"Responsive" Arco Strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Rob Hunter, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. My thanks for feedback re: earlier request on choosing strings.

    I've decided to focus on just one bass and set it up for arco. What orchestral strings do you people find the most responsive to bow? I'm currently using Obligatos and they're pretty good for most situations, but I sometimes have trouble getting them to speak with the bow - well, certainly the E string (I REALLY have to dig in there).

    * Also * when suggesting a bowable string, any comments on tension would be helpful!

    This will be my first set of strings for strictly arco purposes (have used Helicore Hybrids, Corellis and Obligatos in the past).

    Thanks so much,
    - Rob

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Original Flexocores are a really dark sounding string that plays wonderfully arco. I think you will find that the E will be much easier to start. They don't roll like the Obligatos. They are higher tension than the Obligatos however, much closer to Spirocore Orchestra. If you want a little less tension the "new" Flexocores are great as well(both are meant for arco), however they are brighter.
  3. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    The lower strings are always harder to start. You can spend money on new strings as you see fit, but slowing your bow down, putting more weight on the string, and/or bringing the bow up to the fingerboard will help you more than anything else to get the E going...
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'd say that's one way to do it, maybe if you're still using Pop's rosin. I go the other way with cello rosin, and in my case pressure on the bow is your worst enemy.

    Bow speed is critical in either case, and I saw someone mention somewhere around here about starting the string with the stick is much akin to pizzicato, which I find to be true.
  5. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Right, I forgot to mention all the arco-friendly rosins on the market to spend your money on...
  6. Well, rosin and technique aside, I'll likely go with the Flexocors. But does anyone have any additional thoughts on Thomastik Superflexibles or Helicore Orchestras? I'd be interested on comments re: bow responsiveness and overall tension.

    Thanks again,
    - Rob
    P.S. Yes, I did read the newbie section on strings - now I'm more confused than ever! : )
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I switched my Shen from Obligatos to Flexocors (not the originals) and was amazed at how much richer I found the arco sound to be.

    On my bass, Obligatos offered a thinner arco tone that really annoyed me. The G sounded like a dying cat.

    The pizz sound is fine with me as well. I will agree the the obligatos sounded better pizz, but to me arco tone was not worth it.

    I have heard that Velvet strings are very responsive to the bow and don't give away your pizz tone, but that is a pretty expensive experiment.

    I plan on trying velvets after the holiday season. I don't want to switch strings until after things slow down a bit.
  8. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    I'm not an arco player, but I guess the Permanents would be more responsive than Flexocors, and also have a brighter tone.
  9. +1, and I do play arco! It's a heck of a pizz string, too! Not at all as bright as you might think. Not brighter than Spiros, IME.

  10. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I recently gave Original Flexocore's a run. I don't remember which version of the Flexocore's require more bow pressure than the others, but I felt I had to dig in more with the "Original" Flexo's I tried.

    So, I switched to Permanent's. They sound much better on my bass than the Flexo's and I don't need to dig quite so hard. Also, if your string height is set up more for arco work (a little lower) the Pirastro's growl a bit and sustain pretty well for pizz. I'd call them an overlooked "hybrid", depending on your string height.