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HIgh Tension Plain Guts/Low String Height

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Alexi David, Dec 14, 2004.


  1. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I got to thinkin' .......what if I could have a setup whereupon I am using guts (plain D & G) that are higher tension - so I could lower the string height to say, 5mm on the G.

    Has anyone done this? are there plain gut strings made with tension high enough to be at low string height? Maybe I should ask Barrie Kolstein (in regards to Lafaro's low string height/guts)
     
  2. Yes this is doable. I switched from relatively low tension gut strings to Pirastro Chorda which are on the high side and was able to lower my strings 2mm. It's simple physics. For the same general type of string, you should be able to lower the strings in inverse proportion to the increase in string tension. That is for example, if the tension is twice as high, the strings can be half as high theoretically. The concavity of the fingerboard has a lot do with this as well though.

    Jon
     
  3. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The only problem with this is that you are defeating the purpose of having gut strings. The higher action has a lot to do with the tone as well. Unless you are really trying to get the LaFaro tone there isn't much reason to play gut with low action. I seriously doubt that Scott would have stayed with gut strings if he had lived longer.
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    My Animas didn't come with a STATEMENT OF INTENT and I haven't seen anything on the manufacturor's website. Do you think if I wrote them, they'd send me one?
     
  5. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    My action is currently lower than it's ever been - I think about 6.5 mm on the G (Chorda G, Oliv D, Eudoxa A, Superflexible E). I don't entirely agree with Adrian. I do feel I am sacrificing some volume but I think most of the tone is still there.
     
  6. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Sorry, I worded that wrong.....It is not that you are defeating the point of playing gut, but you won't get the same tone with low action gut strings as higher action gut strings(this applies to steel as well). It will still sound good of course. It depends what you are going for right?
     
  7. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    The sound I like best, is of gut with high string height - pure old old school. Like 10-12 mm on the G. If I could lower it, it would help me with string crossings at the neck block area, TP, etc. ESPECIALLY since I'm fighting RSI.

    So, Chordas are one choice, great. Any others on the high side?
     
  8. Adrian

    Yes and no. I still get a very gut-like sound even though my string height is a very managable 10-14mm. With lighter strings, I go higher. A go as low as possible while still avoiding buzz and string slap when I dig in. Skyscraper string height like 1/2" to 3/4" was used in the past for max volume in some cases, but I tend to think it was also to counteract realy bad fingerboard shaping. Gut strings sound like gut strings mainly because of their harmonic structure and their decay pattern. I totally agree with your statement on Scott. I'm sure he would have used spiros or the like for his style of playing.

    Jon
     
  9. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    My G is actually set at 10 mm, which isn't really thought of as
    "high action". I just feel that around 5-6mm you start to loose tone with gut strings since they usually need a bit more room.
     
  10. Adrian

    That's low action even for steel strings in my book. You must have great scoop in you fingerboard. BTW youv'e got to love that superflexible E. I'm running that set-up too by coincidence. That's got to be one of the best E strings out there for that kind of setup. It bows wonderfully too and has enough bottom to match the guts.

    Jon
     
  11. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Since I put on the Chorda G which is noticeably thicker than the Efran G, I'm getting annoying buzzing on the G string just around Db - F in the crook of the neck but then again I tried putting the string height way back up to 10 mm and it made no difference, so I think I need some fingerboard work.

    I love the tone of gut but not necessarily the short sustain. If you listen to these tracks here:

    http://www.codajazz.com/Pangaea/Audio.html

    you'll hear what I mean. I'm playing some 40s swing stuff at the moment which calls for the thumpy tone and I rely on technique alone to simulate the very short sustain.

    Yes the Superflexible E is pretty nice and for the first time, it's nice to not have to play mega-$$$ for a string. I've been thinking about going to one on the A too but just can't decide. I think if I was playimg more arco and less pizz, I'd like to change the A to a Superflexible and the G to an Oliv and have Olivs on top and Superflexible on the bottom.

    Adrian
     
  12. Adrian

    The superflexible A string is brighter than the E string, so it probably won't match the guts as well from a sound stand point. I don't think I broke mine in long enough though. I will probably put the A on in place of my Efrano A when it finally gives up. Tension-wise the superflex A would work with the guts pretty well since it is close to Spirocore weich.

    Jon
     
  13. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Jon, is the Efrano A wound with steel? Or did you get a plain gut A?
     
  14. I use Lenzner guts with Pirastro Oliv E, and when playng jazz I can drop my string height down to 6mm. For slapping and other styles I run them at 9mm.
     
  15. The A is silver-plate copper wound on gut. Nice sounding string. I think there is some silk damping between the windings and gut because even when new (its about 1 year old and no loose windings) it was fairly dark sounding.

    Jon