Looking for a (full-)steel string with...

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Buddy Lee, Jul 11, 2002.

  1. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    a nice amount of sustain, mid-dark (i.e. quite bright) tone and (of course) good playability (rockabilly slap style).
    Any suggestions? :)
  2. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Helicore Hybrids Light gauge ?
    Thomastik Superflexibles (blue silk end) ?
    Corelli Nickels medium (thinnest gauge) 380M ?
  3. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    I'm looking for non-hybrid steel strings. Which of those you mentioned are full-steel?
  4. Two favors, Bud
    1. Fill out your profile
    2. Help us understand the "full-steel" urgency
  5. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    None of the strings mentioned by Francois are nylon or synthetic, which you seem to be confusing with the term "hybrid." The "hybrid" in the name of Helicore Hybrids refers to the fact that they are intended to be used in a variety of applications (i.e., arco, jazz-pizz, bluegrass-pizz, rock-thrashing, or Bulgarian wedding music).
    Another option: Spirocores, weichs or Orchestras, are very popular and common strings.
  6. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    True, all the strings I listed are "full-steel", to use the term Buddy has taken.
    I intentionally left out the Spirocores because he asked for mid-dark tone.
    The Spirocores are in the bright-metallic category, as far as I'm concerned.
  7. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Agreed as to the character of spiros (except on my bass, which *requires* spirocores in order to not sound muddy and murky). But our Buddy defined "mid-dark" as "quite bright," confusing as that might be, so spirocores might be the ones.
  8. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    Maybe it'll help, if I characterize Jargar Dolce as "quite too dark"... :rolleyes:

    But what about the slap playability of the Corellis? Are the D and G very thin? It can be hell to play a "too thin" string in slap style...
  9. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    I was checking your profile and saw your influences....
    I used to tour and play with several rockabilly bands for years and years...now and then i still do it, i know the bass players you're talking about in your profile and i presume that you would like to have a similar sound....
    If so, forget metal strings....you gonna have a real hard time to have a well balanced sound with them between pizzicato and slap...and i can tell you for sure..if you really slap hard your bass with metal...boy, your hands gonna be in constant pain...
    You live in Germany, they have a lot of good gut strings there.(the gut strings that i buy from lemur music, are german made).I'm sure you can find a set not so expensive.The best in my opinion would be to try G and D plain gut and A and E wrapped.....its hard to find a decent sounding plain gut A string.This way i'm sure you can have a well balanced sound both in pizzicato or slappin'!
    And you will be closer to get a sound like the bass players you mentioned....about the sustain...i dont think you'll need a big sustain to play rockabilly, im sure this strings would give you enough for your needs.
    If you really dont want to use gut i would sugest nylon.
    You can try the Rotosound ones, i used to play nylon in my first slappin' days, and these are in my opinion the best ones....or better saying... the only decent nylon strings...as long as you wont use the bow of course.
    I can say that 95% of the bass players that i know who play rockabilly, bluegrass or whatever kinda roots music who need slap,both in Europe and in the U.S.A.(and i can tell you that i know A LOT OF THEM) they dont use metal.....Neither the bass players you mention in your profile.
    All the best for your slappin.

  10. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    Thanks, Basscrazy72, I appreciate. But I still want steel. I like steel strings and have generally no problems slappin' them (my hands are tough ;) ). I don't wanna go nylon or "nylon core" either.
    I'm just still looking for a "full-steel" (I know, you all love this term of mine :D ) string that
    - (as a matter of course) is quite playable (not compared with gut or nylon)
    - has a nice amount of sustain (Yeah, right. I personally like sustain - for Rockabilly :eek: )
    - has "mid-dark"/fairly bright tone (with Jargar Dolce being definitly too dark)
    Whoever may be my influence, this is the string I'm looking for...

    I know, I'm kinda nerve-wracking, but I just don't wanna spend all my money for trying out a dozen of different strings. :)
  11. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    Well, I've done a little research and from what I've read, I guess that the Corellis have the tone I desire. But as far as playability is concerned, they could be too thin...

    Is there a string sounding like the Corelli 380M, but a bit thicker?
  12. It is very important to note that the most important factor in tone is in the hands. The bass, strings, amplifier, etc. come after the hands.

    You may eventually settle on many different strings as your playing develops.

    You seem to have contradictory requirements regarding tone.

    Dark (or mid-dark) tone as it relates to pizz/slap playing usually means a tone envelope that is strong on the lower harmonics, has a round attack, and little sustain.

    Bright (or quite bright) usually means just the opposite. Strong fundamental and upper partials, sharp attack and much sustain.

    There are many reasons that accomplished slap players prefer gut strings. The tone of the main note is round and mellow, and the tone of the slap as it snaps back and is slapped to the fingerboard is much more desirable to most ears than steel strings. The tension of gut strings is optimal for slapping - not all gut strings have lower tension than all steel strings. Gut strings are of a lower density than steel strings, therefore are of a larger diameter than steel strings for a given pitch. This affects playability and tone - the larger diameter gives more to grab onto and more to slap to the fingerboard. The larger diameter is easier on the fingers. Gut material, especially on the D and G strings can be easier on the skin of a lot of players. There must be something going on at the molecular level dealing with skin chemistry that gives gut strings a better feel and allows the player to play longer without raising blisters.

    You asked about all steel strings that sound like (and presumably plays like) the Corelli 360M, which are low tension nickel wrap strings that are quite skinny, though you want something fatter. This is a virtual impossibility. You'll realize this when you start to understand string construction and the simple physics behind it.

    Interestingly, as I have improved my slap technique over the years, I use it less often, although many tunes I play with some bands require intense slapping. For the last 6 months, I have been using Velvet garbo strings. They are a gut core, with copper, aluminum, and Kevlar ground wound wrap, depending on the string. Very even tension, more sustain than plain gut, very complex tonality, and monster volume. The G (Kevlar wrap) string is tricky with arco, but overall, the garbos are my favorite strings for my old Kay.
  13. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    Okay, just dump my "mid-dark". So I'm looking for (quite) bright tone.
    I don't like nylon or nylon-steel hybrids. I don't want no guts. I like the snatchy slap sound of steel strings, and I like sustain.
    I recently tried Jargar Dolce strings and they sound much too gut-like, too dark and too short sustained for my taste.

    So for what I've read, I guess the Corelli 380M have the tone I desire. But I've also read that the Corelli D and G are very thin, kind of "sharp" for slap playing. I'm used to slap steel (currently playing on a Jargar Dolce E, Pyramid Gold steel A and D and a G of unknown origin), no problems with my hands, but if the Corellis are really that thin, maybe it could get a bit painful...

    I supposed that the Corelli sound depends on the fact that they're quite thin, I just wanted to know, if there possibly is a string with a sound that comes close to the sound which is ascribed to the Corelli 380Ms, but just a bit thicker (the strings, not the tone) for more "hand-friendly" playability.

    I'm sorry, if my descriptions have been a bit confusing.