D'Addario Hybrid vs. Orchestral

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by GriffithLea, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. GriffithLea


    Aug 29, 2006
    Cypress, TX
    OK, last night I changed the strings on my borrowed Chinese carved bass of dubious quality from D'Addario Hybrid Lights to D'Addario Orchestral Mediums. It was a positive difference for my type of playing, which is all symphony/chamber work. The sound is now fatter and less harsh, and the bow response much improved. The pizz sound is more appropriate for symphony/chamber work, too. Less of the metal twang and more of a woody sort of thump with a pleasant aftertone.

    The Hybrids tended to "ring" a lot, which was annoying. For example, if I played for a bit on the top two strings, then suddenly stopped, the bottom two would still be vibrating, a lot. :) The Orchestrals vibrate sympathetically, too, but not so enthusiastically.

    The switch from Light to Medium was a good one, too, since now the strings don't feel squishy under the fingers. That was sort of distracting.

    This is not meant to be construed as saying that the Hybrids are bad, just that they probably aren't the best thing for arco-only (including "orchestra pizz") playing.

    I so wanted to move away from the Hybrids, that I took them off and installed the Orchestrals (one at a time, of course) as soon as I got my hands on them, which was about an hour before a rehearsal! Once I tuned them up, I had a bite to eat, tuned again, and went to the rehearsal, where I barely had to tweak them at the rest of the night.

    I'd never have tried that stunt with Eudoxas. :)
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    New Jersey
    As long as I play acoustically I think the best overall quality sound from a bass is achieved when the strings that aren't being played are allowed to ring sympathetically with the string that is being played.

    The more those sympathetic ringing strings are capable of sustaining without also being bowed, the better IMO.

    Of course, the other side of the equation focuses on the lone string (or pair of strings for double stops) being bowed...which is no doubt easier to get a good sound out of with the orchestras than the hybrids.

    I'm not sure I'll ever find a balance that suits me in all respects
  3. GriffithLea


    Aug 29, 2006
    Cypress, TX
    Too much of a good thing is bad, though. :)

    I don't want the string(s) that I'm bowing to be upstaged by the ones that I'm not.

    Still, the extra "sympathy" wasn't my biggest issue with the Hybrids. It was the bow response that was. The Hybrids had to really be coaxed into playing the fundamental instead of some harmonic of their choosing, which meant really setting the bow on the string before moving it. This blew for cross-string slurring and fast passages.

    Again, I'm not knocking the Hybrids as such. My main point here is to say that IMO they don't belong on a bass used exclusively for symphony/chamber work. OTOH, if you have just one bass, play diverse styles, and you need to find that compromise between their Pizzicato strings and Orchestral strings, then the Hybrids may be the ticket for you.

    P.S. You study with Dave Neubert, right? How is he doing? Tell him I said hello.
  4. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    New Jersey
    Yeah I took as many lessons from him as I could afford for about a year, but that was a couple of years ago. I'm still working through things he taught and played, trying to absorb it all! I saw him in May though, playing some tango tunes for us and sounding fantastic.

    True the hybrids don't bow so great. With my current 5ths tuning experiment still going, I'm not using them right now either. Worse, if I had to go with a hybrid string I'd go back to my Corellis. Corellis slap better than Helicore hybrids LOL
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I just got some new Basses in and they were all supplied with Helicore Orch. medium. I am used to playing Flexocor Stark 92s mainly. If it were a blind fold test, after I finished the first bridge fitting and strung the first Bass up I would have bet my house they sent my Hybrids by mistake. They do Bow ok but no match at all as compared to Flexocors. Also, they seem to have a heavier gauge E and A and a lighter gauge D and G kinda like Permanents which are billed as Hybrid strings by Pirastro. Not my kind of gauge balancing at all.

    The Helicores are a good string for the price but for a little extra, I would get the Flexocors. As for the Hybrids, I don't need a chai saw on my Bass as the Orchestra mediums already have way more growl than I am used to. Luckly, these Helicores are on Basses I have in stock and not my personal ones.
  6. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    I wouldn't necessarily say the flexocors sound better. They certainly bow better, but at least on my bass, the helicores have a lot more flavor and a much bigger tone. The flexocors were nice in their own way, but it's not the sound for everybody. That being said, there are some other strings I would like to try after my current set dies...

    As for the original topic, I don't think I've met anyone who likes helicore hybrids at all for bowing.
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    New Jersey
    I don't have anything against the entire flexocore range. If those were the only strings I could put on a bass I'd do it in a heartbeat to play it.

    But IMO the helicores are superior. They sound stronger and clearer, and most importantly the thread colors are way cooler looking. Monotone colors are, to put it bluntly, boring.

    And that goes for Thomastic too. At least Corelli, my second favorite string brand, pays attention to this important detail!
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    You'd love Pirastro Permanents then, with the blue and gold spiral silk!

    'Course, you're in Texas, so maybe not. :)
  9. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    New Jersey
    No way man Permanents have cool colors too! I've had the idea for a while to mix them with the Helicore orchestras to get a cool pattern going on but haven't done it...yet.

    Super Sensitive has some cool string colors also (green and purple spirals on black), which I haven't begun stylin' out yet either.
  10. stefaniw80401

    stefaniw80401 Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    Evergreen, Colorado
    My observation on this "phenomenon" is that since my wolf note is just sharp of G on the D string (4th position), when I play that note, if I leave the G string undamped, the energy from the wolf goes into the G string and the resistance from the wolf on the D string is greatly reduced.

    Does TB have and good threads on wolf notes and how to manage them?

    - Mark

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