jazz vs orchestra

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Jon Stefaniak, Sep 3, 2000.

  1. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    I'm looking for suggesstions. What strings work best for you? I'm using D'addario helicore hybrids... I'm not exceptionaly impressed by ethier of their mediums. I'm looking for a punchy pizz and a deep arco. The hybrids are a little whiney sounding, not enough punch in either.I'm not about to buy a new set, but, any suggestions?
  2. You're going to have to compromise somewhere. There is no string that is great at both, so it depends on what you're willing to sacrifice. If you want long sustain, you're going to get scratchy arco, period.
    If you decide to go with an arco string, Pirastro original Flexocores have the worst pizz response. Eudoxa and Oliv are not much better, and are a tuning nightmare. I know some people have used Corelli for both, but I'm not competent to say anything.
    My guess is that within 48 hours, Francois and Olivier will get into this thread. They have tried every string that was ever made, and can tell you more.
    Pirastro has a new string out called Obligato. I put them on my #1 orchestra bass, and was pleasantly surprised by the pizz response. Not like a Spirocore, but long sustain for an arco string. Great orchestra sound. They are, however, much like a gut in feel - lower tension. Spiccato on these strings is more challenging than with your usual steel string.
    Meanwhile, let's wait for Les Habitants to arrive
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Thanks for the plug, Don! ;-)

    As every bassist is about to know sooner or later, the ideal string doesn't exist yet.
    As you said, it depends what you're willing to sacrifice.
    I know that the Thomastik Dominants are great for both pizz and arco, but there is a price to pay; they are relatively stiff, and their life is short.
    They may also break rapidly if they don't fot your bass perfectly in terms of lenght: the metal-wound part must not reach the tuning pegs!
    I could also recommend the Flexocor '92 (the new Flexocor, not the Original ones) but I'm sure that Jonn_ would find they lack sustain and growl. There's a matter of taste too. And the Flexocor E is not good anyway, so he'd need to use something else.
    For myself, I prefer warmer, darker sounding strings, so I prefer the Helicore arcos to hybrids, even for jazz pizz.
    As you can see, there's no universal answer!
  4. Yeah, as the saying goes,they can put a man on the moon, but they can't make a great bass string yet. It's always a quid pro quo compromise. After trying a plethora of brands, I find myself going back to my old standard-the Correli 370M
    maybe because I've been using them so long, I don't know, but it seems IMO to be one of the better all-around strings.
    Another string question- after my little string-shootout festival, I have quite a few extra sets. What is the average
    shelf-life of a string?
  5. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    of course I'm going to have to comprimise. I just wanted to see what I had to choose from. I suppose the Ideal whould be to have a seperate bass for orchestra and jazz.
  6. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Here, I'm coming... someone called me? Sorry, I was away for the weekend, went to Normandy on an Erik Satie cicuit (in Honfleur and Caen), was very interesting. Nothing for the bass though...

    Let's see, strings... yeah yeah, Obligato and Correli are a good choice to start with, and they are among the most affordable strings. Maybe Obligato has more character than Correli for arco, more fundamental? My list would also have Tomastik's Superflexible, but I don't know about Flexocor. What I know is that a lot of ill-informed bass player buy the Helicore Hybrid medium thinking that it's going to be a good medium choice, and, unfortunately, this set of strings does not fulfill its promise: it's in fact much more on the pizz side than on the arco side... Change strings if you want to get somewhat more gratifying a sound went using the bow.

    Sure enough, buying a second (or third!?) bass is even more gratifying...(insert appropriate smiley here)
  7. I must take exception to your assessment of Olivs. I use them for both orchestral and jazz. I consistently get compliments on my tone. The pizz sound is fat and sustains for a few seconds, but not all day like Spiros. The sound is big and deep for classical and jazz. A colleague of mine in the bass quartet I work with, a lifelong Spirocore user, informed me he plans on trying the Olivs next time he changes his strings.

    As for tuning, they were difficult for the first two or
    three weeks. After a couple of months they stay in tune practically as well as steel core strings. And, IMO, the sound more than makes up for any tuning inconvenience.
  8. Hands down, gorgeous arco sound. First time I heard them, I flipped. But not even after a month could I keep it in tune. They would sag as I was playing. Three hours under stage lights was really tough. I know some players like the pizz sound and shorter sustain; I'm just not one of them. I still have a set of each which I might try in an upcoming Vivaldi on my older bass.
    All my cases are black, and once I accidentally brought an orchestra bass to a jazz gig. Arco strings and no pickup. No doubt that soured me.
    I have since bought humidifiers and dehumidifiers to stablize the room, so maybe I'll try again.

    [Edited by Don Higdon on 09-04-2000 at 12:19 PM]
  9. OK, so I put my Olivs on the Kaakstein this afternoon. Sweet woody tone. Stay tuned. :D
  10. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    I hope a set of strings that's about 3 times the price of regular strings is gonna be good... it just depends how fancy you want to go. And of course, if you have to play some pieces from the Baroque repertoir, you may get a more authentic sound with gut. You have a baroque bass/bow? (are we changing thread?)