Know your tools and use them right:
FAQs about strings

There are four core materials:

  • Gut
  • synthetic
  • steel wire
  • steel rope

GUT

Traditionally, strings were made from the intestine of hoofed mammals. Gut strings tend to have a warm but metallic tone with a high brilliance and more powerful bow noise. However, they are extremely sensitive to temperature deviations, air humidity and perspiration. They draw water from the air and start to swell, causing them to lose their tension, which in turn means they’re not as pitch stable as modern core materials. The break-in time of gut strings is also very long. Peter Infeld® strings for violin and viola imitate the tone and behavior of natural gut strings, but offer the stability and resilience of modern core materials with a less metallic tone.

SYNTHETIC

Thomastik-Infeld® was the first string manufacturer to successfully develop strings with a plastic core and introduce them onto the market. There is a wide range of plastic materials, with perlon (nylon) being very well-known. Very resistant materials used in aerospace engineering are also applied. Today, we are able to produce plastic strings with similar tone and playing properties as those of a gut string, with a wide range of customization options for shaping your personal sound philosophy. In comparison to gut strings, the plastic core has a shorter break-in time and has a higher pitch stability.

STEEL WIRE

Steel wire is a suitable core material for violin E-and A-strings and for A-and D-strings for viola and cello as it guarantees brilliance, projection and pitch stability. Thomastik-Infeld® developed the first successful steel strings in 1921 (Precision®). Special insulation and coating methods, great attention to detail and longstanding expertise ultimately define the good sound of a high-quality steel string.

However, without these special design and coating methods and the use of special insulations, they have very limited sound and playing characteristics.

STEEL ROPE

The Thomastik-Infeld® innovation and successful development of the rope core (spiral core) in the 1930s and 1940s offers a completely new focused and brilliant tonal complexity. The steel rope enables instant response and has a longer lifespan, conquering and revolutionizing the world of viola, cello and double bass.