not significantly affect the tonal lifespan of the other strings. The A string also becomes fresher if a new E string is fitted.
10. Viola: What are the advantages or disadvantages of steel core strings compared to plastic core strings?
a. Advantages of steel core strings
  • Rapid sound stability
  • Long lifespan
  • Normally louder than synthetic core strings
  • Special viola A strings and violin A strings with steel cores have a more direct bow response
  • Suitable for very high bow pressure
b. Advantages of synthetic core strings
  • Better tonal modulation (more tone colors)
  • Better playability and bow response
  • Lower string traction
  • Lower string traction
  • Softer feeling in the left and right hand
  • Softer feeling in the left and right hand
c. Are there differences between steel wire strings and steel cable strings?
  • In tonal terms, steel cable strings have better modulation and normally have many more tone colors than steel wire strings.
  • Steel cable strings are normally more flexible for the left hand and under the bow.
  • Steel wire strings are more cost-effective in price.
11. What are the differences between aluminum, chromium steel and silver wound strings?
Bow response: from very good to good
Very good Good Satisfactory
Aluminum Silver Chrome

Bow sound: from strong to weak
Strong Average Weak
Aluminum Silver Chrome

Corrosion resistance: from very resistant to average
100% resistance 70% resistance 50% resistance
Chrome Silver Aluminum
12. What you need to know about rosin!
You should replace rosin after approx. 6 to max. 8 months, as the essential oils that are crucial for a good rosin evaporate and it therefore loses its effect and the properties change. So that your rosin is always ready for use, you should rub your new rosin with fine sandpaper before using it for the first time and then each month – a grain size of 400 is best here. This grinds off the dried-out surface and you should be able to smell the essential oils again. Rosin normally lasts up to 8 months.
13. Can I mix viola and violin rosin?
The prerequisite for mixing different rosins is that they must be the same kind of resin (tree type, e.g.: spruce, larch, pine, etc.). Viola rosin is softer and sticks to the string more. Violin rosin is harder and somewhat less tacky. In dry, cool conditions or with poor bow response, it can help to mix viola and violin resin: 2/3 viola and 1/3 violin (e.g.: two strokes of viola rosin and one stroke of violin rosin). In hot temperatures and high air humidity or if the instrument sounds too bright, we recommend using harder – i.e. violin – rosin. If more brilliance or increased bow sound is needed for dark-sounding instruments, we recommend increasing the proportion of viola rosin. For better bow response and to improve the whistling of E strings, we suggest using two strokes each of viola and violin rosin. Simply try it out!
14. Which rosin can you recommend for violins and what is the difference?
Peter Infeld
  • Bow adhesion: very balanced properties between warm and cool conditions
  • Bow sound: average
  • Formation of dust: little
  • Ideally mixable with Vision Solo viola rosin
  • The PI violin rosin is ideal for a hot climate with high air humidity.
Vision
  • Bow adhesion: good for cooler conditions
  • Bow adhesion: good for cooler conditions
  • Formation of dust: little
  • Formation of dust: little
  • Formation of dust: little
15. Viola: which rosin can you recommend for viola?
Vision Solo
  • Bow adhesion: very balanced properties between warm and cool conditions
  • Bow sound: average
  • Formation of dust: little
  • Ideally mixable with Peter Infeld violin rosin
16. Violin: How can I improve the sound of my string instrument using Thomastik-Infeld strings? What about when my string sounds too dull or too nasal? Everything you need for a good sound!
Everyone has a different concept of sound and a different perception of the beauty of sound, which is why there is no standard setting or easy answer. In principle, however, the assumption is that a coated violin string should sound like an open A. Violinists also prefer a slightly nasal sound portion. How do notes sound?
  • A nasal note sounds like I-E.
  • An open note like A.
  • A dull, hollow note like O-U.
If the coated string on the instrument sounds too dull or hollow – like an O, you need to increase the I portion, so that the string moves to an A sound. If the coated string on the instrument sounds too nasal – like an I, you need to increase the O portion, so that the string develops an A sound. Which string does what?
  • A dull, hollow note like O-U.
  • A dull, hollow note like O-U.
  • Vision Titanium Orchester: hardly changes the sound / character of the instrument
  • Vision Medium: improves instruments with an O sound in the A direction
  • Vision Titanium Solo: improves instruments with a strong O sound in the A direction
  • Alpha: improves instruments with a strong O sound in the A direction
  • Vision Solo: improves instruments with an I sound in the A direction
  • Peter Infeld: improves instruments with too much I sound and too much O sound in the A direction
  • Rondo: improves instruments with a slight O sound in the A direction
  • Spirit: improves instruments with a very strong I sound in the A direction
17. Violin: Aluminum D or Silver D? How does my violin's D string influence the rest of the set?
The violin D string has the most influence on the other strings, while simultaneously drawing from A+E. For this reason, the usual choice is a D string which is 5-10% more brilliant and more metallic sounding than A + E, because the D string is the quickest to trail off. The aluminum D string is suitable for instruments that sound very dark or have a poorer bow response. In principle, they sound lighter, a little more metallic, have more bow sound and a thicker diameter. Silver D strings have a more finely-grained bow sound, a slower response, are thinner and normally sound darker. The sound is generally broader than with the aluminum D string and they are suitable for lighter instruments.
18. Violin: Do violin A strings exist with a synthetic core and silver wrapping
No, due to the high specific weight, violin strings with silver winding cannot be made at this time.
19. Violin: What are the alternatives to violin A strings with synthetic core and aluminum winding if you produce a lot of perspiration and the aluminum-wound string quickly breaks?
Thomastik-Infeld offers a chromium steel-wrapped violin A string with a synthetic core as a “custom string”. Please direct any inquiries to [email protected]
20. Violin: Which E strings do you recommend? THE E FORMULA!
The “normal” tin coated E string (e.g. PI01Sn; VIS01; VI01; etc.) has a light bow response, a broad tone, is cost-effective and not too brilliant. However, tin coated E strings can corrode more easily, due to hand perspiration (Clue: they become black and rough and more quickly lose their fifth purity). Our tin coated E strings – except for SP01 and AL01 – are however all underlaid with nickel. Wire coated with a nickel layer tends to absorb less tin, making the string more durable. If one of our tin coated strings (again except for SP01 and AL01) begins to feel rough, simply continue to play because it will become smooth again. Because the tin layer is so thin due to the nickel layer, the string does not become as impure in fifths as normal tin E strings. The gold coated E string provides brilliance and force with a “sweet” tone. However, gold coated strings have a higher risk of “whistling” (squeaking). In terms of its response, the platinum plated E string is a good compromise between tin coated and gold coated E strings, as it whistles less than the gold coated strings. For soloists who play in large halls and also for weaker instruments, we particularly recommend the platinum plated E string PI01Pt as it has a high brilliance with the maximum tonal strength and warmth. Gold coated, platinum plated and titanium coated or wound strings are extremely resistant to corrosion caused by sweat. Here are our E strings in order of tendency to whistling:

To improve the whistling of E strings, we suggest mixing violin and viola rosin: two strokes each of viola and violin rosin. Important: in order to mix rosin, it must have the same type of resin. You can find more information on this in the section “Can I mix viola and violin rosin?”.
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