1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

new strings for dark bass

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Rondofur, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Rondofur


    Sep 3, 2013
    United States
    Hello there, this is my first time really hunting for good strings.

    I'm working with a Shen Rogeri Hybrid, and right now I'm mostly playing classical, though I do play on jazz gigs from time to time.

    The willow already has a dark tone, and I want to retain that without getting too muddy. Sustain, clarity is what I'm looking for.

    I currently have G/D helicore orchestral and A/E helicore hybrids set up, but I have had all hybrids and all orchestral on before.

    The D and A on my bass are ideal for the sound I want, it really brings out the dark tones and responds well in both my jazz and orchestral playing.

    I'm looking to replace the G, it's a bit flat sounding (to be expected playing jazz, but even arco it does imo) and I'm not sure at this point if to look for a brighter, or a warmer tone. I'd like to retain the dark tone, and I've heard/read of many choosing brighter strings to counteract it.

    Strings I'm currently looking at:
    Pirastro Flexocor
    Pirastro Flat-Chromsteel
    Thomastik Spirocore

    Also, if you want to comment about the other strings I'll take it, but at the moment I can really only afford the one.

    Any help, or experiences with these strings would be appreciated!
  2. How about Hybrids for all four strings?
  3. Jake


    Dec 11, 1999
    Pirastro Permanents might work for you.
  4. Rondofur


    Sep 3, 2013
    United States
    Sorry, I guess I messed up on that.

    I have 2 full sets, one of the orchestral and one of the hybrids

    I've had all four on at one point, then decided to mix them

    All across, the orchs were too dull for jazz and muddy, the hybrids didn't respond as well for the classical on G and D

    I will look into the Permanents
    Thank you both
  5. The first thing you should do, in my opinion, is throw away the Helicores.

    Original Flexocor are a great touchstone string, but they don't work on every bass. The G can be wonderfully powerful and expressive but on dark basses the bottom strings can be muddy especially when they get old.

    Spiros are also a touchstone string. If you're bowing you may get along better with Weichs. If you want clarity and sustain, it doesn't get much better, but if your bow stroke is off Spiros can sound horrible.

    Flat-Chromesteels I have not tried, but if I may make a suggestion, Flexocor Deluxe are worth considering. They're a little dead pizz, but I recently amplified mine with a Realist through the PA and they did fine. Acoustically, arco is clear and warm and powerful and sings in all registers. Fast under the bow too, at least for a hack like me. Old Spiros with a Flex Deluxe G on top could be really nice.
  6. I have a Flexocor DeLuxe D & G that I do not use anymore. Played on them for nearly 3 months. PM me if you are interested.
  7. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Spiro Weichs on the bottom work really well as a crossover string. On a dark sounding bass they usually add a desirable amount of definition. They are pretty good under the bow, and they're usually considerably cheaper than some of your other options.

    For the top two strings (or three depending on your bass), I second Permanents. They blend well with Spiros but are a lot more bow friendly.

    Bass strings can definitely get expensive fast but I would suggest at least a G and D at the same time. Having the top two strings the same and the bottom two a little different is fairly common on basses, but if you've just got one brand new string on top, the instrument can sound a little unbalanced. Consequently, if you save and buy the other three after the top string has broken in, or one at a time, weird things can happen too.
  8. Rondofur


    Sep 3, 2013
    United States
    Thank you all for your input, I'm looking into all of those.

    Does anyone have experience with Evah Pirazzis?

    I've been told they're good for bowing and won't be too flat for jazz
  9. Yes, several times on several basses ranging from cheap plywood to old fully carved.

    The Orchestra were very stiff, deep and seemed to lack character. The Weichs were less stiff but similarly bland on my own instruments.
  10. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    The EPs are dark and will more than likely be too muddy for a dark bass. Perms are great. You might do the old cello set up perms on the top and spiros on the bottom.
  11. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    +1 on Evah's being a dark string.
    I'm in agreement with everyone else and would go for spirocore or or permanents.
  12. Rondofur


    Sep 3, 2013
    United States
    Again, thank you all. I think I'm eventually going to set up a combination of spiros and perms, having talked to some bassists in person as well.

    In regards to the Weichs, or softer strings in general, will they have much effect to the physicality of the bass? I realize that's a bit off topic

    I have the hybrid, so the back is maple and ribs are willow, fully carved top, and so far I've only had medium gauge strings put on. Disregarding playing preference, would having lower tension strings be better or worse for the bass itself?
  13. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It has definitely been a long time since I played the Helicores, but I don't remember them being that much different than the Spiro Weichs.

    Short Answer: Your bass should be able to handle the Permanent/Spiro combo just fine.

    Long Answer: Tension has a lot to do with personal preference, but also how your bass is set up, how the strings are manufactured, and a million other things. If you really want to open that can of worms, do a search on here and you can see what people have to say about it.

    Generally speaking, some basses don't do well with high tension strings. The instrument can sound "tight" or "choked". While the sound can be an issue, most basses aren't going to physically suffer. Usually things get dangerous with really cheap instruments that aren't built properly, or older instruments that have had questionable repairs done to them.

    Playability tends to be what people worry about with lower tension strings. They can feel floppy, or wimpy to some players. If you have really low action, a shorter string length, or something else I'm not thinking about, then sometimes they might not be your cup of tea. I don't know too many guys that have had issues with Spiros though.

    Although definitely on the lower end of the spectrum, Spiro Weichs are not an extremely low tension string, and they can feel a little tighter than some with similar tension because of their spiral core. Again they shouldn't be an issue for you or your bass.

    Down the road, you might want to experiment a little bit and see how you and your bass feel about different tensions. At this point, you're getting a pretty safe "General recommendation" instead of a "I need a high/low tension set" inquiry.
  14. Agreed. Only thing I'd add is that Helicores are not at the same quality level as Spiros. I've had Spiros that were literally falling apart that still played and sounded great. The only string I've ever broken was a Helicore. You get what you pay for.
  15. Actually Upton strings their Brescian hybrid with Evah Weich's and that bass is pretty darn dark. The pizz is definitely an old school "get under the rhythm section sound but there is plenty of definition. The arco sounds like a fog horn mated with a cannon.

    Unless you are looking for the more modern/midrangy growl sound, I wouldn't discount evah's


  16. Rondofur


    Sep 3, 2013
    United States
    How are the permanents with upper range bowing?

    As in 6th position, G and/or D

    Would I be able to practice advanced concerti without going completely nuts is what I'm asking, really.

    (Practice, not perform)
  17. Jake


    Dec 11, 1999
    That's Edgar Meyer's set up.
  18. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I've played solo recitals with Permanents on top, (the Koussevitzky concerto, and some of the short Bottesini pieces were on my last "Permanent using" recital if I remember correctly.) and like Jake said, Edgar Meyer seems to do it just fine.
  19. Rondofur


    Sep 3, 2013
    United States
    Ok, thank you all very much for the outstanding help! I'm going to try the Evah Pirazzi and see how it ultimately feels, but in the end the Spirocores will certainly be tried on the bottom two, and if the EP is not what I'm looking for at all then I'm going with the permanents, at this point.
  20. The Evahs are the opposite side of the sound spectrum of the Spiros. You might be able to use them with worn out Spiros, but not with them during their first year. At least get the Weich, not the regular if you still want to try them.