Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by KingOfAmps, May 20, 2001.

  1. Among the Pirastros (and NOT the gut ones), which is the best option for mostly bowing but pizz too? I realize that a string well suited for the bow won't offer much pizz sustain--and that's OK. But instantaneous pizz decay (like a dead string) won't do either. And what about among the Thomastiks? Which of theirs fits the bill? My experience has been with Helicore hybrids which have been pretty good on pizz and I thought would be good with the bow but are NOT. It takes WAY too much time and effort to get the E & A speaking. I've read most all the previous threads and noticed many recommend mixing brands and I'd be cool with that. I've got to get these hybrids off quick so I can use my bow.
  2. There's only one string that will do both - Obligato by Pirastro. I use them on both my jazz bass and my symphony bass.
    Rather than go through it all here, I suggest you do a search in DB, keyword Obligato. There's a ton of stuff already posted by alot of players.
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Besides Don's suggestion for the Obligatos, I will add the Permanents, if you don't mind a stiffer string, and like a brilliant tone. According to Pirastro's technical manager, they are designed for about 80% arco / 20% pizz, but their pizz tone is good too. Full tone with good bottom and brilliant at the same time, and acceptable sustain.
    The Obligatos are more affordable and use a synthetic core, but I'd expect a much longer life from the Permanents, with their carbon-steel rope-core.
    The Dominants.
    They're also a synthetic core string, but quite stiff, and they break easily. They must fit your bass dimensions carefully. (the metal-wound part of the string must NOT reach the peg)
    Dave Young plays on Dominants.
  4. Don,

    Thanks for the input. I looked at the threads pertaining to the Obligato. Wow! Think I'll try a set if for no other reason than you are at least mostly satisfied; I'm sure I won't complain. One more question though: Will the fact that they are not steel-cored affect any "pick-up-ability"? (Have just one bass, know what I mean?)


    Many thanks to you too! In addition to the Obligatos I'll order a set of the Permanents. I'll A/B them. Based on the previous posts I'll receive the Permanents first 'cuz the Obligatos were bought out by Don (LOL). The tidbit you mentioned about string-life is important to me. Thanks. One more question for you, Francois: Why not the Superflexibles? What is the starkest difference between them and the Permanents?
  5. I am a newbie on this side so lack of skill may be my problem but I have no problem getting the E and A moving, well maybe the E a little but I like the tone of the A string, I guess its another Your mileage may vary thing. The things I have not liked about the Hybrids so far is that the D and G produce to much harmonic over tone, again it may be because I am new to the game, they don't sound bad to me for Pizz but for Arco the above is my experience, guess I should have waited for Obligato's, hopefully they will tone down a little in a month of playing.
  6. Yea, they do sound good pizz (though I can think of at least two other brands that have a superior ((to me)) pizz tone/response/sustain). However, me being much less experienced with the bow I really don't want to fight ANY of the strings in the beginning. Yet, if I put the bow down for a few minutes to jazz/walk/pizz/whatever-without-the-bow, I'm looking for a string that has SOME sound. As for the hybrids, I naively thought they would at least be bowable across four strings. But their not.
  7. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Jazzbasser, I share your frustration about the Helicore Hybrids: for arco use they are worthless and I'll stress again that their "hybrid" name is misleading customers choice.

    As François said, Permanent are stiffer, and I found them to be lacking of sustain for jazz. Their are primarily a string for arco playing.

    The only Dominant that I have tried is an E. It sits right now on my bass, next to three Obligato G, D & A, because I find it gives a faster arco response than Obligato E. It scratches more than Obligato though, and I don't think I would like a full set of Dominants on my bass.

    My first bass (an all ply Musima) was strung with Superflexibles. Not a bad set to start with, but stiffer and scratchier than Obligato. Would not survive A/B test, I think.

    Corelli Tungsten (TX) should not be ruled out. The music school I go to recently aquired a 3/4 Cosi (carbon fiber body) bass which came with a set of TX. I recon it's a nice set of string, suitable for arco and pizz. Maybe a bit too bright and not warm enough in comparison to Obligato, but still a decent "hybrid" set.
  8. Jazzbasser
    If you put on Obligatos, be aware that they stretch more than any other string, so you'l be retightening constantly for a few days. This may cause the bridge to tilt upward, so watch it and reset as necessary
  9. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    The Superflexibles are better at pizz than Arco I think. That's also what Olivier seemed to say. Permanents are made primarily for arco playing, so you'll get less sustain than Superflexibles.
    Arco strings are more dampened than pizz strings, to get a smoother, darker tone, that's why they have less sustain.
  10. AlexFeldman


    Jun 18, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    When you say 'reset' the bridge, what does this entail doing?

    Actually, my bridge is /bent/ upwards (the feet are still flat on the top). This ticks me off, and I know it isn't right. I use Thomastik Spirocores and I am also considering the switch to Obligatos.
  12. Yeah, that's what I meant.
    When the strings have fully stretched, I loosen the strings, tilt the bridge slightly downward, and quickly retighten the strings. The strings pull the bridge up, and when they're at pitch, the feet are flat again
  13. The Dominants.
    They're also a synthetic core string, but quite stiff, and they break easily. They must fit your bass dimensions carefully. (the metal-wound part of the string must NOT reach the peg)
    Dave Young plays on Dominants.[/QUOTE]

    I had a peice wrapped around the peg , still do , on the E , and have no problems with breaking . but !, the string length is like 39 1/2 , 40" or so...
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    On the Thomastik issue:

    I'm on my second set of Spirocore Solos at standard pitch, playing a lot of pizz, a lot of arco, and about 50/50 acoustically/amped. I like them a lot. I've probably lost a bit of volume next to Orchestra gauge Spiros, but the sound is looser, more open, and less mid-rangy than the Orchestra Spiros, and louder than Obligatos. This will vary from bass to bass. They bow great and handle a lot like Orch. Spiros for pizz, although a little slower (pizz) if you're really trying the shred out bop lines.

    Thomastick Weichs bow very nicely, but I had too many complaints about my tone (I hang with a lot of Israelis -- as a general rule they have no problem sharing opinions with those they love). I've heard people, Jay Anderson included, get a beautiful sound with Weichs.

    Dominants I thought bow nicely as well. The thing that I though was neatest about these is that the arco tone was consistent across the bass in all registers. By this I mean, the first A on the G string, the first A on the D, and the octave A were remarkable close. I found them short lived (offset by low price), and very slow for hammer-on/pull-off techniques (bop-pizz), and generally stiff and unfriendly feeling for pizz as well.

    My only general complaint about the Spirocore line is that the D string is kind of nasal-y with The Stick. Not sure why. Orchs, Weichs and Solos all seem to have this.
  15. I have to agree with Sir Donosorous , The Obligatos are an amazing string , and i am judging from a set used on a jazz bass for 2 years before i put them on my bass! :D :bassist:
  16. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    I dunno. Maybe the previous owner had a light touch, but I've never seen any Obligatos be worth a damn after being played by someone with a big pizz for more than 6 months. Mine started falling apart after about 5 months.
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    They are also screwed up when you let the tension down all the way and then back up. I believe that there is a little mention of that on the package and have found it to be true.
  18. Ray -- you mentioned the Spiro solos, tuned to orchestra pitch, "bow great." Could you elaborate? Did you mean the sound is great, or they are relatively easy (responsive) to the bow, etc.? Your thoughts would be appreciated, as I am starting to think about my next set of strings. I do about equal amounts of arco and big-band jazz pizz. Thanks in advance.
  19. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The respond easily to the bow, although you have to tread a little carefully on the E and A as they can refuse to speak if you use to much pressure and speed.

    Tonewise, the briefest way that I can put it is that I can say that if you want to sound like Edgar, these string are the shortest path there, equipment-wise. They might be a little too vocal if you're sitting 9th bass or something, but otherwise you have a clear and present sound without a lot of screwing around.

    Let me add that I'm playing German, using cello rosing and white hair, and my work has been directed toward more of a solo voice rather than a section voice.

    Also note that you're likely going to be suffering some loss in volume from the other Thomastik flavors, if squeezing every decible out of your bass is important.
  20. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    Yea, the last set of Obligatos on my bass died in about 4 months (playing 3-4 hours almost every night). I liked them, but that gets expensive fast.