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Flexocor strings info from Ken Smith

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by KSB - Ken Smith, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Last night I did some work on my 7/8 Shen. I pulled out a reg set of Flexs and the E was for the Ext, 210mm.. Oops.. way way too long. So I took out a Stark E from another set I had and mixed it with 3 regular Flexs. It works great tension and tone wise. So I can tell you that no matter what Bass I try them on, the Stark E IS the fix for the reg Flex E.

    Francois, put this info up in the 'Stickys'. People need to know this. The Stark E is about .105" The reg Flex E is about .096". The Reg Ext.E that I just got (my first one) measures about .100. I think this is closer to where the set needs to be. I wont know of course until I use it on a Bass with a C ext with regular Flexs. If this works good on the latched E, I will ask Pirastro to make this gauge in the regular length or maybe with a .102 thickness as all the other Starks are within .003 or less of the reg Gauges.

    For now though, The Stark E handles all the problems of the Flex weak E syndrome. No more mixing Helicore, Permanent or Orig Flex Es to get the proper tension. When you do this to match tension, you also have the side effect or mis-matched tone. Keep it all Flexs and keep your tone where it belongs, Even!

    BTW, a special thanks to francois as he was the one to guide me thru all these String things when I started back playing after a 15yr retirement. Thanks francois, it was you that kept me on track and put me in touch with Pirastro to learn all these things about the new styles available now. Also, thanks to you, I have re-discovered the Jaegar Strings and taken a liking to the Forte reds (Stark in Jaegar series) on one of my Basses. I love the soft feel under my fingers and the smooth dark tone my Dodd produces with them. I have an invitation to play the Trout next week in a Chamber quintet. I brought the Gilkes last year for this. I think it's time to try the Dodd and Jaegars and see how the blend in a small setting. In the Orchestra, they are perfect for this Bass. They do require a bit of Bow pressure on the E and some on the A but after all, I am using a Bultitude Bow. It's like a Bazooka hitting a Tank. Or in more peaceful terms, it's like Meat 'n' potatoes or Peas 'n' Carrots.. Take your pick... Ask Don Z or Arnold to comment on this if you like as they have played this Bass and Bow.
  2. Thanks for the great info and kind words, Ken!
    I hope you can get Pirastro into redesigning their medium gauge Flexocor E to make it thicker!
    It is indeed too floppy and anemic as it is right now.

  3. Ken,
    I have on stock an 1/2 size Flex E and a regular one.
    I'm measuring 0.100 and 0.097 respectively.
    The thicker one definitely sounds a feel (somewhat) better than the thinner one.
    I don't know why they are different though.
    Adrian Muller once confirmed that the regular and 1/2 size sets is supposed to be the same. (lenght excepted of course)
    Another vote to get the E get thicker!
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I was up at Arnolds places yesterday (AES) with my Shen to get a new Sound Post fitted. He got to try it with 3 reg flexs and the Stark flex E. He agreed and mentioned that in the future, he would order his Flexs in like that.

    I mainly went up to retrieve my 5er that needed the neck re-set and neck block repaired. It is strung with flex G&D and Perm A,E&B. The reason is that I had 2&2 on my Martini because the E was too thin so I put the Perm and it balanced better with A&E matched.

    Again here, if I had known about the Stark flexs which by the way are not listed anywhere, I would have just gotten the bigger/better matching E string. The Perms would never have gotten a second look at all.

    So, if the E is too flabby, get the Stark. If you need the tone darker and don't mind a slight drop in presence of volume, get the Jaegars. They are balanced in feel and tone to my ear. At a distance however, there is little if any loss in volume. It's just a different type of sound. More spread and less direct penetration from what I can tell but neither is better than the other.
  5. bSharp


    Oct 23, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Delurking breifly to ask about the terminology used here. I'm not clear on what exactly is being discussed. Just as a point of reference, let me try to relate the terms used in this thread to what is in the Lemur catalog description of the Flexocor strings. The catalog has Original Flexocor and then thin, medium, and thick Flexocor. They also have Solo Flexocor but clearly we are not talking about those. When you say Regular Flexocor do you mean Medium Flexocor and is Stark the same as Thick? Also, for the E, are you only talking about the normal length E or an extended E or does it not matter?


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Regular Flexocores come in 3 gauges. Thick is the same as Stark. Original Flexocores only come in 1 gauge.
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Regular Flexocor is the old formula now called just Flexocor or Flexocor 92s. The string they call Original Flexocor is NOT at all anything like the Flexocor of the 60s and 70s. The current regular Flexocor or 92s is the closest thing to the old formula. Pirastro seems to lazy I guess to re-name their brands. Maybe they are concerened it will confuse us even more. They should switch and call the 92s 'Old Formula' and the Originals should be called NEW Flexocor which are heavier gauge than the Medium regular 92. Because of the thickness they DO sound darker after they break in BUT the 92s Thick/Stark would be even darker sounding right out of the gate and after the break in as well.

    The combination I referred to on my Shen was all Regular 92s Flexocor with Medium G,D and A with the E being the Stark/Thick gauge. I don't know why Lemur calls them 'thick' when Pirastro prints 'Stark' on the package. Maybe it means 'thick' in English.

    I have the Original Flexocor (dark Blue threads) on my Martini and it is currently getting an Extension Fitted. I will use a Permanent 'E/C' on it to start since I already had it on the Morelli and took it off. When I get the chance and these get old or I get tired of them, I would like to try regular Medium Flexocors on that Bass as the 'E/C' Ext. string is .100 instead of .097 on the standard 'E' length string. I don't know why they do that. I think .100, .102 or even .105 would be a better match for the medium set.

    I will update this thread after I get the Martini back.
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ok, as promised I am posting some results and an addition.

    On the Martini with the Orig flex and Perm E/C, the sound was nice unless you had been using reg Flex Starks. I could hear the edge on each the note when a great player from the NYC Ballet was trying the Martini up at Arnolds as well as when Arnold or myself played it. It did not at all sound bad. It just didn't sound as good as it would after changing strings. The Martini has good mids in the tone and needs the darker Stark reg Flexs for my ear. I soon put the reg Flex Starks on all 4 strings and the sound was darker, smoother and more even than I had ever heard the Bass. I think Arnolds Ext and some tweaking was partly to blame! I prefer this set to all other Pirastro strings now personally.

    A few months ago I sent a very old set of Flexocors to Pirastro to test. The looked like the reg Flex but the gauges on all but the G were much heavier than even the Starks. Last week, Pirastro sent me a letter saying 'These are pre-1991 strings and are similar to our new Orig Flex" and sent me a set as a thank you for me efforts. I now went and measured the Orig Flexs and noticed the gauges were similar but the sound is not. I still think the reg Flex is the closest sound to the Old Flexs pre 1991. I just hope the keep offering the Stark gauges as they seem to be the best I have found.