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Help me decide: Polychrome or 140B for folding bass

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Pjotor, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. Pjotor


    Nov 5, 2018
    I recently bought a Chadwick hybrid from a forum member and I've decided I'd like to swap the red Spiros for something different. I play mainly bluegrass music, meaning mostly pizz with very little bowing although I'd like to – and need to – bow more for intonation practise and experimentation.

    After hours of reading I've nailed my choices down to Polychrome or 140B (both of the Innovation brand). The 140B seems a bit more resilient for folding basses, while the Polychrome seems to have better tone but uncertain resiliency for folding.

    So, what would you recommend and why?

    EDIT – I bought Polychromes and reviewed them here.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  2. Solo-gauge Spiros? :)
    HateyMcAmp likes this.
  3. Pjotor


    Nov 5, 2018
    Haven’t tried them. I used Innovation Ultra Black on my previous bass which I find great for BG: lower tension, nice and easily controlled slap sound and kind to my fingers. However, the E-string was a bit too floppy, bowing is difficult and I read here on TB that they wouldn't hold up well to tuning/detuning on my Chadwick. I hope the Polychrome or 140B could alleviate these problems somewhat.

    How do Spiro Solo compare in these aspects?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  4. Well, they have the legendary Spirocore longevity and endurance and you said you wanted to use something else than Spiro reds to play Bluegrass music so I thought the lower tension of the solos combined with the robustness of the Spirocores would be an alternative.
  5. Pjotor


    Nov 5, 2018
    Thanks – definitely worth thinking about. I haven't tried that many strings and Solos could very well be better. I've tried lower tension steels which worked well, and I may be able to trade some slap sound for longer durability. I just wish DB strings werent's so darned expensive or I would already have tried a bunch.

    If someone has used 140B or Polychromes on a folding DB, please chime in.
  6. Jon Mush

    Jon Mush

    Jun 3, 2015
    Winnipeg, MB
    I have really old Spiro Lights on mine now. They’re quite nice and sound good in the mix.

    I have tried both innovations, and I liked them at the time. To me, the Polys are a clear winner both Pizz and Arco. I think the Ultras you mentioned would be quite similar in tension to Spiro Lights. From what I understand, the Ultra Blacks are higher tension than the Braided and Polys. (The Polys are a bit less tension than the Braided to me.) The Solos may be a bit lighter than you’re used to, and may, or may not, lack the volume of a heavier string, but they do get accolades as the perfect do it all from many.

    I toured heavily with the Braided. 80 plus dates on a set, never broke one. I had a Poly G snap, but the thought is maybe a defective core. A new string is on its way. I have high hopes. The other three strings look perfect.

    If you don’t bow a lot, maybe look at the Rockabilly set. I’ve never had them on my folding bass, although I guy I know had and didn’t complain about them. (And he made them sound decent with the bow too.)

    I’ve tried a few options, and it’s always a trade-off. Damon makes some good points in the other threads about the Chadwick and strings, in favour of Spiros. Spiros (steel in general) are always going to the the cheaper and most trouble-free option. I’m considering blending Spiro EA and Poly DG for the (hopefully) best of both worlds. Then maybe I don’t have to shell out a bunch of cash all the time on whole sets. The journey is unending.
  7. Earl

    Earl Supporting Member

    My Chadwick likes solo strings (my fingers as well). I had the 140B solos on for a while and really liked them but after a year or so the windings started to separate.

    I was just using Spiro solos which were fine, but changed them to Superflexible solos which have a bit less tension and are a little brighter.
  8. Pjotor


    Nov 5, 2018
    Thanks a lot for the input y'all. I now find myself with three options (Spiro Solo, 140B or Polychrome) rather than two. But at least they all seem to be good or very good which means I won't make a huge mistake with any of them.

    I'm actually leaning toward the Spiro Solos now. DB is just one of the instruments I play, and I do value reliability and simplicity since I don't have time for extensive experiments.
  9. lrhbass

    lrhbass Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Spiros are the wise choice for the long run.
    HateyMcAmp likes this.
  10. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Denver, Colorado
    I don’t have a Chadwick, but a plywood Shen. I generally dislike steel strings but I really like the Spriocore Solo on this bass. Darker and looser than weichs, but they don’t feel floppy on my bass. Caveat would be I had an issue with the A-detuned-to-G string. Not enough body acoustically or through the pickup even after a couple months of trying to break it in. Currently using a Jargar Dolce G in its place and I’m digging it. Easy to play, nice warm body to the sound, not crushingly loud but not wimpy acoustic.
  11. I haven't tried Spiro solos or Polychromes yet, but I did have a set of 140B's for a while. It's been a couple years now, but I remember them being okay for arco and much too thumpy and dark for my taste when played pizz. Just my opinion, of course, but I'd stick with your other two options.
  12. 140B (Braided) need to be pizzed at the end of the fingerboard. Nice for arco.
    The Polychromes might be a bit better for pizz but are lower tension.
    My higher tension prototypes (tension like the Braided, construction similar to Polychromes) are better for pizz and clearer with the bow, the Braided are better for mixing in the section, if the players bow skills are limited.
  13. Pjotor


    Nov 5, 2018
    Thanks again all of you. I just bit the bullet on Polychromes after reading your responses. Since my gigging is limited I reckon the setups/teardowns will not be too stressful on the strings.
    longfinger likes this.
  14. Jon Mush

    Jon Mush

    Jun 3, 2015
    Winnipeg, MB
    Let us know what you think.
    Pjotor likes this.
  15. Pjotor


    Nov 5, 2018
    Will do. I can really only compare them against the Ultra Blacks and the current red Spiros, but I hope it's helpful even if it's a bit limited.

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