|violin strings, used and new, coiled on a workbench (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
It was a disgusting painstaking job and thank heavens that era is behind us. Modern strings today are made with far easier and modern methods, although some players still use gut strings there are also now steel core strings and synthetic core strings. The type of strings you use will depend on the style of music that you play.
Gut strings today are not made entirely out of gut like in the old days; they are now wrapped with silver or copper wire which helps to stabilize the tone. Gut strings have a warm rich tone they take longer to stretch out than synthetics but once stretched out are generally quite stable. Gut strings are susceptible to bad weather and you will have to check the tuning of your violin if there is bad weather. Gut strings are generally used by violinists playing classical or baroque music.
Steel core strings are popular among non-classical players such as that playing country and bluegrass styles of music. Steel core strings have a very direct clear sound with few overtones. They also last longer and are mostly used for smaller or beginner instruments.
Synthetic core strings are made from synthetic materials such as high-tech nylons and composite materials they have the warm sound qualities of gut but are more stable in pitch.
Thicker strings give more volume and center tones, while thinner strings give brighter tones but less sustain.