Harnessing the firepower of a legendary instrument


Larsen’s ‘Il Cannone’ violin strings, first produced in 2017, were inspired by the sound of the famous 1743 Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ once owned by Paganini and nicknamed ‘Il Cannone’ on account of its explosively powerful sound. ‘We wanted to offer players projection that didn’t compromise the warmth, clarity and focus of their tone,’ says Larsen product development manager Thomas Zwieg, introducing the manufacturer’s newest product – the ‘Il Cannone’ strings for cello. ‘Their sound has the same rich, expressive foundation,’ he adds, ‘but we have used what we learnt from producing the violin version to ensure our expertise allows cellists to play to their full potential.’

All four strings are available in two versions, ‘direct and focused’ and ‘warm and broad’. ‘Levels of tension are similar between the two sets,’ Zwieg explains, ‘so cellists can use the combination that best suits their playing. Trying out new pairings using trial and error is very expensive and impractical for many cellists, however, so we’ve engineered these strings to have a uniform effect on each other. Playing with a “warm and broad” D string will make a neighbouring “direct and focused” A string sound some way toward the “warm and broad” A, for example. You can control the tone of the whole instrument in a way that’s easy to predict.’

Both C and G strings have steel rope cores and tungsten windings, while both Ds and the ‘warm and broad’ A have solid steel cores and stainless steel windings. The ‘direct and focused’ A string uses what Zwieg describes only as ‘a unique material’ that Larsen is in the process of patenting. ‘Overall,’ he says, ‘the construction of the strings is rather traditional. The materials we have used are those we have most experience of working with. It’s a constant learning process, though; we’re always stretching what the components do and perfecting the finished result.’

Larsen ‘Il Cannone’ cello strings set from €300

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