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Dark String Research

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by BobKay, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    I've searched and read all the threads on dark strings (NOT strings for a dark bass). What I've gleaned is that Pirastro Olive is considered to be probably the darkest overall, for pizz and arco, without going to a full gut set. Do I understand correctly?

    My goal is to darken the sound of a full ply bass. I've been using Spiro mediums and EP lights. I typically have the string height low, and play 100% pizz on this bass (Americana. bluegrass, folk, some pop covers). With Spiros and EPs the sound is very articulate, resonant and defined. Great sustain and volume (it's a 7/8ths).

    I understand the drawbacks of the Olive set - high price; some tuning instability, etc. But I would like confirmation about the overall tonal quality. I also understand each bass is different. Any thoughts/experience would be appreciated.
  2. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Ok so I would say if you don't like the EP weich I know the EP Mediums are slightly darker. I would suggest maybe taking those spiro mediums and plaything them for 3 years and making them dead they will be nice and thumpy.

    Maybe belcantos if you can get them to pizz well. Innovaton makes some good dark strings like the braided, honey or maybe their new pollychromes.
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I don't think Oliv are the darkest, certainly not the G string.

    Research some steel orchestral strings; Original Flat Chrome, Jagar, maybe the Flexicore 92s.
    Michael Glynn likes this.
  4. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Try Pirastro Flecocor Deluxe. Olivs are great, but with that greatness comes all the problems associated with gut strings plus short lifespan.
    bskts247 likes this.
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    The deader of the Innovations (H set?)

    Velvet Garbos

    Helicore Orchestral
  6. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA

    Also, for clarification, Pirastro Oliv is a full gut set, the cores are gut but all of the strings are wrapped with steel.
  7. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i wouldn't all Oliv dark strings.

    I would probably look for an Orchestra dedicated string, the older the better.
  8. Mrlen613


    Jul 19, 2008
    I like using the Innovation polychromes- nice dark but clear sound. Bonus is that the are great arco as well.
    ColdEye likes this.
  9. Raise your bridge and save your money. From what I hear Olivs aren’t going to give you much that EPs won’t except for an empty wallet and a headache.
  10. the_Ryan


    Jul 10, 2015
    Bronx, NY
    Darkest strings I've used are Belcantos.
  11. Selim

    Selim Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    New York City
    Innovation Polychromes. Easy to play and a very nice hybrid set. Very dark but good pitch clarity.
    Mrlen613 likes this.
  12. Well worn innovation braided is really dark
    Jon Mush and bskts247 like this.
  13. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Thanks to all for the suggestions. I'm glad I asked. I may put the EPs back on and be patient foe awhile. I also need to evaluate how it sounds with other instruments.
  14. Solo-gauge steel strings tuned down at orchestra pitch are already darker, and easy to play.
  15. elmer


    Oct 1, 2004
    Both Pirastro Flexocore 92s (regular Flexocore) and Passiones are dark. The darkest orchestra steel strings (still more colourful than Bel Cantos which also are dark) . Much Darker than Flexocore deluxe. But sustain and volume (pizzicato/low action) is not what you will get with these two.
  16. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Thanks again to all. So, here's my plan:
    1. I ordered a set of Jargar mediums from Gollihur. On the way. Did that for two reasons - the relatively low price compared to other options; the comments about how dark they can be on some basses.
    2. I'm going to put a composite tailpiece back on the bass. I had swapped it for ebony to see how the ebony would change the resonance. The bass is very resonant with excellent volume. I have played it with the composite tailpiece for the past six months. My thinking is that the natural resonance of the bass, with the composite tailpiece, may help to keep the Jargar strings from becoming too dark and muddy.
    3. I may also take the advice of KFS and raise the string height slightly.

    Anyway, we'll find out. Should have a chance to accomplish all this within the next week, and play a couple of gigs next weekend. I'll report back.
  17. You won’t be disappointed by the Jargar’s darkness!
  18. Really? To my ear they sounded antiseptic and bland, kind of like Permanants. Granted, I’m partially deaf.
  19. Permanents bland?
  20. elmer


    Oct 1, 2004
    It´s true that you probably won´t be disappointed to Jargar´s darkness. But if you come from Spiro mittel and EP weich you may be disappointed for a loss of volume. Also Jargar mediums may feel too loose and dull for you but it´s interesting to hear how you like them! I´ve only tried Fortes and they weren´t very stiff either.
    With Francois I agree with that Permanents are bright and loud on most basses.
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