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All plain gut bridge setup

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Reiska, Dec 7, 2018.


  1. Reiska

    Reiska Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hello all. I`m having a new bridge fitted next week and as I`ve been back to plain gut ADG lately I`m wondering if I should give the plain E another change. My problem with it was / is that my existing bridge wouldn`t go high enough to give it the break angle / room it needs. While I`m pretty sure about the individual string heights on the plain ADG / low tension E string setup, that gives the best feel of perceived tension for pizz with room to bow those fat strings, the plain E messes my calculations. It needs to be set very high to work properly, I`m talking at least 16mm`s.

    My biggest concern is bowability and perceived pizz tension balance across the set. For pizz feel the best solution would be 2 mm difference in string heights, like G 10mm D 12mm A 14mm E 16mm, but this makes me worried about bowability as the lower strings are super fat gauge, E is 4,6mm and A 3,7mm. I`ve tried the E a couple of times with it set only 0,5mm higher than the A and that was totally bowable, but it was obvious that the E needs to be set considerably higher for pizz. I wouldn`t want my G string a lot higher than 10mm`s, as it starts to feel tense over that, but the D and A are more forgiving in this regard.

    So, what are your experiences ( if any? ) on playing / setting up all plain gut for pizz and arco? My luthier who`s going to fit the bridge is aware that I`m considering full set of plain guts, but was too busy to discuss it in detail when I scheduled the prochedure.

    Many thanks in advance, Reiska
     
  2. Co.

    Co.

    Sep 10, 2006
    Germany
    You strings don't need to be that high, if you use higher tension strings.
    I use 4,6mm as an A string (Pure Corde heavy). The plain E in the Pure Corde heavy set would be 6mm. No need for super high action, still easy to play, huge volume, great articulation.
     
    Reiska and Povl Carstensen like this.
  3. I would second the about 2 mm difference in heights. Then there is also the slight problem, that a higher string gives a bit less percieved room to strike/pull the adjacent (A in this case) string. Perhaps I am oversensitive about this, but in chasing the sort of uniform feel across all four strings, I think it plays a role.
    Actually I have also thought about compensating for the difference in string thickness (specially for plain gut) in the string spacing. So that if your distance between string slots (centers) is 28 mm's, I would keep that between the D and A slots. But have 27 mm's between G and D, and 29 mm's between A and E. That way, the distance "between" strings would be more even. I wonder if anyone has ever done that...
    PS: Have never heard about the "Pure Corde" strings, would love to hear more about them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    Reiska likes this.
  4. Co.

    Co.

    Sep 10, 2006
    Germany
    Here you can find out about them: gut strings, violin,viola,cello,viola da gamba..
    I've played them for a couple of years now on baroque double bass and violone in G and am quite happy with them.
     
    Povl Carstensen and Reiska like this.
  5. Reiska

    Reiska Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Thank you both!!!

    @Povl Carstensen , do you play arco? I`m interested as my strings are Efrano mediums, as are yours if I recall. I actually checked a couple of your vids in the YT ( had to really search for them as you seem to be pretty busy comedian, pity that I don`t understand danish :) ), great tone! I thought about the string spacing too, as wider makes more room for arco and as the strings are low tension, wider spacing wouldn`t propably affect the left hand feel negatively. Have to discuss this with my luthier anyway.

    @Co. , Have to check the Pure Corde spages. Do you play pizz on your plain gut setup? I`m worried about pizz sustain with such thick strings. However, I`ve tried plain gut ADG in solo tuning BEA and that worked really well both pizz and arco, actually pizz sustain on the fatter strings was longer than in orch tuning. Anyway, if the string heights are starting from 10-ish mm`s on the G I have no problem. Actually, for pizz playing, that`s what I`m used to. Generally, strings beeing higher ain`t a problem, but uneven pizz balance and floppiness is. And then there`s everything about bowability, other strings getting in the way when stopping notes.

    Efrano mediums are great for arco playing! I`ve tried the A string with different gut uppers, but the full Efrano ADG gives the most balanced tone and feel, both pizz and arco. Pizz, they are darker and thumpier than other plain guts I have / have tried.

    I`m still a bit on the fence with the plain E, but have the itch to try it out on a dedicated setup. If I decide to not live with it, then it`s possible to redo the arching of the bridge for plain ADG / low tension E. Impossible to do this another way around.
     
  6. Whatever you end up with, hit me with a pm when you ready. Wanna try playin that bass.
     
    Reiska likes this.
  7. Co.

    Co.

    Sep 10, 2006
    Germany
    I occasionally play pizz on gut, but I really prefer steel string for that. I've played a little bit of traditional music on the baroque double bass and a bit of improv on the G Violone, so pizz yes, jazz no.
    There might be better guts for jazz. I just wanted to reference another manufacturer's gauges. For me, Efrano's gauges are way too small, to get the bass to speak cleanly and have some dynamic headroom.
    That said, I played a couple of low wound strings from Efrano, that I actually liked. And they are about half the price of Pure Corde strings, for example.
     
    Reiska likes this.
  8. Reiska

    Reiska Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    @Co. Just to be clear, I don`t play jazz either, but I can say that I`m a pizz oriented bassist. I play in a folk setting with a heavy traditional american influence, and thumpy old school pizz tone fits the music really well. Another side of what I do is improvised music, and I love guts in that context. I checked out the Pure Corde website, it surely looks interesting. Moneys too tight to buy strings at the time, but I might experiment with heavier tension on what I allready have. I thought that if I decide to stay with all plain guts I`ll order Gamut Pistoys when I get the money together. Anyway, thanks for the information, it`s good to have options as I`m looking for a set that would serve me for a long, long time. Boutique gut surely ain`t cheap!

    @arto alho , I`ll hit you with a PM later!
     
  9. Can't the tailpiece be made to change the angle and thus tension without changing the string height?
     
    Reiska likes this.
  10. No, I do not play arco since perhaps 30 years. In fact I have just started a search for my bow, which seems to have dissappeared. My current set is Lenzner EAD and a swach Efrano G. I am considering buying the Efrano swach EAD soon, to compare with the Lenzners. And then perhaps afterwards experiment with higher tension Efranos, mainly at the EAD strings, where the most floppiness seem to occur. It seems to me that the Lenzner set has a falling tension from G to E string. And thanks for the nice words!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
    Reiska likes this.
  11. Reiska

    Reiska Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Saddle could be lowered and it propably would have similar effect as stringing D and A from the upside of the tailpiece, which i don`t like to do anymore. I have thought about this, I think it would be best to decrease the saddle height close to zero for greatest effect. Then again, I don`t know if it would mess up the feel of G string.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  12. If the bowing angle gets too small because of the larger diameter difference of naked gut put the inner strings higher and the bowing angle gets bigger. So the A might get as high as the E, but the G can still be low. The string height difference doesn't need to be the same between all string neighbors.
     
    Reiska likes this.
  13. Reiska

    Reiska Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Thanks! I`m allready used to do that as plain A`s and D`s generally need more room for pizz than G`s or synthetic E`s I`ve used. However, let`s see, this might get too complicated with plain E.
     
  14. Co.

    Co.

    Sep 10, 2006
    Germany
    For bowing clearance, the E string can actually be pretty low, because there is only one neighbour string. So if you have accessible c-bouts, there shouldn't be a problem to bow the E string. If it then is too low for higher dynamics, this can be adressed by a different fingerboard setup. There was a reason for these Romberg bevels.
     
  15. Reiska

    Reiska Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Thanks for suggestions! The bridge will be fitted on monday and I decided to go with plain gut GDA / Evah slap E.
     
    JLubinsky-Mast likes this.
  16. I am also planning to work on my bridge set-up/strings in the christmas holliday. To get as close as possible to that elusive, softish, uniform feel across strings, with as egal (can you say that?) sound as possible too. Have ordered E-A-D swach strings from Efrano, but their site says there is 6 weeks delivery time. They have however surprised me before with being faster than announced.
     
    Reiska likes this.
  17. Reiska

    Reiska Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Let us know what kind of setup you ended up with! Efrano propably makes mediums as default and other gauges by request, I waited for my swach G for a couple of weeks if I recall. I like my Efrano mediums. They have their drawbacks like every string does, they`re not a practise room gut string if that makes sense. They`re darker, livelier and more temperamental than other guts I have tried / played, and they like to be jacked up relatively high. They also seem to have longer break in-perioid. I quess this has to with their rougher finish. However, in the mix their pizz tone is great, they slap really well and bow like a dream. I really like the gauges and tension match between medium ADG ( A 3,7mm, D 2,85mm, G 2,2mm ). I just checked yesterday what my set of Efrano ADG / EP slap E costs when delivered here from Bassico Germany, and total cost is 250 €.
    I`m not ruling out boutique gut, but have no any kind of rush in getting some. I decided to not get too crazy with my string heights, action would be 9 - 13mm -ish.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
    Povl Carstensen likes this.

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