Dominants Breaking?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by brianh, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. VTDB


    Oct 19, 2004
    At the risk of going completely off topic...

    What about the solo set do you like better? Is it a tone issue or a tension issue?
  2. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I initially swapped to the Solos to reduce tension as I am working through Michael Moore's thumb position book. I was worried about losing the thick tone that the Orch's have, but that has been retained and a certain amount of 'smoothness' has been added. It's a little hard to describe, but the whole set-up now seems a little more organic. I generally prefer a fatter, higher tension string, so I'm surprised I like the Solos as much - thankfully neither the physical thickness nor tension are quite as thin/low as Weichs. I'm still using my trusty Spiro Orch E, though, and because it's old and worn in it matches up pretty well.

    On my bass the dominants (orch & solo) are as good or better with the bow than anything else I've tried (even Corellis). This might be partly due to my poor technique, but it's nice to have found strings that are great both arco and pizz in my situation.
  3. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    I apologize for participating in thread-hijack, but you're talking about solo strings tuned down, right?
    You say they sound almost as thick as the orchestral? are you mainly pizzing or bowing?
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Breaking Dominant threads merged.
  5. VTDB


    Oct 19, 2004
    The thought of using the tuned down solos certainly piques my interest. I've been moving my string height up and I'm starting to feel the tension so that set up sounds ideal. Something to consider for another time.
  6. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    This is about 85% pizz and 15% arco. I think the solos are slightly less agressive than the orchs - while still retaining the characteistic click and fat sound. I changed the strings out one by one (G first) so that I could compare then to the orchs that were on there previously, and noticed little, if any loss of volume. I think describing them as slightly smoother, as I did earlier is the best I can do with words.

    I can't comment on the E though, as I still have the Spiro Orch. on there, after the dominant orch E broke during installation. The overall string length on my bass is a little short and the end silk on the Dominants E and G, where the string starts to get thicker, just reaches the tuning peg. The thicker E broke, but the G is hanging in there.

    Incidentally I returned the string to Quinns and they replaced it, no question asked (a quick plug for them for both service and prices). I am toying with the idea of fitting an MPM tailpeice to increase the overall string length so I can use it.
  7. I had my Dominant E break about 2 months ago after being on the bass for a short while. Elisabeth Pohl at Thomastik was great. I sent my E string back to the company and they sent me a new one.

    I've had the new E string on for about 1.5 months. Today I went to practice and discovered the E had broken again in the same the silk winding between the nut and the peg. I think the strings sound great but this proves to me there is a problem with the E. To clarify things a little more, I didn't install the string. It was put on by a luthier while he was setting up my bass (so it's not my fault).
  8. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Some luthiers don't have experience with Dominants, and many use power tools to wind up the strings, which needless to say would mean instant Dominant death. They need a slow installation so that the tension moves slowly through (and the lubing of course).

    If you're having many problems you might want to take a look at your bridge and nut grooves, just to make sure that they are wide enough.

    Because of some repair work I have had to completely loosen and re-tune my Dominants 3 times recently. With patience and lubrication it all went well (I know someone is going to have fun with my last sentence).
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Why do you say that, "Dr. Rod?":bag:
  10. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Oh, you know....bassists
  11. Mike here from Thomastik (if the username didn't give it away already). As most of your know, string breakage in our brands is extremely rare, so when we hear people talking about it we take it very seriously. Our strings are hand made one at a time, so there are never bad batches. We guarantee every string out of the package.

    If you have an issue with a Thomastik string, I urge you to contact me directly. I am always available M-F, 9am to 5pm at 800-644-5268, or by the email below.
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That's good to know! After breaking my E, I emailed Thomastic in the EU directly and got back the following reply:

    "To be honest: the Dominant Bass Strings are synthetic core strings and have always been more likely to break (compared to Spirocores etc...). This is a matter of string construction and not a quality problem in the production process. We often discuss about this, but it is one of our most important rules never to change a string's receipt - this would be necessary to get rid of the problem.

    Luckiliy we more and more sell these strings and this also means more complaints of string breakage. To prevent it the following things are important:

    The metal wound part of the string MUST NOT get on the tuning peg.
    The curves in nut and bridge must be wide enough and should be lubricated with a pencil

    ...these things are mentioned on your forum anyway.."

    I found this reply very honest and timely, and appreciated it very much. I have since decided to forego the use of the Dominant E, since I sometimes tune down to D and back again for the occasional tune....this is perfectly fine since the Spiro Stark E is a monster anyway.

    I suppose my question to you would be, under what circumstances should someone contact you about a string breakage? What is the time/use period that (in general) constitutes just normal wear and tear? I recommend these strings to a lot of people, but always with the caveat that they are more prone to breakage than steel core strings.

    I realize that you can't give a really specific answer to the question above, but something in the ballpark would be great. If the string pops during the first week or so, I assume it would be reasonable to let you know?
  13. Thomastik's reply is right on the ball. The most important point here is that the nut groove MUST be large enough to accept the diameter of the Dominant bass strings. If not, two things happen:

    1) the outer core and silk will get stripped away as the string stretches and passes through the groove

    2) the string may "lock" into the nut if it is not lubricated or cut correctly, causing the tension in the area between the nut and the winder will be extremely high. I urge everyone to have their instruments set up professionally when switching to a new brand of strings.

    To answer your question, everyone should contact me about string issues. Although 95% of all breakages are due to improper set up or abuse (like over-agressive slap and constant detuning), it is important that we know about it. But as for a statute of limitations on string breakage...use your best judgement and contact me if you are unsure.

    I should clarify that my office works specifically with musicians in the US. Everyone else may contact Thomastik-Infeld directly at [email protected].
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks Mike, will do. While you're around, can you comment on the new formula for Spirocores? They're darker and less "banjolike" (and therefore more playable) right out of the package, which most people consider a good thing, but I don't know what else may have changed. Thanks!
  15. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Just can't stay focused can you.
  16. The "formula" for Spirocore has not been changed since they were first released nearly 55 years ago. Here is a comment from Thomastik-Infeld on the subject:

    "It has come to our attention that there is a concern the manufacturing process for Spirocore Strings has been changed. Although we have revised the visual and physical design of the Spirocore package in the last year, it is important to understand that we continue to produce Spirocore strings the same way we have since the product was introduced in the 1950’s."

    ~Bernhard Rieger, R&D – Bass Strings - Thomastik Infeld

    I hope that helps put the baby to bed.
  17. Deltree


    Feb 7, 2005
    I just got my bass back from the luthier with a new set of Dominants installed, and instructions to bring 'em up to pitch sloooowwwllly. The trouble is, 'installed' isn't really the most descriptive word, cos my bridge ended up a good centimeter closer to the fingerboard than it ought to have been. I've loosened the strings off a smidge, and done the old 'karate chop' thing :)ninja: ), but basically I'm a little bit nervous about these fellas breaking! I also feel pretty weird thumping my bridge around, and thought this thread might be the place to make doe eyes and ask for advice :)

    Should I be attempting to lubricate the sections of string that will next meet the bridge and nut as I tune up? I thought that might be a good precaution. Secondly, is it okay to be whacking my bridge into position with the strings nearly up to pitch? Getting the feet in place feels okay, and 'safe,' but compensating when the bridge starts to lean (which it has done with a couple of quite horrifying noises,) is giving me the heebie jeebies. These strings are the hell's angel at the end of the bar who you don't want to make eye contact with :)

    I know these are kinda novice queries, but I'm the kind of guy to whom luthiery seems like voodoo. I'm sure I can hear my old Spiros saying, "We told you so."

    I've got to be off to a piano gig now, but thanks for reading this, and any advice is welcome.

    A nervous Tomasito

    UPDATE: Well, apparently this gig was cancelled a while ago - shame I only got to hear about it AFTER I tore down half the studio to get my rig out! Anyway, in the meantime the bass has settled down a bit - I've got it up to Eb Ab Db Gb at the mo, with the occaisional karate chop along the way. I think we can put the above post down to blind panic, and a bit of Spiroholic naivety. To anyone who read this post, thanks for humouring me!

    A less nervous (although seething at the prospect of lugging my gear back upstairs,) Tomasito
  18. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Hey Tomasito

    Any fiddling with dominants is a cause for risk. Sorry but that's the truth.

    I have seen respected luthiers do the Karate move, I would loosen up the strings a bit and lubricate. But again, this is only speculation on my part.

    I also remember one guy putting a rag over the bridge to protect it, and wacking with a hammer right between the D and A strings. I am not advising you or anyone to do this, just FYI.
  19. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I recently found that my bridge was tilted slightly to towards the fingerboard. My luthier knocked it back vertical by lightly tapping it with one of those round, soft mallets. I was not brave enough to attempt it myself.

    This was with dominant solos on D&G and Dom orch A (Spiro med. E). They had been on for quite a while, though, so I think it was a bump in transit that caused the bridge to shift.
  20. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i noticed if i have some graphite or something in the slots of hte bridge to lubricate i can just give the bridge a good push and it will move, even with the strings fully up to pitch......last few times i had to loosen the strings for various reasons i didn't lubricate and it is a little more difficult now but still possible.
  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.

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