Why Are Strings So Costly?
For many of our customers who are new to the violin, purchasing their first set of strings can be a bit of a shock! Because of the materials used to create consistent quality, the skilled labor, and the specialized machines that it takes to manufacture these small components, they are much more expensive than might be apparent.
Strings were, once upon a time, made of the guts of cattle and sheep. While this is still the case today, the typical strings that are used are either steel or synthetic cores wrapped in some type of metallic winding. The inner synthetic material is meant to imitate the warm sound of gut and the inner steel core is meant to get a brighter sound. These cores are wrapped with steel, aluminum, silver, and even gold windings (If you want something really fancy!). These are the most common types of strings we use with students.
For an incredible and thorough guide to the different types of strings, check out this blog post by Ifshin Violins:
Guide To Choosing and Using Strings for Violin
For a supremely simple and to-the-point guide to the strings that we normally sell to our student populace, please check out this previous blog that we wrote on this topic:
What Violin Strings Should I Purchase?
Strings are also expensive because of labor and machinery. For a fascinating look at how strings are made, please watch this excellent video by D'Addario. They source the majority of our strings. For such small items, the labor, skill, specialized machinery, and amount of steps it takes to create these essential parts of the sound of an instrument is surprising:
The String Making Process at D'Addario
A note on our policy: We do not manufacture strings and they are considered "consumable" items. In other words, we purchase them from other companies and, when they break, they cannot be fixed. Because of this, replacement strings are not free. However, we have created simple ways to help customers! When we rent out new instruments or upgrade renters to bigger sizes and higher models, each instrument is already strung with a set of strings in good condition. We also sell strings individually, so that the customer does not have to purchase an entire set. Lastly, if replacement strings are purchased in store, then we install (and tune) them free of charge and can give case-by-case advice on what might have happened and what steps can be taken for prevention.