$ 160.92 $ 139.00
$ 160.92 $ 139.00
Larsen Virtuoso Viola Set
With Virtuoso Viola, Larsen has created new D, G & C strings built around the firm foundations of their tried and trusted Larsen A string
The Original Larsen A Medium is solid steel core wound with stainless steel flat wire. The Virtuoso Viola D, G and C strings are based on a synthetic multifilament core and are wound with pure silver.
Clarity, richness, feels good for the left hand, both bright and dark, not overly neutral but also not colored in a contrived way like Pirazzi Gold. The Larsen A blends beautifully with this set. Very quick and responsive but I feel I can shape the sound easily as well.
I have two violas that are slightly over 16.5. One a Nicholas Frirsz with a darker sound and the other a Gino Antonelli with a brighter sound. I had tried several brands of string before I stumbled on the Larsen Virtuoso 420 longer scale.With the longer scale, the tone is consistent and strong and both instruments sing with clear in voice. The sound is not too dark or bright making it easier to focus on intonation. The strings, like most take a few days to break but once settled are consistently lively which makes articulation much easier than other strings.
Thanks Larsen for making both instruments a continuous joy to play!
It is easy to get deceived with the perception of sound when playing a shoulder instrument, but any concerns regarding complexity of the sound was allayed by others hearing me play. Two words-richness and clarity-kept coming up. After three days, those characteristics extended through all ranges of the instrument. Even if I had lost a certain aspect of color that the Evah Golds possessed that was more than made up by the response, evenness and eminent playability of the Virtuosos.
It would not be a impartial review if I did not mention at least one caveat regarding the strings that I am currently monitoring. While very slight, I am detecting a bit of separation of the winding of the D string over the bridge, an anomaly only seen with that particular string. At this point there is absolutely no compromise in the sound (no rattle or indication the string is false). I am sensitive to this because I had a major problem with the Passiones in this regard, to the point that the core of the string became visible, sometimes only two days after installation. Those with instruments larger than mine need to be aware of this. It is possible that if the sound does not remain true I will have to consider the option of using the Original Larsen D and see how that affects the balance of the viola.
I hope this presents a well-rounded picture of my impressions of the Larsen Virtuoso XL strings. It will be my default set based on what I have experienced.
Thank you, Larsen, for your latest offering!
As one might suspect there was a period of adjustment coming from the Evah Golds, my strings of choice for the past four years. For example, expressive slides required a different touch on the Virtuosos. After first I had difficulty bringing them out, but I came to realize that I could do it with a bit of tweaking in the mechanics. Perhaps the bigger adjustment was getting used to moving from a sound that was complex under the ear to one that appeared to be more direct. I started wondering if I was giving up something I desired as a component of my sound.
As I continued to play on the Virtuosos I began to appreciate many things about them. There was an ease in executing spiccato passages that I had not experienced before in any string I had previously used. The same could be said for quick trills and chains of harmonics. Those elements popped out naturally and effortlessly. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the ability I gained in taking full bows without having the sound thin out or break up. There was simply zero distortion. Again, at least with my combination of instrument and bow, this was something that gave me another technical arrow in the quiver that I had not possessed before. I was able to experiment further and was impressed by the ease in switching from a focused sound to a more transparent quality, all the time sensing a purity that was somewhat addictive.
Final installment on its way!
The "Holy Grail" of strings is that elusive set that we seek, allowing our instruments to reach their fullest potential. String manufacturing technology has made tremendous strides in the last forty+ years. I can remember the excitement when Thomastik came out with Dominants, and in so doing delivered on its promise to produce a string that would be much more impervious to temperature and humidity changes. I, like many other violists, have become enamored with "the next best string"-at least in my own mind. ;-) I gravitated to Obligato, then to Evah Pirazzi and, for the last four years, Evah Pirazzi Gold. I love the depth of the Golds and I feel they have the advantage over the original Evahs in maintaining that beautiful color in softer dynamic levels.
There were some aspects of the Golds that concerned me, however. While I loved the color of the string, I felt I was missing a certain degree of response and, no matter what I tried, passages such as the opening of the fugue in the last movement of the Beethoven Op.59 No.3 were always a bit of an adventure. When I found out about the Virtuoso strings I decided to take the plunge. To be continued...