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Gut-like, low-ish tension/stiffness, but with some sustain?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Lia_G, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Hey, everyone,

    Well, I'm trying out these Eurosonics, and like them a decent amount. I've been wondering, though ... are there any strings that any of you would recommend that are "guttish" (is that a word??!!??) in feel, i.e., lower tension and not that stiff, have a dark sound, but maybe have more sustain than your typical bluegrass guy wants? Some of the stuff I do is great with a low-sustaining thump, but other stuff wants more sustain. I know a synthetic or gut string isn't ever going to be a Spirocore, and that's not what I want ... just a compromise somewhere in the middle. I love the low tension feel and dark, 'earthy' sound of gut, but need just a little more sustain ...

    Impossible?? ;)

    Thanks for any input,


    Aug 26, 2005

    It is not at all impossible! My recommendation is to try the LaBella 7710 series "Deep Talkin' Bass" string. I believe these were developed originally by LaBella for Ron Carter, and today many very recognizable professionals, like Buster Williams and Steve Novosel, also use them. However these are a really excellent choice for acoustic music of all kinds, especially for bluegrass. They are a black-tape wound string over a rope-core. I started using them about 3 years ago primarilly because I wanted more of a gut sound but with a more rapid response and growl characteristic of a steel string. That is exactly what you get with the 7710s: dark, warm and natural sounding but with a quick response. Not the best for bow work, as they are a bit slippery, but I do bow on mine, using the dark unbleached bow-hair and a good amount of rosin -- Carlsons Swedish works well on them. I was one of these bass players who swore up and down for 30 years that nothing would ever get me to switch from Thomastiks....until I tried these LaBellas....they have a groovy feel to them as well, which is loose and buttery, and they're not going to dig in and groove your fingerboard if you slap them....They are also priced comparably with Thomastic Spirocores.....
  3. hofner


    Dec 7, 2003
    you should try either Obligatos or, more in the "thump", the Innovations supersilvers, which are the closest nylon strings to gut, but with some little sustain.
  4. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    Thanks for the replies, guys. I've played a bass with Labellas on it, and it just seemed too bright. I liked the Obligatos better, and Eurosonics' new orchestral string (not nylon wrapped) even better. Maybe I'll try the Innovations?

    Thanks again!

  5. I have no experience with the Eurosonics. Garbos are great if you want a very stable gut string with a modern touch.

    Well sort of. The Garbos are both dark and bright but not black - like for instance addario hybrids
  6. Kevinlee


    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    I'd like to hear a little more about the new eurosonic orchestra string. This is the first I've heard about them.
    How's the tension? Where did you get them? What's the wrap and core consist of?

    I once kinda liked the eurosonics but they lost there charm for me after a while. I might have to see what this new version is about though.

  7. +1. These days, Garbos have silk cores, however.

    Incidentally, I moonlight as a recording engineer, and I just did a session for a trumpet player who's a close friend of mine. He has a quartet with a bassist who's using Garbos on a German shop bass.

    Here's a soundclip of the recording. I used a single Royer R-121 ribbon mic and a Millennia preamp for the bass, directly into Pro Tools (the drum mics are R-121s, too). It's only a rough mix so the sound quality isn't quite up there, but you should be able to get a vague idea of the sound of those strings...

    Off to the gig.
  8. Great clip :) the Garbos seem to have that basic gut sound with a slightly cleaner tone, not quite so much whoof. It's the first time I've heard them so up-front in the mix, The do sound very good.

    I also like the 7710s. You can experiment with the string height for a bit more thump, but they are incredibly easy on the fingers. Ron Carter's sound is very modern on some recordings, but can also be very deep and dark. Of course his 1910ish Juzek might have a lot to do with it. And of course the fact that it's Ron Carter doesn't hurt.

  9. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I've tried eurosonics and the labellas, and liked them both, but I think Animas are exactly what you want. They have the soft feel of gut and a lot of the warmth but they have more sustain and are more articulate.
  10. If you heard the clip, IYHO, would you say the Animas are more 'modern'? I thought the Garbos did a heck of a job sounding like guts in that recording.

    re: the 7710s...I find them to have heaps of sustain. One can do a gliss up the neck, and the string just keeps on singing. :)

  11. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    I only played them for 5 minutes, pizz only, after Hammond Ashley installed them on my rental bass by mistake. The guy just grabbed a string package with 'Eurosonic' on it and gave it to the tech to replace the strings. It came back looking different than I expected (i.e., steel wrapped, not nylon), but I said, "Oh, I must have misunderstood what these look like." I found them to have less tension and stiffness than the Superflexibles that had been on the bass before, and I thought the sound was darker and a bit deeper for pizz (didn't get to try arco). I had also just played another bass with Obligatos on it. I thought the feel was similar, but the sound of these new Euros was darker. When Bryce looked over to check on me and saw the metal wraps, he said something to the effect of "Oh, that's the wrong strings ... those are the new Eurosonic orchestra strings, not the nylon wraps ...", and then they put the nylons on.

    So ... I don't have a ton of experience with these new Eurosonic orchestras, but that's what I know. You could call Hammond Ashley in Seattle, if nothing else, to ask about them, since I know they have at least one set ... ;)

    Also, a big caveat ... I'm newly returned to db, after 16 years of slab-only playing, and my chops and ears are suspect ... ;) so take anything I say with a grain of salt ... ;)

  12. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Great Clip! Great tone.

    The animas, to my ears, are in the same ballpark, maybe a little more modern sounding, maybe a bit more high overtones and sustain/growl. But it's the same ballpark.

    Somewhere there was a thread here from a player who had used both animas and garbos and found them very similar in sound, though the Garbos were bigger in diameter, like gut. I think it might have been adrian cho.

    I liked the labellas a lot but they were totally impossible to bow and they had more of a spiro vibe than a gut vibe, IMHO
  13. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I liked the sound of those Garbos (but I also know that there are many variable to THAT sound on the recording). I definitely liked that old school sound.

    I just put on a set of Animas last Friday and they are almost settled as far as tuning. I only have to tweak the tuning now (instead of being a H to W step out of tune every hour or so).

    I had been using the LaBella 7710's for about 8 months and I really liked the sound of them. I would experience what felt like a little friction burn on my left finger tips after jamming hard for several hours with them. I'll see how my fingers feel with the Animas tonight after my jam session. I still haven't made up my mind about these strings. I think I will try them for at least a month or two before making any decisions though.
  14. I'm playing Innovation Super Silvers on E&A and LaBella pure gut on D&G.

    The tone and sustain of the E&A super silvers are very similar to the gut D&G.

    I haven't played a lot of strings, but in my opinion the Super Silvers have a fairly fast decay. Maybe not the string for you if you want sustain.

    A lot of people seem to be recommending the Garbos. Maybe someone that has tried the Garbos AND Super Silvers could comment on the comparison.

  15. I have Garbos on my Eminence, and they sound good on it, but they don`t sound much like gut to me. What`s wrong with real gut strings ? I get plenty of sustain with gut when I want it.

    Scott Lafaro didn`t seem to lack for sustain.

  16. Lia_G


    Oct 27, 2005
    I wouldn't mind gut except for concerns with stability for outdoor playing (I play a good number of outdoor festivals in varying weather, from really dry to ultra-humid).

    Thanks for the note! Maybe someday I'll be able to have an 'indoor' bass and an 'outdoor' one ...

  17. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I like the Innovation 140 B and H sets. The B set has less sustain than the H. I wound up using 140H on the E&A and 140B on the D&G. These are "guttish" but with more sustain than gut, less sustain than Obligato. They also bow very well.
  18. oystein


    Sep 15, 2001
    Norway, Leikong
    I agree with others who have chimed in, your description suits the Animas as I perceive them.
  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Same here. I just avoided replying because I've spent so much time yammering about 'em in these forums. Figured everyone must be sick of it by now.
  20. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    I purchased a 140B and found it to be an excellent match for my varnished gut A. Having said that, gut E and A strings tend to be sorely lacking in pizz volume. Accordingly, the 140B output is low. I really love the string, I just wish I could get more out of it.

    EDIT: Since this post I have put the 140B E back on with the metal strings. I find the 140B to have more output at the lower bridge height. There's a paucity of info here on TB about these strings compared to the more popular offerings (Dominant, Spiro, Obli...). I've ordered the other three and plan on giving a full report when they arrive. Bobby King - thanks for the input on the 140s.

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