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Bowing Spirocores

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Baloeb, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. Baloeb


    Sep 10, 2006
    Olympia, WA
    I've started using spirocores on my bass and I really like them. Is there any difference between bowing the S42's and the 3885's? I know that they have different tensions and are constructed differently, but is there a difference in there bowability? Anyone have any experience with this?
  2. MrSidecar

    MrSidecar Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Hi Baloeb,

    I have bowed Spiros in all tensions but the solos. In the beginning I wasn't for of it, but it turned out to be technical issues on my side. Have your bowing in order, and you'll love all of them for their unbelievable power, richness, versatility. They can be sweet or mean, super loud or supersoft, but they can easily sound like poopiee if you bow sloppily.

    I have found the starks to be the most likable of all gauges, followed by mittels (be it pizz or arco).

  3. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Spiro Solos tuned to concert pitch are very easy to bow. Some find the tension too low for pizz, but I enjoy keeping the action a little higher to compensate.

    I have not had problems bowing Spirocores, with a little decent arco technique they are fine. My experience however, has been that Weich bows easier than Mittel and Solos even easier than Weich, I've never tried Stark.
  4. The Starks I had were real nice under the bow but they had some years on them, which helped. Also helpful are black bow hair, sticky rosin and taking care to keep the bow absolutely perpendicular to the strings.
  5. Baloeb


    Sep 10, 2006
    Olympia, WA
    Any thoughts on differences between S42's and 3885's (4/4 and 3/4)?
  6. 4/4 should be looser. Save those for the summer. :)
  7. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    LOL! :D
  8. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    Back before there were internets and talkbasses we bought our strings at brick and mortar music stores. I've used both, the S42's and 3885's- admittedly out of ignorance- at that time I didn't know there were different sized sets, so when you asked for Spiro Mittels you got what they had in stock.

    I do not recall any difference between them, save the extra string length. They performed the same in every regard- as best as I recall- this was quite some time ago though.

  9. I am using Belcantos now which are a dream to bow, but my previous strings were spiro mittels and they bowed fine as long as I kept them clean with a cloth with little alcohol on it, and very occasionally I would give them a light rub up and down in the bow zone with some steel wool. Note this was a coarse dish cleaning style and not the kind that had soap in it, and I was very careful not to shed any onto the bass or into the windings.

    My understanding is that the action of hair/rosin/strings is at a fairly microscopic level and this seemed to take a little polish off the string surface and give the bow a little more purchase.

    My bow is a fairly cheap Czech model with original hair, and I use Nyman rosin. I bow/pizz about 50/50

  10. I use Spiros. You can bow them, but they not arco strings. Try something like Bel Cantos to know try what *real* arco strings are really all about. There are some things I cannot do with Spiros. It's a trade off. I daresay *no one* plays Spiros because of the arco response. They are tolerated because the pizz is so good.
  11. I think the Vienna Symphony Orchestra bassists play Spirocores, so I wouldn't say that bowing them could be tolerated. But it is true, that there are a lot of strings with easier bowing response.

    For the S42 vs. 3885.0, I can say, that the tension difference on the same vibrating string length is like Weich to Mittel (105cm) or Mittel to Stark (110cm). I feel bowing is easier if the string has a bit less tension (but not too much), so if the S42 are not too weak for you, you might want to try them. I used them on a 109cm bass, but wanted some string with a bit less tension and thicker higher strings, so I went the synthetic core route (mainly because of the thin steel high C strings).
  12. Baloeb


    Sep 10, 2006
    Olympia, WA
    Thanks everyone! I got a used set to try out and I really like them. My bass is very dark and I think spirocores actually work really well on it.
  13. They will work if you have a dark bass.
  14. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    I just want to jump in here because, just like in every other "bowing Spirocores" thread, there are some folks saying this is an inferior arco string. I, on the other hand am just as comfortable playing arco with Spirocore Starks as I am with playing on Flexocores and Permanents. I've even played much nicer basses than my own strung up with Bel Cantos, but felt the string made little difference in "bowability" and that the bass was the factor which rendered a much better sound. I'll also note that I find spiccato to be easier with higher tension like you get with spiros.

    If you decide you don't like Spirocores, do so because they're too bright for your taste. Don't make the decision because you think they're harder to bow.
    Dave Reichle likes this.
  15. http://www.contrabass.co.uk says:

    Using the bow produces loud, hard-scratchy sounds which don't sound good at all to UK musicians. On the other hand some Continental orchestral players and soloists just love the clarity and projection that these strings can make. At a distance the hardness is not perceived or heard by the listener.​

    It seems some players like them in a concert hall setting. I'm often playing close to people or using an amp. My experience is that the scratchiness comes through really badly when amped.
  16. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    Well said!

    Most folk seem to forget that Spiro's were originally developed as an orchestra string!

    FWIW- I know of many professional classical bassists who use Spiro's on their basses.

    834federal likes this.
  17. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    That can be tamed with eq.
  18. Maybe so. But then you'd need a setting for both pizz and arco.

    Most of the time I'm switching mid-piece, and I barely have enough time to grab the bow, let alone fumble for an eq change.

    I optimize everything for pizz (which means I use Spiros) and then tolerate the arco issues. Actually, this is not quite true, because I use Weichen, which is small compromise I grant mostly for arco response--the other reasons involve wanting lower tension strings for playability and the health of my older bass.
  19. Maybe a different kind of pickup like a bridge feet pickup helps. They are a bit darker anyway.

    Changing to the Spiro Weich is a good compromise to stay with Spiros and get a nicer to play arco bass. And using a long lasting string is not a bad decision at all.
  20. MrSidecar

    MrSidecar Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Edicson Ruiz on Spiro Solos?

    Or, quite plain, and just an absolute nobody compared to Ruiz- me? I totally dig the bow response and sound. I have to say I play mainly pizz on gigs, but I practice arco an awful lot, and I chose Spirocores because no other dubbed hybrid string delivered neither pizz nor arco (nor lifespan) the same as Spiros do. You have to get to know them, bow a lot, and then it'll come. I was of the same opinion, because everyone around me used to say, don't bow Spirocores. Those same people now say "They don't sound like Spirocores" when I bow. Not that I am particularly virtuosic with the bow, but the sound is, in all modesty, great.
    A lot of classical sections don't want you to use Spiros because you cut through way better then with "arco" strings. But when you're not in a section?
    It all comes down to having your bow and bow hair and bowing technique together (I'm NOT saying you don't!) and then just make it work, and it will pay off with being really easy to bow, easy to modulate and play supersoft or monsterloud with them.

    Maybe it's the bass as well, or the setup, but I find them to be the absolute best hybrid string or pizz string or arco string you'll ever find. Especially the Starks.


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