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Impressions (of gut strings)

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by john allemond, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. john allemond

    john allemond Supporting Member

    Hi all
    I have spent the better part of 2 years trying different gut, and gut like, strings and I wanted to post my impressions for someone who may be new to the double bass and maybe considering trying gut strings. I will include Eudoxa,Olive, and Velvets even though these are a hybrid string with attributes of steel strings and guts.

    G String
    Gamut Lyon heavy+
    Chorda Carlos
    All these sound good on my bass(Upton Hybrid). If I had to choose it would be the Gamut heavy+.
    Olive G and Eudoxa G both sound good, however, both came unwound so I wont try them again.

    D String
    Gamut Lyon heavy+
    Chorda Carlos
    Of these the Chorda Carlos is the best on my bass followed by the Gamut. But Im not satisfied with any of them. They are beautiful up to about F#, then, nothing. I am currently using a Eudoxa D with my Chorda Carlos. I have tried the Olive D with plain G and like it too. No unwinding of the Olive or Eudoxa D so far. The Velvet Garbo D and Lite D also blend well.

    A String
    Chorda Carlos
    Pirastro Pizzicato
    The Chorda, Fisoma, and Lenzner all sound great. The Pizzicato is to thin and twangy for my taste. I dont like the Eudoxa or Olive for an A string. Garbo and Lite are good too, but Ill take a wound A for mine.

    E String
    Chorda Carlos
    Pirastro Pizzicato
    Im not satisfied with any of these, tho the Chorda is the best of the lot. Too many choked notes. The Velvet Anima is the best E string Ive had on my bass. I dont like the Eudoxa, or the Olive. The Pizzicato was clear but too thin. Its at .106 and the Chorda Carlos is at .124. We need something in between for a wound E, say like .110 - .120.

    Anyway, there it is. I am using Chorda Carlos with a Eudoxa D and am as satisfied as Ive ever been, both acoustic and amped. With the exception of the Lenzners, all strings were purchased, or traded, used from TB members. Thnx guys, you know who you are. John
  2. Nathan Parker

    Nathan Parker

    Oct 10, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for posting all that info. I appreciate the time, effort and money it took to give folks such a comprehensive review.

    I'm pretty happy with Chorda's, both the regular, and the special gauges. But, I hear you, that D string is a tough one.
  3. john allemond

    john allemond Supporting Member

    Thnx Nathan, I appreciate that. Actually the cost isnt too bad if you get them used and resell or trade if you dont like. Of course all the on/off of different basses is hard on some strings, so Ive ended up eating some, but such is life. John
  4. Norre


    Jan 5, 2001
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Hey, thanks for the info :)
    I've never played guts before and lately I've been really intrigued by them. So I decided to order a set of Chorda Carlos Henriquez strings.
    Delivery was fast and the customer support at Pirastro is great.
    After Pirastro received my money I got the strings within 2 days (last friday).

    This is why I like UPS:

    I haven't installed them yet (I hope next week).

    Anyway, thanks for the review and I hope I'll be as happy as you are with the Chorda CH set. I'm wondering about that D though :bag:
  5. davpal


    May 19, 2006
    Lambertville, NJ
    My experience with Pirastro Eudoxa so far -
    I picked up a set of Eudoxa's from another TB member back in January. He tried them for only about two weeks and couldn't get comfortable with them. Anyway, I put them on as soon as I got them - weather conditions were cold & dry. I wondered if I made a big mistake.... they felt as stiff as Spiro mittels and seemed to have about half the volume of the Velvet Blues I just took off! Well, I wasn't going to give up on them so quickly so I persevered. Really gave my hands a workout though. They were almost impossible to bow, which I found especially frustrating since I found the Velvets to be so easy....very light pressure and a great, full sound.
    Well, I'm glad I stuck with it because as the weather has gotten warmer and the humidity is coming up these strings are really starting to work well! They feel much softer under the fingers and the volume has increased noticeably. Arco has become much easier - the harmonics are still not quite as easy as the Velvets but seem to be getting better almost daily. I think the gut core has softened up a lot...If you think of them as being like leather it would make sense that working them a lot would do this. The other issue I've had, as well as people that have posted here, is the sometimes sticky feeling. This comes and goes and I haven't figured it all out yet.... wash my hands, don't wash my hands, wipe the strings down a lot, don't clean them at all? Sometimes the silver is slick as can be... that's what I want all the time!
    So, my advice to anyone trying new guts would be to give them time and take weather conditions into consideration before passing judgment - I'm glad I did!
  6. john allemond

    john allemond Supporting Member

    That sticky feel on the Eudoxa bothered me too. Im with you on giving gut, and gut core, strings time before making any judgements. The Eudoxa D sounded bright next to the Chorda G when I first put it on, but now, two weeks later it has mellowed right in with the set. Funny thing though, when I amplify its the quietest, go figure.

    Good luck with the Carlos, they are fine strings. I hope the D works for you,too. Obviously alot of gut players are happy with a plain D, and I want so bad to be able to use one. Often times Im tempted to put the D back on and be content with only 4 notes! But being able to utilize more notes saves me from shifting as much, which helps my intonation, and I really need help in that area! John
  7. Norre


    Jan 5, 2001
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Don't we all ? :p ... I know I do :crying:
  8. john allemond

    john allemond Supporting Member

    Hi all
    An update on my gut string quest. Recently got a great deal on near new Clef guts from Roonz (thnx Bobby). Im putting them in the bullpen for now but wanted to post some measurements. G=.084, D=.110, A=.095, E=.115. Taken with a Starrett digital caliper. These strings have loops and do not resemble or mic out at what the Lenzners I had did, to answer a common question. More info forthcoming. John
  9. john allemond

    john allemond Supporting Member

    Hi all, an update
    I recently bought a mess of inexpensive guts to see what they were about and here are my impressions. Some of these were on my bass 2 weeks, some only one day and some I bought, measured, inspected and sold before I installed them.

    While its true guts need time to settle in, no amount of time will make a poor string good. Now that I have 2 basses I can string one and let it sit while I gig with the other. Here goes:

    Artone plain A...this string was old and rough when I got it, but I installed it and gigged twice with it. Though very thumpy, it was warm, fat and loud. It amplified well. Makes me want to try a Pistoy plain A. Should be the ticket for backing up singers.

    Clef with wound A and E...the D and G are good, the A and E are thin in gauge and look to be wound with iron! Overall this is not a bad set if you wanna try guts without spending the bread on Gamuts/Dlugolecki. The D is one of the better Ive tried, but bassists at gigs said the E didn't carry. G.084, D.106, A.095, E.115

    Boothill G,D, and plain A...bought but never tried. G.087, D.109, A.120 which is what my Pistoy D measures. These have that opaque look...like the following...though darker..

    Global/Emerson plain E and A....these also have that look and some claim are beef gut. I didnt leave them on long, and had to pull the E through the tuner with pliers. There was just enough sound with the E to make you wonder what a quality plain E would sound like, though it would probably cost 300.00!

    LaBella wound E...this one has the ball and felt washer, not the loop like some I have seen. Measures.136 and reminds me 0f the Lenzner E. Not as defined as the Gamut or Chorda Carlos but not bad.

    I started on guts 35 years ago and still prefer them. Anyone who wants to give guts a try, I'll be happy to help. John
  10. bodtker


    Jul 15, 2006
    Cameron Park, CA
    I have recently been using a set of LaBella 980 Guts, Wound E & A, and thought I would post my impressions - as I enjoy reading other reviews myself.

    My first set of Guts, previously Obligatos and Velvet Animas.
    I thought the feel and sound of these strings are absolutely amazing - I couldn't stop playing them. On my '42 Kay the E sounded and felt great - the volume great, and tone was consistent with the rest of the set, and I would keep the set together - I did not feel the need to experiment with other E or A strings in my short experience with them.
    As mentioned, they have a great washer/grommet at the tailpeice and clearly offer a nice security over knots.
    In the acoustic/roots setting I am using them in (I don't even own a bow) the volume was surprisingly loud, but IMO they lack an attack 'bite' that I am accustomed to.
    Other than that, I enjoy the playing experience over the aforementioned sets.

    I feel the Animas are similar tonally, yet have a bit more attack - higher tension, and 'slightly' less volume over the LaBellas. The Obligatos are more of an all-metal experience with much more attack and longer sustain.
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
    dfp likes this.
  11. I just got a set of Lenzner "Classic" gut - wound E/A, plain D/G - and I'm wondering how long these will take to break in for bowing. They're pretty rough and scratchy now, but I've been told that they take time and patience.

    I also resurrected this thread for the purpose of rejuvenating the discussion on bowing gut strings. Any input is appreciated!

  12. Bassmanchu,

    How do you like these for pizz? I'm thinking either lenzner (might be too thick for faster playing) or la Bella ( indefinite pitch issue) or chordas ch ( too thin low volume/projection). I want as much info on these strings as possible

  13. Sasha,

    They're great for jazz. The more they break in, the more core they have to their sound. Very authentic sound. They are pretty quick for how thick they are, but I have no other gut experience to compare. Very, very easy to pizz. I find that when I play faster runs I get a Lafaro-esque sound.

    Should be noted that the D had very little core to the pitch at first, but is calming down a bit. The tone warbled a little, and was hard to hear fundamental. I think it's a matter of breaking in the string.


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