Gut-a-like strings on a 1/2 size double bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Adriana, May 19, 2018.

  1. Adriana

    Adriana

    Apr 15, 2018
    I have a 1/2 size double bass which I love. However I'd like to try some gut type strings as I play a lot of bluegrass and blues. I want a more authentic vintage sound, but can't find any strings to fit a 1/2 size. Has anyone tried gut-a-like or similar on a half size.

    Many thanks in advance

    Adriana
     
  2. Simon Toth

    Simon Toth

    Mar 22, 2017
    Obligatos maybe, maybe maybe...I have a set of weedwackers, and they can be fitted on pretty much every size of bass. It's just a piece of plastic at the end of the day :) Not sure how vintage it sounds but at least not spiros :)
     
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  4. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    A very gut-like version of weedwackers is the spiral cut Superior BassWorks Deluxe strings in dirty gut color... I've been using them on a 3/4 bass (Alcoa) for bluegrass and old jazz and I like the sound and feel of them a lot for both pizz and arco.

    The SBW Deluxe strings are low-to-medium tension, feel and look like gut and most people who know anything about gut ask me if they're real.

    For acoustic pizz, the E string (even the highest tension) does suffer from muddy-ness (typical thick low tension nylon string sound), less if you're playing close to the bridge, but the rest of the strings are clear and strong. For acoustic arco the whole set is clear, even and very growly like gut would be. These strings come as a 6-string bump-pack so you can decide your lowest-highest string tensions based on thickness. Set cost is $57.97 depending on where you get them (Amazon/SBW, etc.). They can be cut to length as needed, and they take about a week to settle in.

    My bass has bridge wing and fingerboard piezo pickups and the whole set sounds great when plugged in direct for both pizz and arco. Last few weekends we've been recording for two new albums in the studio and we're really pleased with the sound, and when plugged into a PA for festivals, etc., we've also been very pleased.

    There are a lot of strings to select from and I've only tried the SBW Deluxe string set and a mixed set (standard un-textured weedwackers with a red steel core A used as an E) that originally came with my bass. But of the two sets the SBW strings are definitely the best.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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  5. Adriana

    Adriana

    Apr 15, 2018
    Cool, thanks Simon. I was kinda wondering if there is a way to tie the bottom of the strings or something. I've been reading up and apparently 3/4 strings lack tension on a 1/2 size bass.
     
  6. Adriana

    Adriana

    Apr 15, 2018
    Thanks guys, I'll have a look at the obligatos. I didn't know that were gut. Are they metal wound? I'll have a look at the bassworks strings too. I'm just not sure how they'd do on a 1/2 size
     
  7. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Obligstos are not gut. They are flexible synthetic strings
     
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  8. Adriana

    Adriana

    Apr 15, 2018
    Thanks for clearing that up Sam. There are so many strings available, but hardly any for 1/2 size :-(
     
  9. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Not to necessarily try to influence your decision, but the SBW Deluxe webpage says the following:
    • Fits most 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8, and 4/4 scale basses.
    It is hard to choose. Best of luck!
     
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  10. Adriana

    Adriana

    Apr 15, 2018
    Cool, I'm gonna check them out on YouTube!
     
  11. Reiska

    Reiska

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Heavier tension gut-like Innovations might serve your purposes well.
     
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  12. Yes, but since you seem to be looking for strings that are rather floppy, it may be a positive side-effect in your case.
     
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  13. Adriana

    Adriana

    Apr 15, 2018
    Thanks, I've been considering the silver slaps. They sound pretty good :)
     
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  14. Download my Excel File from my Dropbox (link in signature) and entre your scale on the top legt and you can see the tension of a string in the list on your scale. On a smaller size instrument you won't like to have the same tension than on a larger instrument to avoid too much pressure to the smaller (and thinner) top. But the tension drop because of the shorter scale is a bit too much of a tension drop due to the smaller body.
     
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  15. Adriana

    Adriana

    Apr 15, 2018
    Wow, thanks! This is kind of technical for me but I'll give it a go. Have you any idea what kind of tension I need on a 1/2 size?
     
  16. Adriana

    Adriana

    Apr 15, 2018
    Actually I can see the average tension for 1/2 size strings from your file. Does your file suggest that I would be better off with low tension strings so that not too much pressure is placed on the neck?
     
  17. I would get an orientation from the original tension of 1/2 size strings. Spirocore are on the higher side (in general, no idea if the 1/2 size are different). So thane that as the upper end and 20% less as the lower end. Depends a lot on the bass what is best in that range.
     
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