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"Bumped" String Sets ?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by silvertone, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. silvertone


    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    What the heck is a "Bumped" set?

    Hello TB Double Bass Peeps.
    I've been on TB for a couple of spins round the sun and mostly hang on the electric side of the bass playing TB fence - but all the while I've been playing upright as a bluegrasser in San Francisco.

    Late last summer I came upon a good deal and obtained a 1954 Kaye C-1 for less than a grand.
    The bass had been heavily played by it's original owner, who had been in a Louis Prima style swing band out of Turlock, CA for 25 years.

    When I bought the bass it required a new fingerboard, bridge and endpin (among other things) and it's been in the hands of the Bass MD (Matt Bohn) out of Felton, CA for the past few months. I am ready to retrieve this reborn bottom dweller and make it fly again. Matt told me yesterday, post-renovation that the bass sounds great.

    This brings me to a question about strings....

    My usual bass is a low end "Slovenian," bass with a "German," Johaness Kepler label. It has a set of Pirastro Obligato's on it and I've dug these strings because I can play 3 hours plus and they never make my hands feel tired. They are thumpy with a deep fundamental and for my occasional arco playing the're great. I play mostly bluegrass with a bit of slap and a little bit of arco.

    Right now I'm at a decision point of putting something different from Obligato's on this new old bass.
    I'm liking the idea of Evah Pirazzi's but as I've been researching strings I came across a concept that was new to me on the Gollihur site: "Bumped Strings?"

    Has anybody on TB bought a bumped set? If so - what's the verdict?
    Would this affect how a string sits in the nut and saddle and therefore affect tone?

    Any recommendations for me?


    Here's what I found on the concept at Gollihur:

    A bumped set, simply, is a custom set of strings with SUPER-light tension.

    It is traditionally created by substituting a string designed for a higher pitch for each string on your bass; commonly, this means using an A-string for the E, a D-string for the A, a G-string for the D, and a High C-string for the G. Thus, you're "bumping" each string down one position on your bass, but - and this is the key - you're still tuning it E-A-D-G.

    Wow - that sounds like the strings would be really light, doesn't it? Why would anyone do this?

    When it comes to rockabilly bass playing, sometimes ease of play is paramount. Many players find that standard string sets are just way too stiff to play 3+ hours of non-stop slap bass on. Thus, a bumped set can be a happy medium between the extremes of higher-tension "real" upright bass strings, and the tonal compromise of putting weed-whacker line on your bass (no, seriously).

    Previously, "bumping" a set might require that you purchase a whole set (plus a high C) -- and you end up paying for an unused E string that gets thrown in a drawer somewhere in the bass den. So we've put together some popular bumped sets to help you out.

    You can read the short descriptions here, and purchase the set of your choice directly from this page. You can also learn more about the character of the strings featured in a specific set you're interested in by clicking its link in the "related items" section, below. (Though note that "bumped" sets are ONLY available on this page to prevent confusion on the "regular" strings pages.)

    Strings: Bumped String Sets for Rockabilly at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
  2. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hi, my advice is that don`t do that if you`re not doing slap only. You`ll get a hell more of acoustic volume and sound out of Velvet`s, downtuned solos or guts of some sort, or a mix of these. My experience is that steel strings downtune better, higher the string ( G vs E ) better the results when downtuned, and higher the original tension, better when downtuned. Tuning a string a halfstep away from the original pitch gives app. 10% - 12,5% difference in tension. Evah Pirazzi doesn`t work well, Obligatos a little better, Dominants a little better, Spirocores do the job but leaves a lot to be desired, but they do so when at the original pitch IME ( I hate the upper Spiros ). If you`re aiming at decreasing the tension of the bass, go for Velvet Animas ( these pizz, slap and bow ), Evah Pirazzi slap, high tension solo strings downtuned ( you`ll propably wan`t a light gauge E with those anyway ), or full set of quality $$$ guts. I have downtuned EP`s, Obligatos, Dominants and Spirocores, with best results with the steel core Spiros. Dominants did quite well too, at higher string heights.

    Edit: And you have to have adjusters on your bridge, with low tension strings you`ll need the added tension in the feel and space for the strings to vibrate freely. I have 8mm`s under the Anima G string on a normal 3/4 scale bass.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  3. lowEndRick

    lowEndRick Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2006
    I'm enjoying the Evah Slaps.

    You might want to consider Thomastik Superflexibles Solo tuned down. Low tension, steel core, they slap great, bow really well.
  4. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    I would try evah slaps but wait until they come out with the fully synthetic version. The guts on top PROBABLY wont be easy to bow. From what it sounds like in your description (please dont get offended) is that you dont play with the bow a lot and may not be an expert yet. With that in mind you would want a forgiving set of strings which the Velvet Animas are not. I don't like bowing them. If you like Obligatos get those and then see how your bass likes them. My teachers Kay liked a full set of gut strings, and a full set of Evah Weich (which he said felt like better Obligatos). String experimentation is hard.
  5. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    No, dear bskts, it`s not hard. It`s a joy but it will ruin your life as a musician and human beeing, and it will f*** up your finances.
    Jake deVilliers and bskts247 like this.
  6. silvertone


    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    Thanks for the thoughtful replies folks.
    I appreciate it.

    Since the bass I've been playing has Obligato's I've decided to try the Evah Pirazzi's on this reborn Kaye Bass.
    I'll try and report back after I've gigged with these a few times....
  7. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    I would sugguest the weich gauge of evahs
  8. At least Evah Weich, not the regular Evahs that have more tension than Spirocore Mittel.
    Maybe even Evah Solo downtuned to normal orchestra tuning.
    Innovation Braided are also a nice alternative but probably harder to get where you live.
    Zyex (Light) should be easy to get and might be similar.
  9. Evahs are about the LAST strings I'd put on a '50s Kay.

    If you're playing primarily pizz, gut D&G over dead Spiro Weichs is a classic set for many good reasons. You can bow them too. Kays generally tend to like low tension strings, and Evahs ain't low tension, with the possible exception of Evah Slaps which I haven't tried.

    I bumped a set of strings once. For five whole minutes.
    Jake deVilliers likes this.
  10. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    Maybe so. I think the weich would be fine but again different basses. The whole idea that the weich evahs are just as high tension as medium spirocores is weird to me. I think the regulars are the same as spiro mediums and the weich feel like 3/4 weich spiros on my bass. Whatever it is I would sugguest the spiro/gut mix would be good or te evah slaps. I have a synthetic D/G on the way so I'll inform when it's here.
  11. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Actually, I can tell you from experience that the gut strings bow quite well in the Evah slap set.
    Max George likes this.
  12. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    Oh good! Well don't listen to me
  13. Just for your information: a bumped set has only 56% of the original tension, so even if you take Spirocore Mittel 3/4 or Evah regular, the result would have less tension than a typical gut set.

    Evah regulars might not have more tension than Spirocore 3/4 but they have more tension than Spirocore 4/4, the Evah Weich are just a bit below the 4/4 Spirocore Mittel. So the regular Evahs are not very easy to the left hand pressing them down, but they do not cut as much into the left hand fingers as Spiros do.
  14. Add to that the fact that I know nobody who plays Evah Mittels or Weichs on a Kay, but I know two guys who play Evah Solos in a full or mixed set on a classic Kay.

    Strings, man.
  15. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    (whispers) my friend plays weich on her Kay...
  16. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    If your bass and hands can take high tension strings then Evah regulars might be it. They are wonderfully powerful strings. Evah weichs IME are on par with Spiro mittels in tension and felt like they got stiffer after some time on the bass. On my bass they have a bit of plastic quality in their sound, which requlars have not.
  17. silvertone


    Nov 6, 2007
    SF, CA
    I contacted Gollihur after I purchased the standard Evah's and requested a Weich Gauge set and he affirmed the request....

    Looking forward to slapping this new/old '54 C-1 but regrettably too busy all week to schlepp to Santa Cruz from SF to retrieve this so at my next gig it's the old standard with Obligatos.....
  18. I went from Obligatos to Evah solos and was very happy – wasn't an oldy Kay though.

    What about downtu...

    ...oh, wait a sec...​

    Nevermind, question answered!
  19. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    What’s the difference between “bumped” sets and downtuned (Orchestra tuning) solo strings?
  20. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    Lower tension. Move all your strings down a peg and replace your G with a high C string, then tune down a 5th (orchestra tuning)

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