Highlights 2015: Larsen Strings’ 25th anniversary year

Our 25th anniversary year is drawing to an end, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing Larsen Strings.

In 2015, we launched a revised version of our website and a new blog, all with the purpose of offering additional layers of information. Read about the blog and our aim to establish a community where string players and others with an interest in strings can join the conversation and share their thoughts: blog.larsenstrings.com.

Furthermore, to give a better understanding of how our strings can contribute to your instrument, we have developed a number of videos, which we hope will support and guide you in the search of the perfect set-up. Read more about our videos or even better, take a look at them via You-Tube  or our website.

Certainly, our 25th company anniversary was the highlight of the year. In June, we had the pleasure of celebrating this milestone with business partners and friends. Thank you to everybody who in one way or the other contributed to making the anniversary an unforgettable event. Read about Larsen Strings’ 25 years of history, or watch our anniversary video.

Finally, what made 2015 another special year is the contact we have with you, the musicians – who support us over and over again by playing so wonderfully on our strings.

To learn more about the artists with whom we have the pleasure of cooperating, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus or read our blog.

We couldn’t do it without you!

As always, we are working continuously with optimization of our existing strings and with the development of new strings, and we look forward to 2016 with high expectations.

Please follow and like us:

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.

 

Please follow and like us:

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.

 

 

Please follow and like us:

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.

 

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

What is the gauge – and how to choose between soft, medium and strong tension strings?

Did you ever wonder what the difference between soft, medium and strong strings is? Did you ever chose a medium string because it is the easy choice (as I have done for many years before being more acquainted with string technology)?

What is the gauge and the tension?

The gauge is a historical designation showing the thickness of a gut string. By measuring the diameter of a gut string with an instrument (see the following image of a gauge-meter), it is possible to define its weight. The weight defines the tension of the string and affects the bridge pressure on the instrument. As the construction of modern strings includes many different materials, it is no longer possible to just measure the thickness of a string to know its tension level.

Gauge-meter

To define the tension level of a modern string, we at Larsen Strings use an instrument called a Monochord (see the following image) where the string is mounted hanging, carrying a weight. For a violin A string, the measured weight at a frequency of 440 Hz for a vibrating length of 32.5 cm will define the tension level.

tension test

How does the tension affect my instrument?

In combination with frequency, vibrating length (from the bridge to the upper-nut) and the height of the bridge, the tension of the string defines the pressure on the bridge (see the following picture. N: Pressure on the bridge; P: Tension of the string; α: Angle of the string at the bridge). The higher the bridge and the smaller the angle of the string at the bridge, the more pressure there is on the bridge.

tension violin

Tension is essential to enabling the transmission of the vibrations from the string to the instrument. The more tension on an instrument, the clearer the vibration is transmitted to the resonating box. However, there is a limit to how much tension an instrument can support. An instrument loaded with too much tension get a highly forced vibration; its ability to freely vibrate is reduced.

It is all about achieving the right balance: To find the tension level that suits best your particular instrument and playing style and will ensure a long life of the instrument. It is important to remember that an instrument can be damaged by exceeding bridge pressure. I believe that like me, most musicians care for their instruments and want them to be in perfect shape when times come to pass them on to a next generation of players.

What to choose: Soft, medium or strong?

It all depends on the instrument you have and the sound quality you are seeking. High tension strings (strong) tend to provide a greater volume and improved projection. They amplify the ground tone of the sound, to the detriment of the higher harmonics.

On the opposite, medium and soft strings are often used for instruments in need of a broader harmonic spectrum. Medium and soft strings enable the instrument to breath and will often bring a richer spectrum of colours. They lend more variation possibility to the instrument.

As for me, I still prefer medium strings. It brings more charm out of my viola and I like the feeling of them.

Do all medium strings have the same tension level?

When searching for the perfect match between strings and instrument it is important to remember that not all strings have the same tension level. The tension of the strings varies from string model to string model. It is thus possible to find a string called medium having approximately the tension of a strong string from a different brand or model.

Can I rely on the tension charts of the producers?

The sad answer is: Not entirely.

As string producers do not have to follow an internationally accepted standard, they can measure the tension according to a frequency and a vibrating length of their choice and do not have to inform about it. In lack of an available standard, Larsen Strings has chosen to measure the tension of its strings under the very same conditions as the world’s two largest string manufacturers. Furthermore, to increase transparency Larsen Strings informs of the vibrating length and pitch frequency under the measurements. However, some independent websites offer tension charts, which compare strings on the market.

Does low tension necessarily mean low volume?

It is possible to choose strings with only moderate tension, which due to their vibrating propensity provide great volume and projection. Larsen Strings has explored the possibility of reducing the string tension to the lowest level while still providing enough sound volume. These strings lend particular benefit to older instruments by providing a tension level that respects the inner balance of the instrument. On this point, Larsen Strings is especially proud of its Virtuoso® strings. The Virtuoso® offers a hitherto impossible blend of extraordinary sound volume with only moderate string tension. For more information, please explore our factsheets for violin, viola and cello strings.

Marie Girard – String advisor at Larsen Strings A/S

Please follow and like us:

Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume

 

2014-09-08 12-47-432014-09-08 15-32-30-2

Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume passed away on March 19th 1875, leaving many fantastic instruments. This particular violin ex-Alard, ex-Grumiaux bears the serial number 2012. According to the list in Roger Millant’s book “J. B. Vuillaume” (1972), the violin was built in 1855. The following citation is written in the violin’s certificate by Caressa and Français: “One of the most beautiful works made by the hands of J. B. Vuillaume” (Une des plus belles oeuvres sortie de la main de J. B. Vuillaume).

 

Vuillaume certificat

Please follow and like us: