Darker sounding strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Blisterfinger, Jun 13, 2021.


  1. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland
    Hi all!
    As the title says, I’m looking for some dark sounding strings. I recently put zyex (G and D) and spiros on my fully carved bass and they turned it into a banjo. Despite breaking them in and getting them to sound nice on my beaten up plywood, this bass just doesn’t like them very much.

    I’m thinking maybe E and A Evahs and maybe an Oliv G (and D?) but I’d love to try something new as they’ve been my go-to for the last few years. I’m looking for strings that suit both pizz and arco so guts might be out (unless I can convinced otherwise).
    Any thoughts or recommendations?
     
  2. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Yeah, that combo works pretty well... although Olivs aren't really very dark.
    If you want to go darker, Bel Canto or Kaplan. Both bow great and have usable-but-not-jazzy pizz.
     
    Lee Moses likes this.
  3. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland
    I’ve tried Bel Cantos and you’re quite right; though they bowed well and the pizz was decent, it didn’t have the thump or feel I was looking for. Too light a string, perhaps?
     
  4. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Jargars are about as dark as you can get for bowing; their pizz sound is pretty thuddy (in a not so good way)
     
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  5. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Generally speaking, a carved-top bass will provide much more information in the higher frequencies. My best bass has 3 Olivs and an EP weich E, and it's good for everything ... but it's about as bright as I want to go.
     
  6. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Spiros that are at least 10 years old. :)
     
    dhm likes this.
  7. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland
    What do I do with them while I wait? Floss? Though admittedly they might not get enough usage....
     
  8. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland
    That’s good to hear. I was a little hesitant to go with Olivs as it’s been a long time since I’ve played on them. How do you find the arco response?
     
  9. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Seriously keep your eyes on the classified section here. Dead old Spiros come up for sale more often than most people think.

    While you wait EPs with Oliv G will get you pretty dark.
     
    Blisterfinger likes this.
  10. Blisterfinger

    Blisterfinger

    Feb 13, 2011
    Ireland
    Will do, thanks! I might out them on my ply bass in that case and mellow them out as much as possible over the next few years if I’ve the patience.
     
  11. Kaplans are rather under-rated here.
    You may want to check them out.
     
    mjt0229 and Lee Moses like this.
  12. Reiska

    Reiska

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Polychromes?
     
  13. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Olivs are wonderful under the bow! But on the dark-to-light spectrum I would put them somewhere close to the center.
     
    james condino and Blisterfinger like this.
  14. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    I'm also thinking Kaplans might be what you're looking for. They're definitely an arco string, but they have a more usable pizz than Bel Canto and similar arco strings, IMO. You may possibly want to look toward Kaplan solos for less tension.
     
  15. sidewaysbass

    sidewaysbass

    Jan 24, 2009
    Another vote for Kaplans. They get poo-pooed for pizz, but I love them. Just thuddy enough with plenty of fundamental and a fair amount of sustain.
     
  16. D'Addario Prelude may help.
    I'd tried Spiro mitts and weichs alternately in full sets on my fully carved. If there's such a thing as too much mwah and brilliance...they had it in spades. They sounded whiney.
    Life's too short to spend it breaking in strings.
    So...I tried a set of Preludes and I'm right where I want to be.
    I might even buy a new set If I'm still around in a decade.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  17. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    Do you know Herve Jeanne's Stringmatrix? This might be helpful.
     
  18. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Herve's string videos are always worthwhile, but keep in mind that @Blisterfinger is asking about guts for his carved bass, and this video involves a plywood top.
     
  19. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    Good catch. I must have skimmed over that.
     
  20. I would work through the various options for Spiros, keeping in mind how they will sound with a group as well as in your living room.
    Unless you are playing in some very specialized situations, "dark" is going to go from "dark" to dull to dead in the various rooms and no rooms (lots of outdoor playing seems to be happening). Very few "dark" options can survive even the most tastefully played modern bass drum. Spiros are great arco strings despite what anyone says.
    I understand you are trying to escape twang but "dark" is rarely the answer for anyone, unless you are trying to hide something.
    A lot of things can be finessed by technique, as well.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Aug 1, 2021

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