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difference between wounded and unwounded strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by kristianbl, May 18, 2011.

  1. kristianbl


    Sep 9, 2009
    Whats the diffence?

    I am looking for that oldschool dirty sound, but still with some volume and clarity on the E and A string.

    Furthermore I need some strings that i can bow on (its not what I do most, but sometimes it comes in handy use)

    I am currently looking at Lenzner gut strings. I figure they have that old sound but still can be bowed on.
    But Lenzner makes both strings sets with pure gut and sets with a wounded E and A string.

    It may seemes as a stupid question, (yes I am newbie on the upright bass), but whats the difference, in terms of tension, sound etc, between wounded and non wounded gut strings?
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    It's wound, not wounded (as in battle injury).
  3. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I don't believe there are any unwound strings on the market for DB. Even gut strings are multiple ply. Well, then again, some of the weedwacker-style strings might be a single strand of nylon. But that's not the real issue.

    You don't mention your genre that you play most. That would help with the recommendations from the rest of the forum.
  4. Lots of brands offer unwound gut -- Upton, Efrano, Global (made in India, sold on eBay, beloved by few).
  5. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    There are different kinds of wound gut strings. The most traditional kind have a gut core with roundwound metal windings, usually for just the E&A strings. A set like this will usully have a plain G and D and wound E&A. ( iiipopes -- a plain gut string is twisted or spun, like a cord or rope , it is not really wound in the same sense). Metal windings add mass and tension to the gut, giving it more tension, clarity of pitch and treble. Plain gut E&A strings can have a very thuddy and indistinct tone, although they can work well for slapping. Some good quality plain A strings can work on the right bass, but I would say that the majority of gut users, for many years have used wound E&A strings and this is what I'd recommend.

    There are also flatwound gut strings like Pirastro Olive and Eudoxa. In this case, all four strings have a flatwound metal winding. These have a darker sound, they are very nice for bowing, and people will often mix the wound gut G and A with steel E&A strings to get a fatter, less metallic sound on the upper strings. The lower strings are also sometimes used with plain gut uppers. Pirastro also makes a semi-flatwound string called Pizzicato which is brighter but less bowable.

    In addition, there are gut strings wound with round nylon or tynex. Usually this will be only for the D&G (but I've seen A as well). These strings can be a little brighter than plain gut, and the winding protects the string from moisture and from developing stray hairs.

    Lenzner gut strings might be a good place top start, again I'd recommend the wound E&A unless you are are hardcore slapper. If you stay with gut, you will eventually find that high-quality strings from makers like Gamut and Dlugolecki are superior to Lenzner, Efrano, LaBella and other gut available gut brands. The better gut strings produce a clearer pitch and a finer tone. They can be quite expensive however.
  6. kristianbl


    Sep 9, 2009
    ups - looks like I could use a lesson in spelling:)

    The style I am playing is hard to describe - some would probably call it indiefolk or americana. Its a bit like Bon Iver and Thomas Dybdahl.

    Besides that I play some modern jazz, and in my sparetime, I try to bow and play some classical like Bach. I dont play slap.

    Soundvise I like Ben Streets sound a lot. Along with danish bassplayer Anders Christensen. I know they both use Velvet Garbo, but the artist I work with want me to play both pizzicato and arco, and the VG should be quite bad to bow on.

    Thats why I figured gut strings would work for me. I like that old school dirty dark sound, but it should still be strings that I can bow on.
    But maybe I am wrong?
  7. I'm not familiar with the artists you named, but your description of what you need the strings to do sounds like what I am doing at the moment. I also play a fair amount of slap, as we are not working with a drummer.

    The Pirastro Chordas (Carlos Henriquez set) on my bass work well for everything I need to do. They are plain gut D and G, E and A wound with round wire. Very dark, organic sound with great projection. Arco sounds good on the wound strings, but bowing the plain gut is more difficult. Very nice strings overall, as they should be for the price.
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I just recently went to gut. The sound is loud, organic. Having gone with an unwrapped G & D, if you want to bow I'd spring for a wound E & A and get something like Pirastro Eudoxa or Olives for the G & D for bowing. My olives were a little too dark and I heard that the Eudoxa was a little brighter.

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