1/2 strings on a small 3/4 bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by JKDelirium, Jan 13, 2022 at 2:03 PM.

  1. JKDelirium


    Mar 17, 2012
    Hi! Haven't actually posted on TalkBass for years, and I'm much more of an electric bass player myself, but my father has played jazz double bass for over 50 years, and now in his old age he's struggling with having to choose between high string tension which does not play well with his arthritis, and having a clean sound on his double bass.
    He's been looking everywhere for possible solutions, but likely wouldn't be finding these forums or asking the questions on here.
    I believe he uses Spirocore 3/4 Orchestra Light (so, 3885 Weich). His bass is on the smaller side of 3/4 basses, I believe a 40-inch scale. Do you think it would really be impossible to try and fit a 1/2 string set on there, like the Spirocore Solo 1/2 (3871, i think?) tuned to GDAE?
    I really hope there's some way to help him find a sweet spot between a lower string tension and still retaining some clarity in his sound.
  2. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I'm not an expert at TI strings, but I'd guess your father would be just as well off with 3/4 DB strings from TI instead of trying to fit 1/2 strings on a 3/4 DB...

    If what he's really looking for is lower tension, he might try 3/4 TI Spirocore Solos. Or if he also wants easier flexibility, he might want to look at 3/4 TI SuperFlexible Solos, although I'm not sure if they're specifically available in 3/4 size, or if they're only available in 4/4 size.

    With TI Spirocores when you go from 4/4 strings (S42) to 3/4 strings (3885), you also get in to thicker gauge strings. Something to check about is whether this may happen again when you go from 3/4 to 1/2 Spircores.

    Probably my best recommendation would be to give Gollihur Music a call, explain your father's situation and ask what would be best... Their service is great, they have a remarkable string selection and are very knowledgeable about them.

    In my older and more arthritic age, I'm using synthetic strings, but it sounds like your father is used to Spirocores, so might just want to stay with that direction.
  3. JKDelirium


    Mar 17, 2012
    Yeah, I don't believe he's willing to consider any brands outside of Thomastik, let alone switch to synthetic strings. Thank you for your input, however!
    He's been looking at both the 3/4 and 1/2 sets of the Spirocore Solos, and is afraid that the 3/4 isn't enough of a tension reduction to warrant tossing nearly 200€ into a new set of strings - as for the 1/2, they seem like they could be a proper fix for his issue, according to Thomastik's own maths about tension. That being said, he's also worried about the usable string length and whether the 1/2 string would actually even fit on his scale?
    dhergert likes this.
  4. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    The 1/2 size set would actually be higher tension at that string length. The absolute lowest tension Spirocores he could put on that bass would be the 4/4 (S42) solo set tuned to orchestra pitch.
    Seanto, salcott, TroyK and 2 others like this.
  5. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    His bass scale is about 5/8.
    A 3/4 Spiro solo-tuning set would provide a very significant amount of tension reduction, IMHO.
    salcott, TroyK and dhergert like this.
  6. Ludwig


    Aug 17, 2006
    Playing strings build for a longer scale on a smaller bass like 4/4 strings on 3/4 bass results in less tension, the sound at normal tension is to high, you have to lower the tension to get to normal pitch. Playing strings build for a smaler scale on a larger bass results in more tension. The strings for half size would be to low on a 3/4 bass at their regular tension, since the vibrating length is longer. You have to tune up (= put more tension on the string) to get to correct pitch.
    Get some 4/4 low tension Spiros or Solos to lower the strings tension, your thinking about the 1/2 Spiros is wrong.
    salcott, TroyK and dhergert like this.
  7. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Agree with the advice you are getting above. 1/2 sized strings on a 5/8 would be HIGHER tension IF they fit at all. Longer strings, shorter mensure, less tension.
    salcott likes this.
  8. JKDelirium


    Mar 17, 2012
    Having consulted with him, I got a little more information about what he meant about looking into the 1/2 strings.

    He's already tried out a 3/4 Solo set, and found them to end up feeling comfortable to play, but sounding dull after being tuned down to orchestral.
    Currently, he's using the 3/4 Weich Orchestra set, but feels they're a little too tense, despite the sound being much better.
    So his question would be whether the 1/2 solo would be a middle ground between the two.
    That being said, thanks to some input on here he's also looking into the Pirastro Perpetuals, so I'll see what he comes up with. Thanks everyone!
    dhergert likes this.
  9. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    I once had a 5/8 bass and bought a 1/2 set of Spirocores, just to find out they didn't fit, too short.
    VictorW126 and dhergert like this.
  10. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    That would be the Spiro Weich 4/4 set if he wants something slightly less tense than the Weich 3/4
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