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Choosing the Right Set of Strings Redux

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As SHAR has picked up more and more string brands, we realized that our handy string chart was out of date. So we've done three things with the new string chart: we added new brands, limited the strings to violin and viola strings (cello and bass charts are on the way), and we simplified. As far as simplifications: now the major differentiations are Quiet/Loud and Dark/Bright instead of the three differentiations of Mild/Aggressive, Subtle/Direct, and Smooth/Textured. If you're looking for an interactive chart with links to products, check out the chart here. On that chart we've also added a key with price categories ($ to $$$$) to help you decide if a particular string is worth the money for you.

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Choosing the Right Set of Strings

Choose Your Set of Strings!

For advancing players, or established players who want to try something different, there's a lot to consider when upgrading your set of strings: Where do you typically perform? Do you want a string set suited for solos or ensembles? Which string set will draw the most out of your particular playing style and instrument? This graph will help you navigate (almost) everything you should consider!

Projection: Next to each string set there's a graphic that indicates that set's level of projection. The levels of projection range from "Mild" to "Aggressive."

The X axis (horizontal) depicts the continuum between smooth and textured string sets. Textured sets are complex sounding with many colors and rich, resonating overtones. Smooth sets are very clear and focused. The tone is clean and straight. 

Direct/Subtle: The Y axis (vertical) depicts the continuum between direct and subtle string sets. A direct string set has a brilliant, distinct tone designed for soloists to cut through piano or orchestral textures. A subtle set doesn't overpower. They blend well and often have a dark undertone.

Click on any string set to check availabilites and prices, but you should aslo feel free to call our string experts for extra guidance!  

SHAR's 3rd Annual String Quartet Competition

SHAR Quartet Competition

SHAR Music is proud to announce the winners of its third annual Quartet Competition!

Letters from a Violinist: Mendelssohn's Octet

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Dear Joe,

A Meditation on Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings

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As the warmth of spring begins to emerge again from the snow, I sat in the sunshine, breathed the fragrant but brisk air, and wondered what piece is most evocative of this time of year. There is, of course, Vivaldi’s “Spring” from the Four Seasons. We have Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata. And, on a more contemporary note, we have Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Copland’s Appalachian Spring. But, I thought, none of these pieces quite encapsulate my understanding of spring – a time of promise, of rebirth, of simple joy and triumph. But then I thought of Tchaikovsky, and as I recalled his Serenade for Strings, I knew that the spring bird had alighted on one of her greatest expressions. 

Do You Need a Loop or a Ball End for Your E-string?

Loop End

This is a frequent question that those of us in the Call Center need to ask customers as we try to accurately place your orders. This can be confusing, especially for parents who haven’t yet had the opportunity to install strings on their student’s instrument. Hopefully the following information will be of help!

Don't Panic: We Have Last-Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Mark O'Connor An Appalachian Christmas

We try to quell your rising holiday panic by sharing a few gift ideas.

I have a confession to make: after work today, I still have three Christmas gifts to buy. Tomorrow, I'm flying home to North Carolina. Every year, I do the same thing. I start thinking about possible gifts in October and then revel in the platonic perfection of these un-purchased gifts.

It's usually not until December 20th or so that I really begin to panic and worry about actually buying these oh-so-thoughtful presents. Sometimes, I'm still scrambling on Christmas Eve for the perfect gift, clinging to the idea that I will find a snazzy iPad case or hip cardigan for the Grinch on my list. (You know this person: your friends and family members all call each other every year, saying, "Um ... what are you getting So-and-so?)

Here are a few quick ideas if you're struggling to find the perfect present for the musician on your list. If you order the item with Express Delivery by 3 p.m. today, you'll get the gift in time. If you want to think about it more, you can still order by 3 p.m. tomorrow and add 2nd Day Air. Good luck!

$25 & Under:

Mark O'Connor's
An Appalachian Christmas.This will be an immediate hit. You can ditch Pandora for a little bit and throw this album on the stereo Christmas afternoon. It's only $8.99, which is a small price to pay for a terrific album. (The Wall Street Journal thinks so too; they put it in their list of the top six Christmas albums.)

Folks can get attached to their rosin brand, but it's worth trying Liebenzeller. It's a high-quality rosin that's a tiny bit indulgent: and aren't those the perfect gifts? The gifts someone will actually use and love but might not buy for himself? It's on sale for $20.

$50 or more:

String instrument players always need strings. Do a little quick research and find out what kind of strings the person on your list uses. Pair it with something a little more indulgent like a fine chocolate. Well, that's what I would want.

$200 or more:

Maybe it's time for your player to step up to a higher quality bow. Right now, you can have three bows shipped to you with 2nd Day Air at no charge. Then you can send one, two, or all three back, free of charge too. The only catch is that the bows need a price tag of $200 or more. But this is the perfect chance to let someone try out multiple bows with minimal pressure. Check out this link for more details, but you have to call before December 21st.

Q&A: With SHAR CEO, Charles Avsharian

Charles Avsharian

We sat down with SHAR CEO, Charles Avsharian, to discuss E-Strings for violinists.

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