As many of you know, I have used the Pirastro gut strings for a number of years now - both the Olivs and the Eudoxas. I did try the Pizzicatos and the wound Chordas (A and E) for a very brief time too but most of my time has been with the Olivs and Eudoxas. Currently I'm using a Chorda G (unwound gut), Oliv D, Eudoxa A, and a Superflexible (non-gut) E. I am very happy with the sound and the response of this setup. Over the years, I have had several situations where the windings have become separated from the gut cores. In some cases the windings would just spread apart but in other cases (or eventually), they would become totally separated from the cores. In these cases, the outer windings (the silver or chrome-steel bands) would sometimes be entangled with the thin copper wire that is normally underneath. I think the first time this happened, I lost an entire set of strings. I had to leave my bass in my office for a few weeks while I was moving house. I was not able to get to the bass for days at a time, and the humidity was very low in the office. I believe, that the cores shrunk and because I could not detune the strings, the windings were separated from the cores. That set (Olivs on the top and Eudoxas on the bottom) was totally unusable. Pirastro did replace the entire set. Since that time, I have been diligent about detuning my strings to ensure that they would never be tuned over pitch. I would detune them below pitch if I expected to be away from the bass for more than a day and if I expected the conditions in the room to change. Also, I had been playing the bass in one location and then brought to another and left it there immediately, I would detune the strings since I would expect them to be affected as they would become adjusted to the new room. During all this time, many other people, including a number of players here in Ottawa, have told me they have had the same problems. In many cases, their strings fared even worse than mine. I have always thought that avoiding the overtuning was the way to avoid problems. Last week, I had to get my fingerboard dressed. When I picked up the bass, the strings were not at pitch - quite flat. My luthier remarked that the strings had been going flat all day. When I brought the bass home, I started to gradually tune up the strings. At one point I heard a snap. I looked done and saw that the windings on the Eudoxa A were really badly separated at the bridge. At first I thought perhaps they had snagged on the bridge but I am quite sure this did not happen as the groove is well rounded and lubricated. The windings on the Oliv D are also separated in two places between the bridge and tailpiece. The A now has an annoying buzz. I am not sure exactly what happened. The only thing I can surmise is that the strings did not like being in a state of zero tension while the fingerboard was being dressed. I don't know if perhaps oiling the strings before putting them back on might have helped. I don't know exactly what the strings were exposed to at my luthier's shop. It was unusually warm in there when I dropped off the bass. I did not tell him specifically not to overtune the strings but I know he knows not to do it and in this case the strings were very flat anyway when I got the bass (which would seem to correlate with the warm, slightly humid conditions in the shop although it was not as warm in there when I picked up the bass two days after I dropped it off). I must admit that there might have been some minor separation before I dropped the bass off. In any case, I am sick and tired of this expensive problem even though apart from my first major experience, I've been pretty much problem-free. I started to investigate other alternative sources for gut strings. I am not at all interested in using any synthetic strings as they just don't do it for me. I am most intrigued by the strings offered by Dan Larson (Gamut Strings). Especially as he offers copper wound strings that are polished so that the windings are smooth and also offers a range of gauges. He also offers silver-plated windings which are roundwound. More importantly he also offers a rewinding surface which basically gives you a new string at a fraction of the cost (you can do this about three times as they have to tie a knot each time so the string gets shorter with each rewinding). Interestingly, I described the problems I've had with the Pirastro guts and Dan says this is a problem with all wound gut strings on the bass. The only thing is that most "real" gut string manufacturers do not offer wound D strings. The standard thing is to offer unwound G and D and wound A and E although sometimes they offer unwound A strings too. Dan says he tried making a copper wound D and it didn't work well. The Oliv D is my favourite string. And it works beautifully with the Chorda G (or an Oliv G). I tried the Chorda D (unwound) and found it quite dead sounding although that was on my previous (deader sounding) bass. I also prefer to have a D that is not thinner than an A. Although I do live in a city where the climate ranges from really hot and humid in the summer to very dry and cold in the winter, I really do make a lot of effort to minimise the effects on the bass and the strings. Perhaps in the end I will be forced to give up on gut strings because of this problem - that would be sad. Or perhaps I just have to face the fact that the life of the string is defined by when the windings come apart and not when it starts to sound dead. Dan Larson says the gut core improves over time so that a rewound string should sound just as good if not better. Hopefully that option will ease the pain to the pocket.