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High Tension Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Johnny L, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I've accumulated several sets of strings over the last couple of years I started with the double bass. For me, I enjoy playing the heavy strings.

    But I do change them around...going from my original flatchromes to my light Helicores and medium Flexocores in a random pattern.

    I notice a change in what I hear from my bass, though, when I do this: lighter strings give this scooped midrange sound (like the old Metallica records), where the heavier strings increase the midrange.

    Is this what heavier strings should accomplish on their own, to push the midrange up? Maybe this is all moot, since I'm only hearing the bass from where my own ears are.
  2. Oh yeah, the old Metallica records!
  3. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Sorry Paul. It's a stereotypical late 80's heavy metal guitar sound, and I should have probably offered something more "in the box" as an example.

    How about I offer Gary Karr's sound on the album where he does Koussevitzky and Dragonetti. I dig his sound and love hearing the articulation he brings out when he plays in this recording, but I hear this scooped midrange sound coming from him. I know he's got solo strings on it cause his open G comes out as an A, and yeah, I know the bass he's playing isn't a hybrid Strunal.

    Any suckers...I mean takers now?
  4. I know what you're talking about, but I can't explain why it is... I've found that you get more of the scooped sound with strings that are a rope or synthetic core than a steel core.

    The only explanation I can come up with is that maybe the mid-range tones are the easiest to pull out of the instrument, so with the lower tension strings that move the top less thats what you get, and when you get more tension and movement you pull out the rest of those tones.
  5. Hi Toman.
    Just to clarify things a bit:
    so called rope-core strings are actually using a braided-steel core, in comparison to solid-core, which is common with electric bass strings, but not much used anymore today in double-bass strings, besides a few brands, like Pirastro Chromcors, Super-Sensitive Red Labels and Stellars, Thomastik Precision and La Bella 610's. No vegetal rope in there.
    Maybe you already know this, but the quote above could be misleading, so the need for my comment.

  6. hmm, thanks for the correction. I was always under the impression that a rope core was some sort of twisted or braided plastic or something. oh well, now I know! I'm still sticking with my theory though, just minus the rope core part. :D
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Yeah Toman, I'm with you here. And it's strange to me too. I wouldn't have imagined I'd be trumpeting the notion that a heavier string will drive the top in such a way that the mids get boosted before. In fact, my poor intuition would have compelled me to claim the opposite.

    I think Rabbath has expressed something like, "lighter strings free the top and allow the bass to have a richer sound"...as if the top gets pillowed-down by a heavier string. It makes me wonder if I should be looking at the situation differently - that a more complete picture of a bass's tone character is revealed under lighter string tension rather than heavier string tension, and all I'm really doing is bringing the lows and highs down while leaving the mids to come out without proper support.

    According to a guy who goes by the name Thomas Martin, steel strings saved a lot of pedigree basses that would have otherwise been ignored.
  8. Have you tried any of the gut core strings? I just recently put eudoxas on my bass, and it was like somebody turned on a bright, glorius light! Suddenly the whole tonal spectrum was just flowing out of my bass, and I swear the instrument was vibrating twice as much. On top of that, the strings are pretty low tension and quite easy to play on.I don't think I'll ever go back to steel strings, except maybe if I start playing jazz again, because the gut is so awesome.
  9. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    No, but maybe I'll run into a bass with guts and give it a whirl someday.
  10. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    You were on to something important in your first post, and it wasn't picked up by anybody:
    The sound quality coming up from the shoulder can't match what's coming off the back and top. Also, the wave length of the bass frequency is such that it is most accurately heard some 20 feet ot front. Maybe you could have a friend play your bass while you stand in front.
    The curse on bass players is that they never really know how they sound to everyone else.
  11. Just wanted to add that you should not confuse regular guts with Eudoxas.
    Eudoxas are a unique string, (flat silver over gut core) and a unique tone you won't get with regular guts or even Olivs, which are flat chromesteel over gut.
    Eudoxas have a clear tone with excellent articulation, definition and sustain. Qualities seldom encountered with guts.
  12. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Thanks Francois for keeping me straight.

    Don, I'm sure you are correct here and I should be woodshedding instead. Just hoping to make the curse my friend, is all.

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