Help please !

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Samason, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. Samason


    Feb 27, 2016
    South Mississippi
    So I finally have my first double bass , it’s an Upton Bohemian hybred 7/8 and I am very infatuated with it for sure. All I want to do is play a bit of arco . No easy task for sure . I have searched and found no teacher anywhere in my area. If there were ever an instrument where a teacher is most beneficial this is it. To the point, I am struggling with the spirocore strings that are on it and I am wondering if anyone can recommend strings for newbie arco players .
    Hoyt likes this.
  2. Hoyt


    Jun 29, 2006
    Saint Charles, IL.
    Someone with more experience should definitely chime in here, but I’ve found you can bow most anything with enough rosin, even Spiros. They just sound really... well, not great. Especially as a beginner (which I am for arco as well).

    What type of music are you trying to learn/play? Did Upton setup the bass for you?
  3. JC Nelson

    JC Nelson Supporting Member

    May 30, 2015
    I had Spiros that I thought were great for arco after struggling with Rockabilly Reds for two months of shows. I picked up a set of Zyex Lights in the classifieds here a few months ago. They respond so quickly it completely changed the way I play.

    I am not knocking the spiros, they have an awesome dark sound and growl and many people bow them. I would rather not work so hard if I don't have to.
    Hoyt likes this.
  4. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    Spiros are well loved for good reason, but I think strings like bel cantos and passiones are more "beginner friendly". Both are very easy to start and get a pleasing tone.
    Hoyt and JC Nelson like this.
  5. Cheez


    Apr 13, 2009
    The University of Southern Mississippi has some great bassists and probably teachers.
    Hoyt likes this.
  6. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    Unbrokenchain says learn to bow the spiros, then other strings will seem easy.
  7. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I second this. Learned on spiros. Belcantos were too easy for me haha
  8. Rama Temmink

    Rama Temmink

    Nov 30, 2015
    Edit: At first you might sound whiny, now imagine that the violin is a tweeter and the double bass a subwoofer... act/practise/sound like one!

    Now there is a thing as "too much rosin", thus don't overdo it!

    Me three, I started learning arco on Spirocore Mittles and now I ventured into the Starks.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    Sam Dingle and Hoyt like this.
  9. Bowing Animas even makes Spiros easy to bow! Doing some orchestra concerts on Animas helped me a fair amount with the bow.

    But to address the OP, maybe getting a set of strings that are more dark such as Superflexible, Evah Pirazzi, and Flexocore Deluxe could be helpful. I'm one of those who do believe Spiros are bow friendly and I use them for Bach to Ligeti, when it comes to the bow. They are definitely intimidating for a bit because they contain a lot of overtone information that for a beginner can be hard to control.

    Most importantly though see if you can find someone who will do Skype lessons if there is definitely no one in your general vicinity who gives lessons. While nothing beats face to face instruction, Skype lessons would be the next best thing. Pizz is something I think you can relatively get away with teaching yourself, but the bow does need some solid instruction to help solidify good and healthy habits.
  10. Samason


    Feb 27, 2016
    South Mississippi
    Thanks guys for all this sound advise (no pun intended) . I do agree if I can master these spiros than all else would be down hill. I do desperately need a teacher . Skype May be the answer.
    JC Nelson likes this.
  11. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    Also, check out Discover Double Bass. It’s a great website with very sound lessons for a modest price.

    I learned to bow on spiros. They are unforgiving under the stick, but if you can get it going, you can bow on anything. Plus they last forever. Once broken in, they are great for damn near anything. Long tones at the bridge will break them in faster, and is something you should do anyway.

    Being in southern Mississippi, you have one of the greatest nearby. Marcos Machado at Southern Miss is one of the best players and a fantastic teacher in the business. Give him a shout. He tours a bit, but is very accessible through email and social media.
    Hoyt likes this.
  12. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    My first bass was strung with Spiro weichs. Just take your time and learn the proper bow technique and you'll be fine. Just remember Spiros are not very forgiving with bad bow technique.
  13. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    If you're an Arco/classical player mainly, I think you'll be better off with another string. I use Spiros and though I get the odd orch sub gig and practice Arco daily, most of what I do is pizz. Eventually when you're ready you might give Spiros a shot. They have a lot to like in their Arco sound, but truth to tell most orchestra players use something else.
  14. I remember when I was learning to bow, I used very much rosin. I had to, or it didn't play. I had to clean the bass every other week. My Pop's rosin were gone in some 6 months. And my right hand fingers was hurting, mainly the palm (I play german bow).
    Nowadays I can bow (almost) without rosin even on my spiros, and it seems very easy. But I can't remember what made the difference, what I did to learn that. I think that nowadays I am able to feel the vibration of the string under the bow, and the force I apply to the bow is very small. I stopped fighting it, and it goes nicely.

    I needed some 6 years to learn that, without much of a teacher. Find a good one, and you can spare 5 years. No kidding.
    JC Nelson likes this.
  15. CryingBass

    CryingBass Is that an Elephant Fish on the corner over there? Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    Nice choice in your bass. I do not know a lot, but reading through Rufus Reid’s “The Evolving Bassist” helped me on more than just arco. YMMV. Enjoy your quest!