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guts or steel??

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by BassGreaser, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I'm looking at either strings which is better than the other and why..........
  2. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Depends on what you want.

    Pros of Gut (for me): Huge sound, big fundamental, allows for higher action, the sound that brought me to the bass.

    Cons: Mucho dinero, tuning stability, higher action may detract from pure speed of low action, bowing range is smaller, don't last as long as steel

    Pros of Steel: More economical, last longer, can be played with lower action, more stable tuning, less prone to breakage, humidity changes don't affect the string.

    Cons of Steel (for me): Higher tension chokes my bass sound, nice sound but lacks the punch and fundamental of gut.

    For me, I like gut (currently all Eudoxas) on my Juzek. On my former Bohemian I liked Spiros. There is no easy answer; it is what sounds best with your bass and what makes it easier to get the sound in your head out.


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I have just started using a new combination of strings on my bass. Pirastro Olive G and D, and D'Addario Helicore Hybrid A and E. With this combination I get the tuning stability of the Helicore on the bottom with lots of growl, and I get a "thicker" sounding high end with the gut Olives. For my bass, this is a great setup.
  4. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    The guy I study with uses Oliv on the D & G and Obligatos for the A & E. IMHO, they match better than the Helicores, which seemed to have a much different bowing point.

    I will admit to being prejuidiced against Helicores. Had them on 2 different basses and thought the E & A lacked "oomph".

  5. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Besides gut or steel, you have also Obligatos and the likes (Dominant & Supreme): steel wound synthetic material. "Synthetic gut" if you wish. Obligatos have established quite a reputation at this. I used to have them on, but Monte (and also my youger kid who's taking viola da gamba classes) has bought me to gut: Olive G&D, Eudoxa A&E. I understand why he now uses Eudoxa all over: they are punchier than Olive. Depending on how they evolve and the finances about a year from now, I'll go back to Obli or stay with gut. You definitely need higher action for these strings to ring and sound good, withy respect to steel.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Doesn't the question of what type of music you want to play, come into this equation, as well?
  7. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Baroque, Jazz, & Rockabilly DBassists enjoy gut strings...or don't. Besides personal taste, it's more a question of technique - pizz only or pizz & arco - than a question of genre. IMHO.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, if I said I wanted to play Jazz, pizz-only and wanted to be able to play solos fairly easily on an EUB - then surely your recommendation would be differnet to someone who was bowing in a section of a local orchestra?
  9. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Well, for EUB, I don't know anything and I would ask guys like François or you. And the guy that's bowing in a section ain't gonna ask me anything because he's got his section mates. So, for a smooth start, I recommend Obligato, and if you don't trust me, get the most common string: Spirocore medium orchestra.
    Notice that the manufacturers never say this one string is for that one style (except for the Jazzer).
  10. Olivier, you meant "Sensicore" I guess.
    Supremes are steel ropecore.
  11. EUBs are another beast, and different from each others.
    In the last few years, I've played on an old Ampeg Baby Bass, a basic BugBass and now a Carruthers SUB-1.
    All three don't react the same with the same strings.
    Furthermore, I've changed the bridge on my SUB-1 recently, and it has changed the tone a lot!
    I favor dark orchestral strings, but will give another try to the Kolstein Varicor set that's sleeping in the closet. I'm curious to hear how they sound with my new bridge.

    The SUB-1 comes in standard with red Spiros, but I didn't like them. Too bright, too much sustain, too much mwhaaa. Very unnatural to me.

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's what I feel about the strings on my NS CR5, so what strings get an EUB to sound less like this and more like amplified DB for pizz/jazz?
  13. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Merci François, la mémoire me fait parfois défaut... you're right, Sensicore. Never tried them, but I remember you said they should not be discarded.
  14. Hmm. In fact, the G is the deadest, most muffled string I ever tried!
    I guess they may be good for arco, but for pizz, I would't spend any money on them! :)
  15. Again, it's a matter of experiment.
    As a general hint, I suggest Pirastro strings.
    You may try Flexocors, Original Flexocor, Permanents fot steel.
    The Obligato sound very nasal on my EUB, so they're discarded (for me).
    The Eudoxas (gut) are too midrangy/nasal too.
    The Oliv (gut) G is simply wonderful, but the D was not very good. It needed more room to vibrate, and the action on my EUB is not adjustable.
  16. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Ok thanks. So again I remembered wrong.

    PS: to stay out off trouble, most luthiers over here store and use spirocore red (orchesra medium), unless there's a specific request by the customer.
  17. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    The higher action is absolutely neccessary with gut strings, otherwise they're not worth their higher price. But they are also softer on the left hand.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Thanks for all that - I just started looking at sites that ship to the UK and found an Austrian retailer :


    where it easy to compare prices.

    So I went from one extreme to the other - so on another thread Chris F said that Thomastik Spirocores are the standard for Jazz pizz and these are about 129 Euros a set.

    But as you were saying that Pirastro Olivs were good, I looked these up - 425 Euros a set!!!

    Although I'm keen on trying different sets for myself - the amount of money involved is vastly more than I'm used to!! :eek:

    So of those you recommended - Flexocor (Orch.) are the cheapest - but they also have "The Jazzer" (Wondertone) which are cheaper again - slightly. I think you said to me before, that on an EUB the Orchestral strings sound more like DB than those intended for Jazz?

    But do you think that the Flexocors will sound noticably different to say the Thomastick Spirocores - given that we are looking at 167 per set for the former and 129 per set for the latter?

    Are they worth almost a third as much again?
  20. I've had Eudoxas on my bass since January. For the first couple of weeks I had the same impression of the G and D, but they got better as they really got broken in. The Eudoxa G and D are probably more versatile than the Olivs, IMO.