Every instrument in an orchestra is important to its overall sound, but no section is more critical than the strings. Violins, violas and harps are often the first and last instruments heard in a performance, and the deeper registers of the cello and double bass are essential for supporting the melody. Naturally, a great sound requires great equipment, which is exactly what you'll find in this selection of stringed instruments and orchestral strings. As you browse through the stringed instruments, you'll notice that some are labeled as "outfits." These are great for beginners, since they include a bow, and sometimes a case and other accessories as well, giving you everything you need to get started. With these instruments, particularly the violin and viola, proper sizing is very important to the learning process. So, for young players, be sure to choose the reduced scale that makes for the best fit.
Every orchestral string player will need to replace the strings from time to time in order to keep their instrument sounding its best. There are several materials available; for beginners, steel strings are a great starting point since they'll last longer and are easy to keep in tune. The strings originally used on orchestral instruments centuries ago were made from animal gut, and the best possible tone still comes from strings that have the same sort of characteristics. Today, synthetic strings such as Thomastik's Dominant series can provide similar tonal qualities without the environmental sensitivity drawbacks of natural gut.
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