Nowadays there is an enormous variety of strings available for violin. So all things considered (for now at least) I’ve decided to narrow my answer to the above question down to the four most common and, more often than not, only sets available in most high street Music shops here in Ireland . Those being; The cheap sets such as Prelude by D’Addario (USA) or OPTIMA Goldbrokat Steel/Aluminium (Germany) Which really are only suitable for beginers, Followed by the three Tomastik sets; Prazision, Spirocore and Dominant.
So what are the factors that distinguish one string from another? A number of factors contribute to the difference between strings but mainly there are two major factors, The first being the “core” of the string which may be synthetic or steel or an amalgamation of different metals. The second factor is the metal which is wound around that “core” (on the G,D and A) The more precious that metal – usually the more expensive the string. But sticking with our four most commonly available sets here in Ireland, which I have named above, The strings I have found to be the most suitable for Traditional Irish Music would have to be the Tomastik “Spirocore” they are of better quality metals than the (slightly cheaper) Tomastik “Prazision”, They are quite responsive, closely wound with a “multiwire spiral rope core” and are a good hard wearing, long lasting well made string. Some players may prefer the more expensive Tomastik “Dominants”, But personally I find these strings more suited to Classical music although for slow air’s they can sound a little more mellow than the “Spirocore’s” but unfortunately they tend to have a much shorter lifespan due to the metals used being softer therefore they tend to come unraveled far easier, especially after a lot of fast playing.
A Useful TIP for extending the life of your strings: Carefully and very gently rub each string individually, up and down its length with a soft cotton cloth dipped in surgical spirit or even nail polish remover, this is very effective for removing dirt and built up rosin from the strings and will leave them sounding much brighter. *But being extra careful not to get any of the solvent on or near the varnish of the instrument!*