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Dominant Solos

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by brooklynbass, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. I know these were mentioned a little in the previous Dominant thread, but I was wondering if anyone could comment specifically on using Dominant solos tuned to orchestra pitch. How is the pizz and arco sound, and what is the tension like compared to, say, Weichs?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I played Dom solos tuned orch for a while on my Engelhardt. I liked it a lot. They have a nice mellow, rounded tone that worked really well.

    Dominants are a little unique in that they are designed to be low tension yet very stiff. They are a classical string originally intended for arco playing. The stiffness makes them bow extremely well. So, if you are interested in tension for the sake of your bass, they are low. If you interested in stiffness for the sake of your fingers, they are stiff.

    Detuned solos are of course less so, but even they are stiff. They are much stiffer than say a detuned spiro solo. They are certainly stiffer than a weich.

    They sound great though, and you can certainly get used to them under the fingers. Once you adapt to a stiffer feel, you may actually prefer it. I think a stiffer string makes the right hand pizz work much easier and cleaner.
  3. Thanks. So if they're stiffer than Weichs, what string are they similar to in stiffness? Can I assume they're less stiff than Spiro Orchs?
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I have never had a full set of Mittels on my bass. But, I would compare the stiffness of regular Dominants to that of the Flexocor strings.

    Detuned solos would obviously be a little more supple.
  5. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    i've been trying a full set of solo Dominants recently, tuned down to orch pitch.
    the solos tuned down sound and feel great, not too floppy, but you'll need a good "scoop" under your E string, unless you just love that rattle, some folks do.

    lots of sound, good sustain with a natural sounding decay, just about perfect, b/c they bow well too. they come pretty close to the sound i've been wanting to peg, McBride's tone on "Love Scenes" by Diana Krall. dark but not stuffy, gritty but not zingy, on my bass, at least.

    i just switched off from Animas, and of course that's one amazing string, so the fact that i'm this happy with the solo Doms i think says a lot for them. they amp more clearly for me, which is more important to my work.
  6. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    Is the E solo tuned down not too floppy? im thinking about a dominant E to match a plain gut G and D + Oliv A, i guess the orchestra E wouldnt match the tension so i was thinking about the solo E tuned down, but tuning a all octave down doesnt give a dead tone? sorry, ive been using gut for at least 15 years so, i never detuned a string, thanks in advance

  7. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    did you say something about tuning down an octave? what I'm talking about is a string made to be played at F# (the solo strings are all made to be played one step higher than normal), but instead tuning it down to E, one step, to be used as the fourth or lowest string. same idea on all four strings. nice even tension similar to gut, plenty punchy, good sustain. not at all a dead sound, in fact, the low strings sound the best out of the set on my bass. good luck, let us know how it turns out for you!
  8. I have replaced my Obligato D and A in a mixed set on my 1938 King with Dominant solos.
    My bass loves them. More oomph. More focussed note. I just hope they last longer than the Obligato's.
    I don't find them stiff at all. Very much like Weichs in tension.
  9. eunchang


    May 12, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    I received Dominant solos today. I am keeping Spiro E because I enjoyed that growl; I just ordered top 3 strings. I just tuned them up(of course to the orchestral pitch, not the solo tuning) and tried.

    I like them a lot. I love their G string. It looks like just a little thicker than Weich G (which isn't??) but feels loose enough to give the gut-vibe. I can imagine the orchestral gauge Dominant might be a little stiff but tuned down solo strings don't feel stiff at all.

    Unfortunately, after changing strings from Weich to Dominants, I've got a wolf tone on Ab and A on D string which my bass didn't have.
  10. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    how would you compare the volume of the Weichs and the Dominants you just put on?
  11. eunchang


    May 12, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    I think volumewise those two are pretty much in the same league, at least on my bass. Good thump and just a little decay. Definately louder than Obligato. However, my Weichs were more than 3 years old, probably up to 5 years, while Dominants are brand new. I am not sure Weichs would lose some volume getting old though. One of the possibility is the brightness of new strings make the sound easily heard over old ones; that might make me think my new Dominants are loud. Good enough volume for my purpose(playing mostly jazz, with amplification).
  12. JAS


    Jul 3, 2001
    Compared to Wiechs, how thick are these strings? Someone mentioned the G was only a little thicker. How does the volume/projection compare? Do they still have a growl and sustain to them (pizz) or is more of a boomy sound?
  13. eunchang


    May 12, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    Thickness: G feels just a little thicker, other strings I don't feel substantial difference. I didn't use any gauge or whatsoever other than my bare hands and eyesight so I could be wrong.

    Volume: Initially I felt good. After changing strings I dropped string height a mm so now I cannot give you proper comparison. But the first impression was good.

    Projection: I was checking the strings by myself standing in a small apartment living room so I can't tell for sure. Still, they have good focus so I don't worry much.

    Tone: Only two days have passed but I noticed the tone got mellower. On the first day they have long sustain quite close to Weichs. But now I expect sustain get shorter as time passes, which I prefer. I wouldn't use the term "boomy" since it feels negative but definately darker. My E is Spiro Orch and it growls much more than other three Dominants. Until now they blend good but I will watch.

    Yesterday I played in a local jazz club and for the first set I could get really sweet sound. After drummer got excited(entire 2nd set), I had to pull harder and the sound suffered. I am not sure that's the string or pickup or amp.
  14. RShew


    Mar 11, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Does anyone know how durable (life span w/out breakage) these things are? I am thinking of switching from Oliv g and d...
  15. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    i believe dwayne burno uses solo dominants tuned down. he told me he uses solo thomastik's tuned down, so i assumed they were spirocore, but if i remember correctly, when i checked the color of his string ends it appeared they were dominants.
  16. eunchang


    May 12, 2004
    Seoul, Korea
    My Dominant solos got mellowed after a week. I have been practicing and performing heavily since I am relieved from teaching duties and yes, it is holiday season.

    They streched but not as much as Obligatos. I still need to tune strings up to pitch but not after every songs. Once or twice a set was enough.

    While I like the sound a lot, I understand some of TBer's mentioned Dominants "sounding plastic-y". However, when I monitored recording I've made through home studio equipment(AT condensor mic and M-Box), they sound gorgeous.

    I found them a bit floppy. I have been an Obligato guy for last couple of years; I am familiar with the feel of synthetic core strings. I felt they got more floppier as time goes. I am not sure they got really floppier as they streched or the bass setup has been changed slightly(it is cold and dry here). I set the G string height 5mm to 5.5mm initially; it might be a better idea that I just go and check again. Or with the regular practice I have done, my right hand might gain some strength(big possibility).

    Did anybody try both Dominant solos and regular Dominants? I don't want to raise action at all but I would like to have just a little more resistence under my fingers.

    If regular Dominants have tension/stiffness similar to Spiro orch, I will stick to Dominant solos. In case Dominant orch has a tension/stiffness in between Dominant solos and Spiro orch, I may want to try Dominant orch next time. I am really enjoying Dominant solos though.
  17. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have been changing my Spiro orch/reds one at a time for regular Dominants - I started with the G a few months ago and just changed the A last night (I'm, not sure I will ever be able to give up that fat growly Spiro E).

    As for tension/stiffness, I find them to be two different things...the Dominants are less tension than the spiro orchs, but similar stiffness (out of the package Dominants will almost stand up by themselves they are so stiff :p ). They match very well, with the slightly lower tension making high register playing a little easier on the thumb, but with the stiffness pulling back a little so they don't feel floppy when you dig in with the right hand.

    As far as sound goes the Doms have a stronger fundamental (less twang) than Spiros, slightly less sustain, and a 'ping' or 'click' at the start of the note that accentuates it, and which I really like. All of these are a plus for the Dominants. (Volume of played-in regular dominants and Spiro orchs is very well balanced.)

    On the down side it seems...at least on my bass, with my (questionable) technique...that the dominants have a sweet spot where they sound best depending on how hard you pull them. One thing I really like about the Spiro orchs is that they are very expressive to the way they are played and will give a large range of tones all the way from the lightest touch to the hardest pull. This is a plus for the Spiros (and a minus for the Doms).

    All told, though, I'm very happy with the Dominants - I just hope they last longer than Obligatos.
  18. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I imagine you will like the Dom E if you like the rest of the set. What it lacks in growl it makes up for in girth.

    +1. Exactly, well said.

    I didn't feel that way about the ones on my older ply. I liked that I could pull the Dominants as hard as I could pitzing and they would always give up a loud clean girthy sound. Spiros I can overdrive with my pitz if I pull to hard. Perhaps that is the same thing said a different way I don't know.

    Of course that is all relating to Orch Doms not solo which I've never played.
  19. I have tried both.
    I liked the the Solo's as soon as I put them on. They replaced Obligatos. On my 1938 King plywood they have a nice, warm, mellow tone and match the Pirastro gut pizz G very well. The Solo's have slightly less tension than the Obligato's or Weichs.
    When I tried the Dominant Orchestra I found a big increase in tension and less of the warm tone. I liked the sound of the Solo's and Obligatos better. No problem with the stiffness of the Dominant Orchestra. Lots of volume but they do not match the gut pizz G very well.
    It could be that over time the Orchestra Dominants will mellow out a bit but after a couple of weeks I like the tension and the sound of the Solo's enough to stay with them.
    I am interested in seeing how long the Solo's will last....a lot longer than the Obligato's I hope.
  20. RShew


    Mar 11, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I jsut replaced my Oliv G and D with Dom solos G and D. They have been on for about 10 minutes and I like them so far. They feel like Obligatos. I have two questions that hopefully one or more of you guys can answer...
    1. Is the tension difference between me E and A (Heliocor Hybrids Mediums) and the Dom Solo G and D something I should worry about? Will my bass start to twist and warp in time?? Should i switch to the dom solo E and A as well???

    2. I had the slots in by bridge grooved out a bit for the Olivs and now the the Dom solos are siting in a ways. Is this OK?

    Thanks for all the help. I will keep you posted on how the Dom solos work out. I used to use Obligatos on my G and D but I broke them constantly. Switched to Oliv G and D (which I have used on and off for 3-4 years) and now to Dom solos.