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High c options

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by mike92, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. mike92


    Feb 11, 2012
    What are people using for a high c? I'm looking at switching out my corelli 370m six string set with spiros on my ergo 6 string eub and I'd like something to match that sound. The 370m c is pretty high tenion and very thin sounding even tuned down to b. I don't think a thinner gauge would bother me if that's something I need to trade off for a fuller sound. I've been doing mostly jazz with some bow practice.
  2. There is a (more or less) new Spiro Weich high C from the 3/4 size set, that is available from Thomastik directly (the string is not actively marketed through the dealers and is not shown in any lists).

    Most steel core high Cs I have tried are either thin sounding in the lower positions or high tension.
    Renaud Garcia Fons uses a Flat-Chromesteel high C with downtuned Spiro Solo (3/4, I guess) on G/D/A and Spiro Weich E.
    Barre Phillips have used the Spiro Mittel high C (with the matching set), when I heard him playing his 5-string about 30 years ago.

    You can also get the 4/4 Spiro Mittel set with the 4/4 high C, which might have the same tension as 3/4 Weich, but more the Mittel sound.

    Personally I prefer synthetic core strings, but the high C is often different in tension from the normal set (sometimes higher, sometimes lower). I have some experimental strings that I like, but neither of them are available to the public yet (and none of them are finished as a complete set in my opinion).

    Since gut manufacturers can make naked gut strings (and maybe also wound gut) in any size, this might be the safest way to get a balanced set, but it would sound very different from Spiros or Corelli.

    Strangely I found out that there is not much difference in tension between a 389M and a 379TX high C. You might want to keep your high C and get a 370F set for it. Or get the 379TX which is not thin sounding with the 370F set.

    You can also think about getting an Oliv high C and G with Spiros below, but I have never tried them myself. Also a bit expensive and the Olivs often have a very limited lifetime.
  3. mike92


    Feb 11, 2012
    Thank you very much for the info! It's been hard to find much concrete information on the different ones out there.

    Any experience with the superflexible?

    I'm leaning towards one of the spirocores weich or mittel, or corelli 370tx or 380tx. Any idea on how they compare to each other?

    I'd like to stay away from the synthetic core strings, I think the other choices would give me a better match in tone and longevity.
  4. I cannot give you too detailed information since I play a 110cm vibrating string length bass, so each string has a higher tension than on a standard 105 cm instrument. (Almost like tuning a half tone higher).
    The Spiro Weich is on my Clevinger EUB. The 3/4 Spiro Weich set is rather hard on this solid body EUB, not a good comparison to an acoustic instrument.

    The Corelli sets (except the 370F) have rather weak lower string tension (less than the higher ones). The Spiros have a higher tension on the lower string which I prefer for orchestra and jazz. Spiros also last longer, so I would say try the Spiros. If you cannot get the 3/4 Weich high C, get the 4/4 Mittel set instead. Almost the same tension as the 3/4 Weich.

    If the tension is too high (for such a thin string on top) you might want to try the Flat-Chromesteel (like Renaud Garcia-Fons with downtuned Spiro Solo and a Spiro Weich E). The Flat-Chromesteel E is not very popular and often replaced by a Spiro (Weich?) E.
  5. mike92


    Feb 11, 2012
    Thanks, got a 4 string set of used spiro mittels on the way. Does the spiro balance well with the rest of the mittel set?
  6. I can only speak for the 4/4 Mittel set (S42). Yes they balance well, but the tension on the high C was too much for me with the vibrating string length of 110 cm (4/4). So I got a Flexocore (old Flexocore now named Original Flexocore) high C which was a bit better tensionwise, but with less sustain. Tuning a halftone down for playing with baroque tuned recorders was better, so the S42 on a 3/4 bass might be OK since the tension in normal tuning on a 105 cm scale is similar to that.
    You need the Spiro Mittel 4/4 set: S42. I hope you got this one. Also get the high C for the 4/4 set (there is also one for the 3/4 set). I don't think you will be happy with the 3/4 set (3886.0), specially if you try the high C for this set, but this depends on your instrument and setup. My one has a rather thick top and heavy bridge, if yours is built lighter, it might work.

    I think you already know that these high C strings are thin and with tension they cut into the finger if you don't have a really low action. (My one was rather high for Spiros when I got my bass with the Spiros and when I decided I could not play the 4/4 Spiro Mittel high C.)
    The high C often buzzes more than the G, so maybe you need planing of the fingerboard in that case.
  7. mike92


    Feb 11, 2012
    I'm not sure if they're the 3/4 or 4/4 but I think I'll be ok. I tried playing the 370m set tuned up a full step and liked it, didn't feel much harder to stop notes and liked the higher tension. It's also a 106 cm so like you're saying that will help. Even if it's a little tough I'm sure I'll get used to it.

    I'm leaning towards the mittel c, but the lower cost of the corelli is nice. Do you know how the 370tx and 380tx compare, and if they would be out of place with the mittels? The mittels are 4 years old if that matters.
  8. The 370TX would be nice with the 4/4 Spiro Mittel, a bit less tension than the Spiro 4/4 Mittel high C, I think, but not much.

    I never played the regular 4-string-set of the 370TX or 380TX (the only one I tried was the 380M), but the 370 has thinner lower strings (because of the higher mass per volume of the wolfram used) than the 380TX which might result in a more brilliant sound. The 380TX are more traditionally chome-nickel wound strings. For me the 370M G (which I ordered for trying) was too brilliant, but I didn't test it for a longer time.

    What I don't like is the decreasing tension towards the lower strings with the 380M set. Have a look at the Corelli/Savarez website, I think they have published the tension of the E to G strings of their sets (but not the high C tensions). The absolute minimum for my taste is equal tension for all strings, a bit more tension on the lower strings than on the higher ones is better, G to E like 100% to 110% tension is optimal for me (like with orchestral Spiros Mittel or Weich).

    4 year old Spiro Mittel are great. Much better to bow than in the beginning and might last several years. The downside is, that you only can find out weather you have 3/4 or a 4/4 string by measuring the uncut (!) total string length (and tell me which string it is, since they all have different lengths). I have sets of both 3/4 (unly the G uncut, but still have the cut ends of the set used on my EUB) and 4/4, so I can compare and tell you which set you got.

    I still have a set of 25 year old Spiro Mittel 4/4 and I only changed them because I couldn't hold the tension after several years of not playing at all. I would never give them away (exept if they will break), because they are so nice to bow now compared to the first year, when I got them. (OK, there are still better bowable strings on the market, but none of them lasts as long as the Spiros.)