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Santa got me obligatos...

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by 5stringDNA, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I had Helicore Hybrids on my M-1 for the last year, but had broken the E somehow and was in serious need of a new set. I'm really loving the Obligatos a lot. They give a much more pleasing arco sound, and are much smoother to bow, as well as easier on my hands. Great volume- I dig.
  2. That's good to hear. I have them coming on my new Upton. I hear soooo many pros and cons on sooo many strings. I know it's subjective, but I was wondering how they'd sound on a ply.

    By the way...did you like the 'Hybrids'?


    if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  3. hofner


    Dec 7, 2003
    obligatos sound excellent on carved AND plywood basses !
    if you look for a sweet, deep tone, close to old school sound, they're very nice.
    its a pretty versatile string too, imho, very cool for arco playing too.
    you'll love them for sure... :D
  4. Thanx...I'm jonesin' for that bass with the Oblis on it...right now, I'd take a set of rubber bands just so's I could get that dern doghouse in my hands. :hyper:

  5. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti

    Jun 7, 2005
    I had obligato's on my kolstien for a while. I couldn't stand the A and E bowing, they sounded wayy to bright and almost metalic. I loved them pizz though, but at the time that bass was purley classical. The G and D work very well for both styles.
  6. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I'm betting that you love the Obligatos compared to the Helicores. That was my experience from making the exact same change.

    Let us know how they compare on your bass.

    Happy New Year . . .
  7. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    THe helicore hybrids I liked quite a bit for pizz playing, but I didn't liek the the way the sounded or played when bowed. The Obligatos play "smoother" for lack of a better explanation. They have a sweeter smooth sound that I can get more nuances out of. I miss the darker more aggressive sound of the helicores a little, but overall the performance of the obligatos suits me much better. I would love to have a bright pizz bass and dark arco bass, but I definately can't afford two good instruments, heck.. i barely paid for teh Engalhardt. :D I am coming to really dislike the Engel though, as I find the neck very uncomfortable adn painful to play on, and the arco tone is not very inspiring. If only...
  8. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I got Obli D and G today while at Heinl's in Toronto. Can't wait to put them on -- I played a bass there that had them on...they'll match nicely with Spiros.
  9. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Before I started using gut D and G on my bass I used Obligato D and Gs and was very happy for a while on them. They sounded nice and warm, were easy on the hands, easy to slap. What I didn't like so much about them was on the bandstand they didn't cut well enough. They sounded great in my practice room, got a little lost on stage. I also used to use them on my EUB but switched because they were a little unfocused on that instrument and I couldn't really dig in on them. But I think they are terrific strings and I was very happly with them for quite a while.
  10. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Well, after playing out once, I still love the tone, but I am seeing why many people only use the D and G. The volume on the E and A strings is slightly weak in a performing environment, and there wasn't quite as much punch to the gut as i woudl ahve hoped. The Arco tone is still delicious however, and i do prefer them to the Helicores as an overall string, although the projection on the low end was a bit better with the helicores.
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I liked them very much on my Shen, except for the E. It would puke out on me under the bow.

    I did find that the claims of short life were true to my experience. After about 4-5 months, the arco tone was still there, but the pizz tone had quit on me.

    These days, I use flat chromesteels. They are similar in tone to Obligatos with a little more zing. Stiffer under the bow and and offer a much stronger bowed tone. If you consider buying just an E, try one. I played Obli D and G and FCS A and E for while with good results. They blend very well.
  12. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Cool, I'll keep that in mind Chas.
  13. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area

    Just got my bass set up and for the first time in ten years...tried something other than Spiros or Helicores...

    Love the boomier "old school" sound of the Obligatos...so much easier to play...much less tension.

    I am a pizz-only player and still find the articulation to be acceptable -- although they don't "cut" through the mix like the other strings I'm used to.

    These days, I've got a full time gig (3-4 nights per week) playing electric bass in a rock/blues band. Only have had a few engagements with upright this year so far -- and it's looking like that for a while to come! Anyway -- hope by playing a bit less frequently, the Obligatos will hold up longer. I'm a bit worried about their life span...especially if I end up doing more steady work on my upright.

    One thing about the Spiros...they last a long time!

    My other choice to consider when stringing up my bass was to try the Solo Spirocores, tuned to standard pitch. Might give that a try if the Obligatos frizzle out.

    Heard someone say the problem with the E string is that the metal wrap gets loose from the synthetic core and creates a kind of "slippage" when pulling pizz or drawing the bow. Is this true???
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I agree with just about everything written here about the Oblis. I've had two sets. I love the sound (in my living room) and they "feel" great on the hands. It is true that they don't seem to cut through very well and I find that when I really want to dig in, the strings tend to give up. As far as life-span goes, if you play every day, a year is about it-- even shorter if you de-tune them and bring them back up more than once or twice.

    Next for me will be the Dominants. I've read a ton of opinions here about them. I'd be happy to hear more.
  15. mister_k


    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I just put Oblis on (switching from Helicore Pizz) and so far I'm pretty happy. I don't know if I'll replace them with another set when they reach the end of their useful life though. As I tend to agree that digging in yields a less than satisfactory sound. But the bowing and general pizz (as well as a little slapping) are all very good.

    And for the record this is on a ply.

  16. Join the club.
  17. Aleph5


    Feb 24, 2004
    I just took my first plunge of buying new strings for my NS Cleveland ply. After much consternation over some non-universal opinions (Huh? You mean everyone doesn't agree on everything??), I just decided that Obligatos would be a good place to start. If Spirocores, which I was used to almost exclusively, are the extreme opposite to guts, I figured these would at least get me some of the way toward the "other" sound and bow better too.

    These totally do it for me. If the Cleveland wasn't already a cannon, it sure is now! Tons of bottom end. :hyper:

    The G & D are a little more gut-like and have an attack that is instantly more real and natural sounding to the way I think a bass should sound. The metallic tone and upper harmonics, which I didn't fully realize how much the Spiros were producing, are vastly reduced too, resulting in a darker, more organic tone. There is somewhat less sustain than the Spiros, but there's still plenty, which I generally like.

    The A & E have every bit as much sustain and growl as Spiros, at least while the strings are so new, also good w/ me, and too comes with reduced metallic tone, as with the other two strings. Very punchy with a lot of air.

    The lower tension, which I didn't think would be that noticeable according to the tension chart on TB, made my bass much easier to play. I no longer want to reduce my string height. It's about just right.

    The only drawbacks are getting the strings stretched out so they stay in tune, and there's a little bit of roll to the strings under the fingers, that while being somewhat objectionable is not really much of a hindrance. And the expected lifetime I know won't be "forever," like Spiros. At this point, I would gladly replace these once a year to keep this sound.

    At a practice everyone in my band heard the difference and complimented me on the tone. I didn't use an amp, which I sometimes do, and no one missed any volume. With the tone and the reduced tension, I was in heaven. I had not experienced this sensation since I first played an NS Cleveland! This truly was the biggest leap in gear since getting this bass and I honestly feel these strings have already made me a better player. :D

    Both these guys are right, though I don't think this advice is at all limited to bluegrass music.

    Oh yeah, they're a little easier to bow and my wife noticed the arco tone was better, but I guess me and the bow still need some work there! :smug:

    Final disclaimer: Since I've not tried many others, perhaps a lot of other strings are as good or better on similar basses, and maybe I'm not at the end of my journey. But I'm still surprised at the improvement and don't, just now, feel I need to continue the string journey.
  18. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Cool. They're great strings. I really enjoyed my time on the Obligatos. I could easily find my way back to them at some point.
  19. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I played Oblis on a neat little bass last night after having Flex 92's on my bass now for about 3 1/2 months. Actually, there were three of us bass sorts at the gig, switching off on the thing. To my ear, after the Flexs, the Oblis sounded not too different from Spiros -- especially with the bow. When I heard Oblis on my bass after playing Spiros I had the same comments that I've read above.

    Kinda funny how what things sound like depends on where you are :)
  20. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I have to challenge the earlier statement that they last about year. Or at least warn that their lifespan ranges wildly from person to person, bass to bass and while detuning and removing is certainly not condusive to long life for them, it's not the cause of their problems.

    You may find that if you lube the slots with a pencil, ease them up to pitch, break them in slowly and otherwise do everything right, the lower strings will have physically changed enough in the first 2 months that you consider them "done". It's one repeating experience that some people have, myself included. I spoke with a fellow local last weekend who has them on his bass now and after a month, he said, "I like them, but the windings are getting really loose on the E string". Personally, the A string was a little worse than the E. I didn't have any problems with the D or G. I disected and took some photos of the inner workings of these and it was pretty interesting. The photos didn't come out all that clear, but I could try to post them if anyone is interested. It's not really what I expected to find in there.

    I love Pirastro strings and their service. But, Obligatos work better for some people than for others. I think even more than average, your milage may vary with these particular strings. Don't love them too much in the beginning, because they might break your heart.

    In response to Ray in my experience, they responded to the bow MUCH better than Spirocores. You may be commenting on the arco tone, though, which is a little different. John Clayton bows beautiful solos on these strings.