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Gut exploded!!

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by lucas vigor, Nov 4, 2005.


  1. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Well, it finally happened. I have had my guts for about 7-8 months now. I oiled them once a month with olive oil (Light coating). These are all guts, no wound. I absolutely loved the sound and feel. Where I live we have a unique weather condition known as Santa Ana winds. High pressure over this area draws in extremley dry weather from the desert, and while we normally have a nice seabreeze with some moisture, things turn bone dry oct thru december. I should have known better. Twice, I have left bongos and tablas in the garage, and forgot they were there. When I went to check on them, the heads were busted. On the high pressure days, you can actually hear the pitch of the hand drums go higher, as though being tightened. Anyway, I had my gut strung bass in a storage facility for about 2 weeks. It rarely gets hot in there, but it can get cold at times. I did not detune them.

    I went to rehearsal last night, took my bass out of it's thick canvas bag, and the g string had busted right around the C note. It looked like it lieterally exploded! I actually had noticed an inconsistency in the color in that exact position earlier, but never gave it much thought. I thought guts were tougher then that, though?

    Rather then pay for a new gut string (Or set) I am going to try the euronsonics I have as a back up for a while. But I really, really loved those guts. I am worried now, as I don't know the exact reason for the break. Problem with the string itself? Age? (8 months old) Tightening past the breaking point on it's own due to possible severe dry conditions?

    I want to stick with the sound and feel of guts, but now I am scared. I was led to believe that guts were very tough, and that's why slappers like them, but what I was always afraid of just happened.

    Any expert advice??

    I would appreciate any help here!
     
  2. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I think you hit the nail on the head with "Anyway, I had my gut strung bass in a storage facility for about 2 weeks. It rarely gets hot in there, but it can get cold at times. I did not detune them....... Tightening past the breaking point on it's own due to possible severe dry conditions?"

    A severe drop in humidity would cause the gut to dry out and shrink. The G, being the thinnest, would likely be the first to snap.
    I've been amazed at how quickly unwound gut strings absorb moisture from the air, stretch, and drop pitch intensely in a matter of minutes. It probably takes longer for them to dry out and shrink.

    Fortunately, the G is the cheapest one to replace.
     
  3. Bummer. I always de-tune mine after playing. Usually a half step down. They can tighten up dangerously otherwise.

    Keep playing gut! Just remember to detune, and try to keep your bass in an environment with minimal fluctuations in humidity and temperature.
     
  4. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yes I agree wholeheartedly with all of the responses.
     
  5. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    +1
     
  6. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    It's really very sad.

    I loved my guts. There is nothing else that comes close. Last Saturday I played a pop gig at a country club for some rich guy's birthday and used my Eurosonics. It worked. I was able to play the whole first two sets plugged in, and then after we got really, really stinking drunk, went out and worked the crowd outside smoking. I did not bother plugging it in. The bass is a King DB slapking, so it does not have a huge acoustic sound, but it actually worked. The Eurosonics are excellent strings, and I hope it's not true that they are no longer being made.

    But they are not guts. Nothing really compares, you know?

    Eventually, I will get a new set. Unfortunately, after taking the remaining three off, I noticed the end of the A (The tailpiece end) had a flattened and frayed section, so now I only have the E and the D as serviceable strings.

    I also just ordered the weed whackers from Barefoot larry, so Iwill keep them as a back up too. But I want my damn guts back.

    It makes me very mad that they can't come up with a synthetic version that looks, feels and sounds the same. But one that won't break whenever the weather changes!
     
  7. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    You just need to make sure you keep them at tuning pitch. If you've going to be away from the bass for a long time, tune them down. Also some guts are better quality than others.
     
  8. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Well, that raises a question: What were the guts that this bass came with? It is a chinese slapking.

    Whatever they are, they have not lasted too long (8 months) however, I did do a lot of gigs this summer down by the beach, and then my storage is much farther inland. Actually, I only left in in the storage for that two week period. The rest of the time (Between gigs) it was at our steel player's garage, also down by the beach.

    It's funny, but we recently had lost our guitarist who really wanted to take the band in a rockabilly direction, and he wanted me to slap on darn near every song. Frankly, now that he is gone I can say it: I hate playing slap. I am, and always will be a pizz player. And wierdly, those guts sounded great for fingerstyle. So many bassists on other forums said you needed wrapped E and A, or at least the E to ensure a strong pitch for pizz playing, but I found myself frequently using jazz type runs and figures...and on a pure gut set!

    Guts rule, no doubt about it, but the reliability factor scares me. I will eventually go back to them, and maybe just take them off for the oct-dec period when the dryness is the worst. That is our down time for my band anyway, as we are mostly seasonal during the summer.

    Adrian, when I finally do go back to guts, are there a brand known for longevity? Should I avoid the Lenzners, and go with something in the 300-400 range to ensure they will last longer then 8 months? I want the strings to last 2-5 years....dead sounding strings is actually what I like. On my Slab bass, (A fender precision) I have had the same flat wounds for 8 years now, and they sound great. Dead, and no sustain. Just how I like it!
     
  9. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    From my own experiences and what I've read, you get what you pay for. I am using the Gamut Lyon guts in varnished form which makes them easier to bow, pretty much maintenance free, and they last longer. The Gamut strings are made by Dan Larson. A lot of guys use Damian Dlugolecki's strings too.
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    There are 2 or 3 UK Jazz players, I've met, who reckon that Innovations strings are exactly that!!

    http://www.innovationstrings.com/innend.htm


    (No personal experience - just recommendations from some very good players!!)
     
  11. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Ok Adrian, Bruce, thanks for the info!

    I am going to seriously look at those innovations for my next set, probably the rockabilly type. The sound I like is basically what I call "Mariachi" bass! I would really like something made out of a gut-like substance, and to that end, I will be trying some weedwhackers. Something about the word Kevlar makes me feel very secure! However, I love my Eurosonics, but for this bass I don't was the metal feel, or sound. But actually, those innovations seem to be the next best thing. In the end, if it sounds gut-like, I guess that is all that is important to me!
     
  12. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    SWITZERLAND
    If you're really like the gut sound, stay with gut, i've been using gut for 15 years because thats the sound i hear in my head, i use G and D plain gut from Lemur, A and E Pirastro Oliv.
    I oil the strings once in a while and i take care of the fraying, i used to change the plain guts twice a year, now i have the same set for almost 2 years and they sound great, with a little care, gut will last for a long time, about those innovation strings, yes, they are dark sounding strings, but sounding like gut? :rollno:
    Nothing sounds like gut, only gut... i've been pretty happy with European gut from Lemur, i know Adrian didnt like them that much, if you have the $, then you really should try Damian Dlugolecki's or Gamut, i never played on the Gamut, but i already played on G and D Damian and they sounded great, good luck.

    NUNO
     
  13. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I've gone back to a setup that I really love on my 1930's King bass. Pirastro Pizzicato E&A and the Efrano plain gut D&G. This setup doesn't do well for arco but it's great for all pizz. The Efrano's are very reasonably priced and are good quality, too. I love the Pizzicatos on the bottom. They're more lively and more flexible than Eudoxa/Olive and they're much more durable. (I can't stand the traditional round-wound low guts, too f*#king thick and clumsy) I've had the E&A Pizzicatos on and off of basses without developing any separations in the windings and they sound good for months and months. They aren't cheap. I think I paid around $165 for the low strings and around $100 for the highs, but I'll get close to a year out of them. I always lightly oil the plain gut every few weeks with lemon oil and this seems to keep them from drying out and fraying. The whole balance and tension on that setup is really good on my bass and I don't have to keep the action all that high either. It helps that the King is 43 1/2 scale, although that doesn't help my left hand! All basses are different though and you have to find a setup that works for you.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've tried Innovation Rockabillys and they surely didn't sound like gut to me. They had a bit of a thud, but it wasn't a gut thud, but more of a wrapped steel thud with sustain and a little bit of steel twang. The weed whackers are the only synthetic string I've tried that sound like gut to me. They are lower tension than the plain guts, though, and to some that's a selling point, but to some it's a drawback. Right now I'm moving out of the plain gut phase and I'm going to try a full set of Pirastro Eudoxas once I get the used D I just bought.

    But if you're looking for an inexpensive set of guts that sound and play well, you should look into the Clef guts at Upton Bass. While I would agree that you get what you pay for, and I would probably agree with Adrian that Gamut and Dlugolecki are the highest quality guts out there, they're also like $450 a set while Clefs are $160. And the Clefs are quite good strings. The only problem you might have with them is Clef only sells full sets.
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    But don't you think to a certain extent that it comes down to the player and maybe their bass..

    So I did some classes with Arnie Somogyi, who is a wonderful Jazz pro who leads his own groups in Europe and is a great bass player...

    I was sitting a few feet in front of his unamped DB strung with Innovation Rockabillys and it sounded amazing - totally unlike any other of the tutors (Jazz pros) I've heard - he told me the unusual sound was down to these strings - I believed him !!

    Although I know that if I played the same bass and same strings... I would never sound like Arnie!! ;)
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sure, it always comes down to the player. But guts and Innovation RAB's don't sound much alike. At least not to my ears.
     
  17. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    SWITZERLAND
    Sure it has a lot to do with the player Bruce, but i have a question for you, when you refer to this unusual sound, was it the gut sound, how many basses with gut have you played? I met some bass players that the 1st thing they say when they play some sort of non metal thing is that they sound just like gut, just because of the non metalic tone... i heartly disagree with that... sure innovation dont sound like metal strings, same with eurosonics or labella nylons, but it doesnt mean that the unusual sound is a gut sound.... i love gut, been playing it for 15 years like i said before, but im an open minded guy and if i would find a non gut string, which sounded like gut, cost less and maintainence free, i would jump on it right away, but in these 15 years, all the strings that i tried(eurosonics, labellas, innovation, even velvets, and many more) really didnt sound like gut, sure they sounded different than spirocore, still was not gut..
    of course, this is my own experience, but i would like to meet a guy who would play non gut strings and make them sound like gut..cheers

    NUNO
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  19. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I agree completely with NUNO.
     
  20. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    It can really vary from bass to bass, too. Recently I played on a bill with Chris Hillman and Herb Pederson. They do a bluegrassy thing these days and their bass player, Bill Bryson, had an old hybrid German bass strung with Spirocores and he was getting a great, punchy, gut-like tone that wasn't wirey at all. I played his bass and also got a similar sound. My King bass never sounded good with Spirocores but it's great with gut. And I get nice sustain even with the gut. Bill said his bass sounded totally dead with gut. So you really have to experiment with each bass. Shame it's so damn expensive, though!