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Lower tension string for someone used to Spiro Mittels

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Martin Beer, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. I'm playing Spirocore Mittels at the moment, which I love the pizz sound of, and I can just about live with the arco sound for my purposes. I play arco a fair amount, though in an informal setting where I can work with the brighter sound. The acoustic volume and projection of the Mittels is important to me as I often play in acoustic settings.
    I'm suffering some left hand/wrist issues which my GP has just diagnosed as Carpal Tunnel related, and I'm considering going to some lower tension strings for a while. I suspect that my problems are triggered by my guitar playing rather than double bass (as the pain starting has coincided with an increase in the time I spend playing guitar), but while my wrist is a little tender I'd like to make things easier on myself.
    So, I'm looking for recommendations of strings which are lower in tension and somewhat bow-able which still have reasonable projection and can get me to that growly pizz place I enjoy with Spiro Mittels. I would also like them not to be much more expensive than Spirocores.
    Spiro Weichs might be an obvious contender, but I'm sure there are others out there. I've had Innovation Honeys before, but those are perhaps a little on the dark side and don't feel a lot softer than the Mittels. Velvet Blues have also been suggested as a possibility.
    Any thoughts?
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I have been using Velvet Blues for similar reasons as they are easier on the chops. They do not bow easily, maybe less so than mittels. They sound good and project very well. They do have a different pizz envelope than spiros that you may or may not like.

    Spiro Weichs are a much better bowing string, IMO, but don't have the big sound of mitts and blues. If you play amplified, that may not matter.
  3. Animas feel soft, project well and growl. Not my favorite strings to bow, and they can be fragile. Spiro Weichs may be the answer. You're used to Spiro behaviors, so why not?
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
  5. That's welcome advice too. Obviously taking a look at my physical approach will be the main thing to try here, and playing around with strings is just to make things a little easier in the mean time.
  6. I've never tried a bass with Weichs, so I'm unsure just how much of the body and projection might be lost. Then again, I might be able to find someone to trade some used Weichs for my spare set of Mittels, so there wouldn't be much to lose in trying it.
    I can stand to be a little quieter, as I'm playing with fairly low volume instruments and unmic'ed singers, but I enjoy that solid front to the note that the Mittels get.
  7. Kai Sanchez

    Kai Sanchez Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    Try 3/4 weichs, they are in between s42 4/4 mittels and 4/4 weichs tension wise,
  8. walkin


    Jul 31, 2006
    Maybe you can try Spirosolo tuned in orchestra pitch, you'll keep the spirit of thomastik strings ( more close to mittel than weich for the sound), very easy to bow, and soft for the hands.
  9. I'm on 3/4 size Mittel at the moment, so I guess even 3/4 size Weich would be a step down in tension from that. Are we talking about a large difference between 3/4 and 4/4 size or is it quite subtle?
  10. Kai Sanchez

    Kai Sanchez Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    Well if you are sure you are playing 3/4 mittels, the next step down would be 4/4 mittels.
    On my current bass, a 3/4 size, 42" scale, 1963 german roth with violin corners, I first tried S42 4/4 mittels, they had too much tension for this bass, it sounded thick but muffled. I tried 3/4 weichs and instantly the bass opened up, more clarity on the pitches and good tension. The 3/4 weichs came used on another bass I bought and was told they were 3/4.
    Later on, I ordered a 4/4 weich set and immediately felt that these strings were looser and the G string thinner. I sold the 4/4 weich set and put back on the 3/4 weich set. Of all the spiro sets I tried on my bass the 4/4 weich set worked the best.

    Is the difference subtle? There is definitely a difference, how different? Depends on the bass and the player.
  11. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    That is a subtle difference! :D
  12. Kai Sanchez

    Kai Sanchez Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    JAJA...oops my bad, corrected.
  13. Kai Sanchez

    Kai Sanchez Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    OK..so how much are those Sonores Corax?:p
  14. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    On my bass Spirocore Weichs project like a cannon and sound warm and luscious compared to Mittels both arco and pizz. I wouldn't assume that you will lose anything going that way, but it depends on your bass and you may have a luthier change the strings and tune your setup, rather than just swap the strings. If you want to go even futher, solos tuned to orchestra pitch are wonderful. What I ultimately don't end up loving about them is that they change my playing style a bit, as do things like Animas, but maybe that would be helpful to you while you recover. Spirocore Weichs are great strings that should not be thought of as lesser Spirocores to Mittels.

    I use Pirastro Jazzers which might not be quite light enough to help you through your injury. They are a bit lighter and have more subtleness than Mittels, but are close in gauge.

    You may also look at Helicore Hybrids. They come in gauges and medium would probably be light enough for you, but there are also lights. They have a bad reputation from years past, but have been improved, I think. While you aren't likely to love them like Spirocores, they may serve your purposes while you recover. It doesn't hurt that they are inexpensive in the US.

    Take care of your body, man! It's not possible to do this with repetitive use injuries.
  15. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Most people think of Spiro Weich as the 4/4 S42W set, which is really light and can get twangy, especially the G string, when strung on standard 3/4 106cm 41 3/4 inch or thereabouts mensure basses. In between the 4/4 S42 Mitt and S42W Weich set is the 3/4 Weich 3885W set, which still has some of the heft of the S42 Mitts.

    For those who like light-to-medium strings, the 3/4 3885,5W E string is the most forgotten about, underrated E string out there. It will fit under just about anything that isn't too heavy, and has great response both pizz and arco.
  16. I think you may have just persuaded me to try the Weichs. It's quite possible that my bass may respond well to lower tension strings since when it was built, gut was the only game in town. Certainly, when I tried the synthetic core Innovation Honeys, it didn't really lose any projection despite their lower tension, but those were just a little more blunt and old-school sounding than I'm going for.
    There isn't much price advantage to D'Addario in the UK, so I'd be as well to spring for the Spiros.
  17. You might want to try the Innovation Braided. They don't sound so much old school like the Braided and have a little bit (but not much) lower tension. The attack is not as prominent as with the Honeys, but nice if you plug at or below the end of the fingerboard.
    If the E and A are a bit stiff and with less sustain at the beginning you can run the strings along your thumb over the whole length to make them a bit more flexible. Not needed or recommended for D and G.
    Should also be relatively cheap in the UK.

    The Spiro Weich might still have a bit much tension (for a bass designed for gut strings), depending on your bass. At least a bit hard to play on a solid body EUB with 105cm scale for a longer time. (But might work well on a double bass.)
  18. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I think that most people will say that if you're a Spriocore guy, everything else will seem like a compromise. Spirocore Weichs or Solos will reduce tension and have their own character, but still feel like home.
  19. I just mentioed the Braided because Martin mentioned the Honeys. I have tried them and understand why he doesn't like the sound. So the Braided might come closer to his sound ideal than the Honeys. I even tried them in a mix with 4/4 Spiro Weich (similar to 3/4 Spiro Solo downtuned). So it would be possible to mix them (but I changed to the whole set of Braided due to the inconsistent bowing experience with the mix).
    The Braided are darker than the Spiros, but using lower tension Spiros would also get a darker sound (just not as much as with the Braided).

    Of course, nothing beats the durability of the Spiros...
  20. +1

    Love my animas, very easy to play.