Polyurethane strings?

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by T-Bird, May 10, 2009.

  1. Hi.

    The steels (Pirastro somethings ;)) are killing me. Not playabilitywise, but the sound isn't quite what I'd like.

    I'm not quite comfortable with the idea of dropping all that cash for the guts at this point either.

    The trimmer line "weedwhackers" seemed a good idea, and as they're not widely available over here as a DB set, I hit the gardening stores.

    The 3mm is the thickest round section line I can find on the shelve??? As anyone who has tried them, knows that 3mm nylon makes a decent D and a floppy A, something I had to discover myself. Silly me not researching enough about the thicknesses beforehand ;).

    When I bought a couple of timing belts for my KTM GS600, I got Optibelt catalog from the sales guy. Optibelt has polyurethane round section belts in different shore A hardnesses: 82, 85, 88, 92 & 98. The thicknesses start from 2mm for the standard RR and are in 1mm increments. Unfortunately the RR Plus with the tension cord starts from 6mm.

    I couldn't find the tensile strenght and elongation figures for the Optibelt products, but if my memory serves me correctly, the round belts I have seen in use have been under quite a force. Obviously I haven't got a clue whether those belts have been reinforced or not and I haven't been able to "tune and play" the belts either :D.

    The round belts aren't too expensive, about 3-6€/m, but they aren't exactly cheap either. The minimum order lenght of 30m somewhat pumps the total price up also, so if any of You have tried round polyurethane belts as a string material or in the industry applications, any experiences would be highly appreciated.

  2. MR PC

    MR PC Inactive

    Dec 1, 2007
    Any string with plastic material that sheds easily could be toxic......... :D

    Seriously, why not just purchase a set of weedwhackers here, save the hassle of trial and error at the hardware store:


    Pretty cheap,IMO

    I'm hope that these are a least made of "food grade" plastic. Not that that couldn't be toxic as well.
  3. Hi.

    Thanks for the reply MR PC.

    That site was among the first that I found, and as they don't list the thicknesses, I didn't know any better. As a matter of a fact, not too many do list the individual thicknesses.

    The problem is that I have the "curse" of having a degree in mechanical engineering and always wanting to do things in a different way ;). That in mind, just buying something ready-made isn't that appealing most of the time. That includes anything music related.

    Usually the reason that something isn't used innovatively is for a good reason, but sometimes alternative uses of products is beneficial. At least that's my experience.

  4. MR PC

    MR PC Inactive

    Dec 1, 2007
    Hi T-Bird,

    Yes, I understand that desire to do it yourself, and it's true that you never know what the benefits of exploring alternative materials might be. Lots of great instruments have been born that way. Good luck. The string gauge/tension issue for DB continues......
  5. PaulKing


    Apr 17, 2004
    London, UK
    Pop over to rockabillybass.com for more info on whacker guages than you could ever read. Look for posts by Martin and Mortem Vitae, they're the experts.
  6. Sounds like a fairly drastic move. More than likely the problem can be solved with technique. We all end up have our string preferences but in the end the issues they solve are minor.
    Arco is going to be tough, meaning so is the most proven and efficient practice method.
    You are just not going to engineer your way around developing a sound, solid technique.
    Apologies if you already have!
  7. Hi.

    Thanks guys for replying.

    I found rockabillybass.com a while ago and there's tons of information, that's for sure. Been visiting there every once and a while and as I've been playing DB only for a very short while, I have a lot to learn.

    I doubt that the problem I'm having can be solved just by changing the technique, because it's the lack of funds for guts/dislike of the sound of steels.

    When I'm visiting the warehouse the next time I'll buy some lenght of the polyurethane cord.

    It will take quite a while, but I'll report back.

  8. jschall84


    Mar 14, 2007
    fort wayne, in
    Bad MammaJamma
    oh yeah and superior bassworks is having a sale on dirty gut colored weedwacker strings. $18.99 shipped. look for them on myspace. Many guys have used them and say they are way better than any other weedwacker string.
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