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Gigging on 'Fragile' strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by flyingmarcel, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Hello All,

    I've recently decided to go back to playing on Animas after a long time of using Spirocores on my bass. I loved the Animas (and the Garbos) the first time I tried them out several years ago, but I just found that I was too caught up in worrying that I was going to blow a string on the job (given the somewhat fragile reputation of these and other synthetic strings, paired with my neurotic tendencies....). I decided, therefore, to go with something more 'reliable' ie. Spiros. Ultimately though, I wanted the Anima sound and feel and have decided that it's the string I want to go with - Have them on the bass now and couldn't be happier!


    I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts on gigging on strings that have a somewhat less 'solid' reputation than other potential choices. Are people carrying back up sets with them? I guess this would be the obvious answer, but (as has been mentioned previously), putting even a broken in string on your bass is still going to require some time before you achieve tuning stability. Additionally, finishing a set on a 3 stringer doesn't sound that appealing either, or the thought of changing a string during the break...:meh:

    So, what are other people doing - rolling the dice and hoping for no breakage, practicing to get their string changing chops up to high speeds, checking your strings routinely and changing them out at any sign of weakening, etc. Or, are you doing what I'm trying to do - Leave the strings alone, throw and extra set in your case, don't worry about them until you need to and just play?

    I guess I just really want some other perspectives and want to think this through so that I'm ready in the event that a breakage does occur (like I said, neurotic tendencies...)

    It was nice to have one less thing to worry about with the Spirocores....


  2. Keep an old set of Spiros with you. If you break a string, throw the Spiro on. It won't be optimal but you'll be able to finish the gig on 4 strings and you won't have to keep tuning it up throughout the gig. Put a new Anima on when you get home.

    I've been playing gut and keep a set of Weichs in my bag for just such an emergency.

  3. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I've always had spare strings in my gig bags. Spiros usually. I don't know that Animas are super fragile. I used a set for 6 months that had already been on somebody elses bass for a while. They never broke and I punish strings.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I have an old set of spiro starks and a string winder in my bag. I've broken exactly one "fragile" string in the past four years over the course of over 400 gigs played on them. I can live with that. :)
  5. Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the quick replies - yeah, I've always carried a spare set (even when using spiros), so I'll be continuing to do this - I agree, probably not a good mix (3 Animas, 1 Spirocore), but will get you through the gig.

    Also "fragile" versus "solid" string construction is a somewhat arbitrary reference that I chose to use - please nobody take it the wrong way, I just wanted to make the point that I feel there is less chance of breaking a Spirocore over the life span of the string than with, in this case, an Anima.

    I think the string winder is a good suggestion - I'll have to invest in one!

  6. Over the past decade I've used olivs, eudoxas, animas, plain gut, and currently have a 3 EP's on the bass. I play very hard, even occassionally snapping strings against the fingerboard, I play practice a lot, and at various times have gigged an awful lot. In that time, I've broken a string twice. Both times it was a eudoxa E that had been on the bass for approx. 18 months. My personal experience leads me to believe that as long as the grooves on your bridge and nut have been sufficiently widenned, these strings aren't nearly as fragile as some believe. They're not bomb proof, but they should last beyond the sonic lifespan.
  7. I've never had a string break probably because I've used Spiro Mittels most of my upright career. I used Dominants for a while and Evahs for an even shorter while. I'm currently using all gut. I saw Christian McBride break a string (probably a Helicore) in the middle of a Pat Metheny Trio show in Manhatten in 2003 (amazing show btw). Ever since, I've always carried a spare set. I may never break a string but I don't want to mess up a gig if I do. I know that breaking a string is incredibly unlikely but it takes almost nothing to put an old set of Mittels in my case. I also carry spare batteries for my tuner as well as a spare tuner (now that I'm playing gut, I leave the tuner plugged into the effects out and leave it on. I can check my tuning every tune or two without having to make any kind of a fuss. The guts have stabilized pretty well so in the absence of big temperature shifts, they don't go out of tune as much as they used to. I also carry spare power cords, spare cables, and spare Neutrik connectors. I have a cord bag that goes right over my shoulder and everything goes into it. I never have to think about it again.

    One gig, the keyboard player forgot HIS cord bag. I had enough spare cords with me to get him working. It wasn't his optimal set up but he was able to play the gig.

  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Nice post Mark - oughta be a Sticky! :)

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