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Gave up on the Obligatos

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Chasarms, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    After giving the Obligatos on the Shen two months, I have given up on them. If I was pizz minded, these days, they would have stayed for sure, but despite the general concensus here, my teacher and I never really fell for the arco tone, and that is where I am really trying to spend my time and energy right now.

    My bass is still very new, and they just don't seem to have enough energy to get the top cranking. They are thin sounding and a little whiny on my bass.

    I am now on the third day of the new Flexocors (medium). The bowed sound is obviously many, many times better. Pizz, they are tubby, but they are fine for me.

    Arco, they are noticably more musical sounding than the Obligatos. Especially, the D and G, which was a fuller, warmer sound. The E and A are still trying to get played in, but overall, they made a wonderful difference in the Orchestra sound on my bass.
  2. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    Now that you've tried both, what would be your feelings about Obligatos for the E and A and Flexicor for the G and D? Are the respective tensions close enogh to pull that off? It seems that such a combination would give you a singing arco quality in the higher register and allow you to retain power in the lower.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    I definately like the idea of using the flexocor in the D and G positions and mixing something else in the bottom. I don'tthink it would the Obligato though. They are far too bright compared to the Flexocor, and the E string is probably the least impressive of the Obligatos.

    I will probably give this complete set of Flexocors a few months to play in before I make any decisions about them. It's hard to say too much about DB strings for the first month or so they are on.

    I would really like to try the Varicors. I'd also like to give the Velvet 180 an audition, but they would be a pretty expensive experiment should they not work well on my bass. You have to buy the whole set at $250.

  4. I like the Obligatos a lot, though mine are waaaayyyy overdue for changing (two years old!). My only complaint is that the A and especially E are a bit "rolly" and hard to start with the bow. I love the warm sound, though.

    Since I've never experimented too much with strings, I'm going to try Varicors next time around, with my only prejudice being that the G and D may be too metallic or nasal. If that is the case, I might try Obli G and D along with the Varicor A and E.
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    How much pizz v. arco do you do?

    On my bass, the D and G Obligatos were the ones that sounded so nasty. Any note bowed above the 4th position on the G string was just plainly offensive. With the Flexocors, they have a very natural sound, almost cello-like. I think right now, my bass must just be too bright for anything like the Obligato.

    I do get what you are saying about the feel of the A and E, but I could live with the feel if the tone was there. The Obligatos were certainly easier to stop than the Flexocors.
  6. Funny, but most of my performing is pizz (jazz), but I practice almost exclusively with the bow. Maybe I’m just used to them, or maybe it’s because they’re so well broken in, but I really enjoy the sound of the Obli G and D in the higher registers. Also, the fact that my bass is quite dark sounding to begin with probably factors into the equation.

    Hopefully, the Varicors will provide me with a bit more tension on the E and A and give me a bit more of the definition and "focus" that my bass seems to lack right now.
  7. I've recently (about a month ago) switched my Original Flexocor G & D, for a Obligato G & D. Although I've used Flexocor for years on my orchestra bass, I've not always enjoyed the sound of the open G string. It sounded too thin compared to the other three, even after soun post adjustments. Since the switch, I've found the Obligato G & D to be robust, warm, with a lot of projection. I use Original Flexocor on the A & E, especially with a C extension, O.Flexocor IMO, have the darkest, deepest sound of the many I've tried like Varicor, Helicore, and Dominants. I use a set of Obligatos on another bass, a flat back, with very good sound. A question for players of guts. Do you think there is enough of a difference between guts, and some of the synthetic gut strings on the market, to outway the issues of cost, keeping in tune, longevity, etc? I'd be curious, and interested, in hearing what your opinions on this subject are.

    Thanks, Dennis
  8. Dennis:

    How is the A & E tension on the Flexocors compared to the Oblis? How about the Kolsteins compared to Obli? I need something with more tension on the lower strings.
  9. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I am really digging my Corelli 370's ...very nice. Took my bass to a reahearsal last night with Helicores on it, never tried them before. God, are they awful !
  10. Mike: The Flexocors have a higher tension compared to Obligatos. I tried the Obligato A, and that's why I kept the Flexocor A on. The reponse, and I'm refering to bowing verses pizz, is quicker, smoother, than the Obligato A, possibly due to the higher tension. I personally like a fat, round sound on the A, and I didn't get it with Obl. A. I haven't tried the E Obli, because I have a C extension, and they don't make one to fit. I only used a extened E Kolstein, so my judgemnet may be off, but IMO, the Obligatos are a little higher tension. I use a set of Oblis on my other bass, a flat back, and it reponses very well. As a matter of fact, it was the reason I tried them on my orchestra bass. What type of playing are you doing the most, bow, or pizz? What kind of bass you using laminated, carved? I do find it interesting that on the two basses I own (actually I own four total) I have two different string combinations. On the other two basses, one which is an EUB, I have two totally different combinations. IMO, it is a very individual thing.
  11. Dennis,

    I play mostly jazz and I have a 7/8 hybrid bass. I like the warm, dark sound, but I would like to have more focus and definition. Since the Obligatos are fairly low tension, I'd like to see how my bass repsonds to something a little tighter.

    I agree that it will take some experimentation to find out what sounds right for my bass and my playing style.
  12. Don: Are the 370's the ones with the tungsten? I tried a set of Corelli on a friends bass, and I agree, they played real nice, easy reponse. I just don't remember if they were nickel, or tungsten. I also agree with you about the Helicores. Tried them, thought they were dull sounding, but everyone around Bostonwas using them, thought they were good, now I'm noticing many guys are saying what you said. :meh:
  13. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I think Dennis is talking about the Original Flexocor. I put the "new" Flexocor on my bass. I used the Mediums. They are slightly stiffer under the left hand, but there is no overwhelming difference. The E and A are definately more controlled than the Obligatos.

    The overall tone is deeper and darker than the Obligatos, but if I recall my research correctly, the newer Flexocors are a little brighter than the Originals. But by no means bright in general comparsion.

    I also think I recall reading that the thin G was a fairly common issue with the originals and addessed in the redesign. I certainly wouldn't call mine thin. I like the D and G tone VERY much, especially bowed.

    I would also like to try Varicors for comparision.

    Overall, my teacher says give the Flexocors a few months to play in before passing complete judgement.

    Dennis: Do you have any experience with the new Flexocor?

  14. Charles: Yes, I'm using the Original Flexocor. I'm not sure how new your talking about on the Flexcor design. How long has it been on the market? Do you use Flex, or Orig. Flex?

  15. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    I use the string labeled simply "Flexocor." Mediums. Some want to call them New as the others are labeled "Original."

    Whatever you call them, I like them.
  16. Right. They have the maroon windings. I use the ones with solid purple windings. Don't get me wrong, I too like them. Used them for years, great sound for arco, big dark sound overall.
  17. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    Can anyone weigh in on Dennis' question? I'd like to know but I'm loathe to start a new thread on it. In another thread, members kind of trashed Obligatos arguing that since they have a relatively short life, they're not economical. It would seem that they'd still be less expensive than, say, Eudoxas even if they were replaced 2-3 time a year. Unless, the improvement in sound of guts over synthetics is appreciable. Is it?
  18. As I explained in a few other threads, the "new" Flexocors appeared in 1992.
    That's why they're sometimes called Flexocor '92s.
    The Flexocors that were made prior to 1992 were renamed Original Flexocors.

    In the new design, the D and G are stiffer and darker sounding, with more thud.
    I personnally think they're lifeless in comparison with the Original Flexocors.
    However, in the new design, the A & E are lighter, clearer sounding, while in the Originals they're thick and fat, dark sounding.

    I feel the Original Flexocors G, D and A are possibly the best steel strings in the orchestral category, but also if you want a warm, woody pizz tone.
    The E may seem much too muddy though.
    I'll put a Chromcor E next week to replace it.
    It also has a warm tone, but a nice deep dark growl and lots of power.

    The Kolstein Varicors are a very nice alternative, if you want more clarity.


  19. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    OK. Nothing like dragging up an old dead thread. But, here's an update that is sort of interesting (to me, at least):

    I finished my main orchestra obligation for this season last weekend. First time I ever attempted such a thing, and I have to say that it was a wonderful experience.

    Anyway, the other big holiday gig I have is with a local singer/song writer. I play slab on about 40 percent of his stuff. Of the remaining DB stuff, about 2/3 is pizz and 1/3 bowed.

    We've done a couple of his shows already and have one left this weekend. On a whim, last night I decided to dig that set of Obligatos out of the drawer and give them another go. I always thought the pizz was better and I was willing to give te arco tone at least another try. My pizz tone was getting buried using the Flexocors.

    Anyway, I guess it could be:

    *10 months of solid playing on the new bass has started to open it up
    *the improvement of my bowing
    *the fact that the Obligatos sat in a drawer for a year
    *Simply the fact that it is been long enough for me to forget how they sounded the last time

    But nonetheless, I am much happier with them this time around.

    The most noticeable thing was the HUGE increase in volume both pizz and arco vs. the Flexocor.
    And while they are still brighter overall compared to the Flexocor, the don't seem to have that nasally honk that drove me nuts the first time around.

    I had also forgotten how large the strings are. I first strung the bass leaving on the Flex E string. The Ob. A is as thick as the Flex E. I like the thicker string.

    Overall, the bass is more comfortable to play with the Obligatos.

    I still like the Flex E better, but the volume difference is so great that I can't really use it with them.

    Anyway, I think I am going to buy some new strings soon and they won't be Obligatos, but overall I am not nearly as down on them as I was a while back.
  20. Ok I may be the last person on the planet to test drive Obligatos, but I finally did because I just couldn't stand not knowing what they were like. Overall I still like the sound of old time gut better for pizz and arco, but these really do come closer than anything else I've tried. I was having trouble switching back and forth between my arco bass with original flexocor's and my Jazz bass with guts so this string maybe what I am looking for the time being since I have to spend most of my time on arco. The nasal sound they have on the top strings is typical of gut. This isn't bad, it's just different from the typical flexocor arco sound. The roll on the E was strange at first but I don't have a problem with it now that I've spent some time with it. I might change it out for a Superflexible later, but I'll keep it for now. I think these strings sound great with the bow but then I like the bowed sound of gut strings.


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