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Scott LaFaro's Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by JAS, Nov 29, 2004.


  1. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    Does anyone know what strings Scott LaFaro used? And if those are not made any more, which strings today are the most similar.

    What other bass players used those strings at the time?
     
  2. JAS

    Scott used light guage gut strings with very low (for the day) string height. I don't know the brand. You should contact Barrie Kolstein since his father did the work on Scott's bass and also the restoration after the accident. I would propose though that if steel strings were more common when he was playing, he would have used them. You can tell by listening to him play that he was looking for more sustain in his tone. It sounds like he was really fighting the qualities of the gut strings. If he were alive today, he would probably use spirocore weich I guess.

    Jon
     
  3. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    I read in some ISB article he used Golden Spirals. Dunno
    what gauge tho. They were available until a year ago but
    withdrawn because the Mad Cow virus- (Hoofer diease).
    I use them on my King bass ( G&D- med gauge). You can find
    them on E bay occasionally according to another TB'r in
    another thread. Dunno what brand comes close to them now-
    maybe JNueman or Adrian Cho would know.
     
  4. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The Pirastro Pizzicato G is a much better made string than the Golden Spiral IMO. You can only get the G though. Labella Golden tone are supposed to be similar. I am playing plain gut G and D now(Chorda). They sound great.
     
  5. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    Adrian:
    How's the tension on the Labella's compared to the Golden
    Spirals med gauge?
    and the thickness of the Labellas vs the Golden Spirals?
    I remember someone was comparing sizes in another post, but
    I didn't follow that thread all way thru.
     
  6. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I have never actually played the Labellas before. I have a Pizz. G, and I have played the Golden Spirals before. Frankly I think the Chorda G and D are much better strings if you want to play gut. They sound bigger, and bow much better.
     
  7. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    Adrian, Why don't you use the chorda E and A strings? I am using the Eurosonic ultra lights now and I really enjoy their thickness throughout the entire set. What is the tension like on the Chorda strings? Do they bow well? The eurosonics do not bow well.

    Scott LaFaro's sound to me is similar to what I can get with ethe Eurosonics, but he sounds like he gets even more sustain and more character out of the string. Obviously his own touch has a lot to do with it, but I like how the strings sound. They sound so much warmer, bouncier, and articulate than any steel strings. To me, steel strings have a metalic sound that I used to like, but in the last couple years have started to move away from.

    Were the goldan spirals plain gut? Why don't people use plain gut on the E and A strings? If a person enjoys the sound and feel of gut so much why would they use spirocores for the E and A - which it seems a lot of people do??
     
  8. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I do you use the Chorda E and A strings! I was just saying that the Chorda D and G are better than the Golden Spirals(which are wound with clear nylon or tynex). The Chordas are fairly high tension for gut strings. I haven't played the Eurosonics so I can't compare them. The E and A have a deep resonant tone. They don't sustain or growl like Spirocores, but they have a much bigger sound, and IMO project better. You need higher action for them to speak though. They arco quite well IMO being designed as a Baroque string. If you like that Jimmy Blanton or PC bowed sound, these are great.

    Plain E and A gut strings wouldn't be as clear sounding as silver wound I would think. Spirocores have a much better clarity in the low end(or better pitch definition), but they do not have that thick "dooom" of gut strings.
     
  9. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    Are the Golden Spirals all wound with the nylon or tynex? or just the G and D? The Eurosonics are steel core, but they are wound with that clear nylon or tynex stuff. I enjoy the low tension sound and feel of the Eurosonics, and LaFaro's strings I think sound similar. I am wondering though if something can get even closer to what he had going than the string I have now. I am certainly not looking for strings that are boomy. I like the fact that LaFaro is using gut strings and getting that natural sound with bounce, but still getting growl and sustain.
     
  10. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    Just the D & G are have the Tynex.

    There is a thread somewhere with Scotty's setup, if you wanna read into it. If I remember well, it was a specially planed fingerboard that allowed the use of gut strings with very low action - though my memory could be wrong.

    Alexi
     
  11. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Further, the Golden Spirals only came in G and D. I don't know if they were making these strings when LaFaro was playing.
     
  12. never heard of them. cost? material? availability? Thanks.
     
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Chorda is Pirastro's gut string, advertised as a "baroque" string. Quinn Violins lists them at about $350 a set.

    Looks like Lemur has them at $339. Ben Wolfe is one notable jazz player who endorses them.
     
  14. Thanks for the quick response. That's a pricey string! Always exploring options for my Golden Spirals.
     
  15. I find it amusing that Pirastro in their infinite marketing wisdom still label these as Baroque strings yet have a Ben Wolfe endorsement on the packaging! That would surely confuse baroque players I would think. Does anyone know if Pirastro used to sell bass strings with plain gut G and D back in the day? If so, how were they?. Raymond Elgar praises them in his book, but he may have been talking about the Olives which have been around for a while.

    Jon
     
  16. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I wondered why Pirastro continues to market them that way too. I think they are likely one of the highest quality plain gut strings out there. I believe John Webber also plays Chorda. I am totally thrilled with how they sound on my bass. They didn't sound really good when I first put them on though. It took a couple weeks. I know they will continue to improve.
     
  17. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Back to the subject at hand; I recall a friend in town telling me he saw the trio with Scott playing in NY. Said he was very soft. I don't know whether he used a mic or not, but a low action with small gauge guts and no mic would be a recipe for soft volume, Prescott or not. It DID record very well however, probably due to the more focused tone of the smaller Prescott with this setup, and the player.
     
  18. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    Thanks Adrian:
    I thought Labella made Chordas- but now I 'm "educated".
    after reading ya' all new posts. Not up on all the brands.

    How is the Chorda's tension & thickness compared to the Golden Spirals??
     
  19. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I think Chordas were made as a Baroque string which are tuned lower than A440, so they are higher tension when tuned to concert. They have more tension than the Golden Spirals(medium). You could get high tension Spirals, but who knows if they will make them any more if and when they come back. The tuning stability is better with the Golden Spirals.
     
  20. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    Thanks again Adrian.