In 1967, John Cavanaugh and his father, Vincent Cavanaugh, bought a Chicago company that since 1930 had manufactured strings for violins, cellos, basses and violas. Five years later, the business moved to Sarasota, where John opened a research and development department to keep pace with advances in technology, which included the widespread adoption of strings made from synthetic composites. In 1997, John’s son, Jim Cavanaugh, became a vice president at the firm, and in 2008, took over as president. Super-Sensitive Musical String Co. makes 2 million strings each year and supplies some of the world’s top musicians.
Super-Sensitive strings are made from nickel, copper, aluminum, chromium, silver, tungsten, nylons, various alloys, stainless steel and gold.
The diameter of the strings changes depending on the size of the instrument. Smaller instruments require strings with a larger diameter to increase tension.
Jim Cavanaugh and his wife, Susan Cavanaugh, now own Super-Sensitive Musical String Co. Jim’s father, John, is still involved, and comes to its east Sarasota facility for a few hours each day.
25 Number of Super-Sensitive employees
Manufacturing a violin string takes two minutes. Making a bass string takes six.
No. 1 The company’s Red Label strings are tops in the nation for student players. They’re also the company’s best-selling product.
In addition to strings for classical instruments, Super-Sensitive makes strings designed for fiddles and accessories such as polish, rosin and teaching aids.
Prominent jazz and classical players such as Yehudi Menuhin and Milt Hinton, pop acts like Alicia Enstrom and country artists like Charlie Daniels have all endorsed Super-Sensitive Strings.