Help on Obligatos

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by bdengler, Apr 15, 2001.

  1. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    I believe Don Higdon is right, the Obligatos are quite versatile. I kept a set on my German bass for some time and use it primarily in our community orchestra. But when I put a set on my older Italian bass, I found the E a big mushy and the G has quite a nasal sound to it. I believe there's another posting about using a Dominant E, but has anyone mixed strings on the G side?

    Also, does anyone use Obligatos professionally?

  2. My guess is that the nasality on G is just the way your bass is responding. My negative on the Obligato is that with its softness, more energy is needed to get the E string moving. Spicato on the E doesn't come easily. Is that what you mean by 'mushy'? I've heard that Eugene Levinson, principal of the NY Philharmonic talks them up, but I have not seen them on the three basses of his that were in my luthier's shop. Michael Moore uses them for jazz.
  3. Ah, This is one of those YMMV situations. It is surprising and interesting (to me, anyway) how different strings sound on different basses.
    I have been using Obligatos that, BTW, I bought on Don's recommendation, for the past few months, in a professional situation, with great results. I never tried mixing strings, though. Maybe Francois can tell you more, if he's still around.
  4. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    I've only tried the G and D and found them too nasal. The tone was loud but I didn't like it.

    In the past I've also tried Dominants, which were bright but very stiff. (and prown to break)

    I recently tried braided Innovation and they had a nice warm tone, but very little sustain.
  5. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Don, yes, you accurately described my problem with the "mushy" E-string. I found that if I played the E string closer to the bridge, I got a better sound. But the Obligatos just don't work as well on my old Italian bass as Helicores or Jagars. Yet on my 5/8's bass it's very robust and brings out the bottom. I don't get it.

    Per some of the salesmen at David Gage's shop in NY, they've only witnessed Levinson's basses with either original Flexocores or Chromcores.

    Regards, Brian
  6. I tend to go back and forth between Original Flexocores and Obligatos. This fall, for Beethoven's 9th, the rapid bowing required Flexocores. A month after that I had a concert with alot of Vivaldi in a chamber orchestra. The Obligatos were much more appropriate. I'm recording Thursday night - pseudo jazz, don't ask - and I've decided to use the orchestra bass, with Obligatos, unamped. With less sustain than my jazz bass, it gets closer to that gutty sound of Paul Chambers.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    ....and there was peace in the valley....
  8. Brian, a change in brand or type of strings often requires a soundpost adjustment. Try
    moving the soundpost around before blowing more cash on strings.