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Between Dominant and Flexocore

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by B. Graham, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I am really starting to hate the string selection process. But I hope we can all stand to keep reading these string threads and try to help each other out.

    I'm trying to find something between the traits of Dominant's and Flexocore 92's. Here are my thoughts thus far, based on my ear, and I'd appreciate any ideas someone wants to throw out there in regards a string that lands in the middle of these two sets.


    Deep fundamental
    Pretty good arco
    Pretty good pizz
    A little too bright with the bow
    Bigger gauge (which I like)

    Flexocore 92:

    Quieter than Dominant
    Better arco
    Not that great of a pizz tone
    Rich and smooth with the bow
    Smaller gauge (I have a stark E and regular A, D, G)

    I have one bass, an Eastman VB305, so the luuxury of a pizz bass and an arco bass is not possible. The Eastman is a fairly big sounding carved bass, so I certainly want to capitalize on that when selecting strings.

    Already tried (on this bass):

    Spirocore Mittel
    Flat Chromesteel
    Velvet Anima

    Still want to try:

    Velvet Compas 180

  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  3. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Tried them on two previous basses: '39 Kay C-1 and a Shen SB80. I don't recall being thrilled, but of course the Eastman I have now isn't the same as the earlier basss.

    Thanks Mr. Lloyd.
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Are you judging from what you hear under your ear or is someone going out 20-50 feet away and listening as you play?

    I have two Basses in my rack that I currently use with the exact same strings except one has a 'C' Ext. As you play them, one sounds louder and deeper from 5-10 feet away. Move down about 20-30 feet and the quieter Bass is actually as loud if not louder and about 4x thicker sounding.

    Look at these two Basses and try guessing which is the louder deeper sounding Bass. The Strings by the way are the Flex 92s/Stark set.


    I use both Basses for Orchestra playing but I can play Jazz on them if I need to. You won't get that Ron Carter Banjo twang from either of these Italian Basses. It's more like that older Ray Brown sound when he had the big Bass with the holes in the tuner handles.

    Look at the specs of these two Basses currently with the exact same strings and try to guess which sounds better for what style.

    Sometimes you need to have a friend listen to the Bass from a distance that also plays and then have him play as you listen. Two heads (4 ears) are better than one (2 ears)!
  5. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Typically, the aural resources I have available to me are the surfaces in my house. I play in the living room with carpet and adjust my location to various distances from the wall, and then facing into a corner. Then I'll move to the dining room with hard wood floors and use the same tractics.

    That's about all I've got. My wife is tired of trying to explain to me what this all sounds like, and me being frustrated with her descriptions.

    Lastly, some recording gear is available, but I don't usually have the time to get it all going with a couple of small kids in the house as well.
  6. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Were these instruments mine, I would have chosen to put the extension on the bass that was more suited for orchestra playing. So, I assume that the Martini is more of the orchestra bass than the other.
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Both are suited for Orchestra. I just got the Loveri recently while the Martini was already at Arnolds getting the Extension. If I didn't have the Martini I might put the Extension on the Loveri except the False nut I just did makes it more of a Challenge. I have seen one Bass posted here, a Tonneges (spelling?) that had an extended nut and C-extension. I would probably not put the extension on the Loveri unless it was my only Bass.

    Therefore, I am not telling yet which is the louder deeper Bass as your guess has timing affecting the decision.

    As for your string question, call a friend next time you want to compare things. Let your wife have a break, trust me on that one. One of the Subs in my Orchestra uses the Velvets and they have a deep sound. His Bass is a Juzek/Wilfer plainish gamba 3/4 model. When I tried his Bass, the strings felt scratchy to me with the Bow. I once had them on my Gilkes and Shen Bass. I couldn't get them off the Bass fast enough. My first reaction was to sell the Gilkes until I put back my Flexocors or Flex/Perm mix. I think you can save your money on those but I don't see Obligatos on your list. Go for tone first and volume later. As far as Pizz tone, are you really looking for Tone or Buzz? Tone fills out the room, Buzz fizzles out and has no tone at all to my ear.
  8. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Looking for tone. Don't care a lot about the buzz. If I'm playing elec. fretless I'll go for the Mick Karn and Percy Jones thing like the next guy, but that's not what I'm after with the upright right now.

    I used Obligato's on the Kay for a time, and they sounded nice for pizz and arco, but rolled around too much for me. That was a few years ago. I don't know if they've changed them any or not.

    So far, the Dominant's have a tone that I've liked but if they were a tad less brilliant sounding, they'd be just right.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Dominants get more "brilliant" the more tension you put on them with your string height. If you like having enough height to dig in, but prefer the darker sound of slightly looser strings, how about Dominant solos?

    Also, I find the regular Dominants to have the best pizz sound I've yet heard. What have you used that ranks them as "pretty good" for pizz"?
  10. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    Maybe Kolstien's Heritage. Maybe.

    To clarify the following I have never used Dominants or the Flex 92's. I'm merely commenting on the idea of getting a good pizz and arco sound and what has worked for me.

    I've had them on for almost a 8 months and I'm really starting to love them. I'm playing a lot of jazz and classical music at school and these strings get positive comments from both my jazz and classical teacher. The may be worth a look. I do have a Spirocore Orch. E with the rest Heritage.
  11. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I've not tried the solos. The Dominant's are loud enough I don't feel too much need to really dig in.

    As far as the pizz ranking, I guess I should have said pretty darn good. I actually didn't expect them to be, as I understood them to be more of an acro string.

    So, the pizz of Dominant's and a darker color, but not as dark as the Flexocore's. But man, the Flexocore's bow nicely! The Dominant's are pretty easy to bow, they're just a little bright.

    My teacher/mentor told me long ago that there's is not "real" hybrid. Certainly depends on ones ear and playing style/s, but maybe he was right.
  12. Did you try Corellis?
    The 380M is the warmest set they make. (nickel mediums)
    Seems the Corellis are a dream to play arco (I don't know).
    They pizz very well, but you may loose volume and may need to increase the action to prevent them from choking in the bottom strings.
  13. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I've been round and round on this. While I still find the Dominants harsher that I'd like with the bow, I can't dump that big, articulate, and deep sound for pizz.

    Everything else I've been trying of late just sound pitiful by comparison on my bass. It's the bass has a volume knob and it's turned down halfway with other strings.

    What I've found I actually like the best with this bass and string combo is the pizz tone with a tourte mute. Arco is obviously less harsh with the tourte as well, but what would spot on for arco would be the application of a tourte mute x2.

    I've been pretty interested in Compas 180's. I had Anima's for a while, too short of a while I believe. I didn't give them enough of a shot. The only thing I didn't like from the get go with the Animas was the E string being a pain to bow. From other threads I've seen though, it seems that the arco tendencies of the E improve over time.

    For now, I'm staying put with the Dominants. Out of three sets I've had one string break, and I think that's acceptible for the tone they provide.