Michael has been busy testing some of the latest cello string releases from Larsen, Pirastro and Thomastik. We hope you enjoy reading these reviews. We’re not obliged to share positive reviews with our community - these are our genuine opinions.
Test these strings and more for yourself in our Cello String Library - appointments available now.
Larsen Il Cannone
Il Cannone first impressions. Very powerful strings, very loud, but can play with a wide range of dynamics very well. Great along the full length of each string. Quite well balanced across the set. My first test was with ADG Direct/Focussed, Warm/Broad C. Very pleasant and good tone, not a lot of intimate character but perfect for solo performance.
Perpetual Edition has a little more finesse and pizazz for me, but Larsen lovers should be falling over themselves to try these. They are great strings and fantastic value for money. I have played through the first 3 Bach Suites to acclimatise to them. They get better as you go, and as you adjust your bowing. Very good to play on, expressive, the Direct and Focussed variety maybe a little too bright for the Suites, so I’m looking forward to mixing them up. They were settling very well as I continued to play. They felt rough and sounded too bright at first but as I played them in and adjusted myself to them they got better and better. Any good string will do that of course, but I was surprised how much I liked them.
They’re very un-Larsen strings. Sort of like Spirocore with beauty, and the playability of Versum but brighter. You won’t find these ones boring!
Larsen Magnacore Arioso
To sum up, the Magnacore Arioso strings 1) give the most glorious overtones, 2) superb response to the bow and 3) sing with beauty and clarity. On my cello, the A string gives a full, bright sound with richness and beauty: almost a “joyous” sound. The D has a matching brightness as far as the neck and then warms up quite nicely. The C & G speak out clearly and with plenty of power. I just sat and played through a couple of Bach Suites, and it was a most rewarding experience. Their instant and beautiful responsiveness to my bow strokes amazed me. Played expressively and with very deliberately precise intonation, these strings made my cello ring on just about every note.
I also fitted this set to a full-size Jay Haide Montagnana being purchased by one of my students. I had the same experience with that cello: a very full, rich sound with exceptional resonance, wonderfully clear harmonic overtones and very easy to play with perfect intonation. I found that the level of harmonic “ring” actually made my cello much easier to play and to teach from. Perpetual Edition strings, which I usually have on this cello, have plenty of resonance themselves. However, they are slightly warmer overall and although the Magnacore Arioso set sounds much louder I suspect the Perpetual strings have more direct power and perhaps would project more fully over a full orchestra. Not really sure though because the Ariosos just ring out so clearly. I think I still prefer my Perpetuals on my cello, but the experience with the Magnacore Arioso strings has made a bigger impression on me than most new string sets have done. We have been finding in our Cello String Library appointments that Magnacore Arioso strings have been a successful solution to many cellos that were lacking in “something”, and consequently, we have sold many sets to happy players!
Pirastro Perpetual Edition
On my cello, these strings have given me wonderful service for nine or ten months with no sign of deterioration. They seem to get better with time. Granted, I no longer play professionally and the only work I require from my strings is for private practice and teaching, but I have seen no fade in their sound production or responsiveness. They are very expensive strings, but also very good value for money. My cello is quite open and resonant with a “bassy” sound and plenty of power. Perpetual Edition strings have allowed the cello to sing freely, giving me all the dynamic range and expression I require. I really enjoy the quality of sound these strings produce along their full playing length, even on the C string. There is a real beauty to their tone, with the ability to punch out with great volume and fullness of expression, yet also to play with sweetness and delicacy when necessary.
Pirastro Perpetual Solo A&D with Perpetual Cadenza G&C
This combination has given the Perpetual Solo A and D a lovely “voice”. These two strings sing with sweetness and beauty while retaining the great power I expect from the Perpetual range. Likewise, the Perpetual Cadenza G & C strings have opened up the sound of my (already resonant) cello quite beautifully. At first, there seemed to be less openness than I had expected but since then I have been discovering a lovely tone in my cello as these strings give a great balance of clarity and strength.
With some lower tension strings, I wonder if they will be able to give everything I require of them, but with Perpetual Cadenza I feel that they will keep giving and giving. Over the two weeks, they increased in resonance and power. I feel that if left on the cello these strings would give me everything I asked of them. They perform very well along the full length of A and D strings, maintaining a consistent sound quality in all registers, and the lower strings create an enjoyable open sound with plenty of tone colour to make these strings very appealing.
These strings have a feel and playability that is very similar to the superb Versum strings, with a different character. They gave me an excellent range of dynamic expression, outstanding power and projection, clarity and balance across all strings. Most cellos and most strings will have certain registers or certain strings where there is a sort of “dead spot”. Often this is around 5th to 7th position on a D string and all notes beyond the first 7 notes or octave on the G or C strings (usually both).
The pleasure of playing on these Rondo strings was that every note I played on every string had a good quality sound. They have the balance across all strings that I have enjoyed on Versum, with even more power and expressive nature. Double stopping, even on the lower two strings, is clear and easy. I also found that they allowed me to play with clarity closer to the bridge than any other strings I have found. These are outstanding soloist strings. I didn’t want to take these new Rondo strings off my cello, but I have other strings to review. Well done, Thomastik, you have excelled again!
About the Cello String Library
Simply for Strings has created a trial ‘String Library’ for cellists to visit on appointment and try different string sets and/or combinations, so that we can help with their search for the sound and response they need. Here you can try before you buy, with our guidance and assistance. In this appointment, we’ll have a discussion with you before we start fitting up to three different sets on your cello. We let you trial the strings in-store to determine which strings may suit you and your needs best. And if you need, we can play your cello for you, so you can hear it as both listener and player. It’s an obligation free appointment, all you need to do is bring your cello, and prepare to fall in love with some new strings!
Read more about our Cello String Library here and visit our blog for more cello resources.
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