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Helicore light or Spirocore Weich Help Me Decide

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by SirFunk, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. SirFunk


    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    Hi there, i was wonding if someone can help me figure out what kinds of string might be "best" for me and my bass. To start i live in the middle of nowhere, and it's impossible for me to get to a store to try things out.. There's a few local bass players but not much of a range of different strings to test.

    I'm looking for lower tension strings that have a good pizz sound but still a great arco sound (heh, isn't everyone?) I guess if i had to sacrifice one for the other i'd want to lean a bit to the pizz side (i'm saying that hesitantly because i'm going to school for music ed and i gotta focus on my classical chops a lot :-D)

    I tried someone's bass that had helicore lights today (plywood bass) but oh my god it felt like i was pressing on air, it was unbelievably effortless compared to my helicore medium (i think).

    I've never tried any spirocores but all my favorite pros use them.

    My bass is a 3/4 carved (top/back) romanian flat-back bass.

    I know this wont' be the last set of strings i ever buy, but i want to make an educated purchase.

    Additionally anyone got any links that describe the physical differences between different strings?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I will give you the obligitory "every bass is different" pitch then go on to say that Helicores sounded terrible on my bass. Carved top, laminated back and sides. Very metalic sounding, especially the 'A' string.

    I have never had the weichs. Do a search on weichs and you will get 900 hits.

    Good Luck . . .
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Weichs are not very arco friendly at the beginning, but you can deal with them after a few weeks. They are a great pizz string, lots of sustain and tone, and they last forever. I have them on my bass currently, although I've exchanged the E for an Orchestra Spiro to add a little more whomp down there.

    You might consider Obligatos. Lots of folks swear by them as the ultimate all around string. I can't advise you yet regarding Oblis; I have some in that package, just waiting for the right time to try them out.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I am going to second the Obligatos. They are much better for arco than the Helicores IMO. Obligatos are just a great all around string. They sound great Pizz. Really nice full, and almost gut like tone. They also bow quite nice.
  5. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I like how every thread just tends to veer people toward Obligato's. I mean, I'm sure the string is great and I will definitely try them out before settling on a string but I too want to hear about differences between Spiro's and Helicore's. Other threads have said that the Spiros are a touch better than the Helicores.

    I have some Spiro mittels on order from All Hail Bob and can't wait to hear the sustain from those suckers. I've only had low tension strings (I'm running Corelli 370Fs right now and Labella 7710's before that) and want to try something that has a higher tension to see how my bass responds. The Corelli E and A are getting too flappy on my Chrissy and I don't feel like putting money into scooping out the FB to eliminate the buzz since I'm still trying out other strings.

    I don't think I can go wrong by saying that you should try BOTH Spiros AND Ebola-gatos just to see how your bass will react. Prob the ONLY way to tell if either set works on your bass. I get the feeling I'll end up mixing string sets in the end myself.
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I know, I was trying to avoid that veer. You would think that there was some kind of Pirastro Mind Control going on. :smug: As I said, I have no firsthand knowledge of Obligatos, and they will have to be really great to replace Spiros in my heart. It's only anecdotal info that I've gotten here and elsewhere that makes me want to try them out, along with a desire to dig into my arco s**t a little bit deeper.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I am going to veer in that direction. In my experience(I have bought a lot of strings), the Obligatos are the best "hybrid" string on the market. They arco better than Spirocores. Although once the Spiros are played in, they do sound ok with the bow.
  8. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    If it makes a difference... Weichs are considerably higher tension than Helicores. I like that due to the quick response, however the string tension change took a bit of getting used to (I switched from Helicores).
  9. SirFunk


    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    Hi guys, i'd like to thank everyone who has replied so far.

    This discussion has risen a few more questions or me.

    So nobody really likes the Helicore lights?

    How does the tension of the Obligatos compare to the Helicore ligts and the Weiches?

    Honestly my teacher recommends Obligatos aswell, i don't think i've ever used any basses that have them on it though.

    Right now i THINK i have Helicore Hybrid mediums on my bass, the other helicores i tried were orchestra lights on someones "jazz bass" i just couldn't believe the difference in tension it litterally felt like i was pulling against air (with my left hand).

    I'm thinking i might buy a set of weiches and obligatos... try out the weiches and if i don't like them by the time school starts put on the obligatos.

    Thanks again.

  10. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I'd advise the Obligato's as well. I've used the Helicore and Spirocore Weich's. The Weich's were pretty good, the Helicore's were not, the Obligato's have been really pleasing for pizz and arco both.

    I'm watching to see how long they last, as there have been some posts around about the windings going south after about 10 months.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I switched from Spiros to (pizzicato) Helicores. I think the Helicores are MUCH better under the bow and the tension is more even (and lighter) across the set. I will not be going back.
  12. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I am very happen with Weichs. They are more complex in the overtone deptartment than Helicore Mediums or Pizz. I'd guess this makes them sound starnge when bowed. I've had no problem with arco acoustically but as soon as I get an amp involved (and I use a Realist which gets a good arco sound) things sound really scratchy. I play mostly jazz so I err on the side of the best pizz sound.
  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'll pitch in on the D'Addario thing. I hate 'em. I've never played them or heard them on a bass where I liked them at all. They seem to have no center of pitch and have a muffled-yet-bright tone, and any set that I've played are similarly stiff to Thomastiks and have all the bad attributes in common and seemingly none of the good.

    That aside, the Obli's are nice strings. They are pretty low in volume, but play nice and get a nice tone both with arco and pizz. The string tends to twist when you get the stick on them, especially as they approach the end of their short life, which can be a little frustrating as the you'll get a bark instead of a note as the string tries to straighten itself out, but you can get into the groove of being a little patient in your attack on the string a work around this until you can pick up another set. The one thing that I really dislike about these strings is that if detension them once, they're done.

    Weichs I've heard two guys use them that got a real good sound. Johannes Weidemuller and Marco Panascia. For everyone else they seem indefinite sounding and it always seems to get a more fretless-Fendery sound out of the bass. I think that they bow very nicely.

    I've had Thomastik Solos on now for a while, my 3rd set, I believe, in a row. For what you're doing and wanting I can recommend these as a choice worth looking at. They get a pretty dark sound pizz, even a bit on the cello-y side. It takes a second to get used to, but I'm coming around the liking it a lot. They get less sustain than the other Thomastiks and are a little slower in responding as well, but not to the point of being a real bother. They play SO light, though, that it takes some attention to not over-play them. Feel-wise they're in the same ballpark as the Obli's, but feel different due to the cable core as opposed to the plastic clothes-line core.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I think ever bass responds differently to different strings. My 7/8 German bass sounds great with Spirocores. Both Pizz and Arco. They feel "right" on this bass. On the Juzek that I just sold, I couldn't bow the same set of strings at all. They were just too tight. We can give you suggestions, but it is up to you to find a string that is right for your bass.
  15. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    My vote goes against Helicore hybrids; in my experience, any of the three gauges simply fail to perform either of the two tasks (pizz/arco) well. I actually had better luck with the Helicore Orchestra strings, though, in light and medium gauge, but even they lacked a certain character. Some orchestra pros I know do use them, but you won't catch them playing the head of "Donna Lee" at the end of a four hour unamplified gig.

    When I tried Obligatos (right when they first came out) I thought they were heavenly--they bow so easily, the sound is so full, the pizz tone is tubby and warm--but when I took them out of the practice room to a gig (orchestral or jazz) they totally crapped out. They felt like they couldn't stand up to the bow or to a weighty pizzicato, and the sound kind of disappeared. Maybe I was overdoing it, but I was coming from Spirocore weichs and didn't consider myself to be such a brute (at least then...)

    After several unsuccessful attempts to switch over to Spirocore mittels (the so-called "orchestra" guage), I finally put a set on a little over a year ago and just left them on, putting my faith in the fact that so many great players I see use them. I can't tell you how happy I am to finally be removed from the neurotic quest for strings--I am completely happy with these, and I don't think I will need to look elsewhere (until I get a different bass, of course...). They respond so well to such a variety of pizz attacks, from the arm weight used to propel a walking bass line to the subtle articulations used in a solo on a ballad. The arco response actually became very nice after about six months (!); I wouldn't do a recital with them, but I don't hesitate to sit in the bass section of an orchestra. I know they're not for everyone, but I am gratified to be rewarded for just sticking with them until I and my bass became familiar enough to take advantage of their strengths and to avoid their weaknesses.

    That's my two cents, which doesn't buy very much in 2004...
  16. Depends on which Helicore.
    According to the manufacturers, Weichs are lower tension than medium gauge Helicores. Tension of a set of Weichs is 252.3 lb.; Helicores come in at 263.0. Helicore light gauge is 246.1.

    An annoying characteristic of the Obligato is that in a short time, the winding comes loose from the core and will spin under the bow or fingers. It doesn't change the sound. As Ray said, once they've been brought to tension, you can't take them off the bass. Detensioning kills them.
  17. Sorry, J5, but you won't be a real bass player until you have one set of everything laying in a drawer someplace. :)
  18. Sir Funk:

    I have used Spirocore Weichs and Helicore Lights for pizz and I would say forget about the Helicore Pizz Lights. They have no real "centre of sound" to them and feel like spaghetti.
    The Weichs seem to sound OK on most basses. They feel good but at first will sound a bit twangy. After about 3 weeks or so of steady playing, the twang will slowly disappear and you will be left with a good solid tone. The Weichs last a long time. Many people find them not so great for arco though.
    There is a reason so many people talk about the Obligato's. They sound good for pizz and arco on most basses and are not very expensive. The downside is they do not last very long ( 6-8 months in my experience) and if you remove them and re-install them again they lose some of their tone.
    Weichs and Obligato's have about the same tension.

    Hope this helps.

  19. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I was a die-hard Velvet fan until I tried oblis and now I use the solo sets ... The other string to try that I am really diggin' is the Piccato.
  20. Which one? Comments?