Bottesini strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Notaluthier, Feb 6, 2023.

  1. Notaluthier

    Notaluthier

    Oct 7, 2021
    I am looking for a set of strings for a period accurate Bottesini performance, which ones would work best?
     
  2. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Guts??
     
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  3. BassFalcon

    BassFalcon

    Nov 18, 2020
    3 of ‘em
     
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  4. I'd look at Chordas.
     
  5. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
  6. Notaluthier

    Notaluthier

    Oct 7, 2021
    Plain A too?
     
  7. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
    I mean it’s up to you how far you want to go. I’m not sure I’d go plain A myself unless I was going three strings just because I think a plain A acts totally different in that setting and tuning than a standard four string set up. These are the decisions you make. Rinat (above) is playing steel in solo tuning I believe or possibly a Viennese variant. If you haven’t read Thomas Martins exhaustive research I think that would be essential. Then listen to all the recordings and then make your approach. That said, I’ve never done it myself. Though I do find it very appealing….perhaps those who have done it will give more expert advice.
     
  8. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Three strings:



    I think A-D-Abut am not sure; there are also some clips of a master class that he does with students on the concerto
     
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  9. Notaluthier

    Notaluthier

    Oct 7, 2021
    You can tune plain guts up to solo tuning right?
     
  10. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
  11. He's not playing steel, and he's not playing in Viennese tuning on that three-string either. He used Eudoxas.

    Normal with Bottesini would just be ADG or solo tuning BEA, and yes, if you get what is a normal medium-to-light set of gut gauges for playing nowadays, those can be tuned up a whole step with no problem. Go back 100 years and our average gut gauges were specifically for solo tuning and they used much heavier for standard orchestral work.
     
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  12. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ah, ok. Funny, I don’t really think of Eudoxas as gut…but of course you are right. Watching the video with my bass in hand it appears he is tuned B-E-A…
     
  13. Yes. Solo tuning Eudoxas on that and other recordings he did tuned in fourths, regular Eudoxas for recordings in fourths but not solo tuning, and then a special set for Viennese tuning when he did Dittersdorf and Vanhal.
     
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  14. BostonPop01

    BostonPop01

    Jan 1, 2009
    I was always told that Bottesini used silk strings, not gut, at least in solo applications. No one seems to be entirely sure, though.

    Here is an extensive article on the subject:

    The Silk Road
     
  15. I think Gerold Genssler might be the only one making (soft) metal wound silk core strings. But I’m not sure if he is allowed to due to the patent issues he had with Mr. Schertler.

    But ask him.
    I think the copper wound Anima and Garbo were constructions of him that would fall into this category.
    Silver wound might be possible too, but rather expensive. Steel wound would not fit to the period.
     
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  16. Notaluthier

    Notaluthier

    Oct 7, 2021
    Where could I get silk strings?
     
  17. I've read that article, and I've also read through Thomas Martin's long bit of research on Bottesini, and I've read up on the use of silk strings on western instruments a fair bit too.

    I find the idea that Bottesini used silk strings fairly suspect, when gut was still the standard, and the pictures of him with his bass appear very clearly to be gut. Another part of why I think it far more likely that he used gut rather than silk, except maybe as a one-off experiment, is because silk strings were generally considered an inerior choice with the other instruments in the family, and generally only used in an emergency—if you've got a small gig coming up and your E string on your violin just snapped, throw on the silk string to get you through until you've got a chance to change and let the new gut string stretch out and stabilize.

    It's also not at all impossible to play Bottesini's works on gut strings. Check out Pasquale Massaro on youtube.

     
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  18. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Google says: Real Silk™ Acoustic Bass Strings also for Bass Viola Da - Etsy

    But why? Really?

    I was very much involved in the "authenticity" debate vis a vis Shakespeare (I was on the board of the London Globe and was the first American to direct on the reconstructed Globe stage -- my day job). You can be as "authentic" as research etc makes possible but your ears -- and more important -- the ears of your audience will be completely different than those of an audience four or five hundred years earlier. Did they have the radio on in the car on the way to the concert? Traffic? Did they approach the event as an historical curiosity or was it an integral part of their daily life? What are you (or rather, is one - I'm not challenging the OP -) aiming to achieve through this exercise? What silk sounds like (weren't there some Velvets with a silk core?)? Or what the essence of Bottesini's music/style is that is sustainable and transmutable to a modern audience, who already (outside of this forum etc) think the solo double bass is an oxymoron.

    Florian Ginot, who has a stunning version of the Bach Chaconne, has some interesting thoughts on evolving bass technology:

    I've attached an old essay on what I called "optional authenticity" in the Shakespeare world etc, if anyone is interested. Thanks - and sorry to sound like a grumpy old man. I think the OP, Eli etc (and especially Tom Martin) wanting to explore the research area is great, but then ask how best to use the research to move an audience/listener.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
    I could see wanting to walk in Bottesinis shoes to get the best sense of the piece, the sound, the era, if for nothing else, just for curiosity sake. I hope that solo bass playing becomes completely normal in the future. It is such a beautiful sound in such an ugly world.
     
  20. Bruce Calin

    Bruce Calin

    Oct 15, 2002
    Somewhat off topic but it does relate to gut strings is the the fact that audiences now would not accept unamplified bass in most contemporary jazz or popular music performances whereas it was perfectly fine years ago. Music in those genres is much louder now in general but especially bass. I recall hearing and playing in big bands with unamplified gut strung instruments where the bass was perfectly audible but not with the same punch or low frequency power of an amplified steel-strung bass. I can only vaguely imagine the difference in perception between now and Bottesini's day, let alone before that.
     
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