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Forgive me, Talkbass, for I have sinned...(Tension Question)

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Sera Wohldmann, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. My name is Sera. Years ago I lurked and posted occasionally on the slab side, but about a year ago I got bit by a classical bug. I resurrected my old account, and have been lurking and taking in everything I can on DBs for several months. The question I'll be asking is about a brand that doesn't show up in search on this forum.

    Alas, I'm a City College student living on a Pell grant budget, and decided that I had no other recourse for my double bass studies but to buy a Merano bass. I got a good deal on setup work at a local shop, and the thing is playable. But now I'm wondering about changing strings.

    According to the website, Merano uses their own strings, and while they're about what you expect, I'm tired of bowing the G and having it sound like Fran Drescher with a cold. But I'm a little worried (probably unnecessarily) about picking a name brand set and running into problems due to the unknown string tension.

    Does anyone happen to know the numbers on the tension for these strings, or how to find them out? It's a 106cm vibrating length. I've researched tensions on several other sets that I'm considering purchasing, so I can pick a gauge that will fit closest and not require any more setup work.

    (Oh how I have learned my lesson - I'm never going through this again...)
  2. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    one thing that you'll find is that upgrading your strings will make you a lot happier than you are now. the strings that come on CCB's are generally terrible. first though, some questions:

    how much time are you planning to spend, long term, doing arco practice? Being primarily a jazz player, folk player, bluegrass player, classical player, or pop music player will change string requirements, and some strings work well for some styles, but not for others.

    how long have you been bowing, and what's your technique like? some strings are picky for bowing, but are rewarding if you can satisfy that pickiness (Dominants, Spirocores). there are also strings that are relatively easy to bow, but tend to be unsatisfactory for other styles of playing, and are also limiting in terms of nuance (if I can be so bold as to use such a term).

    If you can come back to us with information like that, as well as search the forum (the Megathreads are particularly chock-full of useful info) we can probably help you out.

  3. Appreciate the reply.

    I'm focusing on classical about 90% of the time, not really concerned with tone in other genres. I've been practicing arco technique for about a year now, almost daily. I've also searched all over the site for what other players like, etc, and I think I've narrowed down my choices to just a few.

    I was just hoping to figure out the tension on my crap strings so I can shoot for a string that comes in a similar gauge to what I already have, to avoid the potential for further spontaneous combustion on this precariously designed instrument.
  4. Have you asked the bass manufacturer for the tension data or brand of strings?

    Somewhere in the internet a method for finding out the tension of strings on a bass could be found, can't remmber where. You lay the bass on the side put a weight (with a hook) at the middle of the string and need to displace the string a certain amount. From the weight the tension could be claculated.
    But published tension by the string manufacturers is for a certain string scale. If your scale differs you have to recalculate the tension for your basses string scale.

    It may help to know the silk colouring scheme at the tailpiece and the pegbox for all four of your strings and also the shape of and printing on the ball end.
    But some cheap eastern strings use the same colours as commonly used western strings, so you cannot be sure that these are some quality strings.

    For classical it would be interesting if you play more solo literature (maybe in solo tuning) or more orchestral literature or both (which percentage?). String choice may differ.
    Budget might be another limiting choice in your case.

    You might get better response for string recommendations if you can answer this questions.

    I know, this doesn't help you with your original question, but I think you should know this might be important.
  5. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Wow their still giving out Pell grants? I got one in 81 I thought they got rid of those? Good luck with your search.


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    If you can afford the Thomastic Belcantos, then your bass will sing much better. Same tension with all the Chinese strings but the arco response is great. Probably one of the best choices for classic work.
    Another option is the Helicore Orchestra, regular gauge. Cheaper than the Belcantos but decent strings.
    You have to keep in mind that both strings give mediocre results for pizzicatto playing. If you plan to add jazz in your repertoire go for the Evah Pirazzi Weich, which are excellent hybrid strings.
  7. Tried, it's hard to get a response.

    That would be helpful, I'll look again.

    Exactly, these strings are funny. The E and D have black wraps at both ends, and the A and G have blue wraps at both ends. Would seem to imply that they're a mix of Precisions and Superflexibles, but that's clearly not the case. It's a perfect match with the all-steel strings on the Merano US website though.

    Not really interested in solo work or jazz at the moment. Played a bit of jazz on slab, and sub on occasion, but I think I'll worry about that when I get another instrument, and that may be a long way off. Again, I'm not gigging with this instrument, just learning and practicing on it while saving and playing the school instrument in class.

    I do know that, to me, the string feels stiff on pizz, and the string does fight back on arco. My teacher plays lefty, though, so I never thought to compare my technique on hers. I may just have to ask next time, but she's touring on a documentary right now, so that's a ways off. Was hoping not to bug her too much if I can help it.
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Those are just crappy Chinese strings. Put a set of Spiro Weichs on there and get after it! ;)