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Gut Pizz Volume

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by kwd, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    I am now using Jargar Fortes. The Jargar Forte pizz output is roughly equivalent to Heli Orchs. Will I lose a significant amount of pizz volume making the switch to gut?

    I will probably follow the general advice of the forum and start out with G and D gut paired with suitable, metal E and A strings.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Here's my take on gut and volume - but remember, this comes from a guy who loves the sound solo but doesn't care for it in jazz ensembles: Guts tend to provide a lot of one kind of volume, and take away another kind. My experience to listening to a lot of gut players is that they get a lot of fundamental and "hump" in the groove, but tend to lose the higher overtones more quickly than steels or synthetics; these higher partials are what makes the bass "cut through", especially as far as pitch is concerned. So guts tend to make the groove feel great, especially if you're into the old school groove kinda thang....but they also don't speak at the same speed or provide the same clarity (especially regarding pitch) as steels. It's a trade off, and only you can decide if it's worth it. As always, YMMV, FWIW, MYOB, BBQ, PDQBACH, NPR, etc.
  3. I don't really consider Jargars and Helicore to be particularly loud strings. My experience says you should experience a perceived increase in volume of the fundamental, but otherwise the volume should be similar. Spirocores and Dominants will be louder sounding than gut from the players perspective, out front the fundemental will be louder with gut than the spirocores especially. The real benefit to using gut for the top two strings, other than the feel, is that the fullness of those strings increases to better match the low strings so you don't notice the bottom dropping out as much when you play in the 2nd octave.

  4. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Even putting up with the hassles of more difficult intonation, I prefer to play things up by the heel of the neck that could be played in hP on the D and G strings, because the tone up there (even on Spiros) is really thick, throaty and full -- which kind of drops off the second I step onto the Spiro G. While I do love my Spiros, I'll be happy to try the Obligatos where my DB won't sound like my fretless BG as soon as I hit the G string in the upper range (my BG being strung with brand new Thomastik Jazz Rounds at the moment AND with a new coating on the fingerboard, no less.)

    I'm curious about what you're going to be putting on the E and A. Since you're going with gut on the D and G, and hence will get a lot of fundamental without the overtones of growly jazz pizz strings, would you be using steel strings with a synthetic core? Obligatos? Dominants?

    PS: I realize the Dominants probably wouldn't match well with a gut D and G due to the extreme differences in tension and volume, just curious. If I could afford the experiment myself, I'd go for it, but I'm a poor student with no cash that's not already tied up in gear.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I find that Helicore Hybrid Heavy gauge are a great match to Gut G and D strings. I used that setup for a long time and I would still be using it if I didn't play outside as much as I do.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    One other thing....gut strings cut through differently than steel. I think if you are using an amplifier a lot steel strings will appear to cut through better since you are getting alot more harmonics in the sound. I think because of a more prominant fundamental, gut strings tend to project a bit better and are maybe a bit better suited towards the "acoustic" player. However as most of us know there are lots of "acoustic" players out there using Spirocores so YMMV!
  7. CB3000

    CB3000 Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2003
    Madison, wi
    I could swear my bass is louder with all four gut strings. the D especially sounds much better when the other strings are gut than when it's half and half. have you tried solo strings tuned to orchestra pitch? that's a nice midpoint IMHO.
  8. When I use a full gut set on my pizz bass, which I do from time to time if my playing responsibilitis allow it, I like the sound best, but the super thumpy sound of the gut A and E - even wound ones once the break in, makes me a little self -conscious when playing with folks who don't understand the pros and cons of these strings i.e. who are used to the sound of Spirocores. I experienced a bluegrass recording situation where I was told there was a marked reduction in acoustic output with the gut E string esp, However psychoacoustics makes up the difference usually in a live situation. I find that in terms of sound quality , Dominants are a good match with thicker gut strings. However I don't like the feel of this setup. Right at the moment I am using Goltentone on the top strings and Superflex on the bottom two. With this setup I can get a good Charlie Haden sound, and can play sans amp with a ten piece showband without killing myself.

  9. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    I haven't made a decision about the E and A. There are mixed String Forum responses to the the Dominant/gut pairing for the reasons you stated. Some have had good luck with the Innovation 140H E and A and there is a good forum recommendation of E, A rope core strings paried with plain gut (CB3000, I think).

    After reading the first responses from Jon and Chris, I'm leaning away from gut. I practice in an area where there's not much bounce and I have a hard time hearing when practicing pizz. I think the Doms might be a better choice for my situation.