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Orchestra Bass String Setup Megathread

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Jesse Dietschi, Apr 2, 2020.


  1. Thought it would be interesting to start a list of what string setups all the section players out there are using. List your current setup plus previous combinations you've used. I'll start:

    Current: Flex Deluxe GD, Permanent A & ext. E.
    Previous: Bel Canto GDA, Spiro Mittle ext. E

    I'll be curious to see what the most common choices are!
     
    Selim and threetone like this.
  2. Original Flatchrome across the board at the moment.

    I really want to try unwound guts in the orchestra though, but never had the courage to do it. I noticed recently that Martin Heinze in Berliner Philharmoniker uses unwound guts. That's inspiration to try, though admittedly it is very uncommon
     
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Jesse: that seems like a big jump from CFlex Deluxe GD, Permanent A & ext. E. (to) Bel Canto GDA, Spiro Mittle ext. E.... were there noticeable surprises/changes etc.

    I use Jargar Dolces or Dominant solos tuned down on the Orch bass (but I'm strictly amateur)
    Louis
     
  4. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Current: Flexocor 92 medium D and G, Original Flexocor A, Permanent ext. E/C

    Previous: Belcanto A, D and G, Permanent ext. E/C
     
    piggywiddle likes this.
  5. How would you compare the sound of the Flexocor setup compared to the Bel Cantos?
     
  6. The Flex Deluxes have more punch, which I was lacking with the Bel Cantos (I liked the tone though!)
     
  7. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Warmer, clearer and more presence/fullness. I found I could hear myself within the section/orchestra better with my current string setup. There’s also slightly more tension now, which translates to them being responsive while allowing my bow hand to be even more relaxed (win win).
     
  8. Makes sense. Have you used Flex Deluxes before? I'm curious how the other Flexocor lines compare to them, as I've only ever used the "candy canes" myself
     
  9. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have somewhat limited experience with the Flexocor Deluxes, but my memory is that they're a bit too on the bright side of things for my liking. The first time I tried them was on a friend's Arvi bass he was selling (still is, and that base came in close 2nd before I decided to commission a bass from Martin Penning), the other time briefly playing on another friend’s bass made by George Martin. On the Martin bass, I think I got a better picture of what they were like, and they seem like great strings (still a tad brighter, but they felt smoother and I could see why they'd get great reviews). Perhaps I'll try them out sometime down the line, but I'm feeling good to go with my current string setup for the foreseeable future.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  10. The Deluxes have greater perceived tension, brighter, able to pass as a hybrid or pizz string at least when new. I find the 92s buttery supple, warm and balanced. The Originals are not the same as they once were. There is a rumor that the original formulation has been lost.

    I have no business in a section, but my arco bass, a late-‘90s Solano, wears a set of Flexocors that’s at least 40 years old.

    It’s interesting to see people setting aside Bel Cantos, which I find to be bland, in favor of good old Flexocor.
     
    Phil Rowan likes this.
  11. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Tallahassee
    I was heavy into arco for about 9 months. I was practicing on spiros and 90% of my practice time was working on etudes and excerpts, then i'd warm up for my pizz gig that night. Man I never sounded better on gigs. I gotta get back into that. Helped my pizz playing greatly.

    I was doing it cuz the principle in the LPO said if I got some of that stuff together he'd put me up on the sub list and I thought that'd be awesome, but then grad school came calling.

    When my audition with them got closer I put on belcantos on the ADG and hated them. More traditional sound than spiros but i missed the complexity. No idea what i'd use if I had to do that again. Evah weich was the best and most fun I had on my juzek after that.

    A lot of classical bassists ive talked to don't mess with their strings because they don't want to change their sound in the section. Might be wrong on that though.
     
    armybass likes this.
  12. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    That’s the thing, the Belcantos were *too* supple, so my memory of them was a) not complex enough a sound/limited range and b) mushy. I always felt there was something missing with them. The slightly higher tension of the Flexocor 92s is what helps them feel supple yet still have enough tension to make them more responsive (maybe it’s even a different/better type of responsiveness). Anyway, I dig ‘em.
     
  13. I think Pirastro knows something Thomastik hasn’t figured out yet.

    Excite the bass, the bass sounds better. It’s science.
     
  14. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Tallahassee
    True. I may be a Pirastro nut after all....
     
  15. Weirder things have happened.
     
  16. lurk

    lurk

    Dec 2, 2009
    NYC
    For me Bel Cantos were absolutely devoid of character and personality albeit easy to play.
     
  17. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    Current: D'Addario Kaplan
    Previous: Evah orchestral

    I've been looking toward Flexocores next. This thread is feeding the monster...
     
    Sam Dingle likes this.
  18. The easiest bowing strings I’ve ever played were D’Addario Kaplans. The set of lights on my Arvi were like butter. They sound fine, too, but don’t add much color or projection.

    I flirted with Spiro Weichs on the Arvi, too. They were very bright and projected very well, and weren’t bad under the bow, but I don’t think they blended well in the section.

    Currently my Kimmel has Flexocor Deluxe on the top 3 with a Permanent E. I really like the Flexocor G and D. The A is pretty good, too, but not quite as nice. I had a Flex Deluxe E originally but it sounded bad and wolfed. The Permanent E on ameliorated the wolf and the whole bass responded better, but I’m still not quite satisfied with the E sound - some days it bows well and sounds good, but others it’s a little wimpy. Since I got the Kimmel, the Arvi is sitting in a bag in the corner, I think it’s got a full set of Flexocor Deluxes now.

    I like the Flexocor Deluxes for their brightness and clarity, without being too bright to blend. They bow nicely too. My teacher uses Permanent G & D and Corelli 370M A and E, and I wouldn’t mind trying that. I’m also curious to try Original Flatchromes, but trying strings is expensive and annoying.

    Long ago, I tried Jargars, original Flexocor, and Flex 92. I never thought much of the Flex 92s but I did like the original Flexocor - I recall they were harder to bow but were very responsive, especially to dynamic changes. My arco technique has advanced significantly since then, so I’d be curious to revisit those strings someday.
     
    Lee Moses likes this.
  19. paulunger

    paulunger Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2002
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Stark Flexocor "92's" G, D and E, Original Flexocor A. Sometime I switch to Medium gauge Flex 92's G and D. My current bass has a shorter string length so it needs Stark gauge strings. On other basses I have played I gravitate towards Medium gauge Flex 92's and Passione Stark. My sections mates pretty consistently use Flex 92's, Passione and Belcanto.
    I've used Flex Deluxe for hybrid purposes when I need to double on jazz with only one bass. If the low E needs more clarity the Flex Deluxe is good for that. My current bass is very loud, clear fundamental and "brighter" than old Italian basses. So I need the warmth and darkness of the Flex 92's to blend in the section. The Deluxe and Permanents are just way too bright and edgy in a section with my bass. Those strings can work if your bass is very dark sounding. They bow fairly well but still not as bow friendly as Flex 92, originals, Passiones and Belcantos.
     
    Phil Rowan and Lee Moses like this.
  20. abaguer

    abaguer

    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    After using Sprio E A and Evah orchestra D and G for last few years in section, I've gone with Spiro E, Evah weich A D, and Passione G. Tried Belcantos and thought they didn't have a lot of character but were very smooth. Didn't like pizz on BelCantos.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 21, 2021

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