Guts or Downtuned Solos

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Dave Hill, Mar 26, 2022.

  1. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    I play 80/20 pizz/slap on my ply with Spiros (mitt with stark E). I love it; pizz tone couldn’t be better. But, slapping gets fatiguing pretty quickly. I’ve decided I’d like to try a new set more conducive to slapping…

    It seems in doing so, trade offs will have to be made…

    I’ve tried Spiro weichs, but they seemed a little weak pizz. Obligatos were close, but, didn’t seem to cut in a band mix.

    I’m now torn between guts (front runner:Evah Slaps) and a down-tuned solo set (Superflex). Haven’t played guts in 30+ years.

    My gut (no pun intended) tells me the down-tuned solos will be better pizz, which I do more of, so they’d be the smarter choice. But, will they be too floppy?

    Thought I’d drop by here before buying. Any experiences/recommendations are appreciated.
  2. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis TN
    If you don't have any intention of playing with a bow, get gut and be happy for the rest of your days. If I played ANY percentage slap, it's a no brainier. Stay with the spiro stark E and mitt A, and get you Pirastro Carlos Chorda D/G. You might eventually want to find an A string that blends a little better (I use a Perpetual A on same setup on my gut bass for a little less Spiro edge).
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  3. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Correction: I have tried an Oliv G with a Perpetual D, and again, great pizz, but lacking for slap…
  4. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Oliv and Eudoxa really are in a category of their own - I don't think of them in the same way as Gamut, Lenzner, Gotz, LaBella, Artone, etc.. They excel in arco and pizz, but not slap. Plain guts are the purest "sound of slap."
  5. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    In my experience the downtuned solo Superflexibles are still very much a steel string. They may be a little less hard on your hands but not a game changer by any means.

    You haven't mentioned what type of sound you're looking for, or what music you usually play. If it's a pretty old school / thick string sound you could try silver slaps. You get the click of a gut string without any of the maintenance problems.

    Or, just go with guts and tune frequently!
  6. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Well, therein lies part of the problem. I play everything from jazz to bluegrass to rock. Expecting one string to do it all is unrealistic, I think. While there may not be the perfect string, there may be a near-perfect compromise(?).

    I’ve found that for jazz, bluegrass, and rock, a single set up can work. But, slap…man…in addition do different strings, you need a particular and different set-up to really do it well.

    I need to find my sweet spot for one instrument to work.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2022
    eh_train likes this.
  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Unless you're not worried about the money, if you're serious about gut DG, you might try SBW Deluxe Dirty Gut DG first. $62.97 on Amazon or direct from Superior Bassworks, for a full bump-set of 6 strings, so you can select what tension you want from a wide range if you're only using D and G. Especially for D and G, they are loud and clear, they feel, look and slap like guts and sound pretty close. And because they have that spiral-cut, they actually bow very nicely.

    Nothing is a perfect match for tone with guts, but you may find these are close enough for tone and have other advantages for what you want to do.

    (I mix Silverslaps EA with Dirty Guts medium tension DG.)
    djc03006 and eh_train like this.
  8. Downtuned Spiro solos would logically be a step more in the "weak" direction than weichs. But ofcourse you would probably need to compensate with increased string height
  9. I understand your pain. I do a ton of slap, lots of pizz, and shed arco alot, with it being pertinent on a gig every now and again.

    I've done the spiro mittel thing for years on my touring bass, and gut strings on my bass that stays at home. With 70% of my playing done on the travel bass ('52 american standard with a removable neck)

    I have not enjoyed the spiro solo experience. Sonically they are fine, but i think they lack a fullness that spiro weichs also lack (to my ear). I always find myself pulling harder when i play these strings. Also, I think the lack of resistance from the downtuned strings really stresses my right hand out.

    Personally, I have always loved the Oliv D&G with Evah weich E&A experience. (Check out recent Chris Wood videos for a master's example of what these strings can sound like) However the Oliv's are fragile. I'ver never tried the Evah D&G but I think they may be promising.

    As far as the Evah slaps E&A go, I've toured with them, I've recorded with them, they definitely work.
    But, to me they feel and sound "off" like a string pretending to be a gut string.

    A string that I think is great is the Jargar's. I've onlky ever used the middle guage, which felt a bit stiffer than I liked, however I have heard that the dolce set is really sweet, and they aren't expensive.
  10. Earl

    Earl Supporting Member

    Yes, but tuned to orchestra they a more burnished, less zingy tone than spiros, which works well with gut.
    Dave Hill likes this.
  11. If you don't play any Arco, look into Innovation Golden Slaps, Silver Slaps.

    More affordable than Evah Slaps, they work well pizzicato and slapping, Feel good, Un-bowable.
    Dave Hill likes this.
  12. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    I am fortunate to have a carved bass dedicated to arco. So for my ply, it’s pizz/slap only.
    longfinger and zootsaxes like this.
  13. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis TN
    This is the way.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2022
    longfinger, HateyMcAmp and Dave Hill like this.
  14. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    I agree. I LOVE the Oliv G, but, it's almost as close to a steel string, or certainly a synthetic, as a plain gut string(?)
    AGCurry likes this.
  15. @Dave Hill do you use a pickup/mic? If so, what? And do you have an adjustable bridge? I play EP Slaps on one of my basses and Spiros on the other. I think Eurosonic Lights are also a contender in your quest.
  16. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    I have a Yamahiko single sensor in an adjustable bridge now. My action is about 5-8mm. I’m thinking to go guts, just to get it out of my system. Still contemplating getting gut D & G and sticking with the Spiro E & A, or just going all in with an Evah Slap set.
    That or go with a set of Innovation Gold slaps.
    Anyone know the tension difference between the Evah Slaps and Golden Slaps? Which is better for pizz?
    Sam Reese likes this.
  17. The Innovation (Silver) Slaps have about the same tension as wound gut but with a longer sustain. (I tried them with Efrano medium plain gut D and G).
    I vaguely remember a bit more than 22 kp for the A and about 25 kp for the E.
    Similar to the Efrano wound gut A and E.
  18. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Dove in with guts AND down-tuned solos. Lol

    Jason Hollar and zootsaxes like this.
  19. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Solo Superflexibles on the bottom strings?
    Dave Hill likes this.
  20. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis TN
    Pardon my ignorance, but I’m curious about the weight on the afterlength of your A string. To combat wolf tones?
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