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Pirastro Pizzicato

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by MerryPrankster, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. Has anyone tried these? I want that sweet Chambers sound on Kind of Blue and these look like a good option. Any suggestions to other , CHEAPER strings that get tone like this would be welcome.
  2. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
  3. Man, I don't want to sound corny...but....your sound comes from within YOU. If you're just trying to get in that PC "ballpark" of sound, and i'm hoping that's what you're doing here...you're going at it backwards. In my opinion, work towards getting that sound with any string, then refine it by trying strings that will get you where you want to go.
    Hopefully, you will sound like you, no matter what strings or even what bass you're playing on.
  4. I have developed my sound to some extent , but strings will change your sound. Varicors and Obligatos arent getting that vintage sound I'm looking for. I'll probably get plain G+D and wrapped lower two from lemur (cheapest gut option).

    And sorry about starting this new thread , didnt see the other one.
  5. What a concept. :rolleyes:
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I want the same as you and despite the fact that your technique is some of it, the strings are a factor too. You won't get PC tone from really bright steel strings no matter how you play.

    I've tried the Pizzicato and still have them in fact (off the bass now). Pirastro sent me a set when there still in development. They are nice but definitely not the PC sound IMHO. I have Olivs and Eudoxas on the bass now and they are much closer. I also have Chordas (Pirastro's Baroque string set with unwound gut G and D and huge roundwound A and E) that I will try out soon. These are being used for jazz by Ben Wolfe and John Webber to name too. Jon Burr was also using them for a time but he now uses a full set of Eudoxas. I'm thinking the Chorda G and D and the Eudoxas on A and E are the way to go. However Pirastro apparently just put their prices up yet another 15% (after 9% last year)...

    You might also want to look at the "hand-made" guts from Daniel Larson and Damian Dlugolecki not to mention Aquila Strings.
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Another issue is that strings VERY different on different basses. Some basses are so dark and strong in the fundamental that you almost have to have a bright string on them to get the warmth of the overtones. On stiffer basses, these same strings sound like a cat in heat.

    As to Paul's thoughts, I'll say that at my last lesson, I played my teacher's 150-year-old Italian with his bow. Total appraised value of the two combined is well over $50K. The bass would be appropriate for any player of any level in any Orchestra setting.

    Guess what? I still sounded like me.

    When he plays my Shen hybrid with my bow, which I would characterize as a quality, intermediate student setup, Guess what? He sounds like a professional symphony bassist in what may be one of the top 10 symphonies in the country.

    There is a ton of discussion about strings and the differences. I think it can be expected. If this was a car enthusiast site, we'd probably talk about spark plugs. But as you know, spark plugs aren't going to make a Toyota into a Ferrari.

    In reality, there are a few different kinds of strings based on construction. Gut, solid core, braided core, synth core, etc. One is probably appropriate for you depending on what you want to do with the bass. Beyond that, the differences are pretty subtle.

    Not to say that you shouldn't experiment. That's part of the fun.
  8. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Chasarms makes a bunch of good points. One of the important things based on what he said is that a lot of guys like the gut sound and there are a lot of non-gut strings out there that claim to sound like gut but many people find (as I did) that there is nothing really like gut except gut! It's like pickups - they all claim to sound as good as a mic. Except guess what, not many do. I've tried various strings and various pickups. And now I use gut strings and a mic because in my opinion it's the only way to get the sound I want. Especially if you're really talking about the Kind Of Blue PC sound, unwound gut on the top strings are probably the only way to go.
  9. kwd


    Jun 26, 2003
    silicon valley
    No worries about that. As it turned out, a lot of good information was posted on this thread.

    Let us know how the Lemur economy guts work out. I've considered that option myself.

  10. Dont hold your breath...I'm short on money and my first concern will be a K&K Golden Trinity upgrade...(mic and blender) My teacher has one and he says the sound is great (although he is using a realist as opposed to my fishman bp100)

    And also , my school owned plywood is a VERY tight bass. very thin sounding. Im going to be switching it with a nice carved top and will likely throw Obligatories on it for a nice fat tone.(already have them)

    PS. I have heard that unwound gut can be tempermental and short lived (just hearsay)....I am on a tight budget :bawl: how long will they sound at least decent?
  11. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I put a new set of Chordas on my bass last night. Perhaps they would work better on another bass but on mine they are not happening. I'm going to take them off and put back the set of prototype Pizzicatos that Pirastro sent me last year. In fact I might even try the nylon G as well just to see what that's like.
  12. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas

    When I first put Chordas on my bass, I didn't quite know what to think. The D in particular really threw me. It seemed unresponsive and dead sounding. I gave it some time and after a few days I started to really dig the sound. The E is not the easiest to play either. It takes a lot to get it going. (Arco, a slight vertical movement helps to get it started.)

    Pirastro sent me some Pizzicatos too. I took them off right away. After the Chordas, they sounded thin to me. They are much easier to play though. I tried the nylon wrapped G, but it felt strange in relation to the smaller D string.
  13. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I put the Pizzicato strings back on last night but with the nylon covered G instead of the silver-wound G. These are definitely nice jazz strings but I find them lacking a bit in volume compared to the Olivs and Eudoxas. I think what I said the first time I reviewed them is that they would be good for playing with a nylon string guitar duo or other similar acoustic music. I find the sound is warm but just a little too subdued.

    Note: The name of these strings suggests that they are not designed for bowing at all. Despite that, some notes on bowing them:

    The reason why these strings are very hard to bow is that the tension is extremely low. In addition, the nylon G is as you would expect, very hard to get notes started on (even harder than an unwound gut string). Additionally when you have the nylon G on, it is so substantially thicker than the silver-wound D that without substantial curvature on the bridge, it's almost impossible to bow the D without double-stopping the G as well.

    If you're playing pizzicato only, these are a nice string to go for. However I personally think that at least on my bass, that some combination of Olivs and Eudoxas has more punch and volume and are very bowable as well.

    I really wish it was possible to get the Olivs and Eudoxas in a larger gauge. I'd definitely go for larger strings of the same construction especially if it would get me more volume. I do recall seeing one or both of these strings in different gauges in an earlier Lemur catalogue but all current documentation seems to indicate there is only one gauge.

    I think my next experiment will be Chorda G, Oliv D, Oliv A and Eudoxa E. I previously tried the Oliv A and found it a bit dead but I want to revisit it and I expect that it should be easier to bow than the Eudoxa A.

  14. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I think on a different bass I might like the Chordas better but the bottom line for me is that they are a heck of a lot of work to play and what I'm getting out of them doesn't make it worth the effort. I can get a lot more sound out of the Olivs and Eudoxas (but not the Pizzicatos). I actually found the Chordas not too hard to play arco. Although the unwound guts can be slippery at times and obviously have a pretty raw sound, the higher tension of the strings makes them reasonably easy to bow. The Pizzicatos and Eudoxas for example definitely have lower tension. I do like a thicker G though and that's why I'm tempted to keep the Chorda G even with the Olivs and Eudoxas.

    The Chordas were a lot of fun but I think if I was going to use them, it would have to be on a different bass and probably on a dedicated bass.
  15. Eudoxas are available in three gauges, but light and heavy must be special ordered.
    Query Lemur Music by email about this.
  16. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I suggested yesterday today I tried the folowing:

    Chorda G
    Oliv D
    Oliv A
    Eudoxa E

    And so far I'm loving it. It's just two different strings from what I was using for the last two years (Oliv G and D, Eudoxa A and E) but the difference is quite substantial. Basically the Chorda G and Oliv A darken the sound up and lessen the sustain so that you get more punch, thump a la the "vintage" sound. In addition, the Oliv A is easier to bow than the Eudoxa A and a better match with the set. The Chorda G of course is somewhat harder to bow and has a pretty raw sound. In terms of gauge, the entire is very well balanced with the sizes being 0.07", 0.08", 0.09", 0.1". It felt weird to me with the straight Chorda set having a bigger D than an E.

    This is probably as close as I'm going to get to the old PC sound that works well on my bass.

  17. Norre


    Jan 5, 2001
    Antwerp, Belgium

    Thanks for posting about your "research" :)
    I was wondering ... if you didn't play any arco at all, would you still use these strings or would you prefer the Garbos, Animas, Pizzicatos or even other strings to get that PC-like sound ?

  18. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    That's a good question. I have not tried the Garbos although I did play the Animas for quite a while. I think this is where you really need to know your own bass quite well. My bass for example doesn't have a really strong low end and hence the Chordas on the bottom end were really weak although part of it could have been technique. Those strings are really, really big and it was hard to really lay into them.

    There's no doubt that for the true PC sound you really need to have unwound guts on at least the G and probably the D too. If I had to pick one set I'd be tempted to say Chorda G and D with Oliv A and Eudoxa E. Depending on the bass, Eudoxa A or Oliv E (which I've never used) may also work.

    The thing is in all of this experimenting, I've realised one thing. Firstly, as much as I LOVE that PC sound, with only bass, I can't afford to go right to the extreme. With my one bass I play mostly straightahead jazz and a lot of it is Miles and Coltrane stuff where PC, Jimmy Garrison or Ron Carter played on guts. However I also accompany vocalists including a regular duo with a vocalist. Subsequently I play quite a few latin tunes (which the Chordas really sucked at), ballads, and I bow (typically slow stuff for jazz as well as some Baroque stuff in a chamber ensemble). If I had an extra bass I could dedicate to the sound, I could go for the REAL PC sound (the Chorda D would be the first definitive direction in that route from my current setup) but unfortunately I can't.

    I got a message yesterday from someone that studies with Ben Wolfe (who uses the Chordas) and he uses the Goetz guts. He suggested I leave the Chordas on the bass for three weeks and they would open up a lot more. Unfortunately I don't have three weeks as I have gigs to play. Again if I had another bass I could address this issue. I am quite sure though that the Chorda A and E did not suit my bass at all.

    There's no doubt with my current sound that it is very PC-like. Even my setup before that (Oliv G and D and Eudoxa A and E) which I've used for the last two years was definitively gut and I've had people tell me it sounded just like PC - I think what they meant was that it really made them think of PC.

    I definitely do not think the Pizzicatos are the PC sound even with the nylon G. They are a great pizz jazz string but have too much sustain. The Chorda and Olivs have much more of that punch and thump and focus.

  19. Is the nylon wrap round or flat?

    How is the gauge in comparison to an Oliv or Eudoxa G?

    What's the tone difference between the silverPizzicato G and Nylon one?

    I also suppose the silver Pizzicatos are flat wound, like Eudoxas?

  20. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The nylon wrap is round. The gauge is about the same as an Oliv or Eudoxa G. The nylon Pizzicato lacks the fuller sound of the silver-wound string. I didn't have it on for a long time but to be honest it sounds like it plastic around the string. I find at least with my own technique that the sound I generate contains a lot of the surface of the string. When I played the nylon Pizzicato G, it really did sound like plastic on gut to me. Admittedly I didn't have it on that long - a couple of days. I like the Chorda G much, much better and it is bowable too.

    The silver-wound Pizzicatos are actually roundwound.

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