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1/4 Size Bass, String Dilemma

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by lonote, Sep 8, 2005.


  1. Well, I just finished shaping a new adjustible bridge and now I plan to install new strings on my little Kay M-3 (1/4 size) this weekend. I play in a blues band and I won't be using a bow. I am looking for a warm tone, as "gut-like" as possible from steel strings. I am thinking D'Addario Helicores or Thomastik Spirocores would be good choices but I am asking for recommendations because I'm sure there are other choices which have eluded me. I am not fond of Red Labels, Stellars or "weedwacker" strings. I am somewhat limited in my choices because of the instrument's size. What strings would you recommend? Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Good ol' Flexocors are available in 1/4 size, and also Chromcors.
    Warm clean tone.
     
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I've only played Helicores in shops. In my limited experience with them, I don't care for them at all.

    Spirocores are an excellent pizz string if you like the spirocore sound. However, in no way would I describe those strings as "warm" or "gut-like."

    Of course all strings behave differently with different basses, but it's reasonably save to say Spirocores are equated with that modern jazz sound. They are used by orchestra players and other genre players as well, but I think the jazz guys are paying the bills on the spirocore.

    They have a great bite with a clean attack and a nice, middy growl. The strings are especially bright out of the pack and mellow out over a lonnnnng time.

    To me, they are the "stringiest" sounding string out there. The is very little or no swell or "puff" to the tone that you might equate with guts. Warm is not a word I would use with them, but I guess you'd get that if you had a really woody bass in the first place. I'm guessing probably not a ply.

    All that being said, I am struggling to think of a 1/4 string that will give you that sound in your head. Although, I have never shopped for the shorter strings, so I am not certain which are available in that size.

    Since 1/4 basses are generally marketed to students (think classical training), I would guess that most of the acro-focused strings would be available except perhaps the most expensive ones.
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Flexocors are deep toned like gut but have medium to high tension. Jaegars have even a darker gut-like tone and feel much softer under the fingers. Obligatos is another chioce too.
     
  5. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Jargars and Obligatos are not available in 1/4 size, Ken.
    There would be so much slack that it'd be impossible to fit them at the pegs.
     
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Since sizes are not exact, he sould measure the length of the Stringing from the Ball end to the lowest tuner post (E?) and see what we are talking about. I have wrapped many strings around the E post without a single problem over the years. Flexible core with softer strings should be no problem.
     
  7. Thanks so much, guys. I ordered a set of Heliocores after talking with Chris Quinn (Quinn's Violins). Until I know what I'm doing (assuming I ever will...) I decided to go with "tailor made" 1/4 size strings and Chris says the Heliocores will give me what I need.
     
  8. lejoueurbas

    lejoueurbas

    Jun 22, 2005
    Concord CA
    hi,
    i just recently had a new bridge and strings put on my kay m-3. i chose the Labella black nylon strings, which i purchased from quinn violin. great feel and sound.