10 Best Cello Strings Review 2018

Buying the best cello strings that make your cello sound amazing can be challenging when there are so many options on the market. Cellists tend to spend the most time of any stringed instrument players finding the right strings for their instrument because strings affect the sound of cellos more so than they do for violins and violas. We have reviewed and ranked the best cello strings available below to make your search for the best cello strings that much easier. Our #1 cello string recommendation this year is Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold.

There is no one cello string that sounds great on all cellos since each cello is unique. We recommend trying several different cello strings to understand which strings make your cello sing. Our list below includes cello strings that are rated highest by players, but you will need to find the best cello strings for your cello from this list.

Best Cello Strings 2018

Best Cello Strings Recommended For
1.  Evah Pirazzi Gold/Regular Intermediate/Expert
2.  Larsen Intermediate/Expert
3.  Thomastik-Infeld Spirocore Beginner/Intermediate
4.  Thomastik-Infeld – Dominant Beginner/Intermediate
5.  Prelude Beginner
6.  Pirastro – Obligato Intermediate/Expert
7.  Jargar Intermediate
8.  Helicore Beginner
9.  Merano Beginner
10. Pirastro Passione Expert

Popular Cello String Combinations

Cellists often mix and match different cello string brands in order to get the best sound. Instead of buying full string sets, you can find individual strings on Amazon, such as the Larsen A string, to save money and not waste strings.

The most common combination is a Larsen A, Larsen D, Spirocore Tungsten G, and Spirocore Tungsten C.

What features should cello strings have?

Each brand of cello strings has unique qualities that make them sound different on different cellos. Some cello string brands sound better on the A and D strings while others are great for the G and C strings. In fact, many people like to mix and match cello string sets in order to get the best sound possible. In our “Popular Cello String Combinations” section below, you can see how people tend to mix cello string sets to get the sounds that work best for their cello.

While we do recommend trying different brands of cello strings, experimenting can get pretty expensive, so we recommend evaluating your budget for cello strings and adjusting accordingly. Even so, if you are a serious player you will want to find the right fit for your instrument and playing style. One potential solution to find the right string is buying a different brand each time you need to replace your strings and over the next few years, you’ll figure out which ones work for your cello.

As with cellos and bows, cello strings vary on several main factors:

  • Gauge/Thickness: This is one factor you’ll want to experiment with. Cello strings come in many different diameters, also called gauges, which impacts the sound. Thicker strings are usually better for cellos as they provide a fuller, richer sound.
  • Material: The material of the string impacts the sound. Generally, modern strings are made from synthetic material wrapped in metal coil or solid metal.
  • Price: Typically having to be replaced at least once a year and costing upwards of $200 on average for a full set, cello strings aren’t easy on the budget. Strings are expensive, there’s no way around it.  It’s important to find a balance between sound and price while searching for the perfect cello strings.

With so many cello string options on the market, you might have trouble sifting through all of the options to find the best cello strings.  In this article, we’ll walk through our favorite cello strings, but we recommend that you try brands of cello strings to find the ones that make your cello sound best.

1. Pirastro – Evah Pirazzi Gold/Regular

Recommended For:    Intermediate/Expert

We love Evah Pirazzi cello strings because they provide a complex and warm tone with excellent projection and dynamic responsiveness. While beginners can certainly use these strings, they are mostly for intermediate to advanced players due to their sound quality and price.

Famous virtuosos prefer these strings and as such, the price is definitely higher. Full sets of Evah Pirazzi cello strings usually sell for over $200.

There are three options for Evah Pirazzi cello strings: Regular, Soloist, and Gold. For the intermediate cello student, we suggest getting the Regular Evah Pirazzi cello strings because they are the most cost-effective. The Soloist line is intended for cello soloists because of their brilliance for solo performances. They offer a brighter and edgier sound than the Gold or Regular. Finally, the Gold Evah Pirazzi cello strings are intended for intermediate to advanced players who want a brilliant and complex sound.

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2. Larsen

Recommended For:    Intermediate/Expert

Larsen cello strings have become another standard cello string, especially for intermediate and advanced players. Their complex and powerful tones are able to rival those of the  Pirazzi Gold cello strings.

Moderately priced, Larsen cello strings are a great option for intermediate to expert players. As with Jargar cello strings, Larsens can be paired with any range of other strings. A popular combination includes pairing Larsen D and A-strings with Thomastik-Infeld Spirocore or Dominant C and G-strings.

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3. Thomastik-Infeld – Spirocore

Recommended For:    Beginner/Intermediate

Thomastik-Infeld Spirocore cello strings provide a very responsive sound which is why they’ve become very popular among amateurs and professionals alike. The sound is both brilliant and powerful, which helps to pronounce the lower tones of the cello. Spirocores are also popular in string combinations since the single C-string pairs quite well with other cello string sets.

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4. Thomastik-Infeld – Dominant

Recommended For:    Beginner/Intermediate

Thomastik-Infeld Dominants are one of the most popular strings due to their flexibility and stable, warm pitch. Despite their steeper price, Dominants have a very long life making them a great choice. They come in a variety of lengths and gauges, so again there is a lot of flexibility.

Dominants were the first strings manufactured with a synthetic perlon or nylon core and have become a measuring stick against which most other synthetic cello strings are measured.

dominant strings

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5. Prelude

Recommended For:    Beginner

Prelude strings are the ideal beginner string since they cost less than $30 and provide a stable sound that suffices for any new student. These are good enough for at least the first year or two of playing, but after that, you’ll want to upgrade to a better set of strings.

prelude cello strings

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6. Pirastro – Obligato

Recommended For:    Intermediate/Expert

The Obligato strings for cello offer a slightly brighter sound than Evah Pirazzis. Obligatos are made of the same core material as Pirazzis, but they cost a little less. If you can’t afford Pirazzis, Obligatos make a great alternative.

obligato

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7. Jargar

Recommended For:    Intermediate

Jargar strings have become the most interchangeable cello strings. Although Jargars can be used as a full string set, many cellists combine the Jargar strings with other strings. A common combination used with Jargar cello strings is a Jargar A and D combined with a Spirocore silver G and C. Yo-Yo Ma even uses this Jargar string combination on his Montagnana cello.

When compared to Helicore strings, Jargars have several advantages. First, they have a more powerful sound as well as more dynamic capabilities. Second, their silver-wound G and C strings have an unusual warmth and depth.

Jargars are available in heavy (forte), medium, and light (dolce) gauges.

 

jargar cello strings

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8. Helicore

Recommended For:    Beginner

Helicore strings are great for beginners and students because they have a clear tone and quick response. For their high quality, they are on the higher end of the inexpensive strings sets featured in this list. Over the last few years, they have been gaining a reputation in pop music. Although the tone and quality is not as high as with other string brands, Helicore strings provide a great foundation for beginners and perform far better than Preludes.

helicore cello strings

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9. Merano

Recommended For:    Beginner

Merano cello strings are very inexpensive, but have a higher quality sound than Preludes. Merano strings are bright and edgy in tone, making them great for popular and folk styles of playing. They are also great additions to an electric cello where string quality is not as big of a factor.

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10. Pirastro Passione

Recommended For:    Expert

With the Passione line, Pirastro has stabilized the gut core to resist fluctuations in temperature and humidity while preserving the complexity of the tone.

The sheep gut core of Passione strings is manufactured and wound in aluminum by hand. Many performers prefer the traditional response of the gut core, but are frustrated by the lack of stability in many gut strings, but the Passione line makes up for that.

Pirastro Passione

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Conclusion

Finding the best cello strings can be a challenge since there are so many options on the market to choose from. We hope this overview has helped you decide on which cello strings you should try next. If you’re still looking for more help with buying accessories for your cello, check out our buying a cello checklist.

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Bobby
Bobby plays both the violin and viola. He performs in several orchestras around the Pittsburgh area and is currently attending Carnegie Mellon University for his Master's.

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