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obligatos RIP, what's next logical choice?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by flint, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. flint


    Aug 24, 2004
    so I bought a new bass (I mean REALLY new Christopher Hybrid) and I took the obligatos off the one I had to put on my new prized possesion. Things were great at first, truly sonorous, but I think they were serious with the written warning aboiut detensioning the obligatos. It was thud thud city after a week, so back to the d'dario hybrids that came with it.

    however, I am not enamoured with the arco tone of the hybrids. They are fine piz, but just a bit too scratchy bowed. And I truly am 50/50 on the bow/pizz.

    I am in NYC for a few months, so I would be crazy not to take the bass to Gage's for a "hop-up" job (it came from a reputable luthier, it's just not TOTALLY tuned). Other than that, what strings might would be the logical next experiment? I'm kinda looking at the superflexibles, and spirocores. whatcha think?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If you are scratchy bow sensitive, Spiros might not be the best choice. Superflexible may be better.

    I just switched from Obligatos to Flatchromesteel by Pirastro. The pizz as well as Obligato and bow much better.

    And of course, why not just get a new set of Obligatos? They're great strings.
  3. Things were great at first, truly sonorous, but I think they were serious with the written warning aboiut detensioning the obligatos. It was thud thud city after a week, so back to the d'dario hybrids that came with it.

    I'm about to try some Obligatos. Do tell--what's all this about detensioning them? It would be a pain to have to detune and retune every time I play....
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    The package warns not to detension the strings once they're brought up to pitch, at the risk of losing the tone. Once they're tuned down, or removed, they go dead, apparently. Never tested the theory myself.

    Regarding the original question, I guess the next logical choice for me might be the Kolstein Heritage hybrid string. That's what I'm going to try. I love Obligatos, and I don't proclaim them "dead" as quickly as some players do. But if I can get similar string with a longer lifespan, I might make the switch.
  5. I've found that they can be removed once or twice without too much of a problem, but they do get progressively worse as you remove and replace them for whatever reason. You have to be especially careful of the dreaded winding-separation-where-the string-goes-over-the-bridge syndrome…

    - Wil
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Funny, I've never had any problems with the windings. There is some of the dreaded "Obligato roll", but it never really bothered me.
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I'd agree with Wil. I have a set that I have removed and installed a couple of times. They are dead now of course, but they are also about a year old. So, they ought to be.

    I never noticed that they sounded bad immediately after installing them again.
  8. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    What is meant by the "Obligato roll"? I have been using Obligatos for some months now and so far I have been very pleased with the sound. But I do think that they are beginning to lose a bit of tone... which is discouraging. I guess they have a short lifespan.
  9. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've been using the Oblis for about 2 months of mostly practice use, and have not yet encountered the "Obligato roll." Unfortunately they don't suit my bass (too thumpy) so I'll be changing them for a FlatChrome Steel set as soon as it arrives.

    I'm careful when putting strings on and taking them off, and have take good care of the Oblis, so hopefully they'll have some resale/swap value to offset the cost of my experiment.
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Some players have complained that the E string in particular tends to roll out from under the left hand. I've gotten used to it. I play pretty hard, and unamplified as often as possible. There is a lot of lateral movement in these strings, in fact, casual observers have mentioned it to me after watching me play. They really get moving!

    I personally love the feel of them. My other bass, strung with Spiros, feels stiffer in comparison. I've come to prefer the more fluid nature of the Obligatos. They've also made my bass considerably louder.
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    No doubt there. I have lost a decent amount of volume switching the flatchromesteel.
  12. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The 'roll', as I experienced it anyhow, is more an arco issue. When the strings are about half-done the E and A (and the D if you keepthem on long enough) twist when you start the string with the bow. You get a wierd, airy squawk as the strings fights to right itself.

    After detensioning and retuning (as in off and then back on the bass), they tend to want to squeak with the bow, sound and feel tighter and sound tinner as well.
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I have the Heritages and I ain't changing to anything else on my Chrissy Hybrid. Arco is good, pizz is great. I had spiro's briefly on my bass and I did'nt like the sound, although I had them on for a month and they had just begun to break in. Arco on the heritages are much better than the spiros.
  14. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I did the full switch from Obli's to FCS this morning, and the comparison is interesting. I don't seem to have lost any volume...I have traded the rather overpowering thump of the Obli's for more clarity. The difference is more pronounced on the higher strings than the lower, though. I do prefer the feel of the thinner FCS string.

    One interesting thing I noticed was the tension/flexibility comparison. While the Obli's are low tension, they are quite stiff. The FCS, however, are higher tension but more flexible. The flexibility difference was particularly apparent when holding the strings off of the bass...the FCS dangle limply like a bit of string, while the Obli's, even after a month or two of playing, are quite rigid by comparison.

    This string experiment is rather fun...pity it's such expensive fun... :(
  15. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    It's funny that with these two flavors of strings how differently they seem to act on different basses. Obligatos on my bass, and a few others that I've played, feel very loose and pliable and sound closer to Spiros (pizz) than the FCS, with FCS sound closer to Flexocors and feel a bitter stiffer than Spirocores.

    As an example, I have been messing with strings today and have the following setup that sounds and feels very even across the board.

    G - FCS
    D - Orig. Flexocor
    E and A are Spirocores

    The set gets a little brighter as you go lower in register, but this is a good thing with my bass as the sound is quite dark and dry on top and would end up just being a thump down low. With the bow you have to dig in a bit on top and lighten up on the bottom to maintain an even timbre, but nothing too drastic.

    My general impression with Obligatos is that you lose volume with them compared to 'rope' core strings. They sound brilliant and loud in your practice room, but get buried as soon as you're with other instruments.
  16. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I also have a Christopher hybrid and went from the Helicore hybrids (hated them) to Obligatos (loved them for their 10-month life span) then went to Compass 180s (love them even more). The 180's are, however, expensive. ($200)

    The pizz tone is nice and warm like the Obligatos and the E string is less flabby. Yes, and they even bow better. The G & D bow similar to the Obligatos but sound a little less strident, and the A & E stings bow noticeably easier and sound sweeter.

    My 2 cents . . . I mean $200!

    P.S. Still diggin the Christopher after 15 months.
  17. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    I don't think the price difference is that big of a deal. I'm on 15 or 16 months of my 180's. My Obligatos sounded noticably worse after 4 months, and at 6 months I couldn't stand them. My 180's still sound great.

    With that in mind, I would have spent more on the Obligatos, and they don't bow NEARLY as good as the 180's. Between the strings and my freshly rehaired and straightened Tom Owen bow (courtesy of Sue Lipkins) I can't stop sawing away. Even took a few arco solos at my brunch gig!!

    Hey, I didn't say they were good solos... :rollno: . The tone was though!!
  18. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    How long have you had the Kolsteins on your bass? I'm curious about these strings in terms of longevity. I may interested in a slightly older school sound on my new NS Cleveland, but I had a set of spiro mittels on my last bass for 8 years and they sounded good the whole time.

  19. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I've had them on since early November. Still sounds great and maybe even getting better. Just this week I think I may have noticed a little springiness now that they've been on for a while. Still not floppy like corelli's but not high tension like Spiro's. After getting the FC string mount off the afterlengths, arco has been sounding better and better. I'm sure me and others would post once the strings go out. So far so good...
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm glad you said that. I was thinking it was just me being a beginner that the Obligato E sounded flabby. I love the sound of the G, D and A, but the E does sound and feel flabby. So now I have to go through these threads and decide on a replacement. What I'm looking for is a fairly low tension steel that I can do light slapping duty with as well as get a solid pizz and arco out of it. If anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears.

    BTW, I have detuned my Obligatos several times since getting the bass (Upton put the strings on it themselves and didn't include the packaging, which means I never got the memo about detuning them). At the moment they've mellowed out quite nicely and sound right about what I wanted in a string, not totally dead but dead enough to where the sustain isn't gigantic. If it wasn't for that E string...We'll see what happens in a few months, but for now I'm digging them.