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First Upright after Decades of Bass Guitar; Good First Set of Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by bilco, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. bilco


    Jan 25, 2006
    Austin, Texas
    I just got my first upright after decades of wanting to get one. It is a pretty tired old laminate beast, (not sure what kind it is,) but the luthier who works on my acoustic guitars and builds uprights thinks it is worth putting some time and $ into fixing up. He is not going to get to it for a few weeks and he wants me to get him a set of strings to put on it.

    I have read a lot of these threads and they are even more confusing than the bass guitar string threads....... :)

    I need advice on a first set of strings for someone migrating from bass guitar to upright.

    Here's what I plan to eventually play on it:

    Singer/Songwriter acoustic based material
    Sinatra and other old standards eventually

    I never plan to use a bow
    I don't think I'll slap
    I understand tritone substitution, but I am NO kind of jazzer

    Here's what I know I like in Bass Guitar Strings

    Thomastic Jazz - I like them because they are a happy compromise between dead sounding flatwounds with hand breaking tension and the low tension roundwounds that I used for 30 years that sound like the low end of a piano, too much sustain and too many overtones for what I am playing now. I like some sustain, but I LOVE the sound of a Pbass with flatwounds on 60s and 70s tunes.

    I am okay now, but I have had several bouts of carpal tunnel in my left wrist to the extent that I actually could not play for awhile.

    So, I want something that sounds warm, organic, woody, has some sustain, not too boomy, has low tension, is low maintenance, (I guess this leaves gut out of the picture) and will last a long time (at least a year,) if wiped off regularly. I'd really like to stay under $150 too for a first set.

    I am looking at:

    Pirastro Obligatos
    Thomastik Spirocore Weich
    Eurosonic Light (or Ultralight?)

    but I really need advice please......

    I don't want something too bright that rings with a lot of overtones, but I do want some amount of sustain if I am playing whole notes on a folk/pop song with a lot of space.

    I know I will have to get lessons and work my way into this thing since it's a whole different ball game than electric, but I need a reliable, predicatable set of strings to start with that won't kill my hands.

    Bill Colbert
  2. Ludwig


    Aug 17, 2006
    Is upright an EUB or a normal DB ?
    Are you using or planing to use some kind of magnetic pickup ?

    If your upright is a normal DB, the Obligatos are a good choice for your kind of playing material. But since they don't have a metalic core, they will probably not work well with a magnetic pickup.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I think I would go with the Obligato or maybe a set of Dominant Solos tuned orch.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've tried Obligatos and found them to be very nasal and almost all hi mids and not much else. Spirocores are pretty much the first strings that everyone tries, and they're great strings. I opted for the Thomastik Superflexibles, though, because they're very dark after they break in and they bow very easily (not that I can bow). However, they're way more thick and tense than the Weichs, qualities that I like for upright strings but they may not be your thing.
  5. bilco


    Jan 25, 2006
    Austin, Texas

    It's a regular DB without a pickup on it. I have an SM81 that I will wrap in foam and stuff in the bridge for starters. If I were going to do anything with a pickup, it would be a piezo. If I were going to go the magnetic route, I lose all the tone I want and am not getting from my Pbass.

    I am sure I will have to woodshed for months before I actually take the DB to a gig, and even then it will be for a few tunes in keys where I can use the open strings like G or D. The thought of trying to play Sinatra tunes in Eb or the walking bass line to "Fly Me to the Moon" on a DB is pretty intimidating!

    Thanks for the replies guys,

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