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Question about jazz strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by bassmonkeee, Oct 18, 2000.

  1. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    I have been playing electric for about 15 years, and I finally came over to the dark side about a year ago with my purchase of a Strunal 5/20 3/4. I am not sure what strings came with it, but they have different colored string windings, so I am assuming they are D'Addarios. I was thinking of trying some of the Picato Innovation strings (honestly, the only reason is because Michael Moore uses 'em), or Thomastik Infeld. Okay, now for the question:

    What is the difference between the 140H set and the 140B set from Picato? I saw them both at Lemur Music, and don't know the difference.

    Also, Which of the Thomastik sets are good for a newer upright player who will be doing mostly pizz with a little bit of Arco? I see 8 different models of strings and my eyes start to glaze over..I know that there is no "perfect" string, but I figure I only have fiberglass bows, anyway, so I am mostly looking for a good fingerstyle string. I would prefer less tension over higher tension, but if it sounds good, I will be happy.

    Any suggestions?


    [Edited by bassmonkeee on 10-18-2000 at 01:37 PM]
  2. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN

    There are several guys on this board that can blow you away with their knowledge of strings, so I'll merely address the questions about Picato Strings.

    140H - Means solid core. They are full-tension strings with a solid synthetic core. Primarily pizz.

    140B - Means braided core. These strings are designed more for arco.

    If it really came down to buying Picatos, you would probably be better off with the solid core. Based solely on your stated goals.
  3. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Well, the only reason I chose the Innovation strings is cuz you gotta start somewhere and I like Michael Moore and there were only two different sets, H and B, so I thought it would be easy to pick from just those two. I was pretty certain that my $1600 Strunal wouldn't sound as good as his bass no matter what I did to it. Let me phrase the question another way, then.

    With the qualifications being:

    a)Mostly pizz, b)mostly jazz, c)played live with a pickup.

    Should I look for braided core? Solid core? Nylon? Gut? Solo?

    I know it's still subjective, but I just feel overwhelmed when I look at the string pages at http://www.lemurmusic.com, or http://www.stringbass.com and would like to know what to avoid when buying doublebass strings. At ~$100 per set, I'd hate to buy some strings designed primarily for Orchestra work when I am playing mostly jazz.
  4. Bassmonkeee,
    I don't want to confuse you even more, but I heard that Michael Moore is not playing the Innovation anymore.
    I heard he switched to Thomastik Dominants.
    I also heard bad things about the Innovations, concerning durability.
    Maybe you should look at steel strings instead of synthetic core strings.
    Pirastro Jazzers are a very good pizz string.
    Helicore Hybrids too.
  5. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France

    Today, the middle of the road string is steel rope (braided) core. Solid steel core (i.e. Pirastro Chromcore) is very stiff and not good for pizz: stay away from them. Gut is the old school, but the price... so that string manufacturers are experimenting with synthetic material inside and outside of the strings (Obligato, Dominant, Supernyls, Velvet, Innovation, etc...) with mixt results.

    The standard string for jazz/pizz is Spirocore by Thomastik (weich for less tension). Jazzer (Pirastro), as well as the pizz and hybrid series of Helicore (D'Addario) are trying to get market shares in that pie. Those strings are good for what they are supposed to do: pizz with long sustain. Now if you want to play arco, it is not impossible, but they are rather on the scratchy side, not too rewarding.

    Corelli tungsten and Obligato are strings that I know are good for both pizz and arco.

    In addition to suppliers already mentionned above in that thread, you'll find some string info at: http://www.quinnviolins.com/
    (you'll find there a string color ID chart:http://quinnviolins.com/frames/idchart.htm)

    What else? Solo vs orchestra refers to the tuning: in the old days of gut, bass soloist used to tune a half step up for a brighter tone. The use has been kept. So if you get solo strings and tune them normally, they will have less tension: I'm not sure it is an accepted practice...

    Solo mi dos duros, I hope it helps.


    (Are braided strings any good for raggae ?)
  6. That is a whole step higher, not a half step.
    Solo-tuning is A,E,B,F# (top to bottom)
  7. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Thank you all very much. I have been trying to find a FAQ on the different type of strings to no avail. I will probably go with the Thomastik since I use their jazz flats on my Fender Jazz and love them.

    I have had the bass for about a year, and my life has been in upheaval since then, so I am just now able to dig in and attempt to conquer this beast.

    Thanks again.

  8. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Wrong: in fact, you are being conquered by that beast, this is just the beginning!
  9. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    ....But, what a way to go.....
  10. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Some thoughts-
    1)When you try out strings, have another bassist play while you listen from out front. That's the true sound. The player is in the worst position to hear the instrument.
    2)Michael Moore changes strings like you and I change our socks. You could say he played any of a half dozen brands and be correct. I have played all of his basses at least 25 times in the past year and a half and seen it first hand. The day I showed him my new orchestra bass, with Obligato strings, I thought for sure he was going to run to Gage's as soon as I left.
    3)What someone else likes to hear from his strings isn't necessarily what you want. Michael does not strive for long sustain the way so many pizz players do. For a few months, Michael was using D'Addario arco strings for pizz. Barely any sustain. You can't go by recordings, because what comes out of the mixing board isn't always what went in.
    4) As of September, Michael was back to Picatos. When David Gage asked why he was buying them when he could get them free from the manufacturer, Michael said he didn't want to wait. Vintage Moore.
    5) OK, bottom line: if sustain is the most important factor to you, Tomastik Spirocore and D'Addario Helicore pizz (red tailpiece windings) deliver the most. Helicore has less tension. If other factors matter more, you're in an area of taste, and I won't thrust mine at you. Every string has its champion.
  11. With that Strunal bass you might want something brighter and with a little more tension than a synthetic core string has. A student of mine has the same Strunal. When he bought it he tried out many different strings before bringing it home. He wound up getting it with the Spricores. They were the only string that gave his bass life. I cringed when I saw those strings on his bass but have to admit that after hearing it I realized the bass and the strings were a good match.
  12. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    That's good to know, 'cuz I just finished ordering a set of the Thomastik Spirocores.

    Thanks for your help!
  13. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    I agree. The Spirocores are great for Pizz...I use them in church and I was much happier with them than the superflexibles. The sustain is unbelievable. Regards, Brian
  14. I have a 11 year old German carved top, and I have used Thomastiks, Corellis, and Helicores on it, with varying but never wonderful results. Recently I tried some LaBella ropecores, and I have to say that they are the closest I have come to that Paul Chambers "sound". The drawback is they took a long time to stretch in and stay in tune, and I dont know yet how long they are going to last. However, they make me feel better about my playing, and that's the first string to do so.
  15. Marty, you are talking of LaBella gut strings, and not steel ropecores, don't you?
    The LaBella steel strings are:
    610 (full-steel core)
    RC610 (steel rope-core)
    7710 (black-nylon over steel rope-core)
    7700L and 7700M (steel on steel rope-core)
    Rope-core means braided.
  16. I meant 7720M (I think), I threw the packet away so cant quite remember!!!

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