Cello Zone! String Recommendations

“Which strings should I get for my cello?”

It’s a common question to receive as a cello teacher and quite honestly, a difficult one to answer.  The gauge, tension, materials, and action of our strings make a significant difference in the tone and sound production of the cello.  Each instrument has a different voice, which requires experimentation in what type of string is best to use.  The same brand of strings on two different cellos will ultimately yield unique results.  “String-Brand-A” may sound excellent on my cello, but be a totally wrong for yours….  With so many brands and prices, which one do you choose?  Thankfully, Johnson String Instrument Shop has made it easier for me to share cello string combinations via student wish lists!  Here are three sets/combos of strings to get you started, in order of low to high price.

** All string sizes listed below are 4/4 Full Size.  If you need to order 1/2 or 3/4 size cello strings, be sure to select that option when ordering (start from this page, click below)! ⇓

Click image to go to String Size Selection Page.

Book a Cello Zone Lesson with Brian!

Live in Sun Prairie?

email Prairie Music & Arts:  info@prairiemusic.org,

cc: bgrimm@prairiemusic.org

Live on the west side of Madison?

email Monroe Street Arts Center:  info@monroestreetarts.org

cc: brian@monroestreetarts.org


 D’Addario Prelude – reliable set on a budget or backup strings

Pros:  Affordable, yet still sounds good and plays well!  I use them on my homemade electric cello (#frankencello) and I find them to be flexible and reliable.  They have stood up to some extreme playing conditions encountered during gigs.

Cons:  Not as pitch stable as Kaplans or Helicores.  The “center of pitch” feels slightly mushy… this is hard to describe and may be due to the nickel winding, which is on all strings.

Set Includes:

  • Prelude 4/4 Cello Set A, D, G & C – nickel wound / steel core: Medium

Prelude (D’Addario) – solid steel core string that is durable and not affected by temperature and humidity changes. Prelude strings have a clear, bright sound without the shrill sound of traditional steel strings, and have a quick bow response.


Brian Grimm D’Addario Kaplan-Helicore Combo

Pros: Great for multi-style playing.  Holds tuning very well.  Quick response.  Fairly loud sound production.  This has been the string combo on my concert cello from 2013 to 2017. They have proven to be suitable across many genres… however, I’m now moving on to some other brands of strings in search of a richer, mellower sound.

Cons: As the Kaplan A & D strings age, they get a bit metallic and scratchy sounding (especially in the high end).  Not as subtle as Jargar, Larsen, Pirastro strings.

Combo Set Includes:

  • Kaplan Cello A – titanium wound / steel core: Medium
  • Kaplan Cello D – nickel wound / steel core: Medium
  • Helicore Cello G & C – tungsten-silver wound / steel core: Medium

Kaplan (D’Addario) – strings offer a beautiful, rich tonal palette and superb bowing response. They provide clarity and warmth across the registers and throughout the dynamic range.

Helicore (D’Addario)  multi-strand, twisted steel core strings have a small string diameter, providing a quick bow response. Thanks to special manufacturing techniques, Helicore strings have a warm, clear sound with excellent pitch stability and longevity.


Janet Marshall (My Classical Teacher) Jagar-Larsen Combo

aka “The Denmark Combo”

Pros:  Powerful low end sound.  Beautiful rich tone.  I very much enjoyed this combo when playing Brahms and other Romantic era pieces.  Jargar has since come out with two new lines of string that I haven’t tried: Thin/dolce & Thick/forte. There isn’t a huge price jump on those and are worth trying, depending on your #soundgoals.

Cons:  Larsen strings are costly, you pay for that good sound; the C string itself is $100.  Sometimes my Jargar A & D strings would be a bit unstable & drop pitch over the course of a piece.

Combo Set Includes:

  • Jargar Cello A & D – chrome wound / steel core: Medium
  • Larsen Cello G & C – tungsten wound / steel core: Medium

Jargar – Bright, full sound, quick response. Made in Denmark, these steel core strings are favored by many solosits. Jargar strings are known for their powerful, well-balanced tone.

Larsen – Made in Denmark, Larsen strings are aimed at soloists in need of a string with projection.


Additional resources on selecting strings:


Find out more about Cello Lessons with Brian Grimm

Cellist Brian Grimm is a composer, performer and teacher based out Madison, WI.  Though Classically trained and studied in Jazz, Brian also grew up surrounded by Chinese instruments.  This has pulled him into a life passion for learning music from all around the world.  Brian’s teachers include members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the WuJi Ensemble (Hong Kong), the Buselli–Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, & Sitar virtuoso Pt. Sugato Nag (India).

Click on my beard to book a Cello Zone Lesson!

9/2 | The Lights Fest (Make-A-Wish Foundation)

Sat, 9/2  | THE LIGHTS FEST 

6-7pm Brian Grimm (Classical/World) Cello and Guqin solo set

Donating to Make A Wish Foundation

> CLICK FOR TICKETS <

Dodge County Fairgrounds

WI-33, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin 53916

DESCRIPTION

The Lights Fest is an experience where thousands of friends and families gather to listen to live music, fill up on food trucks and light up life by sharing personal wishes, dreams and goals. At the perfect moment everyone ignites their personalized sky lanterns with Tiki torches and lets them take flight. It creates a surreal ambiance, where time slows down and your single flame rises and joins with thousands of others to light up your life.

The lights fest is dedicated to leaving a positive impact on the environment and everyone who attends our event. This is an event that is for everyone but cultivates individual experiences. Whether you’re commemorating or celebrating you’re creating a special memory that will last a lifetime

The Lights Fest is proud to be supporting Make-A-Wish® Wisconsin, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The Lights Fest will be making a donation to the organization in honor of this event. For more information visit wisconsin.wish.org

What You Get

Your ticket includes a packet to be picked up at the event. The packet contains a lantern, marker, and key chain flashlight. Come enjoy a magical night and memories to last a lifetime.Any child under three years old is free to the event. Children ages 4 – 12 need to purchase our kids ticket for just eight dollars. They will receive a fun little swag bag and no lantern. 13 years and older will be charged an adult ticket.

Hurry! Space is limited:

> CLICK FOR TICKETS <


 

 

9/8 | Tatsuya Nakatani Gong Orchestra @ Art In

Fri, 9/8 | 8pm $12 @ Art In

1444 E Washington Ave, Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Tone Madison presents:

Tatsuya Nakatani Gong Orchestra

Pennsylvania-based avant-garde percussion master Nakatani returns, this time leading a large ensemble of local musicians playing gongs. The Gong Orchestra uses Nakatani’s bowing techniques to create an otherworldly array of harmonics and textures. It’s a gorgeous, powerful sonic experience you won’t want to miss.

$10 presale, $12 day of, $8 for Tone Madison sustainers (patreon.com/toneMSN)

(September 5th) Update!

Curator’s notes by Scott Gordon via Tone MSN


7/23 | Aroma Yin Yoga & Live Guqin Meditation @ Monona Yoga

Aroma Yin Yoga Yoga & Guqin Mediation @ Monona Yoga 

Sunday, July 23rd     6:30-7:30 PM     Price: $25 (members $15)

Registration Deadline: Friday, July 21st

Register Here: http://bit.ly/2uAOHpd

Immerse yourself in the blissful practice of Aroma Yin Yoga with Surya, and the live meditative music of the ancient string instrument, the Guqin 古琴 with Brian Grimm

Melt into your mat in this multi-sensory experience, which includes the use of therapeutic essential oils to help you ground, calm, and relax into your poses, that will help deepen and enhance your Yin experience.

Breathe, find stillness, and release stress.

The guqin is an ancient, seven-string fretless-zither from China which has been used to cultivate the mind toward Enlightenment for thousands of years. The quiet, calming tones of this instrument always resonate strongly with those who experience it.


 

6/25 | Yoga + Guqin Meditation @ Monona Yoga

Yoga & Guqin Mediation @ Monona Yoga 

Sunday, June 25th     6:30-7:30 PM     Price: $25

Registration Deadline: Friday, June 23rd

Register Here: http://bit.ly/2oYTxtO

Monona Yoga welcomes Brian Grimm, who will accompany instructor Valerie Hesslink in a blissful yoga class with the ancient instrument. The guqin 古琴 is an ancient seven-string fretless-zither from China which has been used to cultivate the mind toward Enlightenment for thousands of years. The quiet, calming tones of this instrument always resonate strongly with those who experience it.


 

3/25 | Cello/Gamba Night @ Arts + Literature Laboratory

Sat, 3/25  | Tix $10 in advance / $15 at the doors

doors 730p / music 8p

Arts + Literature Laboratory

2021 Winnebago St, Madison, Wisconsin 53704

Patrick Reinholz – cello + electronics

Eric Miller – viola da gamba

Brian Grimm – cellitar, cross tuned cello

Join us for an evening of old and new music with Eric Miller, Patrick Reinholz, and Brian Grimm on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Tickets $10 in advance at http://ericmiller.bpt.me/, or $15 at the door starting at 7:30pm.

ERIC MILLER

Eric Miller presents the intimate and ethereal music for the unaccompanied viola da gamba, an instrument which was described in the late 18th century as one “with which one forgets the troubles of the day in quiet twilight.” The evening will center upon a pair compositions, one by the obscure and brilliant Parisian Le Sieur de Machy, and the other by the Dutch master Johannes Schenk, Sprinkled throughout will be smaller pieces by other luminaries of the rarefied instrument. A classically trained cellist and viola da gambist, Eric is known to Madison as a member of the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble and has appeared with many of Madison and Milwaukee’s top ensembles.


PATRICK REINHOLZ


Patrick Reinholz is a cellist, improviser, composer, and educator currently living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Always innovating, he is a member of the new music/improvising chamber group Tontine Ensemble, and the jazz/rock outfit Lovely Socialite.  

Pat will be releasing his new album for solo cello + electronics via Other Obscura, so come grab your copy!


BRIAN GRIMM

In Brian Grimm’s solo set, you may hear dances of the unaccompanied Bach cello suites; ever popular melodies of the Erhu Chinese fiddle adapted for cello; as well as original compositions from his dance/theatre scores & solo albums.


2/16 | I RESOLVE – Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) Fundraiser

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Thr, 2/16 | 5:30-7:30 pm, Suggested Donation $25

Legal Association for Women presents

I RESOLVE @ US Bank Building, 4th floor

1 S Pinckney ST, Madison WI

A fundraising event for Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)

A night of live music, light hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and a silent auction to benefit DAIS, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services in Dane County. Please RSVP to Lynn Lodahl at llodahl@hq-law.com.

Our I Resolve silent auction raises funds for local organizations that support and empower women. This year, the proceeds will go to DAIS. For more information on their work, please visit: http://abuseintervention.org/

This event is made possible by the generosity of Dane County attorneys and law firms who contribute themed gift baskets. Thank you to all our contributors! 2017 contributors include: Hawks Quindel, Stroud, Willink, & Howard, Quarles & Brady, Your Family Law Center, Pines Bach, Axley, Stafford Rosenbaum, Neider & Boucher, Balisle Family Law, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Complimentary admission for all firm sponsors. Suggested donation of $25 or more to the DAIS Legal Services Program for others.

Brian Grimm will provide solo cello music throughout the duration of this fundraiser.  Come support a good cause!