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Help me choose strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by mav, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. mav


    Jun 10, 2003
    OK, so I've tried to resist starting a new tread on which strings to get but here goes.
    Styles, Jazz early to modern, country with a little slapping, occasional soul/funk ala "watermelon man"
    99% pizz
    75% gigs unamplified
    My bass is an acoustically loud dark sounding 4/4.
    Sting history.
    Spiro Weich- Little too high tension for me
    Obligato - brightness suited my bass but didn't last long enough
    Gut G & D Spiro E A - Really like gut, tone and tension are a joy to play.
    I'm leaning towards Nylon, I like a thick D G, wanting a low maintenance, long lasting string with gut like tone.

    Budget, $300

    Short list.
    Kolstein Heritage
    Velvet Blue
  2. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    3/4 3885W Spiro Weich -- all the tone, midway in tension between the S42 mittel that you feel are too stiff and the S42 weich which can twang, and may be the reason you're considering synthetic core strings. The loudest strings out there. The longest lasting strings out there -- will last over a decade with care. Some of the brightest strings out there, considering you have a dark bass.

    If you don't like the G string after everything settles in, there are many choices, from using a Spiro 4/4 mittel G string out of the S42 set, to Obligato, to a bunch of others that have all been discussed in threads on the forum.
  3. mav


    Jun 10, 2003
    My current spiros are Weich. Just edited my previous post.
  4. Clarkybass

    Clarkybass Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2010
    Innovation Silver Slaps have the lowest tension I've found and tonally are good - if you like a gut-type sound. The only problem I have found is the E is a bit too thuddy and doesn't carry as much as the other strings. I didn't try it but was recommended to swap for a Super Silver E as these are similar in construction but with more tension than Silver Slaps. I also really like Kolstein Heritage. My 3/4 bass currently has these on as I prefer more growl and sustain than Silver Slaps could provide. They are also cheaper than many alternatives, which is nice!

    I also have experimented with a set of 4/4 Spiro Solo, which I downtune. These are great tension-wise - very similar to Silver Slaps - although they seem to require a little more physical effort to play. They have that lovely Spiro growl. Prompted by advocates on this forum I also recently bought a set of 3/4 Spiro Weich but I think the downtuned Solos are probably easier on the hands.
  5. If you have the 3/4 Spiro Weich 3886.xW, you might want to try the 4/4 Weich (S42W). They have less tension than the 3/4, close to a Spiro Solo 3/4, but with more tension on the lower strings. And if this is still too much there is a S43 4/4 Solo set with even less tension than the 3/4 Solo set.
    Every Spiro tension step (Mittel to Weich to Solo and also 3/4 to 4/4) is like tuning the higher tension set a halftone lower. So, you might want to find out how much lower you need to tune your current strings until you are happy with the tension.

    I use Innovation 140B (hard to get at the moment) which is good for anything you mention maybe except of that funky stuff since they are a bit dark after a while (but not as dark as Evahs). Also low tension (similar to S42W Spiros) with a higher diameter on the upper string(s). Very easy to play and also really nice to bow.
  6. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Then that changes everything.
    If S42 Spiro Weichs are too tight for you, try a set of T-I Superflexible Solos tuned down. About 50-55 lbs. of tension per string when turned down, kind of like the Velvets. Once they settle in, they will also last forever. But if they're too thin a diameter for you, then you may like the Velvet Blues better. They are a copper wrap, which may not be as durable as T-I steel.
  7. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Please, no more spiros "last forever". They can last a long time, but it all depends on the amount of playing time and style. I get 3-4 years before they start playing false. The Velvet Blues are nice strings, but they can break. I just broke an E and have had a G go on a gig.
  8. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    OK, I'll rephrase: I'll be 51 years old in December. I am the bassist for two local dance/jazz bands that play occasionally, maybe a half-dozen dance gigs a year total. My bass is amplified with a Full Circle, so it doesn't get much "pull" to carry the bands acoustically. So for me, my Spiro 3885.5W E string will probably last "forever," for me, or for the rest of my playing days, barring an accident that causes damage. From now on, I'll probably only change ADG strings every couple of years or so just to try something different as the repertoire of the band and the types of gigs migrate over time.
  9. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    I also regularly play a 4/4 size bass with a pretty long string length, so I've got some experience trying to find the strings that'll work...
    One thing I've been told about Innovations is that they don't quite have the "give" the longer string length needs to get them up to pitch. The braid just bottoms out beforehand...It's to bad because they'd probably sound great on my Strunal if they made 4/4 versions of their strings.
    Eurosonics/Prestos work for me, except for Arco which is terrible on those strings. Again, they almost have an issue with stretching a bit past they're prime tension, so I'd try the Ultralights first. IMO they're a really cool sounding pizz string. If you do a search you should be able to find links to sound clips,
    I've seen at least one video posted here with a good example of what they sound like in a jazz context.
    Also, I've had good results with a Lenzner d/g and Velvet Garbos on the e/a. The tension is almost exactly the same on the 4/4 length (which isn't quite the case on my 3/4) so Blues with Lenzners might be a really good bet.
    Also, +1 to solo strings like Superflexibles, Spiros, D'Addarios, etc. etc.
  10. Super Silvers. You should consider these. I don't know how different they are from Silver Slaps, but they might be exactly what you're looking for. The price is right, too.
  11. Yes. Even if they don't start falsing, they start to turn into a different type of string that can be problematic on a darker bass.

    I know that some people love old Spiros, but for me they're getting too "dead" on my dark bass.
  12. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Super silvers are higher tension than silver slaps, and they're are a bit brighter from opinions posted here and on DBC...I still don't think they'd be an option due to their known issues on 4/4 size basses, beeping in mind that's second hand knowledge.if the OP is really curious about them I'd do a search on DBC (doublebasschat.com) for 4/4 size basses and Innovation strings, and how well they work together ( or don't, as it were).
  13. I have Innovation strings on a 4/4 5-string (high C) with a scale length of 110 cm (after correcting bridge position and angle I got a centimeter more than before).
    They fit on my instrument (Innovation 140B and 140H), but it really depends on the underlength if it will fit on another 4/4 scale instrument. I think the wound part was shorter than 1 cm behind the nut (in the pegbox). The total string length should be OK for any 4-string instrument since my 5-string pegbox is much larger than a 4-string one, but it also might depend a bit on the instrument.

    I recently got a set of (3/4) Efrano gut strings and these strings are too short for my bass in the pegbox (G and D mostly, because of the high C).

    I'm not sure about the other Innovation strings (I got a used Silver Slaps set, but haven't tried the whole set on this bass yet). Currently I'm not at home so I cannot check the string lengths of the 140H and Silver Slaps.
  14. The set I played was lower tension that any steel string I've played (with the possible exception of Correlli tungsten). True, they're not as loose as slap strings, but I believe they're looser than any of the steel strings listed here.

    If my memory serves, the end wrappings in the peg-box had plenty of room to accommodate a longer scale, but yes, that's something to check on.

    I got the sense that these strings were a "synthetic gut." They produced that punchy, organic attack that I associate with gut. The original poster doesn't bow much, but you *can* bow these stings, and they sound a lot like the arco you hear on early jazz recordings--that sharp, crisp *rolling* sound.
  15. I love my lenzner A, D and G strings. E = whatever I have around the house.
  16. mav


    Jun 10, 2003
    I measured my bass from bridge to nut and it's 41.7in.
  17. The Innovation 140B and Spiro Weich 4/4 (S42W) or Spiro Solo 3/4 may be closest in tension to the Super Silvers.
    The Super Slaps have less tension than the Super Silvers, so don't mix them up, the Spiro Solo 4/4 (S43) might be close in tension to them.

    I use the 140B because they have an outer metal windung which is better for bowing. (In fact these are bowing strings, but I like them also for a soft sound in jazz.)

    41.7 inches should be no problem.
    110 cm are 43.3 inches, so still about 2 inches of full winding in the pegbox (or a bit less if your underlength might be a bit longer than mine).
  18. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Cool well it sounds like you guys are getting okay results with the innovation strings on 4/4 scale basses. Just to be clear, what I'd read was that the problem was with the braided chore stretching past the point enter the string was still as elastic as it should be under tension, and not issues with the string not being long enough...and this was on a 44.5" (113cm) mensur, same as my bass.
    Even if this was truly the case, it sounds reasonable to me that the strings would react differently on playable string length.
  19. Of course will they react differently on different scale lengths. The longer the scale the higher the string tension to get the same note.
    That was the reason I was looking for some lower tension string fo my 110 cm scale, because on 110 cm the tension is about the same if I tune the same string on 105 cm scale a half tone higher.
    I don't have any problems with the higher tension on the braided core. I'm sure the string will hold the tension even with 113 cm scale, but the winding part of the string might be a bit short and might not reach to the nut. The core itself is really robust.

    The only problem at the moment is, that these cores are no longer available to the string manufacturer and they are searching for a replacement. THat is also the reason why some strings are not available at the moment from Innovation. (This does not happen to the 140H series, since they have a different, massive synthetic core. These strings are still available.)
    I'm still waiting for some new test strings but didn't hear anything from them yet. (I might need to ask again.)