|Table of Tricolore Violin Gauges|
This is a single length (22"), single twist, Lyon-style sheep gut string knotted at one end with a leather washer. It is available with a natural or varnish finish.
Sheep gut strings are available with a natural or varnish finish. Natural strings are hand-rubbed with a light oil. Varnished strings have three coats of finish before being hand polished with the oil. There is an additional charge for varnished strings.
Lyon-style gut is named after the town in France which was famous for a particular type of flexible gut string. From the 16th century these strings were recommended as being some of the best strings for basses. Our reproduction of this string is made from gut specially processed in our workshop to be soft and responsive. The gut is twisted in one direction to a high twist for the optimum combination of durability and flexibility. The Lyon should be preferred when a little extra stiffness is required under the bow or finger. This type of string is characterized by a tight and visible twist. The color tends toward opaque light to medium yellow. The Lyon-style of gut string is a high twist, single spin construction that offers a tone that is full and warm with a powerful fundamental and complex, pleasing upper partials.
The Tricolore brand, used by many famous violin soloists, was one of the most well known violin strings made in the 20th century. Now, after many decades of being unavailable, we are pleased to offer these strings again. This string was developed by Ray Neiner at the Perfection Musical String Co. Brunswick, IN, just south of Chicago. The machines we use at Gamut Music to make the strings were purchased from the Perfection company, and in addition to the machines, we also received the formulations that Perfection used to make their strings, including the Tricolore brand. We have in our archives a copy of the Perfection workshop book that specifies the gauge of gut used for the cores, the size of the wires, length of the strings, and colors of the thread used for the stockings at the top and bottom of the strings. In addition to this practical information, we also received instruction for the special curing treatment that the gut cores went through before being wound and the specific techniques used in winding the wire onto the gut core. These strings are accurate replications of the ones that filled American concert halls with sound in the 20th century.
Notably, the Tricolore strings used by violinist virtuosos and many players interested in reproducing this historical tone consisted of:
- e-1 - Goldbrokat - 0.26mm (Medium) gauge
- a-2 - Treble Gut - 0.78mm (Medium) gauge
- D-3 - Lyon Gut - 1.06mm (Medium) gauge
- G-4 - Gut/Sterling Silver - 0.80mm (Medium) gauge
One addition we have made to the original string design is the inclusion of a leather washer at the knot of each string. Modern tailpieces are made with wider string slots than those of the early 20th century and the gut knot is no longer big enough to hold the string in place. The leather keeps the string from pulling through the tailpiece.
Tricolore strings are manufactured in the USA by Gamut Music, a leader in the revival of early music strings and instruments. Gut strings are not intended to be used with fine tuners or string adjusters and those devices should be removed before installing the gut string on the instrument.
4 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews
I've been using Tricolores since Gamut started production at least 10 years ago. I will continue to use them for as long as they are produced, they are the best.
Honest to goodness gut strings that let your violin and your hands determine the sound, rather than being stuck in the brassy constraints of synthetic strings. They have not changed in years, and they never need to. I like to treat mine with a little walnut oil every now and then to keep them going a little longer than their natural lifespan.
The plain D is difficult to play on at first, but within a couple of weeks of figuring out the bow technique, the sound will be very unique and rewarding. Very loud string! Much more powerful than wound gut, in fact it matches the volume of the best synthetic strings. The string is very thick so the varnished option is not necessary in my opinion, especially if you prefer the unvarnished sound. I give it 4 stars because they tend to go false quite quickly, so the resonance can be a little offputting if you have sensitive ears.
I would like to address people who are perhaps considering unwound gut strings for the first time. In my experience, it is the unwound D string that is the most dramatic departure from both synthetic and metal strings. It took me a while to figure out the right combination of bow speed and pressure, but when I did I was rewarded with the best sound I have ever gotten out of my violin. I employ bow speed as my primary means of dynamic modulation; with this bowing technique, the light gauge gut strings have a greater dynamic response than anything else I have ever tried.