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Increase pressure on Bridge/Top to use 'lower' tension strings?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by iamthebassplayr, Jun 14, 2018.


  1. iamthebassplayr

    iamthebassplayr Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    I am a very lucky college student with a late 2017 Golia bass. Play mostly arco, very occasional pit gig (though wouldn't mind this changing)-- Orchestra and solo rep (orchestra tuning for the sake of this post). 104 cm mensure... not a whole lot of overstand, but a larger neck angle than my previous bass (notice it walking through narrow hallways :banghead:), surprisingly easy upper register access with the shoulder shape and neck angle. Not a thin top by any means, Strong arch, and I believe the bass bar is angled somewhat... (I can get some more measurements later if necessary?)

    The bass has a lot of harmonic content, sings/rings out well in the upper register throughout thumb position on the G string... The D string has always sounded a bit cloudy and unfocused/diffuse sounding- not necessarily warm, but out of focus seems to be the best way to describe it. Open A string behaves a little funny.... feels 'wolfy' and resist the bow at times... sounds very spread and big, probably the loudest pitch on the bass next to Bb (which also will resist the bow), and B. E string sounds fine, though perhaps not quite as robust as it could be.

    I am looking at getting an extension put on over the summer, and was going to send it down for the work with some new strings... I had been playing with Original Flat Chrome GDA and have floated between a Perm E and a Spiro Mittel E (unsure on 3/4 or 4/4).

    I stuck an old set of Flexocor Delux on and was surprised at the increase in string tension and while I prefer the color of the OFC, the D string in particular was brought a bit more 'into focus' and clearer.

    Browsing through TBDB strings forum, I saw a few people talking about detuning or uptuning their strings a quarter tone or half step to get an idea what a lower or heavier tension string might feel like on your instrument. I uptuned it a quarter tone, checked the bridge pitch, played some long bows and let it settle for a few hours... came back and holy smokes. D and A felt cleaner, and G string was punchy. Cautiously brought it up another quarter tone (now a half step up all the way across), checked the bridge and let it sit over night.

    Next morning, looked at the bridge and then played it and was blown away. The D(#) had never been so focused sounding. The G(#) was PUNCHY incredibly even all the way up - in fact the whole bass responded much more evenly across registers and considerably louder. The A(#) was also very clear, though seemed to wolf a little easier if I wasn't careful... The E sounded bigger, though I think the tension on the E and A might have been slightly more than optimal for bow response.

    Using some math from the string tension thread, adjusting for my scale length and the uptune, I figured out the approximate tension of each string and total.
    G = 67.9
    D = 71.5
    A = 77.2 (Maybe a little higher than optimal?)
    E = 76.5 (Maybe a little higher than optimal?)

    This kind of limits string choices down to Flex 92 starks or Sprio Mittels/Starks, which seems a little extreme? Have to try and play in a section with them... Will the Spiros be too much to blend?

    My question : Are there components of the set up that I am compensating for with the higher tension? Should other things be investigated first like Tailpiece/wire? Geometry? Soundpost? In doing this, I might be able to open up string options a bit more?

    Or is it just, this bass loves high tension and it is what it is?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  2. How much does the instrument weigh?

    92 Starks aren’t bad to play at all. If your bass is on the heavy side and needs more agitation to get moving, so what? If you opt for an extension you’ll have to find another E, as the 92 Stark extension E was discontinued years ago.
     
  3. iamthebassplayr

    iamthebassplayr Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    It does feel a bit heavier than my last bass... bathroom scale comes out at 22.4 lbs.

    Damn, really? They show a 2.1m stark E on their site — is that not it?

    Or am I mistaken (damn Pirastro naming)

    “Flexocore” are the flex 92s, correct?
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  4. Reiska

    Reiska

    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hi, don`t know if this helps in your case and especially with an extension, but Pirastro`s way of making their sets with lesser tension on the E than A makes my A string a wolf parade, along with E sounding weaker and my bass feeling tight / weird. My bass has a wolf on A harmonic. I use higher tension E than rest of the set for this reason.
     
    iamthebassplayr likes this.
  5. iamthebassplayr

    iamthebassplayr Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    Helpful to know and I’ll play with this!
     
    Reiska likes this.
  6. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    I had similiar issues with one of my italian basses.
    It was fixed by installing a Hamberger soundpost.
     

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