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Need E and A to match pure gut

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by simpleybass, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. I have gleaned a few good bits of info from other threads, but wanted to open one focused on this specifically.

    I'm currently playing a full set of La Bella 980 guts on my '47 Kay. Mostly pizz, a little slap, zero arco.

    I want to replace the E and A, mainly because I don't like the wire roundwound. Looking for a flatwound string for the E and A. I tried my old spirocores, but the sound didn't match the guts to my liking.

    Want something dark, warm, and flexible, that will be compatible with the sound of the gut D and G. Price is a factor.

    Any suggestions? Much appreciated.
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I use the Dominant E and A with plain gut G and D. Not as flabby as roundwound, but that's what I like on my bass...
  3. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Well, they're going to be pricey if you want real gut-core and not synthetic.! Pirastro makes several good gut core strings. There's Olive which is very dark, fairly thick diameter and little sustain. Eudoxa is similar but a little brighter, thinner and a bit more sustaining. Both of these strings have to be handled carefully as they are prone to develop separations in the windings where they pass over the bridge. My favorite is Pizzicato (which as the name implies aren't very good for arco). These are lively and flexible, a nice managable diameter, more durable and have good punch and a bit of growl, too. They are almost flatwound. The winding isn't as smooth as Olive or Eudoxa but it's nothing like typical roundwound gut. I use these with plain gut D&G and am very happy with the setup.

    There are many options if you use synthetic or steel core lower strings. Some popular ones are: Obligato, Innovation, Superflexible, Spirocore, Permanant, Dominant.

    You'll get plently of other opinions here, too. I'm sure!! :)
  4. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    As Bobby touched on, some of the Pirastro wound guts make good companions - I find that Olivs match better with plain gut, Eudoxa match better with nylon-wrapped gut like Golden Spirals or GoldenTones. Another option to match with plain gut would be Innovation's Super Silvers on the E & A - these would cater to your budget concerns, as well.
  5. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Bobby King has mentioned many of the good ones. I've tried many and currently am using Permanents with my guts and I'm pretty happy. My only gripe is the low C on the Permanent extension string is not as thunderous as the Spirocore. I go back and forth on the idea of returning to the Spirocore but it really is just too bright with the rest of my strings.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well gee, you're pretty much screwed, aren't you? :bag:

    Every now and then, someone sells their Pirastro Eudoxas and Olivs. I've got half plain, half Eudoxa right now and that's how I got them. The Eudoxas and Olivs are to the best of my knowledge the only flatwound guts on the market. Olives are darker and Eudoxas are brighter, though Eudoxas are still plenty dark enough to match to the D and G. Not real flexible, but more flexible than your average steel.
  7. Thanks for all the suggestions.
  8. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I recently played a friends bass that was set up with Pirastro Obligatos for the E & A and plain gut for the D & G. I thought the sound and tension matched up pretty well and so did he. The arco sound was another story, but bowing plain gut strings is an art unto itself (and as you mentioned in your original post, you don't play arco). I use a full set of Obligatos on my '49 Kay and I really like them. I've had gut strings on this bass and the Obligatos do indeed posess some gut-like characteristics IMO.

    - Steve

    My web page
  9. Try Obligato's for the A....and an Obligato or a Spirocore Weich E. They should match your guts OK on a plywood.
    I found the Weich adds a bit more life to the mix than the Obligato E and settles in well after about 3 weeks.
  10. I decided to try Innovation Super Silvers for my E & A. I received them on Friday and put them on immediately.

    My initial impression is... they are great! They match the pure gut D&G amazingly well. :hyper:

    The feel of the Super Silvers is nice. The flexibility and tension match the gut D&G really well. The metalwound gut La Bella E&A are actually higher tension.

    The nylon wrap is very fine, not totally flat, but very close. Almost zero string noise if I slide my hand along the string. I am hoping that this basically smooth nylon wrap will be less abrasive to the fingerboard than the round metal windings of the wrapped gut.

    As for the sound... excellent! The Super Silvers sound is so close to the pure gut I can't believe it. I think the sound matches the pure gut MUCH BETTER than the metalwound LaBellas. And the reduced string noise helps keep the sound clean, especially during difficult runs.

    As you can tell, I'm very happy with these strings. I hope they are durable and continue to perform this well for a long time. If they do, I might consider playing a full set of the Super Silvers when my guts pass away.

    Thanks again to everyone that provided suggestions. I would really like to try Obligatos, Permanents, Dominants, Eudoxas, Olivs, Pizzicatos, and compare them to the Super Silvers...but I just don't know how many years will pass before that happens. (i.e. never, unless I win the lottery). :D
  11. Can anyone comment on the tension of the Super Silvers v Dominant and Obligato's? Same? More? Less?

  12. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    SSs are lower in tension than either Obligatos or Dominants, higher than plain gut and some of the other synthetics.
  13. Thanks Brent.....to help narrow things down a bit more would the Super Silver be similar in tension to the nylon-wrapped Pirastro Pizzicato?

  14. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    I have yet to play Pizzicatos, so I can't speak to that specific comparison. However, the Super Silver D & G are slightly higher in tension than some of the nylon-wrapped guts I have played, such as Golden Spiral and LaBella GoldenTone. The tension of the E & A are similar to some of the metal-wrapped guts, such as Oliv and Eudoxa - maybe a bit less. YMMV.