The materials, construction and design of a string will shape its bow response and overall sound. Each string has its very own specific recipe which is determined by months of research and testing. The anatomy of a string designed for violin, viola, cello, or double bass, is usually comprised of four major categories.

THE CORE: The core is the most central part of the string that runs from end to end. Most strings fall into one of three core categories: gut, synthetic, or steel.

WINDING: Windings (or wrappings) are one or more layers of material that are wound along the length of the core. These are often types of metal or synthetic materials which provide the function of adding mass to the string while allowing the string to retain the flexibility necessary to vibrate properly.

SILKING: Like other bowed string manufacturers, D’Addario uses colored thread on the ball end and peg end to help identify the brand, pitch, and tension of a string. Additionally, silking at the peg-end protects both the end of the string and the instrument’s peg by preventing windings from becoming unwound and serving as a buffer between the peg and the wire wrapping. In place of actual silk, most modern strings use synthetic thread.

BALL / LOOP END: What’s the difference between a ball end and a loop end?
loop end string resembles a looped metal noose. A ball end string has what resembles a small metal washer inside of its loop.

Strings for viola, cello, and double bass, as well as the A, D, and G violin strings are almost exclusively made with a ball end, due to extra strength needed to anchor the string to an instrument’s tail piece. Loop-ends are most commonly seen on violin E strings, though these can also be made with a ball-end.

If you’re a violinist deciding between a ball or loop end E string, you can identify which type you need by examining the tailpiece. If the E string fine tuner is different from the bottom three strings’ tuners (G, D, and A), you may need a loop end. A “Hill” or “English” style fine tuner has a singular hook that attaches to loop end strings, whereas a ball end fine tuner will have two prongs to keep the ball in place.


Prelude violin strings are manufactured using a solid steel core. Unaffected by temperature and humidity changes, they have excellent bow response. Prelude strings have the warmest sound available in an affordable, solid steel core string design. Prelude is the educator’s preferred choice for student strings due to their unique blend of warm tone, durability, and value.

Helicore Strings are multi-strand twisted steel core strings that are superb for the advanced and professional players. The small string diameter provides quick bow response. Through special manufacturing techniques, the Helicore strings have a warm, clear sound with excellent pitch stability and longevity. These strings work well on dark instruments and electric instruments. Great for all styles of music, classical, modern, jazz, and country.

Kaplan violin strings offer professional-level players an unprecedented combination of beauty and power in two options, Kaplan Amo and Kaplan Vivo. Kaplan Amo provides warmth, richness, and flexibility for brighter instruments, while Kaplan Vivo delivers brilliance, clarity, and a robust feel for darker instruments. Both sets settle quickly, exhibiting a rich tonal color palette and superb bow response.

Zyex strings are made from a new generation of synthetic material, creating strings that are incredibly stable under drastic climatic conditions. Within a matter of hours, Zyex settles in on the instrument with a sound that is warmer than most other synthetic core strings. Zyex is also an excellent choice for use on bright sounding instruments.