Larsen Il Cannone Gold
Are they worth it?
In short, yes, I think so!
It feels like only recently violin strings have started to break the £100 barrier for a set. And now, Larsen have brought out Il Cannone Gold, on which the RRP is £345. The two questions which spring to mind are: why do they cost so much, and are they worth it?
The first question is covered extensively on the Larsen website – if you are interested then definitely go check it out! We are lucky enough to receive visits from Laurits, the founder of the company, about twice a year and we can vouch for his incredible depth of knowledge in all things strings. This has filtered down into the whole company and so their website is very informative.
But the second question is the big one. What do you get from these strings which is different and better than the other sets? Well, tone aside, the big change here is the D string. As far as I am aware, this is the first D string covered in gold which has come to market. I also appreciate the larger, very fancy box – it really feels like a premium product. It must be said however, that whilst the box itself won’t easily fit into a violin case, the string packets are a normal size. And of course, the large box doesn’t justify a high price, and so that takes us onto the most important thing…
How do they sound?
We’ve tried the strings on a J. B. Vuillaume, a Camillo Camilli and a Giuseppe Ornati – three very different violins! The top two strings sound great, but the really exciting part are the G and D. Describing sound in words is always a difficult thing, but the closest I can come is that feeling of getting new glasses. Everything is clearer, the colours are more vivid, everything has more definition, and there is at once more complexity and more clarity. These strings seem to bring out more volume from the instrument, with more colour and warmth, with more purity. In short, I love them! The D in particular can be a tricky string on the violin, and this new gold D seems to really help this register.
The final question then is are they right for you and your violin? Well, the bottom strings settle almost instantly and feel like they will last a very long time without much change of quality (something Larsen have said as well) – time will tell, but they feel like not a bad investment from that point of view. They worked brilliantly on the three violins we tried them on, and so seem versatile enough to cope with most instruments. Should you spend such a massive amount of money on violin strings? I don’t know, that’s up to you. And something I should clarify is that whilst I would absolutely use these on my own violin, interestingly, they aren’t something we plan on using on the violins we have for sale. When we present instruments, we like to show them in a relatively neutral way; we want people to connect with the true character of an instrument rather than be blown away by the strings.
Should you buy them? Only you can decide if you want to spend that amount of money on a set of strings. Are they as good as I expected given the price? Yes! So in summary, are they brilliant? Yes!
Here's Tim playing the strings on the Vuillaume violin: