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Flat-Chromesteels vs. Dominats

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by FidgetStone, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Okay folks . . . I have read posts on both of these strings until I am cross-eyed. For people that have tried both strings, please share your opinion for both pizz and arco as to which string you prefer and why. Also, if you have tried both of these strings and like yet another string better than either of these, that would be great information as well.

    My basic profile relative to strings:
    - Two-year-old Christopher hybrid bass
    - Play almost all pizz but want to play more arco
    - Bob G. German bow
    Strings tried to date:
    - Helicore Hybrid mediums - no redeeming qualities on my bass
    - Obligatos - Liked very much until death at 8 to 9 months
    - Compass 180's - On month 14 and still in great shape, overall favorite but looking down the road at next string experiment

    Thanks all for your input . . .
  2. I am currently using Dominants, and used Flat Chromesteels for about a year and a half not too long ago. The Dominants are the best string I have yet tried, both for pizz and arco.
    They are the only synthetic type string I've yet tried; all the others, like the Flat Chromesteels, were standard steel strings.

    For pizz, the Dominants have a fuller sound (not as trebly) than the Flat Chromesteels, and they are softer to the touch (easier on the fingers). For arco, they are considerably easier to bow and less scratchy than the Flat Chromesteels or any other string I've tried (and this is especially important for someone with as crummy bowing technique as me). Their tone for arco is absolutely beautiful.

    BTW, the other strings I've tried are Helicore Orchestras, Spriocores, and Corelli 370F's.

    The Dominants are thicker and meatier than the steel strings, so it takes more finger, and more oomph, to pluck them and stop them. They also went out of tune more often during the first month or so that I had them on, but that seems to have resolved.

    Despite these last couple of points, the Dominants sure are worth it, at least for me.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Dominants vs. FCS is a night vs. day thing.

    They are totally different strings.

    I guess this borders on a double post but I just wrote this on another thread. It's short. Not much more than posting the link:

    It's a preference thing.

    More modern, well sustaining steel string pizz tone but a very bowable string with a bright powerful tone --> Pirastro Flat Chromesteel

    Darker, woodier, shorter decaying pizz tone but still VERY usable with a more classical arco sound --> Dominants

    I have played both. I was very happy with both.

    FWIW, the FCS will last at least twice as long as the Doms.
  4. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Mr. Arms . . .
    Since you and I both have Obligatos as common ground, how would you compare the FCS and Dominants to Obligatos? I'm guessing that Dominats are closer to Obligatos than the FCS would be. How would you rank the three strings purely for arco and purely for pizz? Also, Given that the FCS last longer, do the Dominats last any longer than Obligatos?

    As always, your comments are appreciated. (others please feel free to weigh in as well)
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Weird: I get a ton of sustain on Dominants, and I find them plenty bright (which for me is a good thing).

    YMMV, I guess? :)
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    Compared to Flat chromesteels, I would call Dominants darker. Compared to more traditionally labeled steel arco strings, maybe not. FCS are almost like spirocores as far as having that steel string zing thing.

    I'd say the same as far as sustain. I was never left wanting with dominants, but IME, they have a quicker dynamic decay than do FCS/spirocore kind of string. Much quicker. They have a kind of slower bloom to them that a steel string doesn't have, but they do seem to fade faster to me.

    I would like to try them again on my Shen, which probably a lot more like your New Standard than my Engelhardt was. That bass was "stringy" sounding anyway. It would be interesting to listen to them again on a bass I am otherwise much happier and comfortable with.

    I guess the Dominant is more like Obligato, although I think the Dominant is far better string. First they have much more dynamic response. IME, the obligato, while they sound nice, just quit when you really try to crank into them by digging hard pizz or going wide open with the stick. They puke out.

    Both FCS and Dominant are stiffer and seem to take that better. Although, tonally, I would stay the FCS is not a HUGE far cry from the Obligato. I played a split set Obligato/FCS for a week or two and it was just fine.

    It's harder for me to comment completely to compare all three well because have heard Obligato and FCS on the same bass but not the Dominants.

    IME, the life of the Dominants was not much better than the Obligatos. I first played Dom solos. I had two break on me and replaced the whole set after the second break. It was about six months or so. The second set, I had no breaks but gave up on them at about 8 months, switching them in and out a few times for spiros.
  7. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I can get about 3 months out of Obligatos, and the same with Dominants.

    Between the two I find the Dominants to be the better string. Certainly louder!

    Pretty much any steel string is going to last longer than a composite string. That's just the nature of the beast.
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I think that how long any steel string lasts has a lot to do with the PH balance of the user's skin. I've had my dominants on for about a year now, and they're still going strong...but then I have dry skin. A couple of my students who have a different skin makeup can kill even a set of spirocores within a couple of months. As always, YMMV.
  9. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I too get plenty of sustain from DOM's; almost too much for what I'm looking for.

    Great string. I used FCS's too, and liked them very much, but I think the DOM's are more of a traditional sounding string; less modern sounding.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've found that the sustain can be controlled to a degree by the placement of the pizz finger on the vertical axis of the string in the RH, and by the stopping force of the left hand. Since they're so stiff, they don't buzz like crazy with a loose stop.
  11. Well Fidget, are you cross-eyed again yet?

    Looking at the strings you've tried to date -- Helicore Hybrids, Obligatos and Compas 180s, you've tried some synthetic strings so maybe it's time to go to a good all-steel string (i.e., Flat Chromesteels) and see how you like them. They are less costly and longer lasting than the synthetic strings, and not a bad dual-purpose steel string, Just a thought.
  12. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have used both Flat Chromesteels and Dominants and both are excellent strings, with similar tension but very different sound.

    The FCS have a very clean and pure sound, especially with the bow. They are thinner than the Doms and most likely will last longer. I found the E to be a little weak compared to the rest of the set, but they match well with a Spiro orch E.

    The Dominants have a thicker, more organic sound, with a peculiar (but appealing) click at the start of the note. They have a coarser arco sound, but still bow easily. The disadvantages here are their breakage record and their potentially short lifespan.

    For my purposes the dominants suit me better, the fatter sound sits well in the straight-ahead and latin jazz that I play, and not quite everyone leaves for a smoke-break should I bust out the bow. :rolleyes:
  13. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    All right boys and girls . . . I put the new FCS's on tonight! It is way to early to report on the sound now, but I will write my impressions soon.

    Having tried Obligatos and Compas 180's and liking them both, I still wanted to try something different to see how my bass reacted. What I am hoping for is something that has a little more "spiro-like" mwah and sustain without giving up too much of the warmth and bow-ability of the newer hybrid types above.

    The FCS's are physically thinner than the O's and 180's which will take some getting used to. Also, I expected the tension to be higher, or at least feel higher than the others, but at first blush, that is not the case. The FCS's don't feel stiffer to me at all.

    Also, Quinn Violins had them in stock at a competitive price, and they arrived on Wednesday from a Sunday night web order. That is good service in my book.

    Peace . . . :)