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La Bella Super Nil

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by MIKMAN, May 17, 2010.



    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    During the weekend i visited a family friend in his home, near the seaside. This friend has been a legendary civil engineer and he strongly influenced me to study engineering. He was also one of the lead guitarists and double bassists in my country, playing in innumerable concerts and recitals. Now,75 years old and retired, he lives in his seaside home with his wife avoiding public appearances, since reumatoid arthritis has attacked his fingers.
    Approaching his home i clearly listened the melody of "Softly, as in a morning sunrise" coming from his seaside veranda. I also distinguished some strong bass lines, exceptionally played but not well blended with the songs volume. To my surprise i found him playing his Romanian fully carved bass unplugged and delivering an awful lot of volume in the sea breeze.
    After the hugs i asked how his arthritis allows him to shake the floor with his sound and voila! he showed me his strings: La Bella Super Nil. These strings are made from nylon and have a strange appearance, G and D wound on nylon and A and E wound on nylon and silver plated. He told me that they are very low tensioned strings and that his right hand fingers are rarely understand the effort.
    I tried them immediately and i found thet their sound was huge, albeit slightly unfocused. They delivered a boomy, fat and warm tone, something like plain guts but the tension was absolutely unnoticed. I have arthritis in my both hands and i know what pain means after a four hour gig. These strings can be played for a whole night without any problems at all. As my arthritis becomes worse i took it seriously into account.
    Asking him to bring his bow he told me that they are practically unbowed, since the nylon material doesn't give any grip to the bow.So they are strictly for piz playing. He offered me a spare set to try it in my own basses and the day passed easily with music, family discussions and Greek ouzo.
    As i returned home i put them in my carved Chinese and i played some fast passages. The low tension was more than wellcomed but the sound remained slightly undefined. Plugging in my GK combo i noticed a slight improvement but i retained this "loose sound" feeling. Approaching TP the sound became thinner, lacking this "cut through" feeling of the Spiros or EP Weich. Also there is a no so desirable "rolling" in G and D. Well, i thought, not exactly my cup of tea.
    Yesterday nigh i tried them in an unplugged gig with a piano. The pianist told me that the volume was great and some friends from the audience commended favourably for the clear and loud
    sound. Needless to say that the low tension could make me playing for hours, feeling no pain at all. Well, that's something.
    IMHO they are a good solution when someone needs low tensioned strings but i'd prefer them with more power in TP and with more definition in the low end. Not bad though for unamplified gigs they represent a cheap alternative to plain guts, so that's why some call them "poor man's guts strings".
    I'll be waiting to use them in my retirement!!!
  2. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    And everybody always thought that these strings were only for those low paid bluegrass players......like me. I do not use these strings, but I know several folks who still swear by them.

    Glad it's working out for you. I don't really have current hand problems, just problems making time to play bass. But, I made the switch to guts and lower tensioned strings several years ago and doubt that I'll ever go back to steel strings.

    There is a vast difference in FEEL, but that's about it.
  3. Solo-tuning steel strings (tuned at orchestra pitch) can be an interesting alternative too.
  4. Hammertime3


    Apr 23, 2008
    First of all, let me say I don't play much anymore. There's little bluegrass in this area, and even fewer good singers. I have always used Supernils and been satisified with them, and I still am. A set lasts me a long time because ther're not played much, but when I had some extensive work done on my old American Standard (the one I sold last year) I decided it was worth a string upgrade so I put a set of Innovation Silver Slaps on, expecting, I guess, to be heard around the world. After all, they cost twice as much, so they should be twice as good, or loud, right? Not so...I saw little if any increase in volume and the tension was just about the same. I was a little dissapointed. The Slaps went with the bass when I sold it, and when I bought the Kay I now have, I put a set of slightly used Supernils on and for me, it's just fine. Fortunes have been lost testing various bass strings, but I really don't have much need to look any farther than Supernils. Granted, the pros need more and know exactly what sounds and amplifies the best, but I don't, and I'm too old to worry about it.