I’m often asked for recommendations for cello strings. It’s always a tricky question, because each player will want something that suits their playing style and their instrument. Ignoring for a moment the infinite complexity of such recommendations, I’m going to paint with a broad brush and give you a few places to start.
$55 – D’Addario Prelude. This is the least expensive set of cello strings I can recommend with confidence. Steel-core construction makes them durable with excellent tuning stability, but they aren’t unbearably harsh and bright. If you need a solid set of backup strings or are on a tight budget, these are your strings.
$120 – Thomastik Spirit. The competition is fierce around this price-point. Jargar and Helicore are to others commonly recommended around this territory, but the Spirit strings win me over with their good tonal range, excellent stability, and durability.
$175 – D’Addario Kaplan. My only criticism of this set is a bright quality that won’t work well with all cellos. However, for intermediate and advanced students this set gives you a big chunk of the performance of more expensive strings. The G and C are especially wonderful and will often work better for some players than the much more expensive Spirocore tungsten strings so often recommended.
$275 – Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold. I am looking forward to gaining even more experience with these strings as I think they do what they do well better than any other string. The construction materials gives this string wonderful texture and color.
$340 – “THE COMBO”. This is the nearly ubiquitous combo that so many professionals, professors, and conservatory students use every day – Larsen Soloist A string, Larsen Soloist D string, Thomastik Spirocore tungsten G string, Thomastik Spirocore tungsten C string. As long as the player has the technique to make these really sing, these are the strings that have nearly defined the “modern cello sound”. These are the strings that help many professionals project their sound to the back of the hall. They are also the strings you’ll find on cellos costing as little as $2,000 here in Encore.