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Helicore/Spiros/Jazzers-tension question

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by jacochops, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    I have a bass currently stung with Helicore med. pizz strings, and I REALLY like the slightly looser feel....I'm thinking about some Spiros, but on the tension chart in the sticky thread at the top of the strings forum, the Helicores sit in the middle between Weich and Mittels. I LOVE mittels, but having come off of a hand surgery, I don't want to hurt myself using a higher tension string than what I am currently playing, but I love the Spiro sound! How is the tension on the Jazzers? Anyone throw me a bone on a string that sounds like Spiros, but have less tension, but more than Weichs?

    Or...I am slowly slipping into a state of Stringitis, and am hoping the mythical unicorn is out there, somewhere, waiting for me?
  2. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    I tried Jazzers A & D, and to me they feel between Spiro S42 Weich and Mittel, but closer to the Mittel. Right now, I have a Prelude G string, Bel Canto D & A, and a Spiro 3885.5W (3/4 Weich) E string. With that setup, the E feels balanced. With the Jazzer A & D strings, the same E string feels a tad light. As to the tone of Jazzers, to me, their "growl" is a tad higher in pitch, a different flavor, than either the Spiros or Helicores, and the more I played it, the less I liked it. YMMV.

    It is confusing, because T-I makes several different sets of Spiros for both 4/4 and 3/4 scale basses. When you put a 4/4 string, with rated tension at 110cm, on a 3/4 bass, or about 41 3/4, which is the scale for which the tension specs for the Helicores are derived, the math has to be done to determine what the actual tension is for the string at the shorter scale length.

    Here is a thread with a chart with the math done and all of the Spiros sets compared for tension if they were installed on a 3/4 106 cm bass. Go to the end of the thread where I fixed some typos. You can take this and compare it to the sets of Helicores to find what you like.


    Now, all that said: there is more to be said about tension, flexibility and feel by having the bass gone over and set up by a good bass luthier for string height, afterlength, camber on the fingerboard, nut, etc., to help with good action and feel, than just string tension. String tension is down the ladder a few rungs as to what contributes to playability.

    Further, you need strings that are heavy enough to drive the top well, but not so heavy the bass is "choked." This may take time to figure out.
  3. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    Thanks for the reply!
    My bass is dialed-in, setup-wise. Growly, sustains forever, nut is to the deck, proper camber, etc. I am just trying to get the Spiro-like growl, but the weich is too light, for me, and the mittel perhaps a bit stiff.
    My bass LIKES the Helicore pizz string....I'm just trying to wring every bit of tone out of my bass (yes, and I know the sound isn't in the bass, but the player. I've been playing and teaching for 32 years now, so I understand we have digital tone controls...5 on each hand :D )
    I might try Jazzers on the A, D, and G, with a mittel E, and see where that takes me. I like the tone of the Obligatos (yes, different than spiros), but I hate the "roll", and Velvet Blues turn green over time. Perhaps even a 4/4 mittel set on my bass. Either way, it's gonna be 200 bucks either way, so...deliberation time!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and Happy Gnu Year! ;)
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Jazzers are a good bet. In my experience gauge is similar to Spirocore Mittels, but tension is similar to Spirocore Weichs, not quite as light, but much less stiff on my bass than SMittels.

    Sound different than Spirocores, but in the same palette. I keep coming back to them.

    Very little experience with Helicores from which to draw comparisons on them, sorry.
  5. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    +1 Jazzer. Yup, it doens't quite sound just like a mitts. More thump, less sustain IMO.

    I wouldn't do Helicores. No sustain.
  6. Adagio


    Jul 21, 2011
    Quebec City
    I mixed a jazzer D with Oliv G, spiro Weich E and A. It feels looser than the sweich to me (even if it's rated higher tension) and it is louder than the other strings. It's still too new to blend well with the other strings (zingy as a new spiro) but I don't think that it will be a keeper even when settled in. The winding is somewhat thinner/tighter than spiros, and doesn't sound as good IMHO.

    Have you considered Evah Weich? If you like Oblis, perhaps that might be an interesting option?
  7. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Oddly enough, I think the E and A are the best strings in the Jazzer set. Feel perfect to me and Ilsa. I've made friends with the D over time, but always use something else on the G. Nothing wrong with the G that comes with it, per se, I just prefer something darker.

    I want to like Helicores, but my experiment with them, plus lots of stories here makes me concerned about quality. I heard Christian this year in a small space with what he called "the new formula" Helicore Hybrids and he sounded...well like Christian McBride. I'm sure he wouldn't use them if they weren't good strings. Might be worth a try, but I'm not compelled to.

    My favorite of the Helicores are their orchestral string, but they are ultimately too dark for me for jazz. I've played on their pizz strings and I just can't think of a reason to choose them over Jazzers or Spirocores.
  8. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Try the D'Addario Prelude (yes, the "student" strings - no joke!) G string: dark with good intonation and sustain. When my Bel G started losing sustain and intonation, I tried one as I was short on cash, and it's been a pleasant surprise. It has almost exactly the same feel as a Spiro S42 Mitt G string (when strung on the same bass), but no twang.