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Leroy "Slam" Stewart's Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Silversorcerer, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. Does anyone know what kind of strings Slam Stewart was using on his early recordings? The bowed solos are just amazing. I know he was still playing into the 80's and died in '87. The recordings I'm talking about were with Slim Gaillard in the 30's and 40's.
  2. Just a shot....no way to really know, but ya gotta figure they were G & D guts. When I started in the mid 50's, everyone was using Artone or Red O Rays (the red dyed guts) for the top two strings. The A and E strings were similar to steel Thomastiks called Lycon. But in the days you're talking about with Slim and Slam they were metal wrapped guts. These strings, in terms of pizz sensitivity, were awful. Absolutely no sustain whatsoever.
    The gut G and D's were available in different gauges. For some odd-ball reason I remember I use to use 30 gauge for the G. I have no idea why I seem to remember that.
    I also remember that one of the first and most popular steels were the Super Sensitives. In fact, I think they're still making those and I remember seeing Slam doing Ads for them not long before he passed.
  3. Thanks for all of that, Paul. I have duly written it down. The pizz. parts on these recordings sound pretty percussive and staccato, washtub-ish almost, so I'm guessing it's the relatively dead guts with metal winding.

    I'm playing some Slim & Slam with a swing jazz group and I'm guessing that is the authentic (1938-1939) sound. The recording quality isn't great, but it's good enough for me to know the bowing sound is like nothing I've heard. Of course you can hear him singing with the solos, and I know quite a bit has to do with him being a great archo player and probably having impeccable pizz. technique also. So I've got some experimenting to do ....

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