Permanets as a pizz string: The Details?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Tommy el Gato, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    I know this is talked about a lot here at TB (I've read some of the posts), but I kind of wanted a little bit more detail on the topic.

    Right now I'm a jazz student who's trying to do a lot of arco stuff and I'm pretty much just using a school-owned bass strung up with D'addario hybrids. I do planning on getting a bass of my own soon, but haven't gotten much experience with other strings, so I'm definitely going through a string debate.

    Since I do struggle with arco (the main reason why I practice it a good bit.), I'm really tempted to try and get a string that's more suited to arco, but will sound to my taste pizz. I'd really like to have a spiro-ish pizz sound, except maybe a little bit more mellow. You know, the sustainy, growling, fairly bright type of sound. The hybrids sort of do that, but it takes a pretty high action do so with.

    Think I could pull that off with Pirastro Permanents or is there a better string for me? Like a Flat-Chromesteel perhaps? I'll probably have this conversation all over again with Nick Lloyd when I get around to making the bass purchase, but I wanted to see what TB'ers had to say.

    Thanks for any advice
  2. Hi Tommy
    I think it is a great idea for you to go down the arco road. At your age you should concentrate on learning the instrument regardless of the genre. ie whether or not you want to play classical or jazz. The bow really exposes intonation problems that you would not so readily notice when you play pizz. It is so important to develop an accurate muscular memory and I feel that this can be best done through the bow. While string choice is important it shouldn't be overstated. Find a string that works on your bass. Can you borrow some strings to try them out. BTW spiros are a lot more bow friendly than you think. While they would not be my personal choice for arco they can really sing. They are a little unforgiving of weak technique. I now prefer Belcantos which I also use for Pizz gigs. They have a warmth and woodiness that to my ears is very desirable. However they don't have the 'cut' of the spiros. But unless you are playing in very loud ensembles it doesn't really matter.
    good luck
  3. paperbag1213


    Feb 12, 2010
    Los Angeles
    evah pirazzi...period :D
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I've used Evah Pirazzis, Permenants, Flat Chromesteels and a ton of others. I won't say that EPs aren't great strings, especially for arco, but they are not at all "spirocoreish". Anytime you ask a question like this, you have to understand that people will just start shouting out the names of their favorite strings. EPs are a different kind of sound, but fine strings if that's what you want.

    Flat Chromesteels would be more spirocore like, but easier under the bow. Permenents fit the bill too. Arco is very good. In my experience with them, out of the pack, they sound pretty aggressive pizz out of the pack, but mellow a lot pretty quickly, much darker than Spirocores on the lower strings after say a month.

    Thomastik Superflexibles are the "Spirocoreish, but a bit darker and easier under the bow strings". If that's the entirety of what you are going for, I would go there. Not that there aren't other strings to try, but thats the closest step for you. You can go as broad as you want in your search, but it doesn't get easier or cheaper when you do.
  5. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    While I like the EPs I have found the EP Weich G too floppy for bowing. It seems to have a lot of amplitude when played arco, causing the string to buzz near the nut. To remedy that I replaced it with a Permanent G. So far, so good. I think the Perm G might be a tad brighter and thinner than the EP but it doesn't feel out of place and it solves the buzzing problem. It also seems to have a quicker pizz response than EPs. That might have something to do with the age of the EPs -about 7 mos.
  6. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Another idea is this; I really like the Thomastik Belcantos as a much more arco-friendly string that also works well, pizz. The pizz and arco sounds are darker than Spiros, but the pizz works for me. Tension is low, too, right around where Spiro Weichs are.

    I have used the A'Addario hybrids; I never enjoyed them and found them lacking for both arco and pizz. Frankly, many things will work better, in my limited experience.

    Seems like Superflexibles, Permanents, Belcantos, or EP Weichs would all beat the experience you are having with the D'Addarios.
  7. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    With strings, it's important to keep in mind that individual preferences vary and that there can be very strong interactions between string types and basses. Case in point. I really like Spiros, Dominants, and EP weichs (among others). The one time I played Belcantos I found them to be just awful for pizz.

    Probably just a setup issue but I can see why you'd want to change the string rather than the setup, unless you really like the EP weichs.
  8. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    Yes. It was more of a quick fix. At some point I might take it to the luthier with the Evah G on so he can address it.
  9. At the stage you are talking about strings are not really going to be what makes any difference. Just work on your bowing and don't let thinking about gear be a hang up.
    Strings make a difference, but you really need solid technique to really tell what difference they are making, so just put the work in.
    All the strings mentioned here are not going to hold anyone back so I'd really encourage you to get into a total mindset of solving your problems by practice/technique instead of gear.

    Change to one of the strings mentioned when you are at a place where your music really needs one of the subtle differences - not to solve a technical issue.
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