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Breaking in Period for new strings -- Hellicores

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by PauFerro, Jan 9, 2017.


  1. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Just curious if anyone could tell me how long the breaking-in period is for strings. I have a set of hybrid hellicores on a new upright bass I purchased. I have been playing for about 2 hours a day since December 30th. I notice I still have to tune it every day, sometimes a couple times a day if I play a lot.

    I know from experience with other instruments that certain strings take time to stretch and then stabilize. I just wondered what everyone's experience is with upright bass strings. How long before they stabilize?
     
  2. Something is off here. The last spanking new strings I put on a bass were D'Addario Kaplans, which like yours are good quality rope-core steel strings. They were stable in much less than an hour.
     
    ColdEye likes this.
  3. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    It could be that the tuners are touching the wall when I put the instrument in the corner. But I fixed that with an Ingles upright bass stand that came today. I hope it's not a problem with the tuners or gears.
     
  4. It could be a problem how the strings are wound onto the peg. One reason might be they don't fit aside the last winding and touch the pegbox hanging "in the air". Another could be that they are wound across previous windings pressing them apart.
    You can wind across previous windings, but do that quickly and keep a free space on the peg for your last windings.
    I first wind away from the mechanics side, then cross over the previous windings in about one turn and use the free part on the other side of the peg hole for the last ones. Is the string is still too long, you can stick the ends out of the peg box, since three or four windings are generally enough to keep the string in place.
    Don't forget that the sting does not only stretch on the free part, but also on the peg. Together with friction there, it can take a while until the stretching of the windings slip over the peg. Pulling at the strings (just a bit harder than a heavy pizz) can help but not everyone likes to do that (usually no problem with steel cores, but I also do hat with synthetic cores which stretch a lot and a bit more careful with gut cores).
     
  5. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    Pau, when properly tensioned, steel strings should stabilise quickly, at least tension-wise. They can remain bright for a long time, but that's not your issue. And indeed, you may have some settling, as DM explains, or even slippage, on the pegs. Rope core strings can slip on the pegs: have a look if you see the length of string sticking out of the hole in the peg reduce over time. Then you need to re-wind.
    And you also have a totally new instrument, which might be settling too. Be vigilant that nothing changes dramatically, like the height of the strings above the fingerboard. It might be something simple as a nylon tail gut settling in (which can take a long time). When you wind more string into the pegbox, always keep an eye on your bridge and ensure it stays positioned correctly (tail side perpendicular to top).
    And finally, I believe you have a 1/4 instrument, with an assumed 35 1/2" scale, on which you run Helicore Hybrid strings, the smallest of which come in 1/2 size, for a 38 3/8" scale. Consequently your strings will be undertensioned by some 14.4%, and that too is likely to contribute (to locking onto the peg?). Please see that Helicore Orchestral strings are available in the right scale. (Have a look at the bottom of the linked pages for tensions & scales.)
     
    PauFerro likes this.
  6. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    +1. I haven't used them for a very long time, but I do remember the Helicore "Orchestras" stretching a bit in the first few days. Being under-tensioned could prolong this period, but I suspect that something else is going on.
     
    PauFerro likes this.
  7. Something sounds wrong or normal here, depending on how out of tune your bass is getting. I tune my bass every time I play it, but it's usually only out by a few cents here and there. so tuning everyday is a normal thing, even tuning every couple of hours if you're playing all day. But it shouldn't be going a full step flat. How far out of tune is it going?

    Sound-wise, the break in time can be a couple weeks to a month or more of solid playing for the brights to wear off.

    Tension-wise, my hybrid heliocores only took a couple days to settle in and would stay relatively in tune. (Those strings were too bright and thin for my taste, I love Evah's for jazz and classical hybrid)

    Definitely want to do some good research on how to install/wind upright strings, or even better, take a private lesson with someone. I remember my first lesson was teaching me about my new instrument. (Bridge positioning, set up, stringing up, sound post adjustments, etc)
     
    kwd and ColdEye like this.
  8. ColdEye

    ColdEye

    Oct 22, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Mine stabilized on a couple of days, and that was a pretty new instrument too. Might be totally unrelated but also check if your bridge is being pulled towards the finger board. You want the feet flat on the body. You can check it if you slide a piece of paper.
     
    SLO Surfer likes this.
  9. PauFerro

    PauFerro

    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I have a tuner attached the bridge (like a Snark) that I use to check my intonation when practicing. I normally have to tune the instrument about twice a day. The most it is ever have to tune it is 1/3 of a semi-tone. It does a creak a bit when I tighten the G-string.



    The bridge doesn't appear to be moving. I could not put paper between the foot and the top at any point.

    Regarding the fact they may have put 1/2 size strings on a 1/4 size, I checked the winding posts For the A and D strings, there are a couple inches of colored wrap, extending toward the nut.. For the G-string, the wrap stops at the winding post, and for the e-string, there is unwrapped string entering the winding post. I can't see how much.

    I asked for Corellis but they didn't do what I wanted -- when I showed up to get the instrument, they had put Hellicore Hybrids on them. I was a bit disappointed in that because Corellis are available in fractional sizes, including 1/4. But I'd been such a PITA with playing their instruments for so many hours, asking so many questions, and going through three basses before I found one I wanted, I just flowed with it...perhaps the strings are a problem. I actually like lower tension than regular, though.
     
  10. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Tallahassee
    If you asked for them you should get them.
     
  11. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    1/2 size mediums should be OK on your instrument, but the lower tension might account for taking a bit longer to become stable.
     
    sevenyearsdown and PauFerro like this.
  12. Seanto

    Seanto

    Dec 29, 2005
    USA
    I am actually having the same problem as the OP. Installed Helicore Hybrid lights a few weeks ago, and my tuning will be out by almost a whole half step, usually flat. I assumed the instability was due to new strings settling in, as well as the bass adjusting to a lighter tension string. But now i'm not so sure. We've had alot of fluctuations in weather too...stretches of cold followed by a couple warm days on a few occasions. Either way i never had these issues on my last set of Zyex Mediums.
     
    Steve Boisen likes this.
  13. Seanto

    Seanto

    Dec 29, 2005
    USA
    Do you put it in the corner with the strings facing the corner? This is how i do it and the tuners don't touch the wall.
     
    SLO Surfer likes this.
  14. I got a new bass recently that came with Helicore Hybrids. I have to tune this new instrument a lot more than others I've owned and just assumed it was something to do with the bass... Maybe it's the strings... I've never had tuning stability issues like this with other steel strings. Even previous sets of Helicores. It's not unmanageable at all, but it's different for sure. Strange!
     
  15. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Tallahassee
    maybe someone try changing to spirocores and see if the tuning persists.
     
  16. Seanto

    Seanto

    Dec 29, 2005
    USA
    Yesterday the bass was actually a near whole half step sharp. I am thinking our crazy weather is to blame at this point. For winter, we've had alot more humidity and interspersed warm periods here than normal.

    But i think the string settling period might be longer than some claimed in this thread. We're not talking hours, but days. Even on electric bass i would expect about a week before all is normal with string stretching. I would imagine due to many variables, an upright would be as long or longer. Just a hypothesis though at this point.
     
  17. It's not enough of an issue for me to go to that trouble. It's just curious, is all
     

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