Originally Posted by Mark Gollihur
We actually go out of our way to make it clear; for instance, our Solo A string for Evah Pirazzi is explicitly labeled:
"Single String: Pirastro Evah Pirazzi A1 String (SOLO GAUGE, G position)"
The "1" after the "A" indicates it's the "first" string (coming down from the top) and we also specify in parentheses, "SOLO GAUGE, G position," just in case you don't catch that distinction.
We also have an Solo Strings FAQ and a string buyer's guide to Solo Strings on the site to help you figure out solo strings. Feel free to use these free resources! And call if you have any questions.
THIS is why it makes so much sense to deal with a bass-specific, or at the very least bass-knowledgeable retailer. I haven't worked with the guys at Gollihur personally, but you will be hard pressed to find someone on here who has had a bad experience with them.
Guitar shops, or even big chain music stores with a "band and strings" or "orchestra" section in them RARELY have anyone who knows anything about bass. They often carry a very limited selection of strings and rosin, favouring D'Addario because the guitar side has a relationship with them etc. If you're lucky, they might have someone who plays violin on staff, but usually it's mostly wind players. (The one I'm thinking of does have a bassist on staff I went to university with, but this is an exception to the rule.)
Likewise, a reputable "violin family" shop that I have dealt with occasionally knows very little about bass. I applied to work for them years ago selling the fact that I have a bachelor's degree on bass, a burning interest in gear, play violin at a semi professional level, studied bow making and repair with the same teachers as the head of their repair shop, and having purchased a couple of (mid-high end) instruments from them. They hired another cellist. They obviously didn't care about bass related business, and there is a much more bass friendly shop in town they are giving it to.
With the internet, you don't have to subject yourself to this. There are a lot of great exclusively bass, or bass inclusive
shops out there. If you live somewhere where you can drive for a short while to get to one, it will definitely be worth the experience to stop in. If not many have a great or exclusively online presence, and will ship anything to you and usually still offer better prices than your other alternatives.
I am not saying we are all saints, but I have met a lot of bassists that have gone into the business side of things because they wanted to help fellow bassists and saw us as a void in the market. I have met a lot more viol(in)ists and cellists that feel defeated and jaded by having to
work in a string shop because they didn't make it on the audition circuit. Send your business to someone who cares about you, not just making a buck off of you. Start a relationship. You won't regret it.