Best Cello Strings & Combinations 2023

Cello strings can make the difference between an ordinary cello and one that sounds like a Stradivarius. Well, maybe not that good, but a solid set of cello strings can significantly improve the sound and tone of your cello. Replacing cello strings is also one of the most common repairs you will need to do to your cello. That’s why it’s important to find the best cello strings possible.

We have updated our rankings of the best cello strings from last year since some of the strings have changed. In particular, our #1 cello string recommendation changed this year to Larsen.

Since strings sound different on different cellos, there is no one “best cello string” that will work for all cellos. We recommend trying several different cello strings to understand which strings make your cello sing. You may also want to try getting a combination of different brands of cello strings. Our list below includes cello strings that are rated highest by players, but you will need to find the best cello strings for your cello from this list.

Best Cello Strings 2021

Cello String Recommended For
1.  Larsen Cello Strings Intermediate/Expert
2.  Evah Pirazzi Gold/Regular Intermediate/Expert
3.  Thomastik-Infeld Spirocore Beginner/Intermediate
4.  Thomastik-Infeld – Dominant Beginner/Intermediate
5.  Prelude Beginner
6.  Pirastro – Obligato Intermediate/Expert
7.  Jargar Intermediate
8.  Helicore Beginner
9.  Merano Beginner
10. Pirastro Passione Expert
Runner Up: Warchal Intermediate

Popular Cello String Combinations

Many cellists don’t just choose one brand of cello strings for all four strings. In fact, cellists are the most common string players to combine different brands for their A, D, G, and C strings. To do this, you can find individual strings on Amazon, such as the Larsen A string, instead of buying a pack of all four strings.

The most common combination is a Larsen A, Larsen D, Spirocore Tungsten G, and Spirocore Tungsten C.

A String D String G String C String Buy Combo
Larsen Solo Larsen Solo Spirocore Tungsten Spirocore Tungsten Buy
Larsen Solo Chromcor Chromcor Spirocore Tungsten Buy
Larsen Solo Larsen Solo Spirocore silver Spirocore silver Buy
Evah Pirazzi Evah Pirazzi Helicore Helicore Buy
Larsen Solo Larsen Solo Evah Pirazzi Evah Pirazzi Buy

What features should cello strings have?

Different cello strings have different qualities which make them sound slightly different. Some brands sound better on the A and D strings while others are great for the lower range. In fact, many people like to mix and match cello string sets in order to get the best sound possible. In our “Popular Cello String Combinations” section below, you can see how people tend to mix cello string sets.

As we mentioned above, we recommend using different brands of cello strings to find strings that work the best for your instrument. However, experimenting can get pretty expensive, so we recommend evaluating your budget for cello strings and adjusting accordingly. Even so, if you are a serious player you will want to find the right fit for your instrument and playing style.

As with cellos and bows, cello strings vary on several main factors:

  • Gauge/Thickness: Cello strings come in many different diameters (gauges) which impacts the sound. This is one factor you’ll definitely want to experiment with. Thicker strings are usually better for cellos as they provide a fuller, richer sound.
  • The material of the string impacts the sound. Traditionally, strings were made out of animal gut, but now they are generally made of synthetic material wrapped in metal coil or solid metal.
  • Price: Strings are expensive, there’s no way around it. Typically having to be replaced at least once a year and costing upwards of $200 on average for a full set, cello strings aren’t easy on the budget. It’s important to find a balance between sound and price while searching for the perfect cello strings.

While there are a lot of options for strings and you may feel perplexed at this point, this guide will help you select some starting varieties that will let you experiment with the sound of your cello.

How much do cello strings cost?

Depending on the quality of the cello strings, prices can range anywhere from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars. Typically, strings that are good enough for beginners will cost less $100 for a set, but intermediate and advanced cello strings usually cost around $200.

1. Larsen Cello Strings

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Recommended For:    Intermediate/Expert

Larsen strings are becoming a standard for cello set-ups. They provide a complex and powerful tone that rivals the Pirazzi Golds. Larsens are moderately priced making them a great option for intermediate and advanced players. Like the Jargar strings (one of the most versatile strings), Larsens can be paired with any range of other strings. The most common combination is Thomastik-Infeld Spirocore or Dominant C and G-strings with Larsen D and A-strings, though buying single strings can get quite expensive. Luckily, Amazon sells this set so you won’t waste strings that you don’t need.

2. Pirastro – Evah Pirazzi Gold/Regular – Best Cello Strings

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Recommended For:    Intermediate/Expert

Evah Pirazzi are definitely high-quality cello strings. While beginners can certainly use these strings, they are mostly for intermediate to advanced players due to their sound quality and price.

Famous virtuosos such as Joshua Bell (violin) and Kristina Fialová (viola) prefer these strings and as such, the price is definitely higher. Typically running north of $200 for a full set, Pirazzis offer a complex and warm tone with excellent projection and dynamic responsiveness.

For cellists, the Evah Pirazzi cello strings come in three different styles: Regular, Soloist, and Gold. For the beginner student, we recommend the Regular style since these are the most cost-effective. The Soloist line is as named, for soloists. They offer a brighter and edgier sound than the Gold or Regular. Finally, the Gold line is intended for intermediate to advanced players who want a brilliant and complex sound.

3. Thomastik-Infeld – Spirocore Cello Strings

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Recommended For:    Beginner/Intermediate

Thomastik-Infeld Spirocore steel-core strings are very popular among amateurs and professionals alike. They provide a very responsive sound that is both brilliant and powerful, bringing out the lower end of the cello. If you don’t want to buy the full set, the single C-string pairs quite well with other cello string sets.

4. Thomastik-Infeld – Dominant

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Recommended For:    Beginner/Intermediate

Thomastik-Infeld Dominants are one of the most popular strings due to their flexibility and stable, warm pitch. Despite their steeper price, Dominants have a very long life making them a great choice. They come in a variety of lengths and gauges, so again there is a lot of flexibility.

Dominants were the first strings manufactured with a synthetic perlon or nylon core and have become a measuring stick against which most other synthetic cello strings are measured.

5. Prelude

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Recommended For:    Beginner

Prelude strings are excellent for the beginner. Often priced at less than $30 per set (compared to at least $80 for most sets), they provide a stable sound that suffices for any new student.

6. Pirastro – Obligato

31SP8821P4L1 Best Cello Strings & Combinations 2023

Recommended For:    Intermediate/Expert

The Obligato strings for cello offer a slightly brighter sound than Evah Pirazzis. Obligatos are made of the same core material as Pirazzis. Also slightly cheaper than Pirazzis, Obligatos make a great alternative.

7. Jargar

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Recommended For:    Intermediate

Jargar strings are quite literally the most interchangeable strings. Although they sound perfectly clear as a set, most cellists combine the Jargar strings with some other strings. A common combination used with Jargar cello strings is a Jargar A and D combined with a Spirocore silver G and C. In fact, this is the string combination that Yo-Yo Ma uses on his Montagnana.

Jargars have several advantages over Helicore strings. First, they have a more powerful sound as well as more dynamic capabilities. Second, their silver-wound G and C strings have an unusual warmth and depth.

Jargars are available in heavy (forte), medium, and light (dolce) gauges.

8. Helicore

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Recommended For:    Beginner

Helicore strings are great for beginners and students because they have a clear tone and quick response. For their high quality, they are on the higher end of the inexpensive strings sets featured in this list. Over the last few years, they have been gaining a reputation in pop music. Although the tone and quality is not as high as with other string brands, Helicore strings provide a great foundation for beginners and perform far better than Preludes.

9. Merano

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Recommended For:    Beginner

Merano cello strings are very inexpensive, but have a higher quality sound than Preludes. Merano strings are bright and edgy in tone, making them great for popular and folk styles of playing. They are also great additions to an electric cello where string quality is not as big of a factor.

10. Pirastro Passione

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Recommended For:    Expert

With the Passione line, Pirastro has stabilized the gut core to resist fluctuations in temperature and humidity while preserving the complexity of the tone.

The sheep gut core of Passione strings is manufactured and wound in aluminum by hand. Many performers prefer the traditional response of the gut core, but are frustrated by the lack of stability in many gut strings, but the Passione line makes up for that.

Runner Up: Warchal Cello Strings

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Recommended For:    Intermediate

Warchal cello strings was founded in 2003 by the son of the famous violinist, Bohdan Warchal. Their goal is to create cello strings produced from totally nontraditional materials. The strings are produced in Eastern Europe.

Reviewers say that Warchal strings provide a mellow sound at an excellent value. While not “brilliant” or “loud”, these strings are great for any beginner or intermediate cellist looking for good strings for a reasonable price.

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  1. I recommend trying Warchal cello strings as well, if you’re looking for a synthetic-core string. Higher tension and fuller sound than Dominant, at least on my cello.

  2. Playing the cello is tough. Quality strings actually make getting an acceptable sound easier. And so the people who stand most to benefit are beginners.

    And so our view is that the distinction between beginner and expert cellists requirements is really just about budget constraints. As you correctly point out quality cello strings have a massive impact on sound and playability. This benefits beginners the most in reality. But your “expert” is either making a living from play the cello or will likely have a career in music in the near future, and so is more prepared to invest in a quality string set-up.


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