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Larsen Crown Cello Strings

Larsen Crown Strings crown_a_thumb

These are very little-known strings from Larsen, the makers of the most popular top-end cello strings. The fact that their top-end set (Magnacore) costs over £200, makes it a bit surprising that they also offer one of the cheapest good-quality cello sets at just £71.99 from simplystrings.com.

A similar set of strings in competition with Crown might be Kaplan or Jarger, but the Crown strings are some £30 cheaper than Jarger. It might be the case that if you’re looking for a good quality steel core string to perk up a student instrument, then these are in a niche of their own. In the past we’ve had customers who had wanted to upgrade strings for a cello for a student, but understandably without being willing to spend almost £100 for a nice set of metal core strings. So, it seems that Larsen maybe are trying to fill that niche with these Crown strings as a set.

As far as the professional payer may feel about these strings , some players are more than happy to use the A and D strings on a professional level instrument, regarding them to be similar to Kaplan, often using them in conjunction with more expensive G and C strings such as Spirocore Tungsten. To a professional player, the G and C Crown strings will seem unresponsive compared to more expensive strings such as Magnacore which are specifically constructed to mitigate the natural problems getting a thicker string to speak and be flexible and responsive.

So, the A and D strings can be used in a variety of circumstances, but the whole set represents an excellent high-quality steel-core set, which not bargain basement by any means, are excellent value and one of the cheapest good-quality sets on the market.

Larsen Virtuoso Strings, introduction and review

Larsen Virtuoso Strings Review

violin_virtuoso_a

Larsen Virtuoso violin strings

This set of strings is quite new from Larsen; a maker that has always proved popular with cellists, but failed to gain traction with violinists in the same way. In my opinion, these strings are possibly designed to compete directly with Evah Pirazzi, the main reason being responsiveness, making a dull instrument brighter, and a responsive instrument extremely focussed and powerful sounding.

General

What the Virtuoso set may have over Evah Pirazzi is that they seem to be incredibly responsive, but with a lower tension feel than the Pirastro strings. Although Evah Pirazzi still prove to be the most popular Pirastro string of the current era, violinists do complain that sometimes the strings don’t have much to offer between not speaking and then being too much – this is particularly a comment from orchestral players who sometimes have to ‘tickle’ the string while retaining focus in very quiet moments, and a ‘squeak’ from the lower strings is sometimes a scary side-effect!

Feel

Like the new generation of Pirastro strings such as Evah Pirazzi, the Virtuoso strings are very smooth under the fingers, creating very little ‘shifting’ sound. Combined with the responsive but surprisingly low-tension feel of the strings will make them popular with orchestral players rather than the ‘soloists’ Larsen says they are aimed at.

Tone Quality

As already described, the strings will make a dull violin sound brighter, especially on the lower two strings where this effect is achieved without high-tension feel in the strings. The G and D produce a similar tone, even in tone, without a ‘bump’ in the colour when crossing strings.

The strength of the strings is the projection and bright ‘brilliant’ sound on the A and E strings. Although a strength in that this sounds wonderful, and avoids the harsh sound or feel of high tension strings, an orchestral player here will of course have to balance this choice with the need to blend with their section. As always it’s a matter of taste and the quality of the instrument, but 1st violin sections seeking a brilliant sound in upper ranges should have nothing to fear from this feature of these strings. Even if the player decides the upper strings are too bright, they may feel that it’s worth using the D and G, and altering the choice of upper strings, maybe using a Hill E string instead.

Conclusion

These strings aren’t a copy of Evah Pirazzi, they’re different. But, because of that they’ll give Evah’s a run for their money, offering qualities that may appeal more to certain players, perhaps mostly because of the feeling of flexibility that they offer, certainly when compared to Evah Pirazzi’s potential to feel too high-tension for some players and some instruments.

Let us know what you think about the Virtuoso strings! Submit your own review at simplystrings.com