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Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by moped10, Apr 23, 2003.


  1. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    After reading some the never-ending-story on string height, I finally measured mine- Looks like 9mm (6/16 inches) on the G, 10mm on the D, 12mm on the A, and 10mm on the E- Am I asking for crazy for keeping my string height this high? I play Thomastik superflexibles (rope core) on the G and D and still have supernils on E and A- I get good volume and sustain and play acoustic in my Django style combo and Hawaiian jazz combo- I don't want to compromise my sound and "dig-in" ability by lowering my action- But I also don't want to be unwittingly setting myself up for tendonitis- Then again, I've built up some good callusses and meaty hands, so maybe I should just spend more time playing instead of reading these forums (?) - Anyone?
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It depends on what styles you play and what your goals are. If you're just gonna be pounding out root-five all day long, you should be okay. If you want to start soloing in 8th notes over "Moment's Notice", you might want to lower your strings a bit. Is that any help?
     
  3. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    At this height, I'm still comfortable playing "So What" and other such bouncey melodies, as well as walking fairly fast- I think with continued practice I could get my speed up to Leroy Vinnegar tempos- Didn't Mingus, Wellman Braud, Paul Chambers, etc. have higher action and fast chops?
     
  4. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    At this height, I'm still comfortable playing "So What" and other such bouncey melodies, as well as walking fairly fast- I think with continued practice I could get my speed up to Leroy Vinnegar tempos- Didn't Mingus, Wellman Braud, Paul Chambers, etc. have higher action and fast chops?
     
  5. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Yes, but their strings didn't have the tension of SUPERINFLEXIBLES, as they were gut.

    Seriously, I have high action, but I use gut. I can play fast stuff, but the feel is similar to heavy stiff steel strings at a lower action. If I lower them, they are flabby and hard to play as rapidly.

    Monte
     
  6. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    Thanks Monte, that's what I figured regarding guts' flexibility- I wouldn't know myself since I haven't had the pleasure of playing any yet- (My wife hasn't given me more string purchase clearance yet)-I think I'd miss the sustain these Thomastiks give- superINflexibles?
    They're not THAT tough- Maybe if you have those baby soft gut spoiled fingers...;)
    How's your tone and projection with gut? I know I could dig it up on a string link, but since I've got your ear...
     
  7. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Is there a steel string with flexibility similiar to gut strings?
     
  8. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    I no longer have to use hot pads with these fingers; they are anything but soft....... :D

    Actually, the point you seem to have missed is that gut + high action is going to feel about the same tension wise as steel + lowered action. I was a long time user of Spirocores before hand, and they weren't any harder on the hands; if anything, possibly a little easier than the Eudoxa at the height I have them now.

    As far as sustain, I have more of an old school Mingus type sound, but through good amplification I have as much sustain as I want. It is really in the left hand, not the string. Some steel strings have an exaggerated mwaahhh sound which I don't care for in my sound. Usually found on players with lower action like Brian Bromberg or NHOP. I can sustain a nice long tone, so it isn't choked sounding or anything.

    Gut isn't perfect or for everyone. It gets me closest to the sound I hear in my head. I hear people occasionally make statements that would lead you to believe that steel strings are louder than gut; I disagree. The string itself might be louder, but on a bass that likes lower tension combined with a higher action, gut can really move the belly. I KNOW the bass I use is louder with gut. Last year while playing in an orchestra I was projecting much louder and further than the other 3 guys all using Helicores (not a good thing considering my marginal legit chops:rolleyes: ). That experience alone prompted the principal, who was my teacher, to switch to Olivs for his D & G.

    In general, gut MAY not sound as loud under your ear. Dave K and I have both observed this phenomenon. Since gut lacks some of the overtones of steel, it is mostly fundamental, which isn't as bright but sure carries. It makes me play acoustic in a lot more rooms than I used to.

    Take this in the spirit of what it is offered, which is only my experience. If you like a lower action, which does allow for greater facility no matter what the tension is, gut is probably not for you. I choose to give up some of that facility, and I don't miss it. It makes me choose my notes more carefully. Some time I should scan this deal Thad Jones wrote on technique and creativity, which hit home to me. Basically, Thad says if you have more technique than you need, you tend to b.s. more since your brain is not keeping up with your fingers.
    But that is for another discussion. I have enough facility with get and high action to keep up with a few bebop nuts around here who love fast rhythm changes, and that is enough for me.

    Hope this helps.

    Monte
     
  9. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Not in my experience. The closest I've found was the perlon core Supersensitive Sensicore, but I've heard they don't really last very long.

    People claim that Obligatos do, but that differs from my experience the few times I've played other basses with them. Tension measurements don't show them to be all that low of tension; certainly nowhere near gut.

    Monte
     
  10. moped10

    moped10

    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    Well put- I also think that "bounce" when walking (like the old Ellington bassist, Jimmy Blanton) is what I tend to do with higher action- Know what I mean?


    If this is the case, then gut is what I'm after; that subsonic boom! It may not be loud standing in front of it, but you can feel it more in the floor, right? Or something like that?
     
  11. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Exactly; depending on what your technique level is. It won't matter what strings you use until you develop the technique to pull that sound out. It isn't all about power and finger strength, although that does play a role. I gave some pros and cons of gut here

    The time I noticed the boom the most was when I was warming up for a concert. I kept hearing a rattle, and when my teacher and I tried to track it down, it turned out that I was rattling a Manhasset stand with a loose screw from over 15' away!! Now that's power :)

    Now I routinely hear things in my practice room rattle when I'm practicing jazz; I had to take a mirror out because I could never muffle it and it drove me nuts.

    Monte