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Need Help Identifying+Reccommend

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Jluvial, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Jluvial


    Oct 30, 2010
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    I just received a bass from a friend of mine, but she didn't know very much about it other than that it was a half size. Up until now I've been a cello player so I couldn't say.

    Long story short, I need help identifying the strings on it now. They look fairly unused, not even the wrappings are frayed. The bottoms are purple with gold on either end of the purple, with a strand of gold spiraling around it. The balls look solid brass. On the top are, low to high; green, black, gold, and red.

    The reason I'm asking is because I'm tuning my bass in fifths (CGDA), and I'm assuming it has a normal set of EADG's on it. The D and G strings aren't a problem, and to an extent, the A. But the E needs to come down a Major 3rd in order to hit C. Should I go for a B string? If so, would the E make a better G (up a minor 3rd)?

    I'd say I play mostly arco, but wouldn't mind a nice pizzicato. I'm looking for a string that would match the tone/tension of the ones I have now.
  2. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have no experience tuning in 5ths, but it's probably not a good idea to tune orchestra tuning strings up a whole tone. Joel Quarrington sums up pretty nicely what I would've suggested..

    "Here is the way I string the bass: I use Thomastik Dominant strings right across or sometimes I use Thomastik Spirocore for the low “C”:

    * 1st- (A) 1st from solo set
    * 2nd- (D) 2nd from orch set
    * 3rd- (G) 4th! from solo set (F#)
    * 4th- (C) 5th! from orch set

    This is the most powerful arrangement I have come up with so far, but it is not ideal. The Thomastik company offer a Spirocore set that they made for Red Mitchell and I think these are fine but perhaps not so great for the bow."

    ps - I'm not promoting Thomastik over other brands... you can use whatever strings you want that fit this method.
  3. Your strings seem to be Helicore Orchestrals.
    Since you have an 1/2 size bass, it shouldn't be a problem to tune the G up to A.
    For the G, you'd probably be better with a solo F# string, as Phil suggested.
    And for the low C, I'd go with a low B.
    Having a shorter scale means regular scale strings will give less tension.

    There are bass strings sets designed for fifth tuning, besides Spirocores.
    Obligatos and Compas 180 "Red Mitchell" are other choices.
  4. Jluvial


    Oct 30, 2010
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Yeah, I've seen that suggestion when looking up the fifths tuning. If I had the money for a completely new set of Dominants like that I would, but I just bought a set for my cello.

    Alright, I suppose the Helicores aren't bad, especially in such fine condition. So are you suggesting I buy a low B Helicore string designed for a 3/4 bass? I see they also sell a low C as well, but neither in the 1/2 size range. Thanks for the guidance.
  5. I'd go with the low B.
    Since your scale is shorter than the one the string was designed for, the thicker string will compensate for the loss of tension.
    The A string tuned down to G will probably feel quite floppy.
    You can also get a look in the Classifieds.
    You may find some great strings at great prices.

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