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Fast Tempos with gut or gut-like strings

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by JAS, May 16, 2004.

  1. JAS


    Jul 3, 2001
    I put on a set of the Eurosonic Ultra-Light strings. They seem very gut-like to me because of their sound and feel. They are a pretty thick string with very low tension. I am used to playing the Obligato strings and can play with a lighter touch at very fast tempos. How do most people play these type of strings at very fast tempos? They seem to have too much give and swing at a very big arc to have much controll over the string at fast tempos.
  2. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I don't have the Ultra-Lights but I received a set of Eurosonic Lights and Mediums for testing. I am not done testing with them so I wasn't going to say anything yet but I will say that they are are softer and lower tension than gut. Gut despite what everyone thinks is not all that soft and easy to play. Yes the tension is lower than some steel strings but the strings are thick and you really have to dig in with them - they demand a certain style of playing.

    I play with gut (unwound on G and wound on the other three strings) at about 10 mm action. For fast walking say 220 or greater, I alternate between first and second finger and both fingers together. Especially for the lower strings I often use both fingers most of the time. I alternate more when I play solos to be honest but for walking basically I'll use both fingers together for the biggest sound but if I start to tire I'll switch for a while to alternating first and second fingers.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    To compensate for floppy strings, I recommend moving toward the end of the fingerboard with your right hand. You can soften your approach to the string a bit, both in how hard you pull and the actual attack that you give the string, to compensate for the more aggressive tone and stiffer response.
  4. moped10


    Apr 9, 2003
    Wilmington, NC
    I play with gut at around 12mm- I do a Django style combo that has some fast tempo numbers, and for projection I go with Ray's approach,
    moving toward the end of the fingerboard with my right hand- I also recommend Adrian's alternating fingers approach; at faster tempos using your middle finger on the G especially helps, and sounds as full as slow indexing, if that makes any sense... Also, it's always cool to switch to twos on a fast tempo tune when you go back to the head, switch soloists, etc....