Some low-tension darkish strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Bassism, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Just a few weeks ago I cut my forearm at work with a grinder. I also cut partway through the muscle that handles wrist movement though luckily my hand muscles were unscathed.

    Luckily, the healing is coming along pretty well. I've just started playing a little bit of electric these past few days, which I can do largely without discomfort. I haven't started playing upright again yet, however, and I would like to get some easier playing strings to ease my hand back into playing and prevent further injury once I'm feeling up to it.

    Right now I'm playing a set of Bel Cantos, occasionally with a Spiro Weich E. I play 90% pizz, with only the occasional tune and practice at home being done arco. As such I do need a string that is bowable, but by no means do I need anything as nice as the BCs for that.

    I'm fairly happy with the pizz sound of the BCs. I find them just a touch lifeless (not too dark, but lacking in "something") and they can be lost in a dense mix, not really sitting on top or underneath.

    I think Evah Pirazzi or the Weichs would probably match the sound I'm looking for, but from what I've read even the weichs aren't going to be any lower in tension than the BCs/Weichs.

    I've long wanted to try guts, and I see that a D/G have just gone up in the classifieds (these are all I'd want for plain gut anyway), but I'm not sure if such a drastic change at the moment is a good idea. And in any case I'd still need to find bottoms.

    I'm mostly leaning towards Animas, though they're a bit pricey. I just saw Adrian Cho, and as always he sounded great. I think they're probably pretty close to the sound I'm looking for and from what I've read are about as low tension as I'll find. The Blues and Obligatos are two more economical options I've been looking at.

    Anyhow... that's where I'm coming from. Am I missing any other options? Can anybody compare the animas/blues/oblis especially from a feel standpoint?

  2. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Tuned down solo strings might be a good choice for you. I have used tuned down Dominant solos (G and D only) and I really like the sound for pizz and arco, and they are very low tension. They are probably a little brighter than Evahs, but darker than most "jazz" strings.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I think you might be on the right track with Animas. They are darkish, but have loads of character, good fundamental with a nice "grain" to them (that's how I always heard them on my bass. They were some of the loudest strings I ever used. The wrap is a little unusual for some people, and the copper windings leave black residue on the hands of some players. But they remain one of my very favorite sets of strings.
  4. maveriten


    Nov 17, 2008
    Evah Pirazzi regular is higher tension than the Spirocore Weich.

    I believe that the new Evah Pirazzi Weich is only marginally lower in tension than the regular string.

    The Velvet Anima and Garbo strings are very low tension which is why so many people pair them with gut strings which are low tension as well.
  5. Thanks for the advice guys. I hadn't thought of solo strings tuned down, but I'm not too fond of doms on cello, so might stay away on bass.

    I think I'm gonna just bite the bullet and get some animas. They sound more or less like what I'm looking for.

  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    No, they're quite a bit lower on my bass.
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Same here... but still stiffer than Animas are on my bass.

    The weird thing about Evah Weichs... they don't seem to have relaxed in the same way that the Evah Mediums did. They feel to me like they've stayed at the same tension as when I installed them.

    Bassism... one thing to be ready for is the thickness of the Animas, if you're used to a thinner string. They're not as fat as a big set of guts, but they're getting into that territory. I always suggest that people try a bass fitted with Animas before buying them, if possible. I liked them immediately, but the feel may not be everyone's cup of tea. For me, they were also a bit challenging for some arco things... but with practice, I think that could be minimized.
  8. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    I agree, I tried them on another bass and knew immediately they weren't going to work for what I like to do, especially in thumb position.
  9. I'm not terribly worried about the thickness of the strings. The one time that I've played guts I actually enjoyed the thickness. I may have to adapt, but I don't mind that too much. I find that kind of thing can get you thinking in too many ways.

    Arco shouldn't be an issue. The majority of the bass arco I do is essentially long tones. If I can't get a handle on trickier stuff I can just pull out the cello.

    The one thing I do wonder about is the windings. I've played cellos with round windings that didn't bother me, but I wonder if I might have to adapt my pizz technique. In balance though, I think the pros outweigh thy potential con.

    The main thing I'm looking for right now is a string low enough in tension to get playing again. Everything else is gravy. But thanks for your thoughts
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Now that I've read the OP, I can recommend the Velvet Compas 180 Suit strings tuned to orchestra pitch. They are very low tension this way, have traditional flat windings and are not a thick string. They are also rather dark sounding. They bow well. I liked them a lot when I used them for jazz pizz. Putting them on for the first time is the only drawback.
  11. The Bass Dominants are also known to be prown to breakage.

    Another suggestion: thin gauge Flexocors.
    The Flexocors are available in three gauges, plus solo-tuning.

    The Danish Jargar strings are also available in three gauges.
    The Dolce set (green silk) is the one you may be interested in.
    Pizz tone is very very dark though, with virtually no sustain at all.
  12. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    True, but I'm guessing using the solo gauge strings at orchestra tuning is less likely to cause problems, because you are not bringing the strings up to full tension. In any case, I have had no problems with breakage on the solos.
  13. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    On both my upright and Eminence EUB I've got identical Anima EA, Garbo D, golden sprial or goldentone G. Been very happy with the sound and feel. Gave up some speed, but don't really mind that. On the road bass (Messenger EUB) I've got Flexocores and jargar. Like them a lot for that instrument as they are really dark and don't sound nasal at all.
  14. I decided to go with a set of Animas. I picked them up today and just finished putting them on the bass and playing around for a few minutes. It's really nice to finally be able to play again!

    I'm really digging them. The windings really feel no different under my hands than any normal set of strings. The tension is definitely low enough. They don't bother my arm at all (compared to electric bass which makes it ache a bit, and the former Bel Cantos which my arm just didn't like) and once I'm all healed up I like the idea that I'll be able to play long acoustic gigs without want to cut my arm off by the end.

    The sound is perhaps a little bit brighter than I'd prefer, but I expect that'll tone down a bit as they settle, probably to exactly where I'd like them to be. But even if they don't, the sound is special enough that I'm really pleased.

    I think the best description for these strings, at least as they are now, is probably "full range." The sound big, deep, and full, yet manage more articulation than I thought possible from this bass. I'm definitely going to have to work a bit on my intonation with these things. Through my Realist and little GK combo they sound absolutely huge. Pretty much my bass only louder, and better :p

    Bowing isn't so bad either. They're definitely no BC, and it'll take a little bit of practice to get the right touch down, but they'll suit my needs for sure and have a really neat sound under the bow.

    I'm really pleased with the choice and I'm excited to see how they develop in the next weeks/months.

    I do have one question I'll ask here before starting a new thread, but I'm going to have to figure out a new way to mount my Realist output jack. Without a ball end to hold it to the tailpiece it's floppy and buzzing like there's no tomorrow. Anybody have any ideas?
  15. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    So sorry to hear of your injury...

    Glad the Animas are working well.

    Best of luck with a speedy recovery.
  16. PaulKing


    Apr 17, 2004
    London, UK
    Word up for the Innovation (Braided) Solos, tuned down.
    Plummy, dark, gut-like, but pure and punchy with sustain.
    Also very affordable...