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LaBella gut A and E - any experiences?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Adrian Cho, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I did search the forums but didn't really find any specific experience reports about the LaBella guts that related to the A and E. Most were about the G and D with the bulk of the reports saying that they aren't that great.

    I'm only interested in the A and E. I'm actually pretty happy with my setup now but I looked at the prices of the LaBella silver-wound A and E and I couldn't believe how cheap they are. Lemur online shows $65 for the A and $83 for an extended E. Compare that to $97 for a Eudoxa A and $173 for an extended E (both prices from Quinn which is cheaper in this case).

    Does anybody have any experiences with these strings and can you compare them to Olivs, Eudoxas, Chordas, or Dlugolecki or Larson (Gamut) wound A and E?

    I assume they are roundwound. Couldn't find any info about that anywhere.

    Update: Found info saying they are round silver-plated copper wire.
  2. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    They are fairly thick in diameter and stiff too. If that doesn't bother you they're not bad, IMO.
  3. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Bobby can you compare them to any other guts? Stiff is good for arco but not for pizz. I wish they would publish gauges.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I bought a LaBella wound gut E off Ebay a few months ago. I loved it. I loved it so much that I would like to share the joy this string gave me and sell it to someone for what I paid for it...$23. PM me if interested.

    But seriously, it lasted 1 week on my bass before I gave up on it. Acoustically, I thought it matched up OK to the plain gut A, D and G. But only OK. When I played a gig with it amplified, it sounded weak and out of place. It's a roundwound, so it didn't have that flatwound thumpy attack, and its sustain was so full of harmonics that it was hard to get a handle on the fundamental. And though I'm not really any good with a bow, I tried it, and though it did bow, it didn't sound too good. It wasn't a bad string, but it wasn't what I was hoping for.

    I love roundwounds on electric bass, but after this experience, I can't see using a roundwound string on DB again. I thought the Eudoxas I got a month later were a much better fit with plain guts. I ended up getting an E, A and G Eudoxa used. I would love to try a whole set of Eudoxas but I can't find a used D and I can't spend $90 on one string (hint hint).
  5. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Thanks Jimmy. That helps a whole lot. I've never used roundwounds before but I did try Animas for a while and they are roundwound but machined flat on the outside. I did find that they ripped up my fingers and the fingerboard. I used Olivs and Eudoxas for a long time. The problem is they are so damned expensive and the windings don't last (and I don't even slap).
  6. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I haven't tried Labellas. I've tried the Chorda E and A, and I must say they were pretty sturdy (and HUGE - compared to the Lenzner E I had).
  7. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I have a full set of Labella guts in a drawer. They are underwhelming. The open E string sounded pretty good, but closed positions were not good. Past G it lost focus and pitch center. The A was better but still not what I hope for in a bass string.

    So they sit in a drawer.

    With all the other unloved strings.

    Sort of sad isn't' it.

    Like the second sock you can't find.
  8. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    OK thanks, I won't bother trying them out. Chorda A and E were horrible when I tried them. I think I can forget about ever going back to gut on the bottom strings. Eudoxas and Gamuts are just too damn expensive especially when the windings are so susceptible to damage.
  9. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I tried several different guts on E and A and never really liked what I got. The Dominant E and A and perhaps the Spiro Stark E are at this point my low string favorites.

    I'm going to try the Goldentone D and G on top of the Dominant E and A pretty soon. I don't have high hopes but I do love gut on the upper two strings.
  10. I've been playing on a full set of the Laballa 980 guts for a few months. The D and G are pure gut, and I like them very much. Wonderful tone and very playable for pizzicato.

    Conversely, I would not recommend the E and A strings. They are wound with a fine silver wire. The result is a roundwound string that is not ground flat. The tone is not particularly impressive to me, and the drawbacks are significant: tough on fingers, string noise if you slide your hand along the string (I know it's poor technique, but it never made a sound when I played on flatwound metal strings), and worst of all, damage to the fingerboard.

    I'm playing the full set now, but plan to replace the E and A with something else, any suggestions? I'm not set on construction or materials, but would like strings with tone and tension compatible to the D & G guts.

    Either that, or replace the whole set... but that's a topic for another thread.

    P.S. I play all Pizz, Blugrass, Rockabilly, Jazz, no Arco.
  11. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Eudoxas (flat Silver-wound gut) will probably be the best match. I used them for a long time with Olivs and also with Chords on the top. However now with the Gamut Lyon unwound guts on top I am using Permanents (steel) on the bottom and liking them a lot. It took the bottom string (a C extension on my bass) a while to settle in and develop the full sound but they are great strings for both pizz and arco, match gut well, and are far less expensive than any gut, not to mention having more stable tuning.
  12. UncleToad, would you consider selling you LaBella guts?
  13. I have to take back what I said about the tone of the A & E silverwound gut LaBella 980s.

    As I said, I was planning on taking them off. I put my old spirocore A (red windings both ends) on yesterday. The sound was not nearly as good as the wound gut! The spirocore A sounded weak and tinny in comparison. I immediately put the Labella gut A back on.

    While the other problems still exist (string noise, tougher on the fingers, tough on the fingerboard), I was wrong about the tone. I always recognized the sweet sound of the D & G, but now I realize the E & A sound good too.

    Now remember, I am playing all pizz, no arco, on a 1947 Kay Concert bass. The fingerboard isn't ebony, so it's not standing up to the fine roundwounds that well. I probably should replace the E & A for that reason, but not with the Spirocores...
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