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Solo strings: alternate between solo & orchestra tuning

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by TonyD, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. Perhaps an obscure question: I have Velvet COMPAS 180 SOLO strings on my 42,4'' scale bass. I have them downtuned to orchestra pitch, because of the low tension and comfort for left fingers. Great pizz. sound.

    However when playing arco, the bow responds better when the strings are tuned in solo pitch. The bass sounds louder.

    Question is: can I alternate between orchestra and solo pitch whenever I like, or might this be not so good for the strings or even the bass?

    I can imagine that switching the tension constantly, might weaken the strings .....(?)

    Thanks for your input!
  2. Keeping the same tension is generally better for the durability of the string. But since Velvet makes the Compas 180 SUIT which could be used for both tunings, I think you can tune up and down with a single Compas set.

    Another question is how your bass (not the strings) react. I had a bit higher tension strings (Innovation 140H) than my usual Innovation 140B low tension strings on my bass for some weeks, changed the sets two days before an orchestral rehersal (I forgot to make this earlier) and got a lot of wolf tones and badly reacting notes on that bass for several days. After (one or) two weeks they have gone and the strings played nicely as before.

    So it seems changing the tension can have a large (negative) influence on your bass for some days.

    And I think with downtuned Compas 180 SOLOs, you have a very low tension string, probably less as the Innovation 140B. If I downtune the 140B more than a hallftone, they do not sound good. Also a low tension string sinks more using the bow (if you don't play with a very light bow), making the bowing angle between the strings small (at least in higher positions).

    If the string tension is lower than the optimal string tension for your bass the volume will be reduced. This is normal. Only if the higher tension chokes the bass, the lower tension might sound better, but then the higher tension is not good for your bass.
  3. I think my bass likes by default lower tension, but for arco it likes a higher tension - hihi, quite a dilemma...:)

    Indeed, the COMPAS 180 SUIT variant has been designed to alternate between orchetra and solo pitch. On the other hand, it can do no harm to tune the Velvet SOLO strings in their original solo pitch, and to detune to orchestra pitch whenever that's desired, I would say, even it is not the SUIT set. Perhaps I should not do this too often...

    DoubleMidi - do you perhaps know if their is a difference in bowing between SUIT and SOLO set? Does the one sounds 'better' than the other or is this difference nihil?
  4. I think the Solo set has lower tension than the SUIT set. I only had one standard Compas 180 and one SUIT string for comparison, so I cannot say anything to the Solo set in comparison.
    You might check the website of Velvet and if you cannot find information about tension for the Solo set you may ask Nuno Alexandre from Velvet customer support. He is a nice guy and very helpful. Might take some days to get an answer, he might be busy outside of Velvet.

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