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John Clayton's strings on Live in Paris DVD -- what are these?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Aaron Saunders, Jul 9, 2005.


  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Does anyone know what strings John Clayton uses, specifically on this DVD/CD? There are a lot of close-up shots of John and his bass...the reason I ask is because (besides his sound being awesome) they look incredibly thin and almost translucent. Am I crazy? What's the deal here?

    Despite the awesomeness of the arco solo, there is a part where you can hear the bow get scratchy for a second. I definitely wouldn't call these orchestral strings by the sounds they're making, but there's a lot of things that could change the natural sound of a bass by the time I hear it out of my TV set.
     
  2. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I emailed John about a year ago and at that time he was using Obligatos. Previous to that, I believe he was using Superflexibles. I'm not sure which it was on the Diana Krall video. You can't really get that jazz pizz sustain out of a true orchestral string, and you can't really get a totally "scratch-free" arco sound from a good jazz string. Finding a string with the best balance is the "holy grail" we're all searching for (and is bankrupting us too! :) )
     
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    In all honesty, I actually think the scratchiness (which was prevalent through the entire solo) gave it a more character to the sound. The scratch wasn't the bass equivalent to Coltrane's sound after he busted a reed, but it gave it a raspier tone to it, which I loved. Certainly not an orchestral bowing sound, that's for darn sure.

    That said, thanks! :D I noticed they seemed to be not stiff at all from the way they were moving when he plucked them...not only was he playing almost effortlessly (then again, so did almost everyone in the band!) but the strings were bending like I remember the strings on my BG teacher's DB did when I was playing it (very low tension.)

    That said, I'm still liking my Spiro reds...:D
     
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I see Mr. Clayton once a year for a week in Port Townsend and he's been using Obligatos for the last 2 or 3 years. I think you're right that he used to have an endorsement from Superflexible. Don't know when the CD was recorded.

    I will say that I've seen him pick up other people's basses (including mine) and get the same great sound out of them with the same apparent lack of effort. He's just a beautiful player all around.

    Troy
     
  5. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    The recording was done in 03, chances are they are indeed Obligatos!

    He truly is a wonderful player...I look forward to (eventually) getting more of his stuff (I only have this and "The Girl in the Other Room" -- also great cuts from Christian McBride on this album.)
     
  6. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    John is fantastic! I think he plays in the tradition of Ray Brown - great tone, great time, no BS, doesn't overplay.

    I have several Diana Krall CD's that he's on that are really great -- "Steppin' Out" (her first CD) and "When I Look in Your Eyes" are personal favorites.
     
  7. The John Clayton-Jeff Hamilton Orchestra c.d.s are great ones to check out too.
     
  8. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Alrighty guys...I'm not sure, but I think I may end up tossing in some change and buying a set of Obligatos for when I get my DB repaired. Found an online shop that sells 'em for $110 USD (comparing shipping though -- $6 saved at one store may cost me $20 in shipping and border taxes.)
     
  9. Check out Gollihur that's where I got mine from....about $110 I think, definately worth the money, i've been happy with em for the last few months, both my teachers love the sound of them too and they both play these crazy expensive gut combos
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have found Obligatos to be the best for both Orchestra and Jazz IF you need both on the same Bass. I played many pieces in concert on several of My Basses using Obligatos including Beethovans 5th and the 1812 Overture to name a couple. Only recently I switched over to Flexicors because I need a Bowing string mainly. Original Flat Chromes do both better than Flexicors but Obligatos are best for smooth Jazz Pizz in the Pirastro family.
     
  11. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Ken, I know you mentioned using Flexocores for jazz....do you find them to have enough attack? I have been considering getting a set of Flexocore thick to get a dark smooth pizz sound. I remember that the regulars didn't have that "bounce" that you get with Obligatos.
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The Flexicors are made for Bowing and do not sustain much with Pizz unless your Bass responds to them differently. On the Same Bass I rank in Pizz order Obligatos, Orig Flat Chromes and last Flexicors. In Bow qualities I rank in order Flexicors, Orig Flat Chromes and last is Obligatos. The Orig FCs were great and clear but the G did not Bow as well for me on 2 Basses tried. Pizz was old school sounding. For Modern sound go with Obligatos.. Old school.. Orig FCs. I don't know about heavier gauge Flexicors.. Tell us when you test them..
     
  13. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I just ordered a set of Flexocore Thick from Lemur. I should have them later this week. I will definitely post my thoughts on them. Looking for a more old school "Ray Brown" sound. I am hoping to get a bit more sustain/volume than the regular Flex with a smoother sound than Spiros. No doubt they will bow better as well!
     
  14. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Encouraging -- I will indeed be using it for orchestral music a lot this year, even though I'm mainly an aspiring jazz bassist.