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Loose feeling, big gauge, fat sound

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by mrmarbles, May 7, 2015.


  1. mrmarbles

    mrmarbles

    May 6, 2015
    Washington DC
    I'm an orchestral and solo musician and made the switch from rope core steel strings to wound gut five years ago and have not looked back..until now.s My only issues are (a) the cost for buying quality gut, (b) eudoxa and oliv have been plagued with quality control issues...To expand on this comment, despite having very clean and properly dressed nuts, fingerboard and bridge slots, after time Eudoxa and Oliv will always start to unwind or develop bumps/burrs over the string due to changes in humidity...

    My current set up:
    G: Oliv
    D: Eudoxa
    A: Eudoxa
    E: Eudoxa

    I like the feeling of "pulling" sound out of the instrument with the bow and wound gut produces the largest amount of depth. I usually play in a classical orchestra where I am the only bassist so having a big gut sound really brings character out of my bass. Think old-school bowed sounds like Jeremy McCoy or Johannes Stahle.

    What I am looking for: LOW tension under the left hand (lower than Eudoxa) but without the winding problems. I am not entirely opposed to moving to a synthetic string but have never been very impressed. Oddly, I remember maybe 5 years ago trying some dominant solo strings tuned down to orchestral pitch and liked how much breadth of sound there was and how loose they felt under the left hand.

    I recently experimented with Velvet Compass 180 and found that the bottom two strings have no real depth to them, and Evah seemed to choke the sound on my bass...My bass does not respond well to very high tension strings.

    So...which is a loose feeling, low tension, bowed string with a relatively thick gauge that has a lot of depth to them? Gut is preferable but it seems like I may have to go the synthetic route...

    Thanks.
     
  2. Innovation Braided are lower tension and IMHO a bit better than Evah Weich and very robust for a synthetic core string. But I think the downtuned Dominants may be closer to what you like.

    If you are willing to pay for Eudoxa or Oliv, contact Gerold Genssler and talk to him what you like and dislike, like you did above. I'm pretty sure he can make you a nice gut core set that is not much more expensive than Eudoxa or Oliv.
     
    DC Bass likes this.
  3. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    Eudoxa all the way across with an Oliv G- I've used that combination in the past and LOVED it! The quality issues you mention drove me away, and I have read the reports of Mr. Genssler's strings with great interest. The opportunity to get a sound and feel similar to (if not identical, or even better than) the Eudoxa/Oliv mix, that is more pitch stable, and has no issues with breakage or windings is quite intriguing.

    I believe the Mr. Genssler offers a two year warranty for his strings against breakage. I don't know any details about the warranty, but it certainly builds my confidence in the product.

    Joe
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
    salcott and mrmarbles like this.
  4. Two years of warranty for the gut core strings, one year for the synthetic core strings.
     
    salcott likes this.
  5. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Tallahassee
    I would go with the Genssler strings.
     
    salcott likes this.
  6. mrmarbles

    mrmarbles

    May 6, 2015
    Washington DC
    Thanks all. I'll contact him. In a few months when a set is stable on my instrument I'll post sound clips and a review.
     
    dfp likes this.
  7. mrmarbles

    mrmarbles

    May 6, 2015
    Washington DC
    A small update:

    I was at the music store this afternoon and they had solo Dominant A and E strings in stock so I picked them up. I left my Eudoxa's on the bottom two strings and put the solo dominants on top but left them tuned down to orchestral pitch.

    Some observations:
    -The tension is great, but probably too low for serious orchestral playing even though I have a very large bass (42" mensure, 29" lower bout, 9.5" rib depth). You could raise the action significantly and still play comfortably with these strings but even with gut I like a G string that is 4-5mm of clearance...low action.
    -The sound really reminded me of a cello, a beefy sounding cello, but still a cello. I like the sound of a bass, and this is really emphasized when you bow any note on the Eudoxa A string compared to the Dominant solo E tuned down to D.
    -However, the instrument sounds much less choked on the top two strings and the pizz is cleaner. Perhaps this is more of a sound-post adjustment issue but the pizz on Eudoxa feels very strained and "tight" without much depth or "air".
    -This was my first time ever tuning solo strings to orchestral pitch and I must say that a set of solo dominants tuned down would be fantastic strings for someone just learning how to play the instrument...They're fairly forgiving under the bow, and under the left hand they feel like a cello strings...very supple, super super low tension and will give a student some confidence while they build up their strength. The only thing I can't get by is the sound...it's not a real heavy duty bass tone like the Eudoxa.

    It seems like I will stick with wrapped gut, I just wish Eudoxa came in slightly lower tension. Oliv for the G is beautiful but for the other 3 strings they sound quite dead and muddy IMHO.
     
    DC Bass likes this.
  8. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    On my bass, I found the Oliv A to be an amazingly gorgeous string arco, but it had absolutely no sound pizz. The Oliv A also set my personal record for "Pirastro Wound Gut Self Destruction Syndrome"- coming apart after about ten minutes of use! It wouldn't have worked from a sonic perspective anyway, but jeeze!

    The Oliv D was okay- but the G, that one was a sweetheart, especially paired with Eudoxa E, A and D.

    I've very curious to follow your progress- please share your experience with the Genssler strings if/when you try them.

    Joe
     
    mrmarbles likes this.
  9. mrmarbles

    mrmarbles

    May 6, 2015
    Washington DC
    Cheers, Joe. Totally agree with you about your Oliv comments. I've used a combination of unwrapped gut from Nicholas Baldock in the UK for years, with round-wound gut for the low two strings...Yes, I said round-wound! Certainly the biggest sound possible but a no-no for modern music - I wouldn't be invited back to any gigs if I kept showing up with combinations of sheep and cow tied to my instrument.

    Oliv G: That's a keeper for sure. I can get my G string down to 4mm and do some seriously "high pressure" bowing with the orchestra and it won't choke at all.

    Oliv D: A bit too dark IMHO. But the darkness isn't the issue for me, it's that the Oliv D is a bit unfocussed and if you want to play anything higher than an A on the D string I find it to be rather muddy.

    Oliv A: Surprisingly a very nice string. Very robust, very very dark. Much fatter in diameter than Eudoxa. Reminds me of Flexocore that has ate too much, whereas Eudoxa is Original Flat-Chrome on steroids. I would probably still be using Oliv on the A if it weren't for the unfocussed Oliv D.

    Oliv E: Okay, if this was a colour it would be brown, for mud. Completely unfocussed. The gauge is also quite significant, but it's low tension so feels rather nice under the hand.

    I tried Evah Pirazzi when they came out and I liked the sound but hated how they felt under the left hand. Weich's came out soon after and I heard they felt better but I never bothered to try.
     
  10. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    I've used round-wound gut too. I started experimenting with Gamut and Damian Dlugolecki strings and settled on the former for my second bass. Gamut offers E and A strings wrapped in either silver or copper (both are round wound)- I've tried each, but I wasn't crazy about the contrast between the wound and plain gut D and G (Pistoy). This lead me to a plain A, and eventually to a plain E (both Pistoy)- yeah, I know, this destroys any credibility I might have had! :D

    I had reservations about bringing a gut strung bass to modern ensembles, but I was forced to when my steel string bass was off the road to have a C extension fitted. I asked permission of the conductors and band leaders, telling them it would only be for a few rehearsals. I was pretty surprised- no one was against me trying it, and after hearing it, I was told I was welcome to bring the gut strung bass any time I wanted to. (BTW- this was when it had copper wound E and A, and Pistoy D and G. I don't think I'd try it now with the plain E and A!)
    That said, as much as I like the plain gut timbre for "modern" orchestral applications, I prefer having the notes on the extension available- so the steel strung bass usually gets selected.

    Re: Evah Pirazzi- I recently played the weichen set on a bass and was very impressed! I don't have any practical experience with the regular set to compare the two, and it could have been the nice, old bass they were on, but the weich set really spoke to me.

    Joe
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
    mrmarbles likes this.
  11. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
  12. mrmarbles

    mrmarbles

    May 6, 2015
    Washington DC
    Baldock makes the best G and D for early music IMO and his strings are very heavily used in Europe. Very very warm sounding gut with unbelievable depth and lowish price. For jazz I prefer Gamut, but then again I'm a terrible jazzer. I have many of his strings if anyone needs more info.
     
  13. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I'm on my second set of Genssler's Basso strings. the first set was still viable when I took them off the bass to sell it, and are now my spares. On Schnitzer #34, it took about three days for them to stretch out and settle, which was my experience with the previous set as well. Both sets were amazingly stable through the temp and humidity changes of a NYC winter, including 1/2 mile walks to and from the subway.

    Regarding cost, I see it this way. When I used Olivs, I could go 6-8 months before at least one string started to go bad. A bassist with a job where the bass is kept in consistent humidity and temp would probably get longer life, but I live in the freelance world. So. A set of Olivs/Eudoxas is roughly the same price as a set of custom-made-for-your-bass Sonores. You buy a set of Olivs/Eudoxas every 6-8 months. Sonores are warranted for 2 years, and my experience says they'll go longer than that. Makes fiscal sense to me.

    Oh yeah-they sound and feel great, too.
     
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  14. mrmarbles

    mrmarbles

    May 6, 2015
    Washington DC
    Cheers. Do you happen to have any sound clips?
     
  15. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I had the same set up (Olive G/Eudoxa DAE) and the same wear and tear issues. I went to a set of solo Dominants tuned down (for orchestra work) and was moderately happy for the reasons you state above. But they did make the bass "sing" more than the other strings. I kept the Solo Dom G & D and use a Superflexible solo B (tuned down to A) and a Spiro Weich E. They seem to blend reasonably well and give me more punch on the bottom.

    Louis

    PS: Another option my be Jargars
     
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  16. mrmarbles

    mrmarbles

    May 6, 2015
    Washington DC
    Thanks Louis! It's interesting that we both have the same string history. I will give the top two dominant solos another shot and perhaps just raise the action 1 mm. It has been so long since I used the dominant solo b and f# tuned down - are they unuseable at regular pitch? I am intrigued by your super flexible b and regular spirocore weich e solution. Are there any more subtleties to this setup vs simply using all dominant solos?

    Cheers
     
  17. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I do make some slight bridge adjustment with this set up, but the biggest change is the endpin. The Eudoxas were very happy with the Cameleopard carbon fiber end pin. This set up hates it - sounds like plastic. So for orchestra, I use a Ttanianium pin - which gets the volume and a bit more "resistance' on the string to the bow; and for practice/solo/chamber music, I use a would pin, which really resonates the bass, but cuts a bit less.

    The other thing that is totally weird is that the Eudoxas were quite happy with my Prochonik bow. This set up is happier with a slightly heavier snakewood bow.

    I hope that helps

    Louis
     
  18. mrmarbles

    mrmarbles

    May 6, 2015
    Washington DC
    Makes sense re the bow change. Prochowniks are lighter and I found work well to pull the sound horizontally out of a gut wound string. A heavier bow makes sense for a steel or synthetic string.

    Do you find the super flexible and spirocore bottom substantially better than dominant solos?
     
  19. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Substantially? Probably not, but marginally enough to make a difference. My bass is particularly finicky in the low end and so every little bit helps
     
  20. DB Slidefunk

    DB Slidefunk

    Jul 16, 2013
    UK
    Interesting. I use a wooden end pin which makes the bass sound great, especially on the wooden floor at home. Gigging on a hollow stage though I think it vibrates too much and I'm thinking of getting a carbon fibre pin.
     

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