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Mixing sets experiment

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by AMUNC, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. AMUNC


    Jan 22, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    I have never mixed sets, but I am curious to try it. I still have a full set of spirocore weichs and helicore hybrids. I have heard lots of using the spiro A and E with a different set on top to work well for both bowing and pizz. Does anyone have any good ideas as to what I could try for a D and G to make a good hybrid set?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. A Pirastro of some sort usually works best - Obligato, EP or Flexocores.
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    With strings more than anything bass-related, YMMV applies. I'm curious--is your current setup lacking? Is it just that you want to have fun experimenting? I've never used a mixed set. Of course, many here have and report great success. For me, anyway,the change in tonal character and feel across string types always outweighed any benefit derived. There are some well-known cases for substitution. For example, Spiro mitt users often complain about the G and search for something else. I know I did. In the end though, I ended up preferring the consistency and that G has seemed to settle in nicely into the mix, I've learned to play it in the mix, or both.

    Keep in mind that, as has been discussed here, swapping out the upper strings in a set often (most of the time?) causes substantial changes in the response of the lower strings. It makes sense. The tension on the top is being changed. There are just so many variables floating around. Also, a mix that works for one player might be awful for another... different bases, hands, preferences. Then there's the cost of all the experimentation. :eek: I've chosen to limit all of this by using only full sets.

    IMHO, there's much to be said for grabbing a well-regarded set of strings and spending the time practicing and developing one's sound with them on one's bass. I'm not saying that it's not useful to try different sets. Different sets can have a substantial impact on the sound of your bass, the feel under your hands, your overall expression, and your enjoyment. Once you find one of those sets there seems to be diminishing returns to all the tweaking (as the $$$ are diminished as well :)). Like so many things, it's a balance. It's not practice alone; it's not strings alone.

    Then again, it's just fun to try different things and experiment. Of course, every time you swap strings, there's the chance for disturbing the setup a bit and it does take time for things to settle. As much of a tweakophile as I am with other things, when it comes to my bass, I just want to play it. It wears Spiro mitts and I suspect it will for quite some time to come. Part of my reasoning for leaving things as is stems from the fact that if I started swapping things around, it likely wouldn't stop. :)

    That's my take anyway and what works for me. Different strokes... I'd sure like to hear other points of view.
  4. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Coincicentally, I had just clicked on a advertisement (here on TB) for Pirastro strings before reading Adam's and John's posts. I, too, have been thinking of mixing with some "real bowing" strings and now use only D'Adario lights.
    The Pirastro ad is beautifully written, enticing, nearly erotic! The Golden strings sound as if they would play themselves. And I was further amused to discover that they each have their own eponymous rosins!
    My question is: Does Adam's and my curiousity justify the expense? :meh:
  5. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    That's my take anyway and what works for me. Different strokes... I'd sure like to hear other points of view.[/QUOTE]

    Ha, ha. . .I had already submitted my post to Adam's and John's when your answer popped up. You anticipated and corroborated my gut feelings.
    Still curious,
    Gerry :)
  6. I pull tension with a spiro stark on the E & ep weichs the rest of the way. Pizz sustain is outstanding and the weichs hum like a cigarette boat beneath the bow.
  7. LOL perfect description for the EP Weichs' bow sound, it's amazing.
    Maybe the Stark would change my mind, but neither the powerful E makes me like Spiro Mittel, too scracthy even after 3 years. My bow technique is not Karr's but with EP I could flew, smooth. I tried this mix and the EP Weich E string is more open on my bass, but darker. Bigger voulme and bass sound profile comparing to the high-mid profile of the Spiro Mittel.

    For pizzicato I enjoy the Spiro sound when listening to the result of a recording session, but acoustic playing it has so much bright and some times unexpected clicks and "zzzzz" that makes me feel unconfortamble when playing, thinking like "Hope it doesn't show up in the mix", and it definetely doesn't show like a sort of magic, but it's just not for me.
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    My bass is currently strung with a Spiro Mittel E, Spiro Weich A and D and a Lycon G string. The feel is very consistent and the sound is excellent! ;)
  9. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I have a Spiro 3885.5W E string with Bel Cantos A-D-G. Very balanced in both tone and feel for my CCB.

    As said above, your mileage will vary.
  10. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Superflexibles medium E, A and G
    Spirocore weich D

    the D of the Superflexibles has way too much tension compared to the other strings therefore I had to change it for a Spirocore. Sound of both sets is very similar but the Superflexibles bow better.
  11. My favorite mix is Spiro Weich E & A with Pirastro Oliv D & G. Nice balance tension wise and not a very drastic tonal difference. Tuning, winding, and price issues made me put the Olivs to bed though.
  12. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    As a recovering compulsive string mixer, I wouldn't encourage anyone to start down this road unless you were trying to address a specific problem or achieve a very specific result.

    It takes a lot of time and money and can serve as a pretty big distraction. Honestly once I got my setup dialed in, this became much less important to me. I still occasionally try out a G or something, but I know my bass, ear and luthier well enough at this point that I can do so with pretty predictable results.

    Maybe you have a reason, but if it's just an impulse experiment, I'd stick with those Spirocores until you had a very specific craving that they weren't addressing.

    Just my $ .02
  13. Wise words from Troy. +1000
  14. For what it's worth, l swapped out the spiro stark E and made the entire set EP weich. A bitty trade in volume in return for that sweet bow noise. Raised the action.
  15. Ryanpet42

    Ryanpet42 Guest

    Aug 1, 2012
    Hey Troy, what strings and pickup have you finally settled on?:bag:
  16. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I've been using Pirastro Jazzers for the last few years and this is a second time around with me and them. I used them a few years ago and then moved on. The feel, balance, tone, tension, suppleness is all just as it should be for me on my bass. Arco is fine, if I were doing orchestra work, I would probably want something different, but practicing with the stick, playing a jazz head, long tones on ballads, etc they're fine. Better sound would come from better technique in my case.

    I've been using an Original Flat Chrome G, which is a great match with them in every way. The one I had was dead and I'm trying a few things out in it's place before I pop for a new one. There's an Obligato on there now. It's fine and I'm not highly motivated to change it, but if I were buying a replacement, I'd go back to the OFC. I have a few other Gs in my string box that I may put on there for a while too. With the good set up I have, a lot of things will work on there.

    I still have an Ehrlund and a SoundClip, but I haven't been using the Ehrlund. The Soundclip meets my needs pretty well when I need amplification. The Ehrlund is great when it's good, very nice when I probably don't need amplification anyway, but can be a liability when the circumstances are not just right and I haven't missed the fiddling. I might let it go at some point, but I may come back to it. When I'm not using amplification, I bask in the glory of not having a pickup, jack or any wires on my instrument.

    I have an EA iAMP 500 combo and I just picked up via the classifieds a Wizzy 10 cabinet. Going to shop for a Micro head and list my AI Coda here. Very happy with my EA products and am going to simplify to "small rig", "larger rig" and maybe once a year "larger rig with ext. cabinet".

    ...and practice...a lot more...
  17. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    What Troy said. The reasons I changed E strings were 1) the Bel E is a little lighter tension than the A, and I was "bottoming out" when digging into a chart, both feel and tone, and 2) even though I actually prefer the pizz tone of ADG Bels, the E was just too dark to amplify well. The 3885.5W 3/4 Spiro Weich E string is a larger diameter than the S39W (the E string of the S42 set), and is not quite as "zingy," more round in tone, so it blends well.

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