Finding inspiration for string development can only come through close collaboration with you, the musician.

Truly understanding the needs, expectations and wishes of musicians can only come through many years of collaboration. Many musicians support the development of Larsen’s strings by coming to the company, trying and talking strings with its development team. By participating in our strings tests again and again over the time, these friends of the house show personal evolution in sound and playability.

Interaction with these violinists, violists and cellists has taught us that a musician’s need in term of strings is subject to change. While some musicians like to keep the same types of strings, others like to change from time to time. Of course, there is also the case of a musician who starts working on a new instrument. In such a case, the choice of strings tends to be especially volatile.

With this knowledge in mind, Larsen Strings works with musicians, constantly challenging the limit of string sound and playability, which is why we invited two friends of the house to come and visit us. Katarina Skliarevski and Nikolai Skliarevski from the South Denmark Philharmonic came by last week to work with us on new ideas. Throughout the session, the musicians’ thoughts and impressions helped us getting closer to our goal.

We also took time to adjust Katarina and Nikolai’s set-ups. Even though the two musicians have often before changed set-ups, this time they kept the same one. Sometimes old shoes are just better…

Many thanks to Katarina Skliarevski and Nikolai Skliarevski for their kind support.

We couldn’t do it without you.

 

For more information about Larsen Strings, please visit our website, www.larsenstrings.com

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Testing cello strings with experts

A musical string is a matter of sound and playability. As such, describing its essence is never an easy task. The most powerful words are weak when it comes to capturing the true nature of a string.

During the last months Larsen Strings has published some videos illustrating the sound and feeling of Larsen’s cello strings. Through these videos experts in the field describe how they perceive our strings.

In one video, Larsen Strings tests Magnacore cello strings with Simon Morris, Director at J. & A. Beare Ltd. View this video and understand why Magnacore would be Simon Morris’ choice:

In another video Katri Patel from Stringers tries Larsen Fractional cello strings. Together with Larsen Strings, Mrs. Patel discusses the issues she usually experiences with smaller instruments. Watch the video and notice her smile when she plays the Larsen Fractional strings:

In a third video, Tom Woods (London’s cello specialist) is introduced to the Magnacore strings, which he finds very sporty “like a Ferrari set-up”. Listen to Tom Woods’ description of the Magnacore strings:

While the first three videos of the series were produced in London, the last one was made in Daniel Kogge and Yves Gateau’s studio of violin making and restoration in Berlin. In this last video Larsen Strings tests the Magnacore strings together with the cello soloist and conductor David Geringas. Mr. Geringas, who has been playing with Larsen’s strings for almost 25 years, explains that the strings give him the feeling of being at home.

We hope these videos have brought you some new insights about the strings.

For more information, please find the factsheets for Magnacore and Larsen Fractional strings for cello in our homepage:

www.larsenstrings.com/strings/cello/

Please, feel free to share your thoughts about these strings with us.

Because…

We couldn’t do it without you

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Testing strings with Jakob Elmedal Johansen

When trying strings with South Denmark Philharmonic’s violinist Jakob Elmedal Johansen, we talked about the way musicians view instruments, bows and strings. While Jakob placed much importance on the choice of instrument and bow, he had never given much thought to string choice. He simply played the strings suggested by his violinmaker. Jakob was also of the opinion that his fellow musicians do not think that strings have an important impact on their instruments. As he expressed it: “Most musicians see strings as unimportant spare parts”.

“Many musicians see strings as unimportant spare parts”

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Jakob’s violin, a French instrument from Joseph Hel (1889), had a nice warm sound. Especially the E-string was shining through. As a first step, we replaced the G-string with a Virtuoso medium string. Jakob immediately perceived a significant difference with the A and D strings which vibrated much easier due to the reduction in string tension on the instrument. At the end of our session, Jakob’s violin was strung with Larsen Virtuoso medium and even though we had reduced the tension on the instrument by approx. 1½ kp, the violin had gained more volume and projection. Also with the E-string, we succeeded in providing a nice sounding string that could match Jakob’s former string and give him some additional colours to play with.

In the end, Jakob realized that strings are not just spare parts…

String tension and the harmonic spectrum

Jakob Elmedal og Kristian Sigvardt

Finishing our session, we took some time to show Jakob how we measure the sound quality of strings in our advanced sound laboratory. By doing so, we acquire valuable insight into the sound properties of every string. It helps us understand the difference between a brilliant and a warm string. Jakob showed much interest in the technology behind the strings and we had an interesting discussion about how scientific knowledge helps us shape the sound in our pursuit of the perfect string.

However, the critical component in string development is and always has been the musician.

We work with musicians in string development as an essential phase of the Larsen process: Working with you to discover the soul of your instrument.

Many thanks to Jakob Elmedal Johansen for visiting us – We couldn’t do it without you.

 

 

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How to make an instrument sing

Dieter Göltl, assistant solo cellist at the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg came by with his Sacconi cello from 1926.

Over the years, Larsen Strings has enjoyed very good collaboration with the cello section of the NDR Symphony Orchestra, and Mr. Göltl who had noticed the enthusiasm of his colleagues and the result of our efforts with their instruments was now ready to meet us.

Mr. Göltl had been using the same string set-up for many years and was quite satisfied with it. However, he remembered that his instrument some 15 years earlier had a distinctly more open sound and feeling. At  that time when he had just acquired the instrument, it was in a very bad condition. His violinmaker replaced the bass bar and after this the instrument stayed somehow closed and oppressed.

When Mr. Göltl came to Larsen Strings the instrument was still beautiful but not perfectly balanced. The G and D strings were weaker than the higher and lower strings. Furthermore, Mr. Göltl used a dampening rubber ring under the A string at the bridge. At the end of our session the Sacconi cello had four Larsen Magnacore strings, and the rubber ring under the A string had become redundant. Mr. Göltl could suddenly recognize his instrument from 15 years earlier; he recognized the sound and feeling of the instrument. The instrument had regained its freedom and it was able to breathe. When being played by its owner it was actually singing.

Thank you Mr. Göltl for your visit. We hope to hear from you again soon.

 

If you want to know more about the Larsen Magnacore strings, please visit our homepage for factsheet, testimonials, etc.

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Carl Nielsen’s 150th anniversary

The Danish composer Carl Nielsen is renowned for his spacious symphonies, great concertos and many other works. Carl Nielsen is also a composer that represents a unique composition style, which is at the same time rooted in folk music and belonging to the avant-garde.

In Denmark, however, he is not only a great classical composer. He is also a composer who is close to the heart of all Danes through his songs, many of which are as popular today as they were at the time they were written.

To celebrate Carl Nielsen, we will use the great composer’s words, as he explains the essence of music:

“I love the vast surface of silence; and it is my chief delight to break it.” (Jeg elsker stilheds store flade, og det er min højeste lyst at bryde denne.)

Carl Nielsen

We kindly suggest listening to Carl Nielsen’s violin concerto with Baiba Skride, DR SymfoniOrkestret and Thomas Søndergård: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6IHqvuYmKQ

 

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The musicians’ contribution to string development

What drives us is our love of music. Our goal is to enhance the musical experience of the listener.

And that’s no small matter.

Bearing in mind this ambition, Larsen Strings’ development team is constantly in search of improvement potential that will enhance string evolution. Our highly educated engineers are devoted to developing strings, which respond to the need of musicians and enhance the symbiosis between musician and instrument. Along the way, trying strings with musicians is and has always been the foundation of our work. For this reason, Larsen Strings has entered into a partnership with many musicians as well as with the local symphony orchestra: South Denmark Philharmonic.

Trying strings with two violists

Last week two members of the South Denmark Philharmonic came by to test strings, violists Katrin Rimer and Jan Åkerlind. The two musicians who are partners in both their professional and private lives have developed very similar sounds.

Jan Åkerlind and Katrin Rimer testing strings

Jan Åkerlind plays a viola from Bettina Knutsson while Katrin Rimer’s viola is from Andreas Hötzer. Both musicians have chosen strong tension strings for their instruments as it enables a clear transmission of the vibrations from the strings to the instruments.

For more information about string tension please read the blog: What is the gauge – and how to choose between soft, medium and strong tension strings?

However, while Katrin’s viola would welcome every string we tried, Jan’s instrument was more specifial. Nevertheless, for both musicians we achieved our goal: They left from here happier with their set-up than when they came in. Meanwhile, we gained additional information about our strings, which brings us closer to our goal.

Jan Åkerlind and Katrin Rimer at Larsen Strings

 

Many thanks to Katrin and Jan. We hope to hear from you soon, because:

We couldn’t do it without you.

Eager to know more?

If you wish to know more about string development, string process and Larsen Strings’ collaboration with musicians, please visit Larsenstrings.com or follow this blog…

 

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Danish folk music sound at Larsen Strings

Yesterday at Larsen Strings, the sound of local folk music resonated through our facilities: we had the visit of the famous Danish fiddler Harald Haugaard and one of his musical partners: Kirstine Elise Pedersen (cello). The two musicians came by to optimize the setup of their instruments.

Lthl og HH

We soon found out that trying strings with these musicians was mainly about contributing to their mutual collaboration. They fully understood the necessity of supplying one another with sound and to truly discover the sound characteristics of the strings they were playing together between every string shift. For Harald and Kirstine music is not just about the individual player but much more about creating artistic symbioses between players.Kirstine Elise Pedersen

As a first step we tried strings with Kirstine. Kirstine plays a modern German cello from Krattenmacher and the instrument was set up with A and D Soloist strong and G and C Magnacore medium. She felt that on her cello, the D string could not bring the same sound quality as the other strings of the setup. It was somehow muffled and covered. We changed the two upper strings to a Magnacore D strong and Magnacore A medium. It brought extra brilliance to the upper registers and a perfect balance to the instrument.

Harald and Kirstine

Subsequently, we moved on to the violin. Harald Haugaard plays a Klotz violin from Mittenwald. Harald explained that the Larsen Original for violin brings to him the sound characteristics needed for his music. The E string, however, was a challenge for him. Harald was looking for a more powerful E-string with a brighter sound. We gave him the golden experience. The Larsen original E-gold string solved his demand by bringing extra brilliance while still providing the characteristic structure of the violin sound.

It was very nice to get a first-hand experience of the freedom of playing that Harald and Kirstine have. Thank you both for your visit and hope to meet again soon.

 

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Testing Magnacore cello strings with Simon Morris and Larsen Strings

Here is the first in a series of many videos to come where we test strings with musicians, violin-makers and dealers. Please enjoy this video made at Beare’s in London. We hope it will bring you additional insights about the feeling, projection and sound of our strings.

Working with you to discover the soul of your instrument: We couldn’t do it without you!

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How to recognize a Larsen string?

How to tell the difference between Larsen strings once they are out of their bags?

Silk colour

Since the very first Larsen Cello A string came on the market, the yellow silk with blue thread symbolizes Larsen Strings.

However, to differentiate between the different string models and tension levels, Larsen Strings uses different silk colours, especially at the peg-end so it is possible to see whether a violinist plays a Tzigane medium or a Virtuoso® strong. To identify a Larsen string, please consult Larsen Strings A/S Silk colours.

Ball colours

Larsen Strings has a special way of differentiating between the first, second, third and fourth string. Where most producers use silk colours, Larsen Strings uses balls of different materials.

Larsen Strings I (Violin E, Viola A and Cello A) is made of brass. It has a rich golden colour.

Larsen Ball I Brass

Larsen Strings II (Violin A, Viola D, and Cello D) is made of chrome. It has a bright silver colour.

Larsen ball II Chrome

 

Larsen Strings III (Violin D, Viola G and Cello G) is made of copper. It has a reddish golden colour.

Larsen ball III Copper

 

Larsen Strings IV (Violin G, Viola C and Cello C) is black.

Larsen ball IV Black

 

Crown cello strings by Larsen

If you play the Crown strings, you will find out that all balls are made of brass. Crown, a brand acquired by Larsen Strings, has retained its original colour codes. To identify Crown, please consult Larsen Strings A/S Silk Colours.

Ball colours and Silk colours

Some people like the way we use balls to differentiate the strings, others find it difficult. We tend to believe that long-term it is easier to remember the ball colours than having a long list of colour codes when differentiating between the first, second, third and fourth string.

Please share your thoughts about balls and silk colours with us…

Because we couldn’t do it without you.

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