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Need advice-want thumpy old school sound

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by josiah goldfish, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Hey guys,
    I did several searches, and I couldn't find a satisfying answer. I was listening to some old jazz (well, 50s or 60s) and I decided that I want that type of sound. Oscar pettiford's tone really stands out to me as the sound I'm looking for, but I'd like a little bit of buzz on the G strings and to a lesser extent the D string. Like a fretless has mwah, I want mwah on the double bass on the higher strings, but I want a nice round thump out of all the strings. I currently play D'Addario helicores, and I love them but they're just a little bright and thin for me. I know a guy who'll let me borrow some sets of strings so I could play a mixed set as well.

    I'm a complete newb to strings so any help would be very gratefully recieved, and if this topic has been covered before please point me in the right direction.


    Oh, and I don't like guts, too expensive and difficult to maintain.
  2. Also, I play pizz almost exclusively. I noticed the 'string suggestion' thread but it's not quite what I'm looking for.

    This is the sound I'm looking for, but preferably a bit more buzzy (mwah)

  3. Hello,

    If you want this sound: first choice is gut, second choice is gut, and third choice is gut.
    But if you want a good alternative i would say: Velvet.
    Velvet Anima for a more modern sound and if you want to use your bow. Velvet Garbo for that old school sound and if you most play pizz.

    I had a set of Animas on my bass before moving to gut (Eudoxa and Chorda G now). I realy liked the sound the first time i played the bass strung with the Animas. My first reaction: yes this is the old school sound i have in my head.
    If you don't want to go all the way (gut) Velvet is a good choice. You sure will like the Velvet strings.
    Some people use Evah or Obligato but i think Velvet comes more close to that gutsound.

  4. Velvet Garbo.
    Zyex Medium.
  5. Wow! £200! If I ever get rich I'll try them.

    Zyex, however is a possibility. How would they sound with a helicore pizz D and G?

    Thank you for the quick responses, I'll try the zyex :)
  6. josiah:

    Dump the Helicores. The Zyex will give you a better sound and, I am sure, closer to the sound you want....depending on your bass.
    I got a great sound on my Eberle ply. The Zyex are my back-up set to the Garbo's...and a lot less expensive.
  7. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    I play in two jazz/dance bands that play standards and as such they like a darker tone out of a bass. I use Bel Canto GDA and a Spiro 3/4 3885.5W weich E string. More tension than guts. But it has a good round tone that is fairly dark while still keeping definition. You will still need definition on the E string, and the Bel E string is just too dark and floppy for mostly pizz, and is a lighter gauge than the Bel A string, more like the D string in tension, hence the change to the Spiro 3/4 3885.5W weich E string. This particular E string is half-way in tension and tone between the more common E strings out of the Spiro S42 4/4 weich and mittel sets.

    The real upside to this setup is tuning stability and consistency, and I can still arco the ends of the ballads easily if necessary.
  8. Hi Josiah,

    since you are in the UK, you might want to try Innovation 140H (Honeys). Not gut, but some of a gut like attack and not too bright. (In fact almost no highs but mid-frequencies.)
    The 140H are bad for old-school sound, but since this is not my cup of tea, I use the 140B (Braided) for a soft round pizz with some highs and less mids.

    And they are cheap in the UK (i.e. StringExpress).
  9. I don't associate "mwah" with gut strings or "old school sound." From what I've gathered, it's the providence of steel strings, and about the earliest example I've heard is Ray Brown's work with the Oscar Peterson Trio in the early '50s (I'd love to hear if someone else could give an example of an earlier "mwah"). Brown was an earlier adopter of Spirocores, if I'm not mistaken.

    Also, beside choosing steel strings with tons of sustain (the opposite of gut-type strings), "mwah" depends upon your technique, your set-up and the sonic characteristics of your bass.
  10. I don't know how to describe the sound in my head, if you listen to the clip I posted that's pretty much the sound I want
  11. A set of strings alone aren't going to make you sound like Oscar Pettiford.

    I'd slap a set of Spiros on (Weiches or Mittels depending upon what your bass is like) and start working on your technique.

    I've been playing close to 15 years, and I'm still trying to get the sound in my head. I get closer all the time.
  12. Old School = Guts. No substitutes. I have tried them all.
  13. Yeah, I know I won't sound like OP just by using different strings, but are you saying that if OP used weedwackers he's sound identical to if he was playing helicores? I just want advice on how to get NEARER a certain sound, not getting nearer to sounding like a famous player (stylistically).

    Another question, does anyone know what the earliest steel strings are? I'd like to try the velvet's and I've been offered a set so I'll be using them for now :)

    EDIT: by OP I mean Oscar pettiford
  14. You could also mix steel and gut strings. For a while I used a gut D & G with steel E & A. You get the best of both worlds.

  15. Nope. I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that I think it's possible to get a sound similar to the clip you provided by playing Spiros. I'm not one of those people who think Spiros are the end-all-best-strings-for-every-purpose, but I think for what you're after they're a good place to start.
  16. I was told by someone here on TB that Thomastik Precision were among the first steel strings sold.

    I'm pretty sure you don't want these strings for what you're doing.

    Spirocores were the first popular steel string, if I'm not mistaken.
  17. Was just wondering, that's all.
  18. Sorry for my less-than-polite response.

    I've been offered a set of velvets so I'll try them. They sound the best to me out of the soundclips I've heard so far :D
  19. josiah:

    Which Velvets? Anima .... Garbo....others?
    If you want the real solid "thump" for pizz ...you need the Garbo's. They're even better with a gut G.
    Anima's are not quite as "low-sounding" as the Garbo's. They still have "thump" but not as much as the Garbo's.
  20. Hey, I haven't noticed anything impolite in your responses. I really like direct communication, so don't take anything I've said as anything less than friendly!