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Stings for old German Bass

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by mikejdexter, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    I am a jazzer. I have a German Bass--1880's. Well built--Very heavy. It is currently strung with Velvet Garbo's--which I like due to their ease of playing. The sound is a bit 'muddy'. To get more projection do you think steel strings would be more suitable? What strings do you like which are not high tension?
  2. You could try Dominant Solo downtuned to orchestra tuning
    or Compas 180 SUIT (but be careful to mount them correctly).

    For steel:
    Spirocore Solo downtuned to orchestra tuning
    or Presto Balance Hybrid Light for better bowing

    I won't go too light in tension for a heavy bass. It makes your instrument quieter than it could be. At least that's what I get with my heavy german bass.
    Thicker strings are easier to play, but tend to get a bit muddy.
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Velvet Animas will be brighter, but the most similar to Garbos.

    (See that I gave good advice and avoided the urge to suggest "Old German Strings")
  4. Spiro Weichs would be worth trying.
  5. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Very nice, TROIKA - the therapy appears to be working! ;)
  6. Spiro Weichs
  7. I'm afraid the Spiro Weich (3/4) have more tension than the Garbos, that's the reason I recommended Spirocore Solo 3/4 downtuned. Also the strings are thinner than the Garbos, so probably not as pleasant to play as what the OP is used to with his Garbos.

    Spiro Weich 3/4 will get better projection than downtuned Spiro Solo 3/4, maybe even better for the heavy bass, but might be a bit hard to play for someone who played Garbos before.
    The 4/4 Spiro Weich are similar in tension to the Spiro Solo 3/4 with some more tension on the lower strings (which is good for jazz and orchestra).

    So please, if you recommend Spiros, it would be very helpful to know not only the Solo/Weich/Mittel/Stark classification but also if you talk about the 3/4 or 4/4 set, since they are different in tension for the same tension classification on the same scale (they have the same tension on the different scales they are made for).

    My first recommendation was based on the low tension Garbos, so that's why I thought thicker high strings are better to play for the OP (even with higher tension), so my first idea has been the downtuned Dominant Solo set.

    Ii think the basic question is, would the OP get used to thinner and higher tension strings for better projection and clarity or does he want to stay with thicker lower tension strings, no better projection but with a less muddy sound.
  8. I have a 1920s carved shop bass. My luthier told me not to put a high tension string on it like spirocore mittles due to the age of the bass so not to bring on problems due to higher tension with the top and bass bar. When i first bought the bass a kittle over s year ago, we started with obligato e a spirocore weich d and mittle g. Sounded great but the obligatos aged much differently than the spirocores. 6 months or so ago I switched to velvet blues. After the bass settled and the strings wore in, the bass sounds amazing. Not as much character as the other set, but the evenness of sound from string to string pizzing and with a bow as well as aging the same knocked it out of the park. I visited my luthier last Thursday with this and another bass for a once over and he played the German. He said the blues were a home run too. He was impressed and said I made a great decision going with the blues. I was standing 10' in front of him when he played the bass and I appreciated the sound of the blues even more.

    So, that is my experience. I have some recordings of the bass if you want to listen. Just let me know and I can upload something for you to hear.

    EDIT: I remembered I do have a recording on the cloud HERE. It was for showcasing a bow, but at the end, you can hear the pizzicato sound of the blues on my old german bass.
  9. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    Thanks everybody for your knowledgeable information--much appreciated.