I recently bought an Azola EUB to use in the Latin Band I play with regularly. After some research and help from the TB-EUB forum members and Jill & Steve Azola, I learned that many Latin players use Spiro Weichs (or even detuned Spiro solos) on their EUBs. But why on earth use Spiro Weichs, particularly for that thick, but percussive, Latin sound?
Time for me to think a bit more objectively about them – they don’t seem to get much respect around here in the TB strings forum.
Criticisms are that they sound thin and nasal, are no good under the bow, long on sustain & short on tone, feel floppy, etc. But wait a minute. If I think about what I consider to be good contemporary Jazz bass sound, I come up with two players who’s sound I particularly like.
One is Tom Warrington
, a very melodic and lyrical player who sounds wonderful recorded
and equally great live, with a full tone and good, clear articulation. I had always thought that he used Spiro Mittels, but when speaking to him the other night (I’m lucky to get to see him regularly, as he lives in L.A.) I found out that he uses weichs. Thin sound, huh?
Another sound that I like is Brian Bromberg’s – quite different from Tom’s, and with a very different playing style, but equally fat and full range. Big growl too. Guess what, he uses weichs. And while it might be easy to attribute Brian’s sound to an old antique bass, Tom is using a ‘60s German bass. Hmmm.
And poor for arco? Well my old teacher did not profess to be an orchestral player, but he sounded great playing jazz-arco on the weichs he used. And my present teacher, Putter Smith, is a monster player both pizz and arco, and he uses weichs, albeit with a mittel E.
Of course I’m sure all these guys would sound great on a 2x4 and a bit of old string...it’s all in their hands and their musical sensibility, but they could use any strings they wanted and weichs don’t seem to be hurting their sound or technique.
And now I come to think of it, the two basses I particularly liked on my new-bass-hunt had Spiro weichs on them – an old German bass I mentioned in this thread
and an old French bass at World of Strings
in Long Beach that was just outside my price range and could not be bargained down. I was not accustomed to the weichs’ tension and thickness (or lack of), but certainly liked the sound on those basses.
So I guess I’ll be trying some Spiro Weichs on the EUB...does this make me a born-again Weich-er?