Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

looking for new strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by tbassist4, Mar 11, 2006.


  1. Here's my situation. I have a plywood bass that currently has spirocores on it. As I've heard, these are pizz oriented strings, I'm in desperate need of arco strings, and I don't care very much for the sound of these bowed. I'm the only bass in our school's small orchestra, which actually has no cellos. 6 violins, 3 or 4 violas. I need a sound that would fill that low gap, so something loud and bassy. I'd like to have a sound that bridges the gap between solo and orchestral strings, but they need to be in orchestral tuning, since I'm going to be getting ready for college auditions. So kind of a mix between a really nice set of orchestral strings and something you'd here on a recording of a Bottesini solo. That's kind of what I'm looking for, is there a string that can fill this, or am I better off just getting a good set of orchestra strings? Price is not a concern, can anyone help me out?
     
  2. Istar

    Istar

    Apr 5, 2005
    Antwerp, Belgium
    are you sure you want some really loud strings ? with so few violins and no cello you are going to blow them away. Especially since the amount of violins and viola’s is already of balance. 6 to 4 is really on the heave side. Going with some really bassy strings might also make the sound very low heavy. Since there are no violins you also need some clear sounding string since you have to "replace" the cello’s.
    Maybe Helicores would be a good choice. Or if you have a bright bass like me you could try flexocors. the also come in different gauges so you could chose a lighter version.
     
  3. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    I would recommend Dominants, but I am in a Dominant honeymoon. They sound nice, loud, clear, bassy...but no string is for everyone. People find the stiffness hard to deal with, but my left hand has never been more comfortable as with these strings.

    They will sound a bit shrill for the first two weeks.

    Search this forum, dominants have a tendency to break if not installed properly, or if taken on and off the bass.
     
  4. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Corellis maybe?
    A nice hybrid string. (for both arco and pizz work)
     
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I dunno. I don't think Spiros in your situation aren't necessarily a bad string at all. If your arco chops are up enough to get a clean sound out of them, that is. Throw up a mic and recorder in the front of the room and see how it sounds.

    If you're looking for what seems to me to be a louder string, and also darker, my money's on the Flexocor 92's. Be warned, though, that IME the Flexs are project-y strings and seem a lot lower in volume when you're playing them, but are much more present in fundamental out front, the end result is a more audible (and pleasant) sound than the Spiros.
     
  6. In response to Istar:
    I actually have a very quiet bass as it seems. It is a 7/8 but it's a chinese laminate plywood so obviously it's not very loud, I need to compensate for my bass's lack of volume. I have some, or at least what seems to me, as light gauge spirocores, pretty thin and really flexable. I think you also underestimate the power of 6 violins and 4 violas, they're very loud actually, and my conductor is always telling me to play louder or bring parts out. I am looking for a clear sound yes, but I want a bass end too. Maybe a combination of strings? One brand for the G and D, and another for the A and E? Because I will be playing cello parts as well, it may be beneficial to have that clear higher end, but I'm not sure.

    In response to Dr. Rod:
    I've heard a lot of praise of dominants, but what exactly do you mean by stiffness? I don't mind a high tension string if thats what you mean. I wont have a problem with the breakage either , I won't be changing strings.

    In response to Francois:
    I'll look at some. What would you describe as the characteristic sound of these, what types of characteristics do they have?

    In response to Ray Parker:
    Hmm I never thought to do that. Even with these spiros I bet it would sound louder out further, I think I'll do a test like that. As for the other strings, I'm actually looking for loud and clear with a bass end, which I dont quite know if this is possible. Like I said above, maybe mix and matching two different brand strings for the two high and two low strings?
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    So yes, I guess to sum up what I'm looking for, I need something loud, but clear, with a little more than average brightness. I will be playing solo pieces (orchestrally tuned) as well as cello parts, and of course orchestral string bass parts. I think I'm actually looking for the perfect string here...haha. I will look up some of those, as well as test my spiros from a distance. I think I'm leaning on dominants thus far. Loud and bassy but clear seems to fit the picture best. How would these respond to a cello part? Would they work for solos? Thank you for all of your help..whew sorry, that was long, heh heh...
     
  7. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    The Corellis should give you that cello-like tone.
    They are clear-sounding.
    They are available in nickel wrap, two gauges: M(edium) and F(orte).
    Also available in tungsten wrap, three gauges: M(edium), F(orte) and TX (extra forte).
    The nickel ones have a darker tone than the tungsten, and the more tension, the more brightness and volume you get.
    But even the TX gauge is not very high tension in comparison to other brands, don't be fooled by the designations.
     
  8. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    I think the corellis might be your best bet. I used to use and loved a lot of things about them. Their arco response is superb and they have a nice warm, bright, and clear tone. I eventually switched to flexocors because I don't have to do any cello doubling and don't do enough solo work to warrant a brighter string.
     
  9. +1 on this post. I tried correli's on an Englehardt Ply that I use sometimes, and they bow very nice, up to thumb position, anyway.
    You may also want to consider Obligatos, (just to throw another one in there).
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    We have discussed this on several threads but now I have a new idea. Many of us agree that the Regular Flexocor (or '92s) are the best bowing string out there but the E is weak and thin in size. For this, we use the Stark/thick E to match with the set and round out the sound.

    Idea: If you were to keep the regular E which almost feels like a solo E to me and then buy the G, D, and A in the Solo gauge you will have an equally lighter set to what I mentioned above.

    Has anyone tried this?
     
  11. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Nice idea, but I'd suggest to get A & D in thin gauge instead.
    The A & D solo are very floppy at orchestra pitch!
    Furthermore the solo G is warmer than the thin one, and matches better the thin D & A. (I have all those gauges here so I'm speaking from experiment)
    The set would thus be:
    Flexocor regular E
    Flexocor thin A
    Flexocor thin D
    Flexocor solo G

    If he wants a warmer tone, this would be the set to get, but if wants a brighter, cello-like tone, I still think the Corellis are the better choice.
     
  12. bill spangler

    bill spangler

    Mar 4, 2001
    Albany GA
    Before blowing alot of money on strings, here's a couple of suggestions. First is to try various sets of the used sets of strings which pop up around here often. Most of the DB strings seem to 'settle-in' over some period of time, so you would get some idea what qualities of the strings would be after they've been age. This way you'd get hands-on & ears-on experience with the what brands/models of strings work for you. Those that you reject, put them back up for sale here. DBer's tend to look for used strings.

    Second, in my experience, laminated basses tend to be naturally pretty bright and the Corelli tungsten strings are also bright sounding. I have a bright sounding solid wood bass and with the Corellis, I could almost play a slap & pop funk gig on it. They DO bow pretty well though. So I'm going (very,very) respectfully disagree with Francois about trying these first, even if I do have a set of them for sale. I think you may end up needing a 'darker' sounding string.

    Third, after settle for a string that suits you, THEN go out and spend some serious change if you need to on your new trings. Give your new set a couple of weeks, and they should really grow on you.

    Oh yeah, buy a pegwinder that works on a cordless drill!!
     
  13. Istar

    Istar

    Apr 5, 2005
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Very VERY good advice ! :D
     
  14. GirlBass

    GirlBass

    Jul 31, 2005
    New York
    flexocore mediums are the absolute best for what you're looking for- they feel great right after you put them on, they sound beautiful, and they're easy to play. They sound nice in the higher register for solo work, and have a great bass-y sound for orchestral work. The E sucks though, very dull, so I would recommend a pirastro permanent for the E string, which is bright and responsive.
     
  15. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    No problem, Bill!
    Like I said in a previous post, the nickels have a warmer tone than the tungstens.
    My suggestion was mostly inspired by two statements: he wanted a cello-type sound, and primarily arco playing.
    IMHO, the Flexocors, as bow-friendly as they may be, don't have that type of tone. They're much darker.
    That doesn't mean that what he really needs is not Flexocor, but he seems to be looking for something else, as far as I can judge!
    :)
     
  16. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    You were asking about the difference between stiffness and tension.

    Another person in the forum described it this way:

    imagine that you have a rope hanging, with a 10 lb weight tied to its end. this would be for our purpose a high tension, high flexibility (low stiffness) scenario.

    imagine a steel rod hanging, with a 1 lb weight tied to its end. this would be our low tension, high stiffness scenario.

    Stiffness gets often confused with tension. Dominants are low tension but high stiffness.
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    I'm sorry, I thought the Solo and the Thin were the same. I meant the Thin then with ther medium E.. Thanks.. Always something to learn.
     
  18. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    In the past I would have agreed with you on the Perm fix. Yes, the medium E is too light for that set. The fix IS the Stark/thick E. This is similar in size and tension like the Perm but the same construction and Tone of the Flexocor. Better balance all around.

    The Perm is bright and a little noisy at first and dull and undefined when they get old. The Flexs are the best I have tested in the Steel Bowing Strings from Pirastro and I think I tested them all but not all the gauges.

    Try a Stark E when you can. I am sure you will like it.
     
  19. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    i just got a set of lightly used perm's, and i replaced the stark flexocor E with the perm E.......that lasted all of five minutes :meh:

    the perm was too metallic sounding, not as loud and felt too soft/floppy.....and it didn't match the Flexocor A string well either.....this was Pizz. playing, i didn't even grab my bow.

    the perm did have more growl if that is what you are after, but it sounded more metallic.....tradeoffs, that's all string choices are.
     
  20. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Interestingly enough, I've got Flexicore '92s A-G and an aged E Perm out of my string box. I think it matches pretty nicely. I ordered some new Perms and was going to consider E and A with the Flexicores, but they took a while to get to me and I'm recording tomorrow and may not want to fool with my strings until afterwards.

    I'm a pizz player who practices with and occasionally picks up the bow. I can concur that I was convinced that the Flexicores were quiet and ill defined until I hosted a jam session and got to stand out in the room and listen to someone else play my bass. Wow, totally different. Very round and warm, but somehow still clear.

    I will opine for what it's worth that the Flex '92s feel EXACTLY how I want strings to feel. Perfect tension, flexibility and a nice smooth winding. The experiment is not over for me and I'm not sure where I'll land.

    Maybe consider making JMPIWONKA and offer for his 3rd hand Permenants to see how they sit with you. Trying strings can get expensive.

    Troy