Oliv Review

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by brianh, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. brianh

    brianh Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    Endorsing: Epifani Amplification
    As promised, here are my thoughts on the Pirastro Oliv D and G I am currently trying. I am using them with Spirocore E and A.

    For arco (and keep in mind, I play mostly jazz but study classically fairly seriously) the tone is hudge and fat, most likely the smoothest I've ever gotten. Compared to Eudoxa's its a lot easier to play with a smoother and rounder tone. However, the Olivs grip the bow less than the Eudoxas, which takes some adjusting (I guess this could be good, but my experience is limited). Compared to other hybrid strings like Obligatos, Heritages, and Dominants the Olivs I really find no comparison. The Olivs feel like an "authentic" arco string.

    For jazz the Olivs are definately huge and very warm sounding. There is actually more point and definition to the attack of each note than you would normally expect from a gut string. However, I am finding that I like the Eudoxas more in the regard. The Olivs are very dark and lack a certain presence that is typically heard in a "modern" bass sound. I do think though that because they are softer than Eudoxas, they are considerably easier to play. When comparing wound guts though, I still prefer Eudoxa for jazz playing (despite their gut sound, I feel the Eudoxas offer some of the good qualities of the steel strings we're all used to...)

    As with the Eudoxa's, there are initial intonation issues in a big way. However, the Olivs seem to have a lesser problem.

    An alarming observation is that the winding on the G string is already coming apart after being on for 3 days. On my last set of Eudoxas, this happened after 5 months which is still a bit ridiculous considering the cost. This happening happening after 3 days reflects a problem that I can't deal with. Fortunately for me, Pirastro sent me these strings on trial for free.

    For me, the bottom line is that not only are these strings not really the sound I am looking for but also that the hassle in stability is too much to deal with. I'm sure this specific set of strings is simply defective, but the trend of windings breaking in Pirastros wound gut line is too expensive for my budget.

    I am going to put some Dominants back on. If they don't break (anyone have advice on how to prevent this?) and hold their tone for more than a few months, I think I will stop experimenting for a while. If those don't work, maybe I will go back to Eudoxa.

    I hope this helps anyone who's considering trying these out....
  2. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Thanks brian, it's very helpful.

    Like I said in a different thread, if you throw a silver dollar on the ground you can appreciate that the sonic qualities of silver are incredible. So when you say that you prefer the Eudoxas (Silver wound) you kind of support my theory.

    The winding problems are very uncool.
  3. brianh

    brianh Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    Endorsing: Epifani Amplification
    Yeah, I really enjoyed the Eudoxas. I found them hard to play at times and somewhat inconsistent in tone, but what else do you expect from gut. The sound was pretty amazing.

    If I end up giving up on Dominants, I'll go back to Eudoxa...

    Any other suggestions?
  4. brianh

    brianh Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    Endorsing: Epifani Amplification
  5. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i got a new set of Pizzicato strings from somone on here and a used Eudoxa G string from the same person.....i noticed that the winding on the Pizzicato g string (which was the metal one, not nylon) started spreading just after i put it on, but it was right past the nut and moved further in to the pegbox as the string stretched. then after a few weeks the string developed a horrible buzz. it would buzz whether played pizzicato or arco and loud or soft.
    i put the Eudoxa G string on and the buzz went away and i haven't had any winding problems with that string or the rest of the pizzicato strings.

    i emailed pirastro and have received no reply, hopefully i'll receive a new string in the mail. i will be a little disappointed if i don't, these strings are too expensive to gamble on whether you will get a good one or not.....i could deal with a winding problem on the g string as it was just past the nut but that buzz was horrible.

    how does the Dominant g string compare to a Eudoxa as far as tone and volume go?

    actually it sounds like the Olivs have the tone i'm after.
  6. chipsas


    Feb 28, 2005
    Europe, Lithuania
    i think that recordings can't show how eudoxa's really sound..
    here a lot depends on recording equipment , technique..etc..
    and ofcourse other dbass would sound different with the same strings..
    i heard other recording with eudoxa's and this rec have nothing of the kind i heard last time

    p.s. by the way, nice music..
  7. brianh

    brianh Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    Endorsing: Epifani Amplification
    I'm not sure if Dominants really compare to Eudoxas. Thats not to say they're lesser strings though:

    They're not as fat and warm as Eudoxas. I guess the biggest different for me is the depth you get from Eudoxas and the difference in playability (I find Eudoxas to be harder to play). The sheer thickness of the string is something to consider.

    I find that the dominants speak clearer (most of the people I play with say "I can hear you better"). I also think they are easier to amplify. I also have an easier time playing them, and can generally get around the bass better.

    However, I havent really played dominants enough to trully have a feel for them.
  8. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    My Olivs are at least 3 years old and have been on and off at least 5 times. There is no separation of winding on any string.
    As for pitch stability, these strings become more stable as they age. They are absolutely not a problem.
    My Olivs just get better in tone and stability as they age.
  9. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Don, I think you're very lucky to get that kind of mileage for them. I agree the gut core gets better with age. Even Pirastro says it is not good for the strings to remove and reinstall so I think if your windings are still fine then you've been really fortunate. I loved those strings (both the Olivs and the Eudoxas) but really just could not deal with those windings problems anymore.
  10. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    In 2 years i bought 3 Olivs A (one is dead, the windings are completely worn) and the other 2 are still usable but not for long), i also bought 2 E( :bawl: ) and one is already on the trash for the same reason, i really love the Olivs, specially the A and E to match my plain guts G and D, but i just cant aford to buy them and use them for only some months, if my Olivs would last 3 years i would be such a happy man, they are great strings.
    Last month i bought a Dominant solo f# and tuned it down, im using now G and D plain gut, A Oliv and E Dominant, and although the Dominant cant be compared to the Oliv in warmth, it has more volume and is working very well with my bass.

    p.s. i never took off the Olivs to put on another bass, i kept them only on one bass, so, thats not the reason for the windings failure, i really wish i didnt have those problems, but $120 for an E that lasts 3 or 4 months, is a lot for me, i just hope my Dominant wont break, i just read in another thread some breaking problems...
    Sometimes i think to myself how unlucky i am to hate so much the Spirocore sound, Spirocore cats are such happy people, they use their strings forever...


    NUNO :D
  11. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    ...Can't say I blame you.
    No, you cannot have my Olivs.
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    First, check your Bridge-Tail Piece angle, Bridge-Top angle and Bridge Slot widths/diameters and angles from Notch to FB and TP. You may have to widen all you slots for these. If not, the wood will grab the sides of the strings and pull the windings apart.

    If all this is good, use a #2 Pencil and Lube it up. Then be gentle with them during installation. NEVER Pull or Stretch the strings to tighten them in the peg pox for tuning. Let natural PULL do its' job over time. I think Don is also a Gentle guy and player. I met him and he didn't seem the type to abuse a Bass in any way. I think care for your strings is important. I have heard similar complaints with Obligatos although not as Bad and have used the same set of them on several Basses with no construction issues. They do loose their Bow gripping after awhile on the E but it's a synthetic hybrid string anyway. I have used the Olivs for a short while and loved the fat sounding G and D. I used my Martini and that Bass is so dark on the Bottom that it distorts an SWR Redhead Combo with a Shadow pickup when playing the E string. The Martini has a wide sound and deep so the Oliv E was like MUD. I raised the Bridge 2x my normal height to perform the LaBohem Opera and the Pizz was from heaven as well as the Arco. My hands were killing me when we were done. I took off the Olivs and gave them to DZ to use.

    I now prefer Flexocor Stark or Jargar Forte on all my Basses with the exception of mixing Permanent bottoms with regular medium Flexocors on top if tension is an issue or just Flexocors with the Stark/thick E.

    I have not tried Eudoxas yet but my hands and wrists are tired from my 40:1 ratio gears.......
  13. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    And let's not forget sensitive, you big brute.
  14. Don - didn't you once post about putting a string winding chuck in an electric screwdriver to save time and tired hands for string changing? I think I remember someone once said that Gage sells such a thing but you can make your own. Was it you? Did you tell Ken?
  15. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    brianh, I listened to the recording and while the playing is top notch, I kept thinking how much I would prefer to hear the Dominant sound instead. You're doing some really modern things and I'm finding it tough to reconcile that with the old-school, almost Red Mitchell-esque sound you're getting.

    I hope Dominants work out for you. They sound darker and darker with age in a very pleasing way.
  16. brianh

    brianh Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    Endorsing: Epifani Amplification
    Thanks Tbeers.

    The Eudoxas are funny, they sound great for certain gigs, and kind of muddy for others. Also, the humidity of the room has a big effect. For standards gigs where I just walk, they're great. Also, I did a bluegrass-esque session recently and they sound great, like you would want on that kind of track. But for modern stuff, I think they're kind of hit and miss. A lot of times, my only complaint is that they sound kind of slow (and sometimes feel that way). Then again, I'd take that anyday to a sound with no warmth and bottom.

    The Dominants are cool thus far. I'm missing the warmth of the Eudoxas, but I think the dominants will warm up. Also, the dominants do amplify a lot better than Eudoxas. Pianists seem to hear things a bit better with these strings. I just hope they don't break....
  17. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i got a replacement pizzicato g string today :D
    they also sent me a free set of obligato's since i asked if they were the closest to the gut sound without the winding and instability problems......sounds like there might still be some winding problem with those.
    not even sure if i will put on the Obligatos, maybe just the g string since that is the one that i am most picky about....i doubt i would like the E string from what i have read.
    i would like to try some animas or some Dominants.

    can anyone comment on the sound of Animas vs. Eudoxa, Pizzicato, or superflexible (since i have experience with those strings)......man that should probably just be an entire new thread....PM me if it seems inappropriate to discuss here or request me to make a new thread....
  18. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I have a Makita reversable variable speed portable drill. I can easily slow down when I'm coming to pitch. I got the chuck from Gage. Yes, they can be made, but it's a pain in the neck.
  19. Thanks Don - I think I'll get one for a late Christmas - I'd get Ken on but I don't quite think he is need of largess from me. :D

    Happy Christmas folks - or holidays if you must - peace on earth good will to all men whatever.

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