Pirastro have dubbed their Passione Solo violin set as “The gut string for soloists”, offering a “very powerful and brilliant sound”, “great projection”, and “significantly increased tuning stability” when compared to traditional gut strings. At their Solo tension, the Passione strings are a middle ground for the modern player seeking the texture and overtones of gut without greatly sacrificing bow response and playability.
Though more care must be taken to not choke the sound in higher positions, when compared with synthetic strings in the same price tier, Passione Solo offers significantly more bow resistance than other gut strings I have played. The slow bow response associated with gut strings does allow for the musician to really feel like they can “catch” the string, but this often does come at the cost of the sound becoming more easily choked in higher positions. These strings retain this “catching” feeling and extreme easiness under the left hand but do not choke in the same way at all. A notable example lies in the comparison between the Passione Solo and Oliv (non-stiff) G-strings, where the 1kg increase in string tension allows for more sound to be drawn from the instrument all the way up the string.
The reduced tuning stability of gut strings is a deterrent for some musicians which Pirastro have sought to minimise in the Passione Solo set. Being a natural material, gut is more susceptible to humidity and temperature changes than synthetic string materials. Despite this, I managed to play these strings through Brisbane’s changeable summer without many issues. On particularly humid days, the strings did take longer to settle for the day’s practice, but not to the extent that would cause frustration. I will note that when I changed back to a synthetic set for testing, the near immediate break-in time and perfect tuning stability felt like a luxury.
The sound these strings offer is fantastic. My initial feeling when changing to these strings was that my instrument could ‘breathe’. The sound is open and projecting, whilst having a gorgeous richness and complexity to the sound. The texture and colour of these strings’ sound make them very attractive.
With this, I would not hesitate to recommend Pirastro’s Passione Solo strings to those willing to venture away from synthetic strings to draw more complex colours and overtones from their instrument. Price aside, these strings offer a fantastic gateway for violinists to the gut string world - they give a taste of what gut strings can offer while minimising the compromises in regard to bow response and tuning stability that can be associated with gut.
Written by Joshua Smith, Assistant Showroom Manager at Simply for Strings
Featured in Article
- Regular price
- Sale price
- Regular price
- Sale price