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Advice for the Longtime Spirocore User

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Ric Vice, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    For most of my professional carrer I have used Tomastik Spirocore Weich Strings. Last year by I ended up installing Spirocore Mediums on the bass. The bass really responded to them so I left them on with good results. Recently, I installed
    a new set of string and decided to go back to the Weich's because
    that's the string that I'm most comfortable with. Frankly, they don't sound as good on my 5/8 Mirecourt Bass as the Orchestra Gauge Strings do, so I'm going to switch back.

    Now, the Spirocores sound great unless you decide to play arco.
    They just don't have that wonderful timber that Pirastros do. So, after doing a extensive research on past string threads I get the sense that Spirocores aren't the way to go, could Pirasto Jazzers be a good compromise? Opinions appreciated.

    I also realize that to get a nice round arco sound you have to give up some of the pizzicato suatain. I'm not particularly interested in real gut strings, but I would consider Pirastro Obligatos, or Tomastik Dominants. Heliocore Hybrids could also be a possibility. I'm open to suggestions and comments.

    Ric Vice
  2. I wouldn't recomend Heliocore Hybrids, for me they had a rubbery sound on the E and A strings. But that's just my hands and my bass, although I haven't heard a bass yet that pulls these strings off well.

    Just my $.02,

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I have had excellent results playing Helicore Hybrid Heavy gauge strings on all of the basses I have owned. They have a really dark sound but with clarity. Still, I will never go back to steel strings as long as Velvet is around!
  4. I think the ones I used were mediums. I thought they had a really good arco tone though.
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I have been extremely happy with my Pirastro Flat Chromesteels. They are similar to Obligato but with a metal core and feel stiffer. I'd speculate that they are also higher tension.

    They bow pretty well. I think the bowed tone is a little brighter than Obligatos, which I was using before, but also overall more powerful. Especially on the E and A.

    Pizz, they have a little more steel string sound than Obligato, and for a bowable string, they have remarkably good sustain.

    I know they get mixed reviews here at TB, but I have had excent results on my bass.
  6. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri


    I truly love the way that Pirastro's bow, when I was in college about a half century ago that's all we used. This is a possibity. I have a new old set of "Pirastro Jazz Bass" strings that I could try out. They don't manufacture them anymore so I'm hesitant to use them because if I like them they aren't avaliable. I'd prefer to find something that is still available. My wife's Knillling has Flexicor's on it, and although it's a kind of vintage pizz sound ala Oscar Pettiford. I like playing that bass. It's just a little to big my hands.

  7. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    I just put on some dominants last week and I am loving them. They work very well in the professional orchestral setting.
  8. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I appreciate you're comments as always. Unfortunately, for me I'm not sure that gut strings would be an option. I'm to used to the surface texture of steel strings, and for some reason my bass sounds better with higher tension strings, go figure? I've always wondered about Eudoxa Olives but since they cost a small fortune, I'll just keep on wondering. Eon's ago when I was in high school most of our school instruments had guts. It wasn't pretty. However they weren't Velvet's, just Labellas as I remember.

  9. Do you play pizz with them too? How do they sound pizz? I'm really interested in the Dominants.
  10. I was able to get a set of these about 20 years ago.
    They were basically a Flexocor string with a bit more sustain.
    No wonder why they discontinued it; it had no character in comparison to its competitor, the Spirocore.
  11. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Thanks for the insight. I guess that's why I've never put them on
    my bass. It seems that there dosen't appear to be a middle ground string somewhere between the Spirocore's and Pirastro's.

  12. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    I used a mixed set of G,D Flat Chromesteel and A,E Jazzer for a while. They matched really well on my bass and the Flat Chromesteel bowed really well, considering that they are a bright, sustainy kind of string. They had a very bright, clear, singing sort of arco tone. The Jazzers don't bow quite as well as the Flat Chromesteel, but I liked having that little extra brightness/sustain on the low strings. I also felt that Jazzers were a little better arco-wise than Spirocores (orch or weich).

    Oh yeah, be sure not to mix up Flat Chromesteel with Original Flat-Chrome. Two totally different strings.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    They sound wonderful for pizz - I'd put them up there with Spiro Starks as the punchiest and most powerful strings I've played. They have oodles of growl and sustain, but somehow a more "organic" sound than spiros.
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Well, I just ordered a set from Lemur. I'll give them a run around the block and see what I think. Pirastro's are quite a bit more pricey than Tomastiks, ouch.

    I have a concert in at the University of Evansville next weekend, but I'll most likely wait until after that to install them since I really don't like to experiment on a important gig. Thanks to everyone who has added their thoughs to this discussion, your help, as always was invaluable.

    I've just decided that it's time to play with the bow agian, because I really enjoy doing it. If I really like them, there will be a couple of sets of Brand new sets Tomastick's Mitten and Weich's up for grabs.

  15. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    The Thomastik Superflexibles are a nice alternative to Spirocore. They have a similar pizz and a darker arco. They grab the bow a little better too.

    I have tried every string you can imagine, and I always find myself coming back to Spirocore Orchestra strings. I learned on them and they are simply the sound I hear in my head, no matter how hard I try to hear something else!
  16. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I switched to Obligato D and G from Spiro Mittels a few weeks ago, and IMO, the sound is MUCH nicer. They bow very well, and, IMO, have made an incredible difference (positively!) with the pizz tone as well. However, as my hand strength and endurance still continues to build significantly (never realized how much learning a bebop head'll help with that!) I've found that they can..."fold," I guess is the best term. I dunno. You just reach a certain point of plucking, and if you go any harder, the string just flubs. When I first got 'em, the low tension was very much a boon, but lately I'm finding it a bit of a nuisance. Can't wait to try out the Flatchromesteel E and A soon! Also have a G I bought before the Obli's that I haven't put on yet. When the Obligatos die, or if I find the Flatchromesteel E and A to be a lot nicer, I'll slap on the G and buy a D as well.
  17. Chris, I just heard Clint Easwood, wow your bass sounds amazing! If I recall reading correctly you had Doms with a drop tuned Stark E right? The whole range of the bass sounds great, well of course it's a NS Lascala with a good player behind it. It's gonna give me a false expectation of the dominants. I need to remember it's only me playing them. :(
  18. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    The Dominants are way easier to bow than spirocores. Starting the note with the bow is significantly improved. They are still a bit scratchy sounding but I suspect that is more my touch than a characteristic of the strings.

    They are much easier on the hands especially the left. They are stretchier like gut core strings but very pitch stable.

    The pitz is big and dark. I don't tend to hit them as hard as Spirocores because they are so dark. I always like that big fat note and would pull the spiros a lot harder to get that big sounding note. Softer Pitz on spirocores gave me a brighter note with less bottom whereas the Dominant has a big round note even with pianissimo touch.

    My biggest complaint with them is that they can sound kind of "plastic" at higher amplified volumes. They don't have the Spirocore zing sound which at first I missed but it was worth trading for the big note.

    I think they sound usable right out of the package. Others disagree. I put a set on two hours before last nights gig. I did some extended warmup stuff and some long bows and then ran off to the gig. They were on my bass for just a couple days this summer last time I used them. I went back to the spiros because I was still digging what they did that i liked and they hadn't pissed me off enough to make a change and accommodate my style.

    They sounded great right on the downbeat, didn't break, and were pretty much pitch stable through the gig. They sit in a dense mix better than Spirocores. Last night I was in a 7pc band with acoustic guitar, electric guitar, dobro, Hammond B3, sax and myself and drums. Big mix to sit in and last time I did it with Spiros I got a bit dusted in the soup. This time I could hear all my lines without playing to loud. I ran my rig flat all the way across. I am always trying to EQ out some junk on the Spiros so that set it and forget it was a treat.

    I'm still going to try some Velvets and the Flexocors at some point. I can't help my insatiable curiosity.
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks Mike. :) Actually, that record was the last recording I did with a full set of Spiro Starks, and while I was very pleased with the results, I had to work at scooping the nasal Spirocore ****age out of the EQ spectrum in certain registers...plus, as good as the starks sound, you have to work like a bastard to pull that much sound out of them - I especially remember requesting a break to rest the bloody stumps that were my RH fingers after two takes of that tune on that session.

    The Dominants sound a good deal like the Starks, but without the same midrange "whine" that used to annoy me so much up around the octave on each string, and they're easier on the hands. The cut of "My Foolish Heart" on my soundclips page was done in my living room with the Dominants and no EQ fussing was required.

    Good luck, and I bet you'll dig 'em when they get there. :)
  20. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    How would you describe the differences between Superflex. and Spiro Orch.?

    I have Superflex. on right now and I'm thinking of going to Spiro orch.