The Amber E string by Warchal is a step forward in E string design. In the past century there have not been too many changes in E strings. They are manufactured to be wound strings, or single steel wires that are sometimes coated in different metals such as gold, tin, and titanium. The Warchal Amber E is claimed to have:
The string is a stainless steel wire just like the majority of other strings on the market. What makes this different is it’s design (patent pending). When you place the string on an instrument there is a spiral that begins just after the bridge on the side you bow. Initially I was concerned that the string would feel strange under my fingers. After tightening the string (which you can watch in the video above) the spiral straightens out within the first quarter of the length between the bridge and nut, on a high E two octaves above the open string. The feeling of a twisted string is only noticeable if you slide you finger over it, and since it is at the very end of the fingerboard you will most likely never feel the spiral while playing.
Bowing feels the same as any other wire string. The bow goes right over the spiral without any noticeable difference.
The surprising highlight of playing the Amber E string is playing pizzicato. Pizzicato on an E string always tends to be bright, and not very resonant. The Amber E resonates amazingly well. I actually enjoyed the sound of plucking the open E string. If you find yourself doing a lot of pizzicato than this is the perfect solution for blending with your other strings.
In response to the manufacturers claims:
1. Greater dynamic range. No irritating overtones are generated, all energy is transformed into sound of the highest quality.
The string handles quiet and loud tones equally as well. There are E strings on the market with more projection, and strings with less. This one seems to fit nicely in between.
2. Warmer sound which blends perfectly with synthetic or gut core A, D and G strings. There is no audible metallic edge, although the string is made of a special steel alloy.
This string is not super warm, but it is their “Forte” model which is intended to be better suited with brighter strings. For this review I paired the Amber E with a set of Infeld Blue by Thomastik. It fits nicely with the brighter tone. The Forte model would probably be a bit too warm if paired with a set of steel core strings.
3. Less tension. The unique formula offers more sound at a lower tension. Easier tuning. Due to its excellent elasticity, the string can be tuned by fine tuner as well as by peg.
The string has a lower tension than most. I prefer to use a shorter bridge and I still struggle to press down some E strings in the highest positions. This has not been a problem with the Amber E for me.
4. The string is softer under the finger and intonation is more precise. The Amber E doesn't raise its pitch when pressed towards the fingerboard as an ordinary E string does.
Some thin wire strings end up pressing quite uncomfortably against my fingers while the Amber E does feel much nicer. I wouldn’t say that the pitch is not altered when pressing down on the E string. There is a slight change, but a great deal less than a regular wire E string.
5. No whistling.
This is the big one. “No whistling” is the claim. Let me say it delivers. I spent quite awhile trying to force the string to whistle, and I never got it once.
The Amber E keeps the clarity of wire E strings, and adds in the whistle preventing abilities of wound E strings. With the market of available violin strings growing every year it is nice to see a company think outside the box, and try something completely new. There is a noticeable warmth in the tone, especially when the sting is plucked. Being able to fly into string crossings and chords that require an open E without the fear of a whistle is a huge relief. With the price of the single string being around $10 (as of the date of this review) it is definitely worth a look for beginners and professionals alike.
Previous Spotlight Reviews
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Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin
Standard vs. Harp Tailpiece
Electric Violin Comparison
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Vision Strings (Thomastic-Infeld)
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Amber Viola (Warchal)
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Capriccio Soloist (Dogal)
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Russian Style A (Warchal)
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Red Label Pearl (Super-Sensitive)
Amber - Full Set (Warchal)
Amber - Forte E (Warchal)