new to jazz and need new strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by hillbilly, Nov 25, 2001.

  1. hillbilly

    hillbilly Guest

    Aug 10, 2001
    I've been a rockabilly player for several years, but through research about the beginnings of slap bass style I discovered and fell in love with old jazz.
    Well I'm now playing in a jazz trio and were doing some jump swing and some old standards and I'm still using the gut strings from my rockabilly days,I was wondering if anybody could recomend a string with more tone and sustain yet still have a old trad. sound.Am I wishing out of reach.
    Any advice will be greatly appeciated.
    Bobby D.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I could be wrong (because I'm not sure what you mean by "traditional sound"), but in my understanding, the "traditional sound" didn't have much me, it sounds more like a "Thump".

    The standard modern jazz pizz strings are the Thomastic Spirocores. If you try them, you need to give them about a month to settle down, as they tend to get darker sounding as they go along. I recently picked up a set of Pirastro Jazzers, but have been too busy to try them out yet.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    You might also try Thomastik Superflexibles. The pitch is as clean and true as the Spirocores, but they are darker and sound more like a rope-core string due to a cable core rather that the spiral (spiro) core. They're softer and so won't be such an adjustment from gut as well, plus they bow a WHOLE lot easier than the Spirocores...
  4. olivier

    olivier Guest

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    I'm with Ray about the Superflexibles:

    Darker tone than Spirocores, more bowable. Very affordable too.
  5. keep the gut unless you plan to bow......
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I would think it would get in the way...perhaps he could curtsy instead.



  7. [​IMG]
  8. Stick with gut. I'm using Velvet Anima and love them.

    Regarding Durrl's comment about gut sounding like a thump, on old recordings gut sounded like a thump because of poor recording technology. You've heard my bass, it won't ring until tomorrow, but does it sound like a thump?
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I've never understood the love of gut strings. They tend to be real high maintenance, short-lived, and a huge weather liability, plus they respond slow as hell and render about half of the bass unplayable. Did I mention that I'm not crazy about the sound of them? There are a few gut players where I liked the sound they got (get) -- Scotty, Charlie Haden, Steve LaSpina. Charlie uses a mixed set, Scotty had a ridiculous bass and touch, same with Steve and Charlie, although Steve went back to steel strings. I personally prefer rope-core strings when / if I want to go 'old school'.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Actually, your bass doesn't sound like a "thump" at all, but it does sound more "old school" than the sound I usually go for - your bass sounds a bit like Ed's - which ain't a bad probably told me otherwise in a PM, but from the sound, I guessed you were using hybrids of some sort. Remember, I'm not that experienced with different strings yet...I just know the ones that get the sound I'm hearing.
  11. Wound gut requires no more maintenance than steel and I can play them pizz as high as C or D in thumb position on the G string (the unplayable range for pizz is small); for arco they're as playable up high and anywhere else as steel. They last about a year, and once they're broken in they are stable.

    The best thing about gut is that it sounds a hell of a lot better than anything else. The only way I can describe it is that it sounds three dimensional, steel sounds two dimensional.
  12. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Special K is right. There is so much more fundamental to the pitch on gut than on solid steel. Why else do so many other strings advertise as being "gut-like"? I think those who rag on gut have never tried wound gut before. I constantly hear stuff like dead, no sustain, etc. and have to wonder what they are using.

    The Deerslayer
  13. Gut.

    The incredible thing about you comparing me to Ed is I think Ed mentioned somewhere he uses Spiros!
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Draw a diagonal from Bb on the E string to G on the D string in thumb position. Natural staccatto. Guts just sound plastic-y to me -- but that's more subjective. I've played everything from plain gut to wound synthetics and the sustain problem exists in some degree with them all. Obligatos seem ok on some basses, but not mine. I think perhaps when my bass gets a little older they might work, but I can't seem to be satisfied with other strings than Thomastik Spirocores. As far as the center of pitch and clarity of sound I don't think anything comes close. I wish there were, trust me -- maybe a set that did all the the Spirocores do, plus bow and have less tension than the Manhattan bridge cables...
  15. Sorry Ed, must've been thinking of somebody else.

    Have you tried solo Spiros tuned down to standard pitch? The house bass at a session I go to a lot is set up like this. Before I ever played the bass I thought they were regular Spiros but was suprised when they felt soft. The cat told me later what they are. He also told me they were already on the bass when he bought it *eight years ago*!!!
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I had a set of those on last week. The problem that I found with those is that you lose a lot of definition if you dig into them at all pizz. If you play them really lightly then they seem ok, and they do bow great. I do a lot of acoustic playing, so that volume limitation doesn't work for me. A bass player friend of mine here went to Solos from the Spiros this summer on his 20's Italian, and I noticed the same thing with his. I'm going to throw a set of Superflexible Thomastiks on this January or February for a week or two and see if I can adjust to them. I've been shedding the Stick'O Pain and would like to move to a more forgiving string for that reason only, although I'm getting to where I can keep the Spiros moving ok. The better the bass, the less impossible the Spiros seem to bow. After that, the sound is all in your ear -- your hands will follow what you hear.
  17. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Although I've been reading so much about gut strings (gut-wound) since I started playing bass (about a year ago), that statement ("Why else do so many other strings advertise as being 'gut-like'" really says it all to me. Gut sounds so much like what I am looking for and I certainly like the recordings of players using gut. Clearly I will have to try something like the Animas at some point.

    I've just ordered a set of Obligatos and a set of Picato 140H so I'll see how I go with those. I'll find out how gut-like they are.

  18. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I play in a jazz sextet and when I play with that group I use my pirastro jazzers. They are great. Good bright sound, Increadible sustain. I like them.
  19. Chudweiser

    Chudweiser Guest

    Jul 5, 2002
    Monte was wondering if people who rag on wound gut have ever tried them before. I have. I was not happy. Recently, I've been reading all these posts about how "great" the Olivs are. They are deep, and they groove well, I will give them that (Victor Lewis, jazz drummer extrordinaire, commented on the "thump" from my bass). But they have no definition for solo playing, and I can't get out what i want from them. And as far as that great arco sound? Sure, if you're playing whole notes. But for fast passages, string changes sound scratchy at best, and it takes too long for the bow to grip the string. I recently put on on Tomastik Spirocore Weich strings on my bass, and I love them; nice definition, sustain, and a great bow response and sound. Oh, BTW, Jazzers sound awsome, I love them, but I wish they would sound as good with the bow.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I was interested in this, due to a worskhop discussion session at the Jazz Summerschool I attended.

    So one of the bass tutors was Arnie Somogyi - who is a very much in-demand UK Jazz player who also leads his own bands which draws on Hungarian folk in a Jazz context.

    Anyway he played us some stuff and his pure acoustic sound was fantastic close up - but people asked about his strings - as they looked like they were covered in some sort of black plastic. Arnie mentioned that they had been a bit of a revelation in getting his sound as he didn't like gut for the high mantenance problems Ray mentions, but had found that these strings had all the advantages sound-wise of gut, but none of the disadvantages.

    It was a bit of a revelation for me as well, because usually in a club setting with a drummer and band, the real bass sound is most often, not clear enough to hear nuances. But hearing Arnie play in a quiet room a few feet away I could really hear how different his tone was from all the other (dozen or so) DB players there, who were using more conventional strings.

    Only trouble is that I can't remember now what these were called - so they were steel strings, but with some kind of coating that looked like black plastic? Any ideas?