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Orchestral strings good for Jazz

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Bijoux, Apr 1, 2009.


  1. Bijoux

    Bijoux

    Aug 13, 2001
    Denver-CO-USA
    I was wondering what would be a good orchestral string choice that is also good for Jazz.
    Not looking for a Hybrid string, but strings that were made to be played with the arco.
    I was thinking of Helicore orchestra, but I wonder that if after a while they end up getting too dark and very short sustain.
    Any ideas/
    thank you.
     
  2. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Evah's? One of my stand partners in the GVO has them on his old German bass and they sound great. In a different ensemble I played in recently, there was one bassist who had the EP's and it was the same thing.. great sound.
     
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I think most people find that Helicore Orchestrals get too dark fairly fast, especially the lower strings. That was my experience. I liked them, but ultimately couldn't live with them.

    Non-metal core strings seem to have the best properties for both, like Evahs, Obligatos and Ex/Olivs.

    Of the steel strings that I've used that were designed for orchestral use, but worked best for jazz for me (other than Spirocores) were the Flexicore '92s. It depends on how much jazz you're playing and where you're doing it, but they have a good sound and great feel that can get buried from over the bass, but tends to project well. I think there were some fans of Jargars for dual use too.

    Pirastro Permanents are legitimated used in both orchestras and by jazz dorks too.

    I agree with you that "hybrid" strings are almost never the best of either world. If you live in the pit and play jazz on the side, I can understand not wanting to do that to your arco sound. What type of strings you do you like; heavy, floppy?
     
  4. Bijoux

    Bijoux

    Aug 13, 2001
    Denver-CO-USA
    Well, I guess I like the in between strings. not floppy, not stiff...
    I love spirocores. they feel good under the fingers and they respond quick for pizzicato. they sound fat on my bass. they are really low maintenance.
    I was hoping for a string with steal core. I hate changing strings. I like spiros, because the older they get the nicer the tone. I've had mine for about 5 years now. they don't have the brightness anymore. pitch is stable. I love them. I can just focus on actually playing the bass.
    I liked the Obligatos. After they settled down, they gave me about 6 to 8 months of good times.
    Actually I used to have a bass with spiros, and they responded great under the bow. I had to sell that bass after a divorce.
    I actually play mainly Jazz, but lately I've being doing some gigs with string quartets and even trios and I am wishing for a better arco sound.
    thank you.
     
  5. What are you seeking with these strings?
    Do you want a dark string, less sustain ?

    Corellis are apparently good arco strings, but they're bright in comparison to Flexocors, which are also apparently good arco strings.

    Kolstein Varicors are modeled after the Original Flexocors, but they're clearer sounding and have more mids and sustain.
     
  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    So, why aren't you using Spirocores? Sounds like you loved them and had no trouble arco? I don't mean to sound like they are the only strings, but to Francois's point, where do you want to go with this?

    If you're mainly a jazz player who once loved Spirocores, the classic, steel orchestral strings are almost definitely not going to do it for you pizz.
     
  7. rdwhit

    rdwhit

    Mar 18, 2006
    Louisville ky
    Flat chrome steels. Not as loud as spiros, but a decent compromise. I can use them for everything, I just wish they were louder. I also like permanents, medium or light, they are louder that FCS, but have less sustain on my bass. It depends on the bass too.
     
  8. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Agree on the FCS's. I didn't think Permanents came in more than one gauge, but maybe they've changed since I used them.
     
  9. i know there expensive but I love the Eudoxa's. They are the best pizz and arco sound with no compromise in regards to either (for me on my bass, to my ears). i have had no problems with the windings coming undone.
    chris
     
  10. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I think the only other gauge Perms come in is solo, in which case you could tune them down to orchestra pitch. I had the FCS for a short while thinking what I needed was a low tension set up, but I was turned off by how thin a string they are (which, in my case, resulted in a thinner sound). I used Evah's for a while and really dug them arco and pizz... but as I've been doing more and more orchestral playing w/ this particular bass, they just weren't quite cutting it (remember this is IME).

    Bijoux, have you tried Sprio Weichs? From what I understand they can be a bit more forgiving with arco, and put out a great pizz sound as well. A stand partner recently had them on his Pollman 7/8's and they sounded nice and full (has to do w/ the bass, of course.. but still).
     
  11. bribass

    bribass

    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
    Lately I've been using Superflexibles on my darker bass. Braided steel core and a good compromise between the arco and piz camps. Pretty punchy, growly piz w/ more grab and full bodied sound than Spiros under the bow.

    On my brighter bass Evah Pirazzis are working well for this w/ a great supple, left hand feel to them. Really enjoyable warmth for piz walking and nice bow response as well.

    When I'm doing a lot of Jazz piz soloing I do miss the unmatched pitch modulation and response of Spiros, but I'm playing enough arco regularly to know that I'd miss these better arco choices if I were to go back.

    BG
     
  12. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    This is contrary to many people's experience, but the belcantos have a beautiful pizz tone on my bass. Decent sustain, a lot of depth, and a touch of growl on the E and A string.
     
  13. Im finding Jargars do both , at least the D and G are working for me , exellent bowing and a nice dark , gut like pizz , Im using them with Superflexible E and A , and they work better for Arco , for my weak bowskills at least , not so scratchy when I try and play up the scales , and Im getting the old school Pizz sound I like .
     
  14. rdwhit

    rdwhit

    Mar 18, 2006
    Louisville ky
    I meant to say solo gauge perms.Several people have said that belcantos work ok. It's buried in a megathread if You don't want to read it all. I'd use them if played around 70% arco & 30% pizz.A couple of others also said so in the megathread.
     
  15. Stephen Koscica

    Stephen Koscica

    Apr 22, 2003
    By far, the most popular string now is Evah Pirazzi. (by Pirastro). They were made really for orchestra. They're "darkish", and a slightly looser (less tension) string. They're very warm with the bow, but Jazz players are buying a lot of these now and quite happy with them.

    You won't get that new twangy growl like on a Spirocore E, but you will get lots of nice warm sustain. Some like to mix in a E Spirocore with the top 3 Evahs.

    Steve
     

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