Discovering a new richness of sound with Katharina Kühl from the NDR Symphony Orchestra

The cello group of the NDR Symphony Orchestra, a long-term cooperation partner of ours, has given us invaluable feedback during the past years.

Last week we had the pleasure of working again with one of the cellists from Hamburg. Katharina Kühl came by with her old Italian cello which she had strung with Larsen Magnacore® medium and strong strings (A medium, D strong, G medium and C strong) to respond to the specific needs of the instrument. This time we changed the Magnacore® C strong to a Magnacore® Arioso string and it was a success: The Arioso C string brought a new richness to the lower register of the instrument and the upper register gained in sound colour.

Thank you for stopping by. We couldn’t do it without you!

Read more about the Magnacore Arioso strings

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Trying Magnacore® and Magnacore Arioso strings with Troels Svane

On a beautiful afternoon in Lübeck, Prof. Troels Svane had gathered his class and invited some violin-makers for a string session. Dr. Thomas Zwieg, product development manager at Larsen Strings, was there to present the Magnacore® and Magnacore Arioso cello strings.

During the afternoon, Dr. Zwieg strung 13 beautiful instruments. Testing string after string on so many instruments is exhausting, but, at the same time, it is impressive to hear the unique transformation of each instrument as it reacts to new strings. Through the course of the six-hour session, it soon became clear that Larsen Strings could find a solution to every cello. As Troels Svane expressed it:

“It is quite unbelievable how good the Magnacore strings sound. In my opinion, Larsen Strings has achieved a perfect standard set-up for most instruments.”

Every instrument needs something different              

Some of the instruments were new celli built by contemporary violinmakers. Two of these instruments, a cello by Dietmar Rexhausen and another one by Ragner Hayn, were strung with Magnacore strong strings. Conversely, two celli from the two brothers Roland and Christian Erichson used a combination of Magnacore Arioso strings for the G and C strings together with different medium and strong Larsen A and D strings. Besides giving more sonority to the lower strings of these instruments, the Arioso helped the upper strings opening up and thus improved the overall sonority of the instruments.

A Vuillaume as well as another cello from the Vuillaume School ended up with the same set-up: Magnacore medium strings with a Magnacore D strong.

Among the older Italian instruments, three ended up with the Magnacore Arioso strings. The instruments, a Testore, a Ventapane and Troels Svane’s Tecchler, all gained from the extra playability and sonority that the Magnacore Arioso brings. As expressed by Troels Svane:

“In comparison to the strings I had before, the Magnacore Arioso C string is even more substantial, powerful, warm and broad. At the same time, I recognize the radiant sonority of my old strings.”

However, as every instrument is different and needs to be handled in a special way, other older Italian instruments needed something completely different. A Panormo and a Postigilione were at their best when they were strung with Magnacore strong strings.

And finally, a set-up depends very much on the player. Some players like specific set-ups and will use them on all instruments.

Free your voice with the Magnacore Arioso strings

We do understand that seeking the right balance with strings is a long and expensive task. Hoping to help you make the right choice, we have developed a list of aspects that characterize the Magnacore Arioso strings:

  • Lower tension without compromise in power
  • Liberating and accentuating the A and D strings
  • Special freedom of expression and brightness
  • Easy response
  • Effortless playing from ppp to fff
  • Freeing the instrument from excessive tension
  • Given their moderate tension, lending particular benefit to older instruments. This is of course the case for all instruments.
  • Adding to the Magnacore series to achieve a perfect standard set-up for most instruments.
  • Larsen Strings recommends combining the Magnacore Arioso C and G strings with the Magnacore D strong and A medium strings.

Read much more about the Magnacore Arioso G and C strings in the product sheet.

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Effortless playing with lower tension strings

Trying strings with musicians is always an experience full of surprises. When Susanne Hoffmann from the South Denmark Philharmonic came to visit us, she brought with her a Bächle cello from 1993 strung with Larsen Soloist and Original strong strings, as recommended by her violinmaker. Through the string test, we found out that using strong strings on Susanne’s cello was not necessary. In fact, by choosing strings of a much lighter tension, the instrument became much easier to play. It is like the difference between using a pencil with a hard or a soft core. With a hard pencil, the writer needs to work harder than with a softer pencil, however, the result might be more suitable to the writers’ need and expectation.

When Susanne went back home, she was looking forward to experiencing a new easiness of playing.

Thank you Susanne for visiting us.

Does that mean that every player should look for less tension strings?

The answer to that question is no. Some players prefer strings which offer more resistance to the bow while others prefer to let the instrument sing by itself. At the same time, an instrument gives the best of its potential at an optimum level of tension and this level differs from instrument to instrument. To find out which level of tension fits your personal style of playing and your instrument is not an easy quest. Through these blogs, we tell you about the experience of the players we meet, hoping that these narrations will provide a guideline for other players.

If you want to know more about the effect of string tension on your instrument, we strongly recommend you to read the blog: What is the gauge – and how to choose between soft, medium and strong tension strings?, which provides an understanding of how different levels of tension affect your instrument and your playing.

 

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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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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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