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Alternative to metal strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Braksvenne, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. Braksvenne


    Aug 13, 2003

    I'm a beginner on the upright bass but have played bass guitar for 10 years.

    For my band's more acoustic oriented songs, i've started to play an old beat up upright. The metal strings on it are in pretty bad shape and I need to get new ones. Trouble is i could really use some more easily played strings. The metal strings are really stiff and hard to play.

    I remember trying another upright once, and it had much lighter non-metallic strings. Much easier to play.

    1. What kind of strings was that?
    2. Would the string type suit blues/country style playing/sound?
    3.Is it possible to use that type of strings together with a piezo bridge pickup?

  2. kip


    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca
    The Velvet Anima strings (go to velvetstrings.com)
    are gut strings with some copper looking wrap. low tension and easy to play, very good tone on my bass. There are other pure gut strings and those like the Velvet's that have a wrap that adds longevity to the string. I don't know brand names but you could check the newbie section, and perhaps some of our string guru's will respond.

    the Anima's work real well for blues or slap style.

    I use a Realist piezo style pickup with no problem.

    I think it would help the string experts if you further described your bass. Is it plywood or carved top. Do you know who or where it was made? stuff like that.
  3. I use Velvet Garbos, which are copper wrapped synthetic gut. They are quite soft and easy to play, and I play jazz, blues, country, rockabilly slap and latin. They work just fine for all those genres. Best of all, to me, they have a vintage upright bass sound, which I love. I've grown to dislike the modern, snarling, growling, metallic sound that most jazz players use now.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    "Innovation" strings are gut-like synthetic strings made very near to where I live - they are used by quite a few local Jazz players.

    I have heard the difference demonstrated by Arnie Somogyi -a great UK Jazz bass player. So - they look like black rubber - but sound great. Arnie mentioned how they get a very gut sound, but don't have the intonation problems of gut that he has usually experienced.

  5. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France

    Yes, you probably need new strings. Maybe Obligato (after some gut adventures, I'm back with them). Don't get whatever the closest music store has in stock: they usually don't know much about DB

    Whatever you get, it's very possible that it won't work, 'cause what the bass really needs is a new, fresh setup by a double bass luthier. Bring it to a luthier and discuss the various possiblities: new bridge (expensive), file the old one (cheaper) and the nut, finger board planning, etc. With the provision you do not run into any irreversible structural dammage, this could change the old beatup thing into a fine gigging bass, no kidding.

    Good luck, don't hesitate to discuss your options here.

    And you need a teacher too...