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String Choice for a quiet upright bass

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by arbous65, Jan 24, 2021.


  1. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    Hi there,
    I just started playing upright bass. I have experimented quite a bit with guitar and some with electric bass before. I think my ears are good enough to compare the sound of this upright bass to other ones by means of tone complexity, harmonics present in the tone, tone definition and comparing string to string. I don’t have any idea what string was put in this one but seems medium tension probably orchestra kind of string works fine with bowing. With pizzicato E sounds really dead unless I play it really strong and tone definition of E string is not very good. I don’t have a distinct tone difference between E and F, etc. Compared to some other basses this bass is quiet. It could be just strings that are in the dull side. I thought I should probably invest on a new set of strings. That was what the previous owner said. I’m trying to get a set that is A- not too expensive
    B- good for beginners C- low tension D- very expressive E- loud F- works well for pizzicato attack as well as enough grab for bowing, and bowing creates a nicely defined tone. Not sure but perhaps gut like behaviour gives above mentioned qualities, right? I was thinking of D’addario Zyex.
    What do you think?
    By the way, action is a bit in the high side.
    thanks a lot
     
  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Zyax are not a bad idea.

    It would help to know what strings are on there now and what your mensure was?

    Photograph the silks at both ends and if you can, measure from bridge to nut. (Vibrating length)
     
  3. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Tallahassee
    your BEST option IMO is buying the used set of Spirocore Weich on the for sale forms on here. you're getting a string worth $250 for $125. That set will last you at least 2 years, in some peoples experience 5 years, in some others 10. Best strings to learn both pizz and arco technique on IMO. But you need to bring your bass to a luthier. Have him do a setup on the bass and put the strings on to fit the setup. That way you can ignore the bass and gear and focus on learning how to play.
     
    DrMole, Luigir, lrhbass and 4 others like this.
  4. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    Thanks Sam. I know they are praised in the upright bass community.
     
    Sam Dingle likes this.
  5. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    Hi there Troy,
    The measurement from nut to bridge is 41.5 inches. I’ll include the photos in the reply.
    Thanks a lot. FA3E6B68-0FDC-43B4-8896-038E2FCF66F2.jpeg
     

    Attached Files:

  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Those look like solo gauge Spirocores.
     
  7. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Troy is right, spirocore solo. Those are good strings for beginners, unless you feel like you need more tension. I would take this bass to a luthier to address setup and/or a bass teacher to address technique before I would spend more money on strings, IMHO.
     
    Luigir, s van order and arbous65 like this.
  8. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    Oh great to know! Thanks a lot for your input!
     
  9. BarfanyShart

    BarfanyShart

    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Solo Spiros are cool tuned to standard, you can call it Extra Weich.
     
  10. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Tallahassee
    Yes keep those on and bring to a luthier. If you don’t have one already get a teacher to teach you technique. It’s almost impossible to teach yourself it. In a year or so you can bump up to a Spirocore light gauge
     
  11. jlmorgan84

    jlmorgan84

    Feb 16, 2014
    Clemson, SC
    I love Zyex mediums for pizz, they feel great and bring plenty of volume. I do not enjoy bowing them, especially the lower strings. If you plan to play arco extensively I'd look at other sets. I second that Spirocore Weichs are a good option.
     
    Keith Rawlings and arbous65 like this.
  12. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    Thank you all. I’m gonna stick to solo A E B pitched down to G D A since they sound totally ok but solo F# sounds not responsive pitched down to E. I was thinking of Spirocore weich E for that one. The other (sort of crazy) idea is to take E out, move G D A to lower position and get a high C for where the G string normally sits. So it becomes from low to high note A D G C. Would that ask for trouble? I’m not playing with a band. Just my own experimentation and recording. Has anyone done that. I know for 5 string it is not uncommon to use a high C but not sure how much I will miss the low E. probably as a beginner I shouldn’t even think about that and stick to standard practices.
    Thanks again.
     
    BarfanyShart likes this.
  13. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Going with a Spirocore Weich E is reasonable (so would going with a full weich set), but I wouldn't get cuter than that.
     
  14. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    I was just thinking lowering the tension on solo strings to orchestra pitch could have possibly impacted the volume and note definition. I imagine on a set of orchestra strings like Spirocore Weich with the tension they meant to have I would end up getting more volume and more note definition compared to Solo pitched down set of strings. Is that conclusion sound reasonable?
     
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  15. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, solo strings at orchestra pitch are a thing that people do. I did exactly that with Spirocore Solos to work through an injury once, but it's not generally better in any way than strings meant for regular playing unless either you or your bass have an issue to work around. It wouldn't be terrible to get started on them and then go up in gauge every year until you think you hit your limit, but it wouldn't hurt to jump to weichs now either. I doubt seriously that solos are a long term solution for you if you are serious and stick with it. I'll predict that you'll gain volume and interesting tonal richness going up a gauge...or two if you were so inclined.

    Spirocores, by reputation essentially last forever so they are a good investment and you shouldn't worry about buying a used set as long as the windings are in tact in the pegbox and near the ball end.
     
    Povl Carstensen and arbous65 like this.
  16. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    Thanks for the tip. I'm a bit feeling broke since I just spent all my savings to buy the double bass. So buying a used set is definitely more manageable. Do you think it is possible to sell my solo set in Talk Bass website as well? Or if someone likes to swap Weich with Solo and I even pay a bit more on top of that?
     
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yes. I have tried virtually every string set ever imagined and I have bought/sold/traded most all of them through Talkbass. Could never have afforded to do so if I was buying retail.

    By the way, don't try virtually every string set ever imagined, it doesn't help. :)
     
  18. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    Thanks Troy. One more thing I was thinking. When the seller of my double bass and I met at the luthier shop to do the deal after luthier's feedback on the bass, she said the neck / fingerboard has a bit high action more noticeable in about half way on the length of the fingerboard (which means bridge adjustment?) and also needed a slight adjustment for the proper fingerboard profile (I guess it has to have some sort of progressive slight curve to avoid buzzing and that curve was not quite up to standard toward the bridge). Would higher tension of Spirocore Weich compared to current pitched down solo possibly worsen the situation either for the action (increase it further) or making the fingerboard / neck imperfection more noticeable?
     
  19. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Honestly, I couldn't say. What I recommend is a) chose some strings and b) have the luthier install them and advise you on what other setup would help. You REALLY want the bass to support your learning curve rather than trying to learn while playing around some issues. And, this doesn't stop. If you've read my active string discussion, it's become clear to me that I'd due for some fingerboard dressing and possibly additional setup depending on what I want to do string wise.
     
    Keith Rawlings and arbous65 like this.
  20. arbous65

    arbous65

    Jan 23, 2021
    Calgary, Canada
    That makes sense. Thank you.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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