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I'm really stuck with strings!

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by NTBass, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. NTBass


    Oct 20, 2013
    I am having a great deal of string trouble at the moment, and was looking for some help from those with more experience. Let me give you the background:

    I am a music student, I like to be 50/50 arco and pizz. Classical and Jazz/rock, with some opportunity to play in the local symphony orchestra.
    I have been studying the Rabbath technique for a few years now, and therefore the bass (Gliga 3) was set up for the usual Corelli 370m's. Which is what I have become used to.

    The problem is that whilst the 370m's are good with the bow (albeit quiet), they are not so good pizz. (More like a twangy louder un-amped electric bass). So i keep on with my bow technique...missing the pizz.

    So I have tried various strings on my student budget:
    Gliga 3 Bass.
    Corelli 370 TX Ok, bit scratchy for arco + maybe too loud, same pizz sound as 370m but louder.
    Evah Wiechs: Ok"ish" arco, but not the right pizz sound for me.
    Spirocore Solos Tuned down with a Wiech E. THIS was the perfect pizz sound for me, but the arco is harsh and dynamic control very limited really, also I am used to lighter strings.
    I played the spiro's with a small classical ensemble, too loud + cutting. (but that Pizz sound...dark and bright plenty of mwah and definition!)

    So I am back to the 370ms, and I am unsatisfied to the point of.........despite how easy they are to bow for that semi-cello solo arco sound.

    Can anyone suggest any alternatives given this info?
    I don't live within 3000km of a shop to try anything out.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas.

  2. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    That's a tough one. My gut feeling is that some combination of the spiros may work if you were able to leave them on long enough to really mellow out. How long did you try them? Another alternative is Pirastro Permanents, which have are a bright orchestra string, but I'm not a fan of the pizz sound when amplified.

    I've always found that any hybrid string involves a fair amount of compromise. I use Evah weichs but if I only played arco I would go for Belcantos, but I can't get them working well enough for amplified pizz.

    Good luck, I know what a hassle this can be.
  3. deste


    Sep 14, 2009
    Bologna, Italy, Europe
    Endorsing Artist: GullanskyLab pickups
    After many years I finally discovered Thomastik Belcanto: I'm very happy both for classical and jazz (dark but with attack), but I like dark sounds...
  4. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    They are my favourite arco string and I like them for pizz, but I find they don't amplify well and are too undefined... Perhaps with a different bass, pickup, amp etc.. they would be ok and they have a good acoustic pizz sound. Perhaps a bit dark, but still very good.
  5. LordRyan


    Dec 9, 2012
  6. NTBass


    Oct 20, 2013
    Hey, Thanks for all the replies.
    Geof: (love the site, I really should learn to sit down and play) I had the Spiros on for about 4 months. The problem was also the starting speed of the string arco-wise, I know renauld garcia fons uses them...but then he spends most of his arco time beyond our high D!

    The Gliga is a "french style" instrument not a - giant body - and is bright sounding.
    Maybe Belcantos or Permanents could work due to that.
    Of course there is also the unlearning of the near super-light 370m's (hence getting spiro solos)..whilst Aquila are very unfamiliar to me. A gut wound string or gut type wound string? The site is a bit olde worlde...but very interesting Lord Ryan.

    I realise this is a hard topic for each individual instrument and style but all the comments so far have been very helpful. I am blessed and cursed that I don't have the finances to go for the full blown "string aquisition syndrome" but this is giving me some idea of what's out there.

  7. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    Yeh I agree that spiros are tough to get started and I prefer the evan weichs for that reason. Its a really tough one and everyone will have a different take. I also had the 370m's when I did a some classical work and they are great under the bow, but just a bit characterless pizz... Have you tried obligato? I think if you dont like the evahs you wont like them...but I think they are a good hybrid choice.
    I also love light strings.....actually i really like Helicore Hybrid light gauge, but I know a lot of people hate them. They were not as good as the corelli under the bow.
  8. Medve


    Mar 8, 2013
    I recommend to you the Daddario solo set tuned to E, A, D, G. I believe that is what you are looking for. My 2 cents :)
  9. Spiro Weichs aren't hard to start. You just need black hair and sticky rosin for grip, and pay careful attention. Four month old Spiros aren't even close to being broken in. Try a set that have been used for a few years.

    Have you tried Flexocor Deluxe? They bow REALLY well and pizz is ok if you like thud. Mine amplify well using a Realist on an old carved German.
  10. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Yes, it's all in the bass. My CCB bass is rather middy and growly, and for me a Bel A & D work well with a Fishman Full Circle. YMMV.
  11. NTBass


    Oct 20, 2013
    Thanks again

    This is exactly a string and manufacturer I would not have even considered (same as the hybrids mentioned by Geof).
    Because of that fact alone, I am now quite interested in them.

    Kungfu - yes i get your point, here in the tropics, even nyman can be sticky and i have recently been looking for rosin that would be like pops is in a normal environment.

    Anyway, it's nearly time to make another string leap of faith :rollno: :)
  12. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Some options:

    Thomastik Superflexible solos: General considered to be a little smoother bowing than spirocores, so that might work. Still to my mind a bright, pizz-centric string.

    Pirastro FlatChromesteel: Bright sound, but pretty easy to bow. Nice pizz sound. Lower tension than many strings, but not as low as the corellis you've been using. There is a solo tuning model, but I'm not sure how it would sound tuned down.

    Thomastik Dominant solos: I like these strings a lot, nice light feel, fairly easy to bow, and a pizz sound that has great clarity and quite good sustain, without having too bright of overtones.

    Velvet 180s: Another good hybrid string. Low tension (very low if you get the SUIT set) easy bowing and nice pizz sound, though not super-bright. A little pricey.

    Some kind of Sonores strings by Gerold Genssler: Maybe his Rabbath or Red Label sets? I had a used set of his strings, I'm not exactly sure which ones, but they were a quite thin gauge, big pizz sound similar to spiro solos and they bowed like a dream. Not cheap, though.
  13. If Spiro Solo 3/4 have too much tension you can try the 4/4 Spiro Solos which have less tension (like tuning the 3/4 Solos a half step down).

    Lower tension strings that might fit your needs:

    For better bowing and a bit more highs than the Evah Weich: Innovation Braided (140B)
    For pizz with a strong attack, a bit less good bowing but better than Spiros and with some more tension: Innovation Honeys.

    For a nice allround string: Presto Balance Hybrid Light (or Medium) (available from Jonas Lohse in Germany)

    For me the Velvet Compas 180 don't bow much better than Spiros. Both could be bowed, but you need to adjust your bowing to the string response a lot more than with other strings. Your bowing needs to be light for Compas 180.
  14. NTBass


    Oct 20, 2013
    Thats some great info, and really good to get a collection of opinions on one thread.
    I'll be looking at getting some in the next 3 weeks, so if anyone is interested, I will post an outcome to this.

    Thanks everyone.

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