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Looking for "dark" strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Ryan Nilson, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Ryan Nilson

    Ryan Nilson

    Feb 10, 2006
    Kansas City
    I am looking to get new strings and am looking for a darker sound. I will be using them for mostly pizz with a small amount of bowing, mostly for practice. Right now I am thinking Obligato, Flexocor, or Dominiat. Any sugestions?
  2. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    what are you using at the moment--it would be useful to know for comparison. I switched from Spirocores to animas, because I wanted a darker, fatter sound. The animas take some getting used to, but I think that's what they gave me--a fatter, warmer, more organic sound with more bottom, The spiros are great strings--you can't beat them for clarity, sustain, and growl. But they seemed to sound a little light in the low end, a little too bright.

    I'm happy with the animas, but I don't feel like my search for the perfect string is over
  3. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    well, of the obligatos, the flexocors and the dominants, the flexocors will be the darker strings. i really dig them too.
  4. The Jargars have a nice dark sound as well.
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I'm going through this phase right now too. Fortunately, I've done it through trades so far, rather than cash outlay, but I just wanted to see what it was like to play jazz with orchestra string. Mostly because the bright, brittle pizz sound is not the one in my head.

    I've got Helicore Orchestrals on now and love them for practice. I think the pizz sounds great and the bow is MUCH easier to practice with. When I play for my wife (who has a well trained ear for such things now) and my band mates, they have shared equally good reviews.

    However, they've started complaining about the sound getting through in a combo situation. I've had trouble playing 10ths in tune with an ensemble, because the pitch of the low notes aren't really making it clearly through the mix, even at relatively low volume.

    I have a set of Flexicores they I haven't put on yet, but they're next and I expect to land on some type of mix. Maybe Helicore Hybrids on the low strings and Orchestrals on the treble side or Permenants low and Flexicores high.

    You said, mostly for practice, so maybe a full set will make you happy. They did with me until I got back on the bandstand.
  6. Superflexibles - they're cheap to try, they bow, they're dark, they sustain (not as much as spiros I think). There are some simmilarities to the spiro sound and attack but less of the fretless bg buzz. They're also consistant, darken further with age, smooth and hold their tuning. i've propably changed them more than I needed too but IMHO they last too.

    Don Z was using them. I don't buy them because of their relative cheapness. They are a well made string.

    This isn't a criticism of PJB but since everyone loves animas but says they are really different I find I haven't got it quite in my head what they mean - like - organic sounding. Several have mentioned this. I guess it means it doesn't sound like a steel string but since steel strings can soudn 101 ways I guess in the end it means doesn't sound anything like a spirocore - there is a touch of the rubber-band twang adn thud over a cigar-box to it and a bigger delay between whacking the string and hearing the sound. Superflexibles are not what I'd call organic.
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I have the Flex 92's and love 'em still. About 3 months now.
  8. Hey Ray - you put any Flex 92 recordings alongside your old set up - (remind me but it was spiros?) yet? I love the Girl with the flaxen hair BTW.
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Thanks! :) No recordings up with the Flex's yet, but I will to get some up soon. I've been in the studio a lot lately with them and have been having good results.
  10. KeyKendrick,

    If your notes on the E string are not clear and cutting through while pizzing, using the Heliocore Orchestras, then in my opinion, the problem will likely be worse using the Pirastro Flexicore E.

    I have used both, and though for bowing in orchestral music, I prefer the Flexicores, for pizz the Heliocores are clearer and have more sustain.
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    This includes the heavier gauge E, a la KSB?
  12. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I put the Flexicore 92's on my bass this weekend. I had read this, but I was underprepared for the wimpy imbalace of the E string. It sounded like it had a sock wrapped around it. Within an hour I had put an old Permanent E string on with the set. It seems like a nice balance.

    One note on the Helicores, the set I was using came from a trade and had some miles on them. It's hard for me to tell how much of that deadness was inherent in the string and how much was age. I did enjoy the strings and while I felt that they weren't as clear standing over the bass, I heard a rehearsal recording I made with them and I was very happy with the sound.

    Too soon to say on the Flexicores, but I have a rehearsal tonight and will start to form an opinion on them. Early impressions are good and I generally have a bias towards Pirastro strings. They just feel high quality and Pirastro has treated me well in the past, so I tend to want to like them. That's subjective, though. I'll let you know how it's going when I have a few gigs with them.

  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    They will clear up and be more present over time. As hard as I am on strings (kill Spiros in about 4-5 months) it took about a month before these really seemed to settle in timbre-wise. Also, you really can't tell what they sound like up close. They seem a lot softer in volume up close, but actually seem much louder and clearer than Spiros at a distance.

    The E string does suck on the set and KSB recommends the heavier gauge E. Still haven't tried this, but will.

  14. Yes, I currently use the "Stark" Flexicore E. I like it with the bow, but lets face it, when playing pizz, the notes just don't have the clarity or power that I got with the Helicore Orchestra Mediums.
  15. Hector --- your comment interests me because when I tried the Helicore Ochestra Mediums they had no clarity at all. They produced nothing but notes lost in a fog. Was your experience with them very recent? Perhaps they have changed these strings since I used them a few years ago. Also, what type of bass do you have them on (size, carved, etc.)?
  16. Hello, Ryan, during past 7 years I have changed 9 old basses (!) to find the "right" sound. I was also looking for the best jazz strings for these instruments. Recently I have bought czech bass with PIRASTRO JAZZER on it. They are very good sounding for pizz both for bow.I tried many strings (Spirocore Orch,Light,undertuned Solo,Obligato), but the JAZZER is now my favorite:) I am getting true sound of my bass even through the amp!!!

    But FRANCOIS is definitely right: They are NOT DARK strings. I did not want you to confuse...
  17. fcleff


    Apr 22, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    I, too, have had good luck with Helicores when it comes to pizz playing. When I have recorded with them I have been happy with the sound. I'm not crazy about them when it comes to the bow. :bassist:
  18. I wouldn't call them dark though!
    They are quite bright, like Spirocores, in my experience.
  19. I had them on my Shen SB180, hybrid for the past two and a half years. I just made the change to the Flex92 mediums with the stark E. I only did that because I was looking for a fuller darker tone on the G string.

    Unfortunately, I am not too happy yet with that Flex G for arco, though I won't be able to be certain until I can afford to have my board reworked for a little more scoop under that G.

    I am certain that the Flex stark E, when playing pizz, does not deliver the clarity that my Heliocore Orchestra Medium did. When playing the stark E arco, I have had to adjust my technique somewhat, as it is a bit harder to get cleanly started.

    It does appear that overall the arco sound of my bass has improved, it is fuller and darker and maybe a bit stronger.