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Bowing What?!?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by TroyK, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I was at a session tonight and picked up a friend's bass. He's got Spiro Med's on E and A and unwound guts on D and G. I had my bow there and wanted to try it on the Spirocores to see if they lived down to the hype. I knew better than to try the bow on the guts.

    It was tough for me to get a sound out of the E string. It was pretty stiff and I just didn't get much out of it. About what I expected. Maybe if I spent some time with it.

    The A wasn't so bad, didn't spend a lot of time with it, it was certainly no Flexicore, but I could get some decent long tones out of it.

    Then just because I'm cruel to myself sometimes, I decided to pull it across the plain guts a few times (no, I don't know what brand they are). Woah! What's this? I got a nice, warm, very un-Paul Chambers like tone out of it. What? That can't be right. I bowed scales up the D and G strings into thumb position and narry a squeek or grind.

    I decided that the mushrooms on that pizza must have been the funny kind, because no way does unwound gut bow that nicely and you guys didn't tell me. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that I had read here that it was not possible or reasonable to bow unwound gut strings. ***?

    Is anyone an expert on mushrooms? I don't really have any experience with things like this, but I know you guys wouldn't have lied to me about strings.
  2. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    Guts are definatedly (sp?) bowable. They're a bit scratchy sometimes but I learned that less bow pressure works better. I've read that varnished guts are better for arco (dunno, haven't tried them) so, maybe those were varnished?

    Gut tone is soooooooooo schweeeet!!! I think we may have a new convert here!

    I don't think it was the 'shrooms, but seems you had a nice trip!
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Still not sure I'm buying it. Someone would have told me. I love gut pizz tone a la Sam Jones, but arco? It can't be.

    I've played his bass many times and it's kind of a crappy bass so I can't really make a direct judgement on how it would be on mine, but the tension is pretty mismatched with the Spirocores.

    But, arco on gut? I'm just not there yet, I need to wait for that pizza to clear my system and then go back and try again.
  4. Troy -- ask your friend what brand of guts they are. I'd be interested to know . . .
  5. Kam


    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    What kind of volume did you get out of these gut strings?
  6. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Gut + Arco == hundreds of years of tradition, dating back to the renaissance and beyond, eh? They didn't always have steel ... ;)

    I know you know this, Troy, I'm just havin' some fun ... ;)

  7. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Gretizer - I don't think he will know, but I'll ask him. He's a sax player who teaches an ensemble class at a music school. He learned to play everything a bit at Berklee and his room mates were bassists, so he's actually not a bad bassist, but the bass is really for the school. He plays it when he needs to. Great sax player, though. He asks me to play for his ensemble class some times when there is not a bassist there. So, short story long, I think someone gave him these strings, they've been on the bass a few years. I doubt seriously that he knows what they are. I doubt that he knows what the Spirocores are.

    Kam - His bass is a newish student plywood bass. It doesn't put out a lot of volume. I've played pizz on this bass a dozen times are so. The guts probably help give it characture, but it's tough to tell. I could get used to the feel pizz.

    Liam - Yeah, I know, but it's always puzzled me because I thought that people generally regarded it as a bad idea and I think that most of PCs recorded arco solos sound bad. Not all and not his playing per se, but the sound. I assumed that was just a gut string thing.

    These sounded nice and were not difficult to play. I didn't play them very long and I'm not very good with the bow, but they responded nicely all the way up.

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