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Heritage vs. Obligato

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Phil Redman, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. When I purchased by circa 1930's King about 18 month ago it had Pirastro Obligato strings, which I liked quite a lot for the nice ballance between pizz and arco sounds. As I've gained some experience I decided I wanted to go with a more flexible, gut-like string. I was considering Velvets but my local bass shop guy recommended that I try the Kolstein Heritage strings, at about half the price, so I gave them a try. I've had them on for about a month and here are my impressions compared to the Obligatos.

    The Heritage strings do have a softer, more flexible feel than the Obligatos, which I like for pizz. I felt that with the Obligatos I couldn't "dig into" the string like I wanted to. The Heritage strings have a nice feel that I find enhances my right hand technique.

    The arco sound of the Obligatos is much superior to the Heritage on my bass. The Heritage strings sound weezy and thin compared to the Obligatos when played arco. No comparison here in my opinion.

    The Heritage E and A have much more volume than the Obligato E and A with the D and G being about the same in terms of volume. Overall my bass has a more open sound with more emphasis on the fundemental than it did with the Obligatos.

    It took about 3 weeks for the Heritage strings to fully settle in. Initially I felt that the Heritage G was more pitch-stable than the Obligato G, but now I'm not so sure. It seems to wander a bit like the Obligato G did.

    I have raised my bridge somewhat with the Heritage strings. These strings need some room to move.

    Well, that's about it. I hope this helps somebody out there.

  2. That pretty much sums up my experience re: Obligato v. Heritage. The Heritage has excellent feel and response; they felt great under my hands. But the G and, to a lesser extent, the D had a nasal twang that just didn't go away after months of playing. They bowed fantasically for a hybrid string, though.

    The E and A might have had more volume, but not as much fundamental as the Oblis, I thought. Of course, YMMV.

    Right now, I'm sticking with Obli G and D and auditioning Superflexible E and A, as the low Oblis rolled a bit to much for my liking. Still looking.

    As far as Kolstein strings go, though, I had much better luck with Varicores. If I were a full-time arco guy, I'd definitely use these; wonderful under the bow and a good deal of power. Might even give them a second try as a jazz string.
  3. What did you think about the difference in string gauge between the Heritage and the Oblis? After playing the Obligatos for over three years, the heritage felt like rubber bands to my fingers. They were similar to the corellis but much floppier.
  4. Exactly my impression. They feel like a rubber band with a metal wrap. This felt strange for the first few days but now I'm used to it. Just lately I've grown more dissatisfied with the arco performatnce of the Heritage strings and am thinking of giving the Velvets a try.

  5. Which ones, the Animas or the 180's?. I was looking at the Animas, but the price tag is a little steep for me right now.
  6. If I try Velvet it'll be the Animas, since I'm more focused on pizz. I'll post back here with impressions...
  7. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    A few comments:

    Phil - If you're more focused on pizz and want to try Velvets then you should probably be looking at Garbos instead of Animas. Although the Garbo G is pretty unbowable...

    Mike - I recently tried VariCors and found the bottom string to be pathetically weak for arco - at least below E for an extension. Really wimpy compared to Spirocore or the Permanent I'm using now.
  8. I realize the Garbos are marketed by Velvet as their hard-core jazz string, but the Animas aslo appear to be suitable for jazz and can still be bowed with some success. I'm not willing to sacrefice decent bowing on the E.

  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I picked up some Obli's after almost a full year playing on the Heritages from a fellow darksider here. I just slapped them on for the first time tonight. The obli's are used and have had 2 months of prior use. So far, I don't like 'em. The sound is similar, the Heritages are a little brighter yet mellower. THe obli's are darker but there's this metallic tinny twang on all 4 strings - yuk. I guess construction-wise, they're similar and have a perlon core.

    With the bow, it seems a little easier with the Obli's. I'll say that arco sounds better with the Obli's. That metallic sound somehow gives a nice complexity to the sound with the bow that the Heritages don't have. I like the brighter sound of the Heritages for pizz.

    Feel-wise, yeah the Heritages are a touch more floppy. The gauges seem to be roughly the same. I'll have to be patient and let them settle for a while but I'm tempted to go back to the Heritages. We'll see if I can hold out.
  10. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    In the war of Obligatos versus Heritage, the winner is--Velvet Anima!
    I wouldn't get too wrapped up in Velvet's own ideas about what their strings are for; Animas are some sweet jazz/pizz strings even if they claim that Garbos are the best for this--I and loads of TB'ers and Rufus Reid will attest to this.
    I don't know that anyone would say that Animas bow better than Obligatos, but results vary; on my bass, Obligatos were the easiest bowing string ever (but they didn't have enough tension to withstand any heavy attacks), Animas are decent but again maybe don't lend themselves to advanced arco techniques, and Heritages were maybe a little better under the bow than Animas but not as nice as Obligatos. The Animas are the far superior overall string once you get used to them, I think. (But it took me two months to "get used to them," during which time I cursed myself for an impecunious fool on more than one occasion.)
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Bah, the dark horse wins yet again.

    As for myself, I couldn't stand it anymore. After an hour or so, I switched back. Yeah i know they didn't settle in, but I was missedthose round & mellow sounds from the Heritages too much. Maybe one of the days I'll muster up the G.A.S. and try some Animas. But I'm happy for now. :D

    Impecunious... thats a good one.
  12. Congratulations! You are the fist person to use this word in the history of TBDB. However, a search in the BG forums, to my suprise, yielded 2 hits.
  13. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Has anyone noticed that the Orchestra Obligato G1 is significantly thinner than the Solo A1? (.054" vs. .060") When the A1 is used at solo pitch it really rocks, but may be too tight for many basses. I find the G1 too soft on either of my basses, so I use the A1 for both solo or orchestra tuning.

    Now, the orchestra set I have on one bass is quite old now, so Pirastro may have changed things since this set was made. The set was given to me by someone who tried them but didn't like them at all. She normally uses Eudoxa (silver on gut). I used Eudoxa for both orchestra and jazz for many years with success, but since coming to Europe I am bowing in thumb position much more, which Eudoxas aren't well adapted to. The price has also influenced my decision to seek out a synthetic substitute.

    Overall, I am quite happy with Obligato for all types of playing, but as I said, always using a solo A1 for the 1st string. I find they are slightly less flexible than Eudoxa, but a pretty good compromise for someone used to that kind of string.

    Another tension issue: In solo tuning, I find the E2 slightly soft next to such a strong A1, so I am thinking of actually going the other direction and using an orchestra D2 cranked up to E. It is only very slightly thicker (.067" vs .063"). There may be other differences in construction, I realize, (I have not tried weighing the strings, for example) but instinct tells me this is not the case.

    Any ideas on these rather odd choices of string gauge Pirastro has made? Is my information current?

  14. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    so it seems that the obligato solo set is actually a little thicker than the orchestra set, hmm, perhaps i'll try a solo set tuned at orchestra pitch. my theory on this is that since the solo's are a little thicker they will be a tighter string than the orchestra's even when both are tuned to orchestra pitch.......is that your experience.
  15. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Hold your horses!
    Don't just go out and buy a whole solo set! I only said that the 1st string was thicker. I will break it down...
    Solo A1=.060, E2=.063, B3=.079, F#4=.100
    Orchestra G1=.054, D2=.067, A3=.085, C(long)4=.109
    Remember again that I am measureing a rather old orchestra set, so things may have changed, but it is only the 1st string that is thicker in the solo set. Again, only the 1st string that is thicker in the solo set.

    Always read instructions and license agreements carefully before installing software-I mean, bass strings!
  16. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    alright, thanks for the clarification. where, by the way, do you find the measurements for string diameters. is this something people do themselves or is there some website or compilation of info somewhere i am unaware of?
  17. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Well, there might be, but I am measuring my strings with a Brown & Sharpe dial caliper. A relic from my machinist days.
  18. I tried the D and A Heritages on my 1938 King earlier this year. I kept them on for a couple of months but went back to the D and A Obligato's.
    I found the Heritages had more of a "tight" sound than the Obligato's...ie they were not as "full" sounding. Maybe if I had made some adjustments to my soundpost the Heritages would have sounded better but on a straight swap I preferred the Obligato's. I assume the Heritages will last longer than the Obligato's. Come to think of it, I think any string will last longer!
  19. I fanally wasn't too happy with the Heritage strings (couldn't get 'em to bow well at all) so I gave the Animas a try. Experimenting is now over :D . I love these strings! It took a while for them to break in but now that they have the sound is big, puchy and warm, and they bow better than the Heritage strings on my bass. I also like the great consistency of sound and feel accross the strings.

  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Augh... I can't help but ask... how is the growl with the Anima's? :confused:

    I just took my Heritages off again the other night and puts some Spiro's on just to try them once again and maybe allow them to break in this time. After taking the strings off/on about 4-5 times and playing for over a year the Heritages were starting to lose definition and volume. That nice growl I had kinda went away as well. I still liked the sound I got from the Heritages more than when I'm hearing from the spiro's right now. I have less growl (I think) with the spiro's than the heritages. I noticed that the metal winding on the Heritage A had broken underneath the silk wrap near the ball end. Looks like to broke due to mayb e an edge in the string slot on my TP. Glad I got rid of that before the string broke under tension.

    So maybe I'm hoping that the Animas are more of what the Heritages are giving. Lotsa growl is what I'm looking for... perhaps I need to visit the Luth to get more growl out of my setup too.

    EDIT: I guess my question doesn't matter anymore. I caved in and ordered some from Quinn Violins because both my bass and my arm like lower tensions. I shall soon find out for myself.