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Steel or synthetic strings that swing

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by ERIC A, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    This question might only make sense to gut string users or rather former gut string users..... I'm trying to get a more modern sound and being a gut string user every time I switch to spirocores or EP's etc.they don't seem to have the same swing ability or feel as gut strings ( I've had this conversation with other gut string users and they know what I mean). So that said, anybody make the switch to another string and been happy with it?

    PS. That's not to say that I haven't heard folks you play with steel string swing they definitely do. I think it's just because of starting on gut it's an issue
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  2. Did you try EP Slaps?
    ERIC A likes this.
  3. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    I tried both and thanks for the reply . Both great sets of strings but I'm looking for something with more of a modern sound with plenty or at least marginal sustain, but have the feel of gut or close.
  4. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    I've only played guts on other people's basses, so maybe not the most informed opinion, but well-used/dead spiro weichs with a good amount of string height is the closest sound to gut I've gotten from steel (at least on my backup Kay). They are pretty supple and respond well to digging in, that is to say, they can swing. I think they're more work than guts for about the same volume, definitely a lot thinner gauge than any gut and they take their time getting dark, but they stay tuned, can sustain as long as you want, and fit like a glove for old-time music or gypsy jazz. I use mittels and a fairly low string height on my main bass because that's where I'm most comfortable, but that setup is much further from guts on the string spectrum imo.
    Earl, lrhbass and ERIC A like this.
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Only guts are guts, but Pirastro Jazzers E and A and Obligato D and G

    or some type of Velvet.

    I think what you're going for is feel and bounce, yeah?
    John Chambliss likes this.
  6. If you're looking for the look and feel of gut in a synthetic, I don't think you're going to beat the SBW Deluxe "dirty gut" strings. These are spiral-cut kevlar core wackers, and for wackers they are a pretty good "bump pack" of strings.

    Their tone is excellent amped/DI'ed, but the E and A tend to be pretty quiet and unclear acoustically. I have found their medium tension D and G to be excellent both acoustically and amped/Di'ed and have swapped their E and A out for SilverSlaps E and A, and have been extremely happy with this mixed set. Here is what they sound like on my bass.
    ERIC A likes this.
  7. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Velvet Anima or Garbo?
  8. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    For me it's Spirocore solos... but it takes a recalibration of technique.

    I will be going back to plain gut D & G and at this point I'm still unsure what I'm gonna do about the E & A.
    Sam Dingle and ERIC A like this.
  9. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    Been there.... it's hard to get away from Gut's when you're used to the feel
  10. Not to mention the fact that nothing else has the breathiness and air of plain gut.

    So they occasionally need a little oil and a haircut.

    Big deal. The sound and feel are worth the bother.
    SamuelHarris and Steve Boisen like this.
  11. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Who doesn't?

    - Steve
    Winoman, MLysh, SamuelHarris and 5 others like this.
  12. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

  13. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    Has that combination or the velvets work for you? That is if you were going for the same thing that I am. Thanks!
  14. Earl

    Earl Supporting Member

    Spiro solos can work - dark, easy on the hands - but they do not quite have the heft of other strings. I used to use Dominant solo E/A and gut D/G which were nice, in fact I am trying Dominant solo E/A/D now with gut G - very punchy - we'll see how long that lasts haha.
    ERIC A likes this.
  15. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    You say you want a modern sound, so not sure that finding strings like guts are really the answer. My guess is that the response of the string from gut to steel is much different, and through practice you will adjust to the steel response and sound just as swinging. Listening to swinging steel players like Ray Brown helps too. I tend to hear some Ray Brown in my Spiro Weichs and it puts me into a certain mode. Play in time and in tune and you will sound good on most any popular string set.
    Chris Fitzgerald, lurk and lrhbass like this.
  16. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    Thanks for your response. You are right of course. My problem is that as a gigging bassist and permanent sidemen, I am told that I get hired because of my time feel (which I am grateful for). so I am worried about going through a honeymoon period while working and potentially having unhappy employers. That is why I am looking for the path of least resistance. Hope that makes sense.
    Winoman likes this.
  17. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    New Orleans
    Then wait till it's slow to check out something new. If you have 3,4 maybe 5 days where there aren't any gigs, or maybe just 1 super casual gig with friends, then throw on a set of spirocore weich on day 1 and practice a ton to get used to it.

    I see above that you don't like spiorocore but you know what I mean. I don't think modern sound and gut are in the same field. I have a set of innovation silver slaps I could send you. They are more durable at least.
    ERIC A likes this.
  18. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    Sincerely appreciate your reply and input! I would be interested in the silver slaps (i did try them a long, long time ago and believe that they did have a bit of sustain). How much would you want for them? Thanks again
  19. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I've enjoyed hearing other people play Velvets, but have never gotten along very well with them on my own. Garbos especially feel more like gut than most strings that aren't gut. They don't sound particularly more modern, but Animas do or can. I haven't tried Velvet Blues, but would like to...sort of. The old Compas 180s sound especially good, but they're expensive, they are quality issues and I really don't like the semi-round wound strings. I've tried, but it just doesn't feel like home to me. But, every time I'm at someone's gig who's playing on them I think about it...then I sit in and ... no.

    I almost always use Pirastro Jazzer E and A strings. They have a bounce and suppleness to them that I really enjoy. Much more modern sounding than gut, but not like a BG. Much more supple than, say medium Spirocores for me, on my bass. I assume that's what you're going for. I don't want to be the guy to point out that strings don't actually swing, people do, but just to be clear about what you're looking for. I am assuming that you mean that recoil feel that you get from a gut string.

    The Jazzer G string for me sounds too modern and neither it nor the D have the same suppleness. (again, my bass etc). Sometimes I enjoy the D, depending on what G I'm using. My go-to set is Jazzers paired with an Original FlatChrome G...a few other member have been passing that set around lately and maybe they'll chime in.

    For feel, an Obligato D and G set beautifully with the Jazzer E and A and I think you'd like it. They get a little dark for me on gigs sometimes (like guts do) and they don't have the power and air that a good set of gut strings do, but it's a good setup. Cheaper, more stable and can sound more modern, but can also sound woody and wholesome, depending on your attack.

    I'm hearing really good things about Innovation Polychromes and might try them some day, but when I'm gigging a lot, I always come back to either the Jazzer/OFC combination or Spirocore Weich. If I'm recording, I want Jazzers/OFC.

    I have a profound love affair (tryst) with gut strings. My favorite players, my favorite recordings, the sound, the feel. I've just never fully committed to it. There is no direct substitute in my experience, but I don't want stiff, metallic, steel strings either. I like to lay in and have the strings bounce and dance with me.
    Chris Fitzgerald and ERIC A like this.
  20. ERIC A

    ERIC A Supporting Member

    Thanks for all of your input. I'm sure we're talking about the same thing when it comes to gut strings. Thanks again!

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