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Please help define "Dark" and "bright"

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Hector Wolff, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. I associate "bright" with "trebley" or in extreme cases, "tiny or metalic". I also understand it to mean easy to hear the true pitch. Is this about right?

    I also associate "dark" with more "bassey" or deeper in tone, but does "dark" also mean less "clear" or harder to distinguish pitches?

    Also does "dark" imply more overtones and a fuller or more rich sound?

    Is it also possible to have "bright" strings with more overtones or a fuller, richer sound? Or would that automatically make the "bright" string, less "clear"?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I have always seen those terms very much the same as you defined. Although, I have never taken dark to imply that the string produces a richer tone.

    The same terms often go to describe basses themselves. So, I have always thought that the idea if noting a string to be bright or dark was really an effort to match a string with a bass.

    For example, often newer, stiff basses will sound better with a darker sounding string, as they tend to be naturally bright. Or others might try a brighter string to help tame a big, boomy bass with lack of focus.

    My teacher uses very bright strings on his basses. Both are in the 200 years old range and are extremely responsive, so with those basses, the deep, full bottom end comes naturally, and the brighter strings seem to bring out the warmth and sweetness. Those same strings on my hybrid student bass would sound very harsh and brittle.
  3. Thanks Chasarms, for the response.

    So you take "dark" as deep or bassy, but also less distinct. So that the true pitches produced are harder to hear?