Spiro Weich for orchestral playing?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by csrund, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. Thinking of acquiring a set of Spiro Weichs to try for orchestral playing. Been reading up on the plethora of threads, but I want to see if anyone wants to chime in directly. (Currently playing Belcantos; goal is to see what effect reducing tension on the top has on the voice of the bass.)

    Questions about Spiro Weich:
    1. Feel under the left hand: Are they "slippery?" Difficult to nail down notes? (i.e. Does the string tend to roll/twist under the fingers?
    2. Bow response: What stroke does it take to get the string to move/speak well? Do they respond better to bow speed vs pressure? Is it challenging to produce a hard attack at the leading edge of the note?
    Thanks for relating your experiences. Interested in experimenting with something new, but I want to know more about the nuances of Spiros in orchestral playing.
  2. Since you are located in the USA, I think you are talking about 4/4 Weich/Light (S42W set).

    If yo use them on a typical 3/4 scale bass (104-106 cm), then it is rather like playing downtuned solo 3/4 Spiros. So they might have a rather low tension for a steel string.
    Might not be a problem with a well setup 4-string instrument, but the string will sink down more than with a higher tnsion string and it might become more difficult not to grab a neighbor string too because of the sinking of the string under the bow.

    The 3/4 Weich as well as the 4/4 Weich (which I sometimes use on a 110 cm scale instrument) both bow well, better than 4/4 Mittel/Medium Spiros.
    No rolling, but the G is a bit thinner and you might want to replace it with a thicker string (but not too much since in higher positions a thick string is damped a bit much).

    For a bit better bowing and not noticeable difference in string sinking under the bow I would prefer the 3/4 Weich. Also if it is a 5-string. Otherwise the 4/4 Weich/Light is an option for easier playing, but the E can be a bit limiting because plucked it is weaker than a Mittel E and might rattle against the fingerboard. (You need to adapt your playing for that, the Mittel E was too much tension difference for my taste, but others use a Mittel E blow Weich.)

    The bowing style is basically the same, but I'm no expert in that. Compas 180 and naked gut is a lot more different to bow. But there are nicer bowing-only strings on the market.
    csrund likes this.
  3. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I think the OP has as 7/8ths shen so the 4/4 weich will sound and feel closer to what weich should sound like.

    I think I added this to a conversation we started in a private message, but I know a lot of guys use spiro weich as a good string to play in a pit when you have to play pizz and then switch to orchestral excerpts. Marco Panascia uses spiro weich in the pit for Lion King.

    I think they require a different technique than the mediums, but I think the belcanto set is closer in tension to the 4/4 weich than the 4/4 mediums. I very much enjoyed playing them with the bow. No issue playing Brahms letter E, Beethoven 5 Trio excerpt and they really sang when playing the Kousk concerto.

    I am an amateur arco player though so take that into account. They were easier and warmer than the mediums arco.
    csrund likes this.
  4. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    If the goal primarily is to see what lower tension does for the bass, I would consider having a luthier make a removable raised saddle that goes over your current one. You will need to lengthen your tailgut. Alternatively install the Moser adjustable saddle.
    csrund likes this.
  5. I use the S42 Weichs and really like them, finding them to be a pretty good overall string. Here’s my answer to your questions.

    1: I do not find these slippery at all. No issues with rolling at all. Since these strings have a lot of harmonic information to them, it’s pretty easy to tell wether you’re in tune or not, so no issues with landing on and securing a note.

    2: They do respond best to pressure and a slow but strong stoke. As others have said on here, using black hair and pops rosin really helps in bowing Spirocores.

    Overall the 4/4 set can feel quite light, but my bass does really like light tension strings so it’s worked out really well for me. And I’ve had a different experience with the Weich E string than DoubleMidi. It responds a lot better than a Mittel E on my bass and have not found it weak arco or pizz.
    Selim and Sam Dingle like this.
  6. paulunger

    paulunger Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2002
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Check out Joey Nager’s string tension page.
    Spiro weichs are almost identical in tension to Belcantos.
    jazzcat_13 and csrund like this.