Newbie needs advice on string terminology

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by bassaussie, Dec 18, 2004.

  1. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001

    I mentioned in another thread that I was looking at buying a Framus Triumph bass. Well, it appears that the deal has happened, and I'm just waiting for the bass to show up.

    In the meantime, I've been starting to do some research on what kind of strings I need for this bass, and there's a few terms I'm not familiar with. For a start, what do the following mean.

    Rope Core
    Spiral Core

    Also, the Framus only has a magnetic pickup. I've been advised that I need steel strings, which seems obvious enough. However, can I use strings that have a combination of materials (which seems common), and would there be any benefit to this. F'rinstance, say I see something that says nickel - would this work? Or a combination of silk and steel.

    Just to give you an idea of my requirements, I know for sure that I won't be doing any arco work - it'll all be pizzicato. So keep that in mind for any recommendations you make.

    Please feel free to write anything you think is relevant - I'm open to any and all advice on the subject. Also, pardon my ignorance, but I know absolutely stuff all about upright bass!
  2. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    A steel ropecore, steel/silk, etc. will suit your pickup needs. Strings like the spirocore, helicore, corelli, flat chromesteel, etc. are probably where you should start your search. Obligato's will not work with a magnetic pickup - the same with gut or gut/silver wrapped strings. Also, you probably won't see any nickel double bass strings.

    What type of music do you think you will be playing? Any bluegrass stuff? What bassists do you like the sound of? This will certainly help you narrow down your string search (which can be a very costly adventure).
  3. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    Y'know, this may sound naive, but I've bought the bass more as an adventure - I haven't really decided what style of music I want to play on it, I'd rather see where the instrument takes me! I'd say to start with I'll lean more towards jazz and blues, as that's what I'm most familiar with.

    The only reason I'm so sure about the pizzicato/arco choice is that (a) I don't have a bow, and (b) I'd rather get familiar with the bass before I take on the additional skill of learning how to use the bow properly. Also, I tend to think that if I decide to learn how to use a bow, it should probably be done on an acoustic bass.

    So, back to your answer, anything that has steel in the string will suit my needs, correct?

    Regarding nickel, the reason I mentioned that above was that I've been searching through an online string website, and some of the desrciptions include nickel. The site is a German site

    A few examples ....

    Corelli retort bass orchestra Nickel 380M

    Corelli retort bass orchestra Nickel 30A

    Pyramid-Gold retort bass Student - nickel flatwound on steel core

    Pyramid-Ultraflex Konrabass Professional - multi core nickel flatwound on rope core
  4. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    A lot of people would consider that statement an oxymoron, plus one reason people choose to play an electric upright (as opssoed to a fretless bass guitar) is the fact that it can be bowed.

    That being said, I would recommend Thomastik Spirocore Weich for your new adventure. Good luck.

    - Steve Boisen
  5. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    There are indeed several bass strings using nickel.
    The Corelli 380 series (and its solo-tuning counterpart) is nickel-wrapped.
    The Corelli 370 series (and its solo-tuning counterpart) uses tungsten for the E & A only. The D & G are wrapped with nickel.
    Other nickel wrapped bass strings:
    Pirastro Permanents.
    Super-Sensitive Supremes.
    D'Addario Helicores.

    P.S. Nickel has even better magnetic properties than steel.
  6. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    Thanks for the tips so far.

    I've been reading about this all day, and the Corelli strings do sound like they're what I'm looking for. I noticed they're quite popular on this forum, as well, which is a good sign.