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Mounted set of Pirastro Oliv strings, with their
signature white with olive spiral tailpiece wrap
(solid olive on the E string).

Although the strings that came with my violin weren't quite as bad as
some had made them out to be in the reviews, they certainly weren't
good either. The E string was thin and tinny. The A string was really
not bad but even after two months was already showing signs of wear
and probably would have broken in another four months. The D string
was passable. As for the G string, at times it sounded less like a
violin string and more like that moment in a horror movie when the
psychopath fires up the chain saw — not good.

So this month I upgraded the strings. There are a good number of
makers of strings, the two top ones being Pirastro and Thomastik.
Anne-Sophie Mutter uses Thomastik Dominants. As for me, I decided
to go with Pirastro as they were what I used in the old days. As such
I bought a set of Pirastro Oliv strings.

It's not possible to put on a new set of strings and bring them up to
tune at the same time or it could damage the instrument. And so I put
the new strings on one at a time, skipping a day in between. This time
around though, unlike when I first got the violin, I had the advantage
of being able to leave the old, already broken-in strings on while I put
on the new ones. As of yesterday I had the full set of Olivs in place.

It will take a few days for the strings to stretch out and probably a
month or so for them to fully come into their own in terms of tonal
properties. But so far I am very happy with them, and think they will
help to bring out the more positive, innate sound qualities of the
violin. I already love the gold-steel E string, a type I had never used
before. It almost looks like a harp string — and has such a silky,
smooth sound to it.

And from the same site where I got the strings, Go Strings, I happened
to notice that they had listed the Pirastro rosin that I had been searching
for the last two months. In fact I was so sceptical that someone actually
had the rosin in stock that I emailed Go Strings, asking weather they
really did have it in stock. Well only a couple of hours later they mailed
me back, saying that they did in fact have the rosin. And in fact they told
me that if I were to give them a list of items that I wished to order that
they would make sure they had them in stock and hold them back. Now
that's great service — and smart business sense. I am sure I will be buying
from them in the future.

I also bought a tourte mute, as the full-bridge slide-on mute that I bought
originally turned out to be just a pain in the ass in spite of its good sound
dampening qualities.

The Holy Grail: Pirastro bow rosin.