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Responsive Arco Strings (?)

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Rob Hunter, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. In my ongoing search for the perfect arco string, I thought I'd try something different and focus on just one element: What string do you find is the most response to the bow?

    So without thinking about all the other critical things (sound, feel, tension, breakage, etc.) what string can be grabbed by the bow the easiest and cleanest?

    In the past, I've used (in order) Helicore Hybrids, Corellis, Obligatos and Flexocors ('92). I'd put Flexocors at the top for bow response….
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Flex 92's, Dominants, Jargars -- from the strings that I've tried, which is almost all of them...
  3. conte2music

    conte2music Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2005
    Dobbs Ferry, NY
    I've been using a flexocor G, original flexocor D and A, and a permanant E. The flexocor is a quick grab but not scratchy like other g's. The original's are nice, dark and a real dream to bow. The Permanant E is really responsive and killer sounding on my bass...crisp.

    I'd like to try the Flex Stark E that Ken has praised. Other than the Flex 92's you haven't really tried an arco string. They are all mostly considered hybrid strings. I played the Helicore Hybrids for almost a year because I was super low on cash and I hated them. I think they are quite possibly the "worst of both worlds" string...haha

    Best of luck,
    ErikvanD likes this.
  4. I have been playing the Heliocore Orchestra Mediums on my Shen Hybrid, for a bit more than two years - mostly arco. I just switched to the Flexicore '92 Mediums with the stark E, because I wanted a bit fuller, deeper sound and maybe more power. I got the sound I think, but after ten days, the G is not settled down yet and the set has not evened out yet.

    Sound aside, I feel the Heliocore Orchestras were a little easier to bow, a little less pressure required and a little quicker to start, but they are very close. The Flexicore stark E certainly requires more effort and concentration than the Medium Heliocore E, but it probably is not fair to compare them.

    It could also be that since the Flexicores are new to me, they seem slightly harder to bow, and once I get used to thier characteristics I will feel differently.
  5. Any thoughts on FlatChromesteel, Compas 360s, Animas, Permanent or Olivs (in terms of bow response)? I've never tried any of these….
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    FCS's are a lot like Spirocores, which I don't think are bad at all with bow, once you have your chops up a bit. I don't use them because my bass is bright as hell and the Spiros with the bow on my bass will take the color outta your teeth. Olives I've only played on others' basses, only for a tune or two, and with the other guy's bow. I thought that the D and G, the only ones I got to try, bow pretty nicely. A bit of that gut/stick sound, but not ugly at all.
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I think the most responsive strings are the least clean strings, that one discounts the other. To me, the most responsive arco strings are the ones that vibrate most freely and don't have so much damping material in their construction.

    edit: I just read from D'addario's website that pizz strings don't work well with the bow because the bow messes with the string vibrating as it needs to. That's above my head and I don't have a problem with that argument anyway, but we're still talking about reducing response.

    Spiros are super responsive but not the cleanest, where the flexocores are not as responsive but much cleaner.

    Gotta watch out because bowing technique is important too and will do much to improve the responsiveness of any arco string. Plus, many of the hot arco bassists play in the high register for the fastest maneuvers...and any string will improve response as one plays higher.
  8. That's a good point.

    Is there a list of arco strings posted anywhere? I did look and couldn't find it here (maybe it's elsewhere?)
  9. Could be a good idea, but the border between arco and hybrid is vague. Same between hybrid and pizz.
    Many players will have different opinions.

    As a very general statement, I'd say look at Pirastro strings if you want the best arco strings. But they make strings for all purposes too, some hybrids (FlatChromesteel, Obligatos, Permanents, Eudoxas) some pizz (Jazzers, Pizzicatos), and of course arco (Flexocors, Original Flexocors, Original FlatChromesteel, Chromcor, Oliv, Chorda).
    Of course, some players will use an arco string for pizz...

    Not an easy task!
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Of the strings I have tried, Flexocors are the best pure arco string. I don't know that they really start that much easier, but the tone is excellent.

    Oddly, IME, the easiest string to actually start with a bow is the Obligato. The tone is less pleasant, but they start very easy.