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Kolstein Heritage for Bluegrass?

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by Brent Norton, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Hiya folks,

    Well, I'm in the process of finishing and setting up a bass for bluegrass, and currently considering what to string it with. I'm looking for opinions on how well Kolstein's new Heritage strings would fit the bill for this bass, not having an opportunity to try them myself as of yet. The goal is to go with something that's somewhere between the plain gut vs. Spirocore ends of the spectrum (which could mean just about ANY string, really... :meh: ), but leans toward the latter i.e., has a solid fundamental, good volume and decent sustain, yet is a touch warmer/darker than Spiros.

    Another consideration is longevity; as much as I love the tone and feel of a fresh set of Oblis, for example, I've experienced some of the same issues as some of you have with them simply not lasting. Given the relative newness of the Heritagesesess, can anyone yet really speak to how they hold up long-term?

    Regardless, from what I've read on the boards, it sounds like the Kolsteins might be the ticket... Opinions? Any bluegrass players out there already using them?

    Thanks as always for the input, guys.
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Me too! I love the Oblis, and when they start fading, I just wanna say "No-o-o-o!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:"

    I'd be interested in hearing the answer to this queston from a jazz standpoint as well. Maybe when this set of Oblis goes entirely dead, I'll buy a set and be the official Heritage Jazz Guinea Pig.
  3. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    You might want to think about Superflexibles. I am waiting for an E string to arrive to go with my guts but Adrian Juras is now using a whole set of Superflexibles and really likes them. As I understand it, they are very much like Spiros - good volume and fundamental and longer sustain but just a bit darker and easier to bow. You might also want to think about the new Compas 180s. I liked them but found the gauge too thin. Adrian also said he found they choked up when he really dug in with them.
  4. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I had the Heritage strings on for a short time, so I can't speak for their longevity. As far as tone, I think they have too much growl (even the open E) for bluegrass. Adrian is right on the money as far as the Superflexibles. I keep one bass strung up with guts,
    but Superflexibles are my favorite non-gut string.
  5. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Barrie Kolstein asked me to give them a try the last time I talked with him on the phone. It sounds like they would be a fine jazz string or good for accompanying moderate tempo ballads. They might work great for the '50s style country duet that I play with, the Cash Magnets. I really should give them a go.

    For bluegrass, I play old tuba-style bass with a very quick decay. Gut strings are still the clear choice for me for the vintage Bluegrass music that I play.

  6. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Thanks for the input thus far, guys. The Superflexibles sound like a viable option given what I'm looking for, perhaps more so than the Heritage strings. A little additional info on what I'm trying to acheive may help--

    I have no interest in stringing the bass with gut. While I was once a pretty die-hard gut guy, I think there are so many other great alternatives available today that I have a tough time justifying the cost and maintenance of gut anymore. While I'll agree that nothing says GUT like the real thing, it appears to me that more and more players -- regardless of the styles of music they play -- are moving toward more modern derivitives which offer MORE - more volume, more sustain, more definition and long life. My goal is to find a good combination of tone, tuning stability, longevity, good feel and *affordability*. I also want to provide strings that are as worry-free as possible for the duration, i.e. no clipping hairs, no oiling, etc. Having said all that, and given the number of bluegrass players who already accept and religiously use Spirocores, it seems that offering the benefits of Spiros with a little more warmth would be a great combo. Additionally, the Superflexibles have the affordability point nailed.

    Hmm... Sounds like I'm just about sold. Any other input?

    Thanks again, guys...
  7. If you're seeking a dark, thumpy kind of tone, with fast decay, my advice is to use Jargar strings. They're metal strings, and available in three gauges.
  8. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Well, the bass is done. I wound up going with the Superflexibles, and they work out great on this instrument. Great volume, nice 'boom,' and the darker tone (as compared to Spiros) suits the instrument perfectly. Very nice feel as well.

    Thanks as always for the valuable input, guys. These strings nail what I was looking for to a T. :)
  9. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    how is the tension on the superflexibles Brent ?
  10. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    To me, they feel similar to Spiro mediums in tension.
  11. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley

    Would it be fair to say that Jargar is a 'poor man's gut'? By opting for the forte gauge, is some of the sweetness and darkness that people associate with the Dolce gauge lost? Does the forte gauge just end up being something conventional, akin to the Helicore Orch string?
  12. The Fortes are better for jazz, but the bottom strings can be real muddy.
    They have more higher harmonics.
    Gut is flexible and huge speaking though, while Jargar is loaded with dampening stuff which kills many things, including what you'd like to keep...