Looking for the right cello strings involves a careful selection process. You can’t just decide to buy the first one you see right away. It is a journey and may take a series of experiments. It’s like when you’re dating someone, you don’t fall in love as soon as you meet. You have to know each other better by spending more time together.
You check the string type, the gauge and the bands over and over again until a chemistry with your playing style and a certain string develops. A harmony between the string and the master.
Cello strings are divided into three types: gut core, synthetic core, and steel core.
Gut Core Cello Strings
Gut core strings are made up of the gut lining of a sheep. It is known to be the traditional string used by people for many centuries since string instruments were invented. Being used by most classical musicians, gut core cello strings are known to produce the warmest and richest overtones compared to other types of strings.
However, due to its complexities, those who are just starting to learn to play the cello are not recommended to use this type of string. Gut core strings are easily affected by temperature and humidity. To play these strings, you need to have keen attention to detail and must know how to play by ear to determine when these strings go out of tune. Because of its fragility, gut core strings are mostly preferred only by professional musicians.
Synthetic Core Cello Strings
This type of string was invented in the 1970s to replicate the gut core strings’ produced sound without its disadvantages. It only takes a day or two to get used to playing the cello using synthetic core strings. It might not be as rich as the sound produced by gut core strings, but it is less sensitive to humidity and temperature. Synthetic core cello strings are usually made of nylon called Perlon, or a synthetic fiber called Kevlar.
Steel Core Cello Strings
Steel core strings are composed of straight or twisted wire and are commonly called “all-metal” strings. Among the other options, this type of string is the most durable and stable. It produces a loud and consistent sound that is preferred by most folk, country, and jazz players. Being the most inexpensive type of string, it is best recommended for beginners and students.
Aside from the type of string, you must also take note of the string gauge or the thickness of the string you are going to purchase.
If you prefer a richer tone, a thicker string is best. However, it has a slower response time. On the other hand, a thinner string produces a softer volume but has a faster response time. Medium gauges are the most common string gauge used by the majority of cello players and students for their practice sessions.
Choosing the best cello strings for your instrument is a bit of a trial and error process. Each type and gauge has its own range of strengths and weaknesses. You may experiment by combining strings and check the best cello strings according to your sound preference and playability. Lastly, to maintain and keep your cello, it is wise to change strings every six months depending on how regular you use your instrument.