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Looking to separate from Super Silvers

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Tim Skaggs, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    After about 8 years of playing Innovation Super Silvers on bluegrass, pop, rock, & blues, all with somewhat of a bluegrass flavor, I'm looking for a string change. What has happened is that my right hand plucking technique has evolved into a two finger style and I'm occasionally pulling the E & A to the point of getting the flab / buzz effect and not extra volume.

    Other strings I've been through:
    Obligatos: I did like the tone, volume, & tension, but they were dead in six months & I also had windings separate at the bridge. Probably won't go here again.

    Inno 140B: I liked these pretty well, but at the time I tried them, the tension was a little hard on my hands (we play for hours at festivals). Didn't have quite the gut-like tone of the SS, but kinda' OK. I may try these again.

    Zyex: Also a little too high tension for marathon jams, but might be another I would go back to with my evolved playing style. Even tone & very stable tuning.

    TI Spirocore: Most have had at least one set of Spiros, and so did I before I discovered synthetic core. Hard on my hands, but I could get some serious volume until the blisters formed...

    So, I'm looking for the synthetic gut-like tone as the Super Silvers have, with good volume, long life, but with a little higher tension than the SS. I can't afford to try a lot of different strings, so I come to the community. Thanks in advance to all for any suggestions with info why they fit my needs.
  2. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    If the only issue is over playing the E and A string that sounds like a technique issue rather than a string issue
  3. Do you really mean Super Silvers or Silver Slaps?
    I once played a bass with Super Silvers and found that the tension felt higher than on my long scale bass (110 cm) with the Braided.

    For a Braided-like string with lower tension try Evah Pirazzi Solos downtuned to orchestra tuning. Might have a dynamic limit if you pluck hard.

    Evah Pirazzi Slaps might have too less tension (like average gut strings) and may sound too weak for you.

    I would try the Braided again. I have no problem playing them for hours (if needed).
  4. Super-Sensitive Sensicores?
    Innovation Ultra-Blacks?

    Presto Jazzicatos have a flat nylon wrap over steel rope-core, like LaBella 7710, but much better IMHO.
  5. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    Velvet Garbos? $$$, but nice.
  6. I think the Ultra-Blacks are even higher tension than the Super Silvers.

    The Sensicores might have a rather low tension (like gut), but I'm interpolating from a high C to the set which might be misleading, because high C strings often don't match the set tension well.

    The Jazzicatos are steel core strings with a synthetic wrap. I used a Jazzicato E with a Jazzicato Tungsten A because they are a better match tensionwise, but differ in sound a bit. The G and D are the same on Tungsten and non-Tungsten Jazzicatos. A bit too dark for my taste and not what I like on my Stagg EUB.
  7. They're floppy all right, with less tension than the plain gut D/G, but the low end they put out is MASSIVE (on my bass).
  8. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    Innovation rockabilly
  9. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I'm playing ultra blacks at the moment, a set I took off a couple of years ago and replaced with spirocore mittels. I recall taking them off after finding them too hard on my fingers after a long night with a jump blues band. At a jazz rehearsal last night the ultra blacks were higher tension than I recalled but nice and warm sounding, so I'll leave them on for a gig on Friday. Just ordered some super silvers from Gollihur, so may be headed in the opposite diection as the OP. In any case, I recall there being rather an odd friction between my fingers and the ultra blacks that led to blisters on a long, hard-playing gig--and led to their removal.
  10. OP said he's looking for a little higher tension than the SS.
  11. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Inno 140B's.
  12. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Super Silvers for sure.
  13. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    I've been reading what reviews I can find on Sensicores. I've never played them on anything. Same with Ultra Blacks, I'd like to try them. I have played the LaBella 7710s on a friend's bass. I love the sound, but I'm a little afraid to go that high in tension. They are a consideration.
  14. Oops.

    In that case Ultra Blacks seem to be the way to go or the highest tension Presto Nylonwound/Eurosonic. The Jazzicato are not very high in tension but might work for heavy pizz, since all Presto strings have a steel core. But this might lead to blisters if you pizz hard for a longer time.

    BTW, most Presto strings (except the Nylonwound/Eurosonic) have a higher tension A string (intended by design). You might like that or not. By substituting the Jazzicato A by the Jazzicato Tungsten A I got a better balanced set tensionwise.
  15. HCF


    Nov 30, 2008
    The Netherlands
    Haha, this is definitely a case of YMMV, because on my bass they were way to quiet.

    Anyway, for the OP, if you played the Inno SS for eight years straight, you may want to revisit the Spiros (weich). I recently gave them a go after years of playing gut and Garbo's and I was supprised how friendly they were tensionwise. Especially the E+A.
  16. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Tim - have you thought of conditioning your hands to play the Spirocore's? I ask because I use Spirocore mediums on two basses, and regularly play 3 hour gigs, sometimes with no break. And bluegrass jam sessions that can seem endless. Both right and left hand show callouses where you would expect. Index and middle finger on right hand have callouses that extend along the edge. Took some time to develop, but I never experience blisters on either hand. Maybe just some conditioning would allow you to use a steel string that will deliver the sound you want.
  17. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    I was there at one time some years ago when I played at least one night a week for a few hours and several times a week for close to an hour. I can't carve out the time for that nowadays. The other half of the equation is my bass. It likes fairly low tension strings also. It's a '52 Kay and I read where Kay didn't start building basses to withstand steel strings until the late 50's. Whether that's true or not, my bass sounds much better with lower tension strings. That's the reason I'm looking for slightly more tension, but trying not to exceed the tension that makes my bass seemed choked.
  18. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    I understand, and everyone's situation is different. Up until a couple of years ago, I owned a '51 M1B; I used the Spiros on that, as well. Hope you find what works best for your fingers and your sound.
  19. Tim,

    Since you cannot play that much to keep in shape (similar to me) I understand why you want lower tension strings or rather synthetic core strings. It doesn't matter if they are synthetic wound or metal wound, it's the elasticity of the core that avoids blisters.

    But regarding tension you might get almost the same tension with Ultra Blacks than with other steel core strings. I only measured the tension of Silver Slaps (similar to an average gut set) and of two sets of Braided, and the Braided have a similar tension as Spiro Weich 4/4. The tension of the Super Silvers might even be a bit higher, but the Ultra Blacks would be definitely higher than Spiro Weich 4/4, probably similar to Spiro Mittel 4/4.
    The difference is the more elastic core of the Ultra Blacks, which you want to avoid blisters.
    Too elastic (PEEK core like EP, Obligato, Zyex) and you will be limited in dynamics if you dig in hard. So the Innovation strings are a good choice for you.

    But using Super Silvers or Ultra Blacks won't give you less pressure on the top than Spiro 4/4 strings. A raised saddle can do that keeping higher tension strings, but it might change the sound a bit like turning down adjusters.
  20. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    I thought the Spiros I had were Weich, but now I'm not sure they were. They seemed to be much, MUCH higher tension than the Super Silvers when on the Kay. I let the Spiros stay on a Knilling solid top bass I sold. They sounded good on that bass, but not so much on the Kay.

    The first low tension strings I had on the Kay were Obligatos, and they totally changed the bass. It was louder, deeper, smoother, and much easier to play than with the Spiros, but the Obligatos died in months. I tried a second set, and they were great again, but they also didn't live long.

    I tried the Super Silvers on a suggestion and liked them as well or better than the Obligatos. The SS also lived longer, but due to a few different reasons, mostly looking for volume while playing unamplified, I've reached the excursion limit on the SS pretty often lately, so that's where I am in the search for more tension.

    I'm not totally convinced all finger wear is due to tension. String diameter seems to be a significant factor, too. But, since larger diameter & lower tension generally go together with synthetic core strings, it's probably both characteristics that make synth core strings easier on the fingers.