Choosing cello strings is a tricky and expensive business. It’s so expensive, in fact, that it’s rare to able to afford to experiment much. All the more reason, then, to have unbiased feedback about strings from the start.
I can only speak from my own experience. For many years I used Jargar A and D strings. I was then advised to change Jargar for Larsen and the improvement was huge.For me, Larsen strings are more sensitive and responsive and more immediate in sound. Larsen soft soloist suits my cello well and I can truly recommend them.
I have always used Pirastro covered gut on my lower two strings. I love the feel of the strings under my fingers and I think the sound is warmer and more subtle than even the best steel. I am currently using Pirastro Eudoxa, which matches the Larsen strings well. However, my cello was made in 1855, so is not modern.
Do modern cellos need modern strings?
I have been told that modern cellos can only use modern strings. I have no idea if this is true, but it is certainly the current way of thinking and steel is easier to play on.
How temperamental is covered gut?
Covered gut strings are more responsive to temperature and slip out of tune more frequently. But the lower strings, being thicker, don’t slip that often and rarely break.
What sound do you want?
Not only does the choice of string depend on the cello you are playing on, it also depends on the type of sound you want. And it is all in proportion. So an expensive string may improve the tone, but will not hugely change the sound of the cello overall.
If you want to experiment with different strings and are a music college student or professional player you can arrange a free trial of strings at Stringers music shop in London and Edinburgh. More details are available here: