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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Violinmaker Ian Crawford McWilliams visiting Larsen Strings in Sønderborg

While many musicians in the search of the perfect set-up come to us, once in a while violinmakers also find their way to us.

Yesterday, Ian Crawford McWilliams, a Canadian violinmaker living in Brandenburg an der Havel, traveled all the way to Southern Denmark to visit us. He brought with him a cello and a viola.

As Ian explains it, for a violinmaker it is important to choose an all-round string set-up that will suit the needs of most musicians.

Ian Mc Williams

With the help of cellist Katarina Skliarevski and Larsen Strings’ violist Marie Girard we tried new set-ups of strings on the two wonderful instruments, improving the overall balance and sonority of the already well sounding viola and cello.

Katarina B

Thank you Ian for stopping by

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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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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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Discovering new sound possibilities for the string quartet

By: Anton Ilyunin from the Atrium String Quartet

www.atriumquartet.com/

In 2014, a close relationship between the Atrium String Quartet and Larsen Strings was initiated.

Last autumn, Larsen Strings had invited all four members of our quartet for a visit to their headquarters in Sonderborg, Denmark. There we had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Larsen and his team. Long talks and very exciting string-testing sessions for each of us brought us closer to the essence of Larsen Strings.

Of course, we already knew the Larsen brand as we had been playing on Larsen’s strings for a long time. Our cellist Anna had always used Larsen A and D strings. Alexey and I had fallen for Larsen Virtuoso strings right from the time, they came into the market. As for Dmitry, he was looking for a new solution for his viola.

Larsen Strings’ product development manager, Dr. Thomas Zwieg, opened for us new horizons of string sounds which we did not expect to be possible. It is quite incredible how string combinations can change the sound of an instrument. It is indeed a very interesting process, and we ended up with optimal set-ups for the entire quartet.

It was a privilege for all four members of the quartet to have the opportunity of meeting the team of Larsen Strings and we are very thankful to Mr. Larsen and Dr. Zwieg for helping us discover new sound possibilities for the string Quartet.

 

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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”

2015-06-24 10.21.55

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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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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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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