Best C extension string for orchestra

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Freud_Chicken, Jan 20, 2023.

  1. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    Just wondering what peoples' thoughts are on the best orchestra extension string. Looking for something with enough tension so as to not give way under the bow, but also starts very easily.

    I've used belcanto which i like for the tension but is a bit 'non' sounding, flex deluxe which is a bit mid-heavy for me, flexocore 92 stark which gave way too much under the bow, mittel and stark passiones - same issue as above. Currently using a permanent ext which is good tension but can have trouble starting under the bow.

    Does the spiro extension speak easily under the bow?
     
  2. I've asked the moderator to move this to the "Double Bass" side. ;)
     
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  3. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    Oh thanks, didnt even know!
     
  4. Notaluthier

    Notaluthier

    Oct 7, 2021
    My teacher uses a spiro B that sounds amazing, not sure about extensions though.
     
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  5. mjt0229

    mjt0229 Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    Spiro or Permanent are classic choices. I like both Spiro Mittel and Spiro Weich on my bass but if your bass likes tension try a Stark. I am currently using a Weich for my E/C and A, with Bel Canto D and G. The E is great. I have also used Mittel E and A and they work fine too, but I think my bass prefers the Weich.
     
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  6. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    Thanks! Are you able to compare the mittel/weich spiro in tension and ease of bowing? I really don't want something that's going to dip under the bow for things like heavy spiccato so i'm assuming the mittel might be more what i'm after.. My string length is 41.5 so pretty standard.

    Do the spiros start easily? I've tried the A and it was almost unplayable, whereas i have a small bass with spiro solo 1/2s on and the A is equally unplayable, whereas the E is just an incredible string and starts under the bow like magic...

    Many thanks for the input, extensions are an expensive thing to experiment with...
     
  7. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    If it helps to compare them to, i've tried flex deluxe, belcanto, permanent and passione stark extensions.

    The flex deluxe and permanent were around the kind of tightness that i'm looking for, i'd even go slightly tighter but probably no looser.
     
  8. chaurett

    chaurett Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Storrs Mansfield
    I’ve settled on Kaplan for my ext C. Permanent and Spiro were too metallic and inconsistent to start. Passione was too mellow. Flex Deluxe is my second favorite but I also do find it a little mid heavy. The Kaplan has just the right amount of bite on my bass. I’ve settled on medium because the tension matches better with the Passione starks I use for A, D, & G. Medium is similar in tension to Flex deluxe. The heavy has a little more power but is harder to start.

    It’s so bass dependent though. Some basses sound amazing with a spiro C…
     
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  9. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    Aha! The kaplan was actually the other one i was interested in, so many people have great things to say about them.

    Sounds like you have similar feelings to the permanent as me - too metallic and kind of inconsistent to start. Did you find the spiro any easier to bow at all than the permanent or was it much of a muchness?
     
  10. chaurett

    chaurett Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Storrs Mansfield
    For me Spirocore has the same same metallic edge as Permenant but was scratchier under the bow and harder to start consistently.
     
  11. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    That's great to know, thankyou.
     
  12. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    IME and on my bass, the Spiro Weich extension string articulates really well and has a good bite/punch to the start of notes (while still matching quite well the darker Belcanto A, D and G). As always and as others have said, a lot depends on the individual bass, the individual age of the strings, etc.
     
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  13. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I haven't tried many of these strings people are mentioning. I used Oblis for 20 years before recently switching to Tempera, which I'm pretty sure will be the last string I will ever use. Lot's of money, but their power, clarity, and expressiveness are beyond imagination.

    Note about Spiro E/C though. What they sell as a long E Mittel is actually a Stark. Not sure why they do this. If the long E (or others for that matter) are too heavy to speak easily then there are other options besides Weich, which is too light for many. A solo set tuned at orchestra pitch is actually a bit heavier, and a 4/4 orchestra set is a bit lighter than a 3/4 Mittel set. They have a pretty comprehensive tension chart on their website, and this is a string which allows for a lot of experimentation without breaking the bank. There is probably no other string which is so durable, so buying used is not risky.

    Although not many people use Spiros for orchestra, there are some top players who do, and I think that the string is quite useful for bowing if the right tensions are chosen.

    Homer Mensch used Spiro solos tuned to EADG when I was studying under him. He was doing mostly recording work then. He said that when you have headphones on, you appreciate the importance of a precise attack in a way that you don't when playing in a section. I think that he developed a unique bow technique based upon this idea, and, while it took me a very long time, I think I did absorb much of it. I don't see the ace younger players using his bow grip though...
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2023
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  14. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    Cheers Phil.

    Edit: Im currently using a flex original A which i absolutely love - do you think the weich would be more bendy under the bow than that? I love the belcanto g and d (currently using them) but the A is just far too flexible and dull for my taste and the flex orig suits tonally really well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2023
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  15. mjt0229

    mjt0229 Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I don't find the Spiros particularly metallic or particularly hard to start. On my Kimmel, both the Weich and the Mittel E/C sound great and started well. The Mittel is probably a bit louder, but my bass seems to overall prefer the lower tension of the Weich.

    The Spiro Mittel A is a story in itself - it was a little wolfy for me, but it's a cannon once it's going. The Weich A-E/C combination compromises a little volume but addresses the wolf situation.

    I have also had Corelli 370Ms and Perpetuals on the Kimmel. The Corellis weren't loud enough in orchestra. The Perpetuals are extremely loud but also a bit too metallic for me. The E by itself might be okay.

    On my Arvi, I actually rather like Flex Deluxe straight across, including the extension string, although it's also worn Spiros and Permanents. The Kimmel doesn't like Flex Deluxes, although those had previously been my favorite strings, so it took a bit of experimentation to come up with the combination I'm running now.
     
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  16. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    I heard someone play on the temperas recently and they sounded incredible.

    Yea, not sure why thomastik do that with the mittels, the tension on the website comes in at a whopping 38 kg on the C. Always tough to know how that will relate to the playability though. I imagine you could hold up the golden gate bridge with a few of them.
     
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  17. Bruce Calin

    Bruce Calin

    Oct 15, 2002
    I recently put on an old Superflex as an experiment. I used to use the entire set until their stiffness got to be too much. It's working okay, easy enough to start and not too metallic, which my bass doesn't like. I'll leave it on for a while, although I have a Kaplan that I may try at some point.
     
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  18. Freud_Chicken

    Freud_Chicken

    May 11, 2018
    I've had no experience with the superflex - never even seen one in person. Can you compare to any other strings?

    Let us know how you get on with the kaplan, that's at the top of my list atm
     
  19. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    :laugh::laugh::laugh:

    Oh man. I don't know where to start. Although Germans and Austrians are masters of engineering, they can be pretty bad at simple science and math. When you mention a C-Extension here, you often get a comment about the added tension and down-force on the top. Mensch! Your tension and down-force won't change unless you increase the string tension, which is exactly what Thomastik does. I don't think any other manufacturers do this.

    For me the most amazing thing is that even though the C-Extension was invented in Germany like 130 years ago, it never caught on here, and the fiver became the standard for orchestra. OK. Not all fivers totally suck, but playing a low C on that 106cm bridge cable compared to playing a normal E diameter 133cm open low C on a four stringer with extension? Anyone who says that the latter doesn't sound way better is also posting stuff about the evils of 5G from his mother's basement. I played for years on a Pöllmann Bussetto 5 string in a German orchestra. It really responded well under the bow, and was easy to control articulation. The downside? The lowest notes were muddy, and to produce a real FF you had to gorilla the bow right at the bridge. I always had a sore shoulder. The other guys played more tasto. I never figured out how they got sound, but they did. I didn't like the sound they produced however.
     
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  20. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Superflexible extension C string is the heaviest double bass string thats not custom made. I'm actually mad they don't make a spiro that tension.

    someone mentioned that the spiro extension string is as heavy as a stark, thats just not true. while it may look like that on paper, it doesn't actually match it. it may match the 3/4 tension spiro. I had stark E medium ADG on my bass before adding an extension and noticed quite a big jump in tension when playing the medium long E/C. I asked thomastik many times to make an extension stark but they always said no.

    For orchestra playing i'd stick to a spiro on the E string as it just gets better with age. spiro long E and belcantos are what most guys in the louisiana philharmonic are using, i know some use weich some use medium.
     
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