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Pirastro Passione Violin Strings

Passione Violin strings

So, Passione are the latest gut-core strings from Pirastro, and have been developed many years after the Oliv strings, possibly the most famous gut-core strings. Was it time for a new take on gut strings, or have new synthetic varieties made the need for sheep gut a thing of the past?

 

I think it would be easier to discount the gut versus synthetic question if it wasn’t for that mysterious quality that gut strings can produce; the complexity of sound with a gut core string. It’s hard to define, but it’s intuitively obvious when you think about it, a natural material is likely to have more complexity than something man-made like nylon. (think of carbon fibre bows versus the best pernumbuco; the carbon bow may be capable of being reproduced many times in an identical way, and performing reliably and predictably. However, few would argue that carbon fibre bows, even at the top end, are going to compete with the best Hill & Sons Ltd or Sartori. However, therein lies the potential downside of gut, of course there may be the potential for variation and gut responds to the environment around it more than a synthetic core string would.

 

Of course when we’re talking about gut strings, we mean something with gut at the core, covered, wound, with a metal material, and there is much variation in this method and material used. Pirastro say that Passione, like Oliv, are hand-made when it comes to the gut element. The D and G strings are silver covered, and the A aluminium. Passione strings are without the multiple variations as with Oliv in terms of variations and materials (but perhaps needed with Oliv to try to mitigate the potential pitfalls of gut)

Pirastro are clearly keen to promote the idea that these are gut strings with the stability of synthetic core strings. They are different to Oliv and Eudoxa in that they don’t have the traditional ‘loop’ end to the D and G strings, but the A, D, and G all have the ball end we’re used to with synthetic strings. It is certainly the case that Passione settle quicker and are more stable than Eudoxa or Oliv, but they are of course going to respond to the environment more than synthetic core strings – the question is: is the variation within acceptable levels for today’s musicians, and does the quality of the sound outweigh any potential downside? This question is very much down to the particular instrument and player, and type of music-making they are involved in, but probably the answer is yes.

Performance

The A, D and G strings do seem to have that wonderful warm and interesting quality with gut core strings, the complexity of overtones previously only experienced with Oliv or Eudoxa. They are responsive, feel good under the fingers, very smoothly wound, but the E string therefore seems a little ‘ordinary’ in comparison, and violinists may wish to marry a different E string with the Passione A, D, and G, something like Hill or the wound Eudoxa E.

For variation in responsiveness, attack and brightness or tone, you can experiment with the 3 different gauges. For a more exciting option people may find that the Passione Solo strings are more to their liking. These strings are only available in medium, but they are thicker than the medium gauge regular Passione strings and therefore slightly higher tension..

Ultimately they are probably a compromise; more reliable like synthetic, but with a more complex tone. The problem with compromise is possibly not being one thing or another – do they really have the same complexity of sound as the legendary D and G Oliv strings, but if you want to experience gut without as much of the worry, they’re definitely worth trying.

TONE ITEM DESCRIPTION SIZE PEG END TAILPIECE END ART.NO.
E Ball Silvery Steel 25.5 Envelope 4/4 311311
E Ball Silvery Steel 26 Envelope 4/4 311321
E Ball Silvery Steel 26.7 Envelope 4/4 311331
E Loop Silvery Steel 25.5 Envelope 4/4 311911
E Loop Silvery Steel 26 Envelope 4/4 311921
E Loop Silvery Steel 26.7 Envelope 4/4 311931
A Gut/Aluminum 13 Envelope 4/4 219221
A Gut/Aluminum 13 Straight 4/4 219222
A Gut/Aluminum 13 1/4 Envelope 4/4 219231
A Gut/Aluminum 13 1/4 Straight 4/4 219232
A Gut/Aluminum 13 1/2 Envelope 4/4 219241
A Gut/Aluminum 13 1/2 Straight 4/4 219242
A Gut/Aluminum 13 3/4 Envelope 4/4 219251
A Gut/Aluminum 13 3/4 Straight 4/4 219252
A Gut/Aluminum 14 Envelope 4/4 219261
A Gut/Aluminum 14 Straight 4/4 219262
D Gut/Silver 13 Envelope 4/4 219321
D Gut/Silver 13 Straight 4/4 219322
D Gut/Silver 13 1/4 Envelope 4/4 219331
D Gut/Silver 13 1/4 Straight 4/4 219332
D Gut/Silver 13 1/2 Envelope 4/4 219341
D Gut/Silver 13 1/2 Straight 4/4 219342
D Gut/Silver 13 3/4 Envelope 4/4 219351
D Gut/Silver 13 3/4 Straight 4/4 219352
D Gut/Silver 14 Envelope 4/4 219361
D Gut/Silver 14 Straight 4/4 219362
G Gut/Silver 16 Envelope 4/4 219421
G Gut/Silver 16 Straight 4/4 219422
G Gut/Silver 16 1/4 Envelope 4/4 219431
G Gut/Silver 16 1/4 Straight 4/4 219432
G Gut/Silver 16 1/2 Envelope 4/4 219441
G Gut/Silver 16 1/2 Straight 4/4 219442
G Gut/Silver 16 3/4 Envelope 4/4 219451
G Gut/Silver 16 3/4 Straight 4/4 219452
G Gut/Silver 17 Envelope 4/4 219461
G Gut/Silver 17 Straight 4/4 219462
SET E-Ball Mittel Envelope 4/4 219021
SET E-Ball Mittel Straight 4/4 219022
SET E-Loop Mittel Envelope 4/4 219025
SET E-Loop Mittel Straight 4/4 219026

Pirastro Cello Strings Currently Available

aricore_thumb

Aricore synthetic core

chorda_thumb

Chorda gut strings

chromcor_thumb

Chromcor steel strings

eudoxa-violin-a_thumb

Eudoxa gut core strings

evahgold_thumb

Evah Pirazzi Gold synthetic core

Evah-sm

Evah Pirazzi synthetic core strings

Flexocor_Cello_thumb_edited-1

Flexocor steel core strings

gold_e_large_thumb

Gold gut core strings

obligato_thumb

Obligato synthetic core strings

Oliv_thumb

Oliv gut core strings

passione250_thumb

Passione steel upper and gut lower strings

Piranito_thumb

Piranito steel strings

Synoxa_thumb

Synoxa synthetic core

Pirastro Violin Options

Here’s a list of strings currently available from Pirastro for the violin

aricore_thumb

Aricore

chorda_thumb

Chorda baroque/gut strings

eudoxa-violin-a_thumb

Eudoxa gut core

chromcor_thumb

Chromcor steel strings

evahgold_thumb

Evah Pirazzi Gold synthetic core

Evah-sm

Evah Pirazzi synthetic core

Flexocor_Cello_thumb_edited-1

Flexocor Permanent steel core

gold_e_large_thumb

Gold label, gut core

obligato_thumb

Obligato synthetic core

Oliv_thumb

Oliv gut core

passione250_thumb

Passione gut core

Piranito_thumb

Piranito steel core

Synoxa_thumb

Synoxa synthetic core

tonica_thumb

Tonica steel core

violino_thumb

Violino synthetic core

wondertone250_large_thumb

Wondertone Solo synthetic core

Introducing String Choices

These days there is more choice than ever when choosing strings, and it can be expensive to experiment and discover that something isn’t the best choice for your instrument (it’s all very personal and specific to your instrument afterall) so we’d like to help by beginning to discover and explain more for you about the strings on offer so that it may save you time and money in trying new things.

It’s not as simple anymore as steel bad, gut good but unreliable, but let’s begin with some basics.
Doubtlessly, many a violinist has had to struggle with the eternal conundrum: what strings to buy? Steel, synthetic or gut? Most violinists tend to choose either of the latter two, but still it remains a difficult problem.

Before we begin: steel strings are the most durable, followed by synthetic strings. Gut strings come in last on this front. On the other hand, gut strings possess the richest tone, followed by synthetic strings. In last place, we have steel strings.

Steel Strings
These strings often come along with cheap beginner instruments, because they are cheap to manufacture, and because they are virtually indestructible, being able to withstand almost any kind of abuse. However there are now more sophisticated steel strings for the student market such as Pirastro Chromcor, and the like, and for the cello there are innovations such as the Passione set of strings which brings the bright benefits of steel to the A and D strings, with the warmer G and C in gut.
Metal strings can be harsher, brighter, but speak more immediately and can be very responsive. Violinist will struggle over deciding between the bright steel E strings, or the more expensive wound strings provided in set such as Dominant, Eudoxa and others.

Synthetic Strings
Synthetic strings are a compromise between steel strings and gut strings, promising both satisfactory durability and richness of tone. Synthetic strings have come to dominante in recent years with innovations in the way in which the strings ‘speak’, colour of the sound and durability. For example, Evah Pirazzi strings are bright synthetic strings, whereas Obligato are also synthetic violin strings, but produce a darker sound. Their comparatively low price, and a good balance between rich overtones, tuning stability and durability make them an easy bet.
Synthetic strings are generally made of engineered nylons or other composite materials, judged to be able to produce tones that do not have the faults of steel strings, while approaching the tone of gut strings.

Gut Strings
Nowadays, when we refer to gut strings, we usually refer to strings that have a gut core, rather than pure gut strings. The classic got core strings are the leading strings from Pirastro Eudoxa and Oliv. Either way, these strings are the most high-maintenance and expensive strings you will ever purchase, but they are able to produce rich and complex overtones that justify their cost. They don’t last as long as synthetic strings, and their pitch tends to vary with changes in temperature. However, if you are able to afford them on regular intervals, you may well find yourself addicted to the sound. Again, recent innovations have changed the status quo again, with sets such as Passione from Pirastro providing an updated take on gut strings with greater durability and reliability.

This is just a beginning, and we’ll begin to look into brand and types of strings in more detail with articles on a regular basis.