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Identifying S42 vs. 3885.0

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by jsf729, Jan 18, 2020.


  1. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    I purchased a bass that had a set of Spirocores on it which I have transferred to another bass. They are broken in nicely (D still a little zingy though). I'd like to know which set I have for possible future/ additional purchase. Silks are red on both ends and TI website doesn't help much. I know the S42 are more popular. The silks at the ball end come up to a couple inches from the bridge. I have a set of 4/4 Superflexibles and the silks come up right to the bridge which lend me to believe that maybe my Spirocores are 3/4. Any insight would be appreciated
     
  2. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    I had the same question a while back. If you check Thomastik’s spec sheets (not sure where, but I did find it at one point), the 3885 set are slightly shorter (especially the E, iirc), and the tension is slightly less.

    It seems bizarre to me that Thomastik would sell two different strings that have the exact same markings! I had a chance to ask two of their sales reps about this at a trade show this past summer, and they could not (or would not) give a straight answer about this. Maybe they were thinking about (gasp!) reformulating Spirocores, then chickened out? I realize they’re not very different, but the packaging sure is confusing...
     
  3. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    My 3885 Weichs have purple silk at the pegbox end. I believe that the 3885 and S42 mediums both have red silk at both ends, but the length of the silk is different (at least at the ball end).
     
    eh_train likes this.
  4. nogbert

    nogbert

    Jul 18, 2010
    Denver, CO
    purple silks at the pegbox mean they are weich/light guage. too bad they make both 3885 and s42 in weich lol
     
  5. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Thanks. Yes I am familiar with Weichs, but these have red at both ends. I'm thinking that due to the shorter silks these may be 3885 set.
     
  6. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Ah, so I am in good company! Would anyone be so kind as to measure the silks of their S42 set at the ball end? This may solve the mystery. I will measure mine as well. Thanks!
     
  7. I wouldn’t rely on the underlength silk length but rather on the total string length.
    If you have a look in my Dropbox (link in signature and string sticky) you find a file that I have grabbed from the net some time ago with string lengths for 4/4 and 3/4 Spiros.
     
  8. Sean Riddle

    Sean Riddle Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    Ventura, California
    Those are the Mittels, either 4/4 or 3/4.
     
  9. The silk length at the ball end of my D string from S42 set is 14.6 cm, that makes 5 6/8 inch.
    But measuring the whole length is more safe as DoubleMidi said.
     
  10. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Thanks DM and panos. Yes, I thought about measuring the whole string length after I put them on. I wanted to leave them intact for today's gig so they remain in tune. I will follow up this week. Very interested to know since after I determine which set that they are, the TI site (and DM's valuable work) will give me the tension ratings for further escapades into the Rabbit Hole (of which I am firmly entrenched)! Regardless of 3/4 or 4/4 in this instance, I really like the sound of these on my carved bass. However, they may have a bit more tension than I like. Time will tell.
     
  11. Keep in mind that you always can simulate a lower tension by tuning down.
    If you already have a higher tension version of the string, you also get the feel for a similarly constructed lighter string.
    The Formulas.html in my Dropbox calculates the new tension when you enter actual tension (or 100 as a percentage) and the detune in the right formula.

    The feel is different for different core material, so solid core steel, braided core steel, rope core steel and to a much higher degree different kinds of synthetic core and gut core feel (!) different because of different elongation forces. Keep in mind that pressing a string down or plucking makes the string longer (triangle between straight open string and plucked or pressed down string).
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I would think that the more accurate measurement for determining the type would be to measure the string length between the silks.
     
    PaperbackRyder and panos like this.
  13. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Yes, thanks DM. I have referenced that in the past and will revisit it again
     
  14. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Agreed Chris, but on TI website they only mention "vibrating string length". Would that be the distance between the silks in your opinion? Now that you mention it- makes sense. may be the answer to the riddle.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  15. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I sorted a few sets out of my string box a few years ago and the only way to tell them apart is string length. In my case, I had old sets of both, so "the longer ones are S42s", was good enough.
     
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That would be my guess.
     
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    ...but of course the string doesn't have a vibrating string length, only the bass. The same string moved across multiple basses will have whatever each basses mensure is.

    You'd have to take the string off and measure it and then have someone or some shop who had a set of marked strings do the same thing and compare numbers.
     
  18. The problem is that the silk lengths can vary for several strings of the same type, so measuring the silk lengths can be misleading.
    Even the total string lengths vary a bit, but it would be clearer to measure them than the silk lengths.
     
  19. Ludwig

    Ludwig

    Aug 17, 2006
    Germany
    In DoubleMIDIs DropBox is a list of lengths of the different Spirocore,hope it is accurate.
     
    Sam Dingle likes this.
  20. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Right. And keep track of the measurements for the next time someone asks "Is this an S42 or a 3885?"

    It's frustrating, and I don't understand why Thomastik did this. Especially when they're messing with (possibly?) their best selling string.
     
    jsf729 likes this.

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