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String choice

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by bruiser1964, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. Hi Guys,
    I have read most of the threads regarding strings but am still confused...

    I'm a DB newbie I have a Zellar 3/4 strung with Helicore Mediums.
    I'm only playing pizz and looking for a loud thumpy sound
    My bass is going into the luthier next weekend for a setup with my new adjustable bridge and full circle
    I would like to set a low action and prefer a light feel I'm going for 7 - 5mm (Currently set at 13mm fixed bridge)

    I'm looking at the Pirastro Jazzers or Thomastik Spirocore soft

    Any thoughts?
    P.S I don't want a teacher!!!
  2. JtheJazzMan


    Apr 10, 2006
    I assume by thumpy you mean dark with short sustain? The spiros arent going to be dark or thumpy or have short sustain unless you play them in hard for 18 months, and get them dirty and oily. Also with low action they tend to have less peak volume, but a more even and longer sustain, whereas with higher action theres greater volume and energy on that initial attack.

    Also how you pluck the string greatly determines how the string rings out, so in that sense, you need a teacher who has the technique youre looking for.
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Sting choice? Doesn't he play mostly BG? :)

    You might want to check into Evah Pirazzi weichs. Big punchy powerful dark sound.

    When you say 7 - 5 mm, do you mean 7 mm at the E and 5 mm at the G? Yup, that would be low. I'm assuming the 13 mm you mentioned is currently at the E. Just curious-- what's currently the height of your G?
  4. Indeed, if you want a thumpy tone (generally dark at the same time) with low action, you need an orchestral string, not Jazzers or Spiros.
    The Helicores might do the trick.
    You may look into BelCantos.
  5. Ha, sorry for the typo! I think Sting's playing a lute these days!

    The string height is 13 - 11 at present

    The Helicores feel really stiff - I was hoping that the lower action would help but thought I could take the opportunity to try a "lighter" string whilst Im having the new bridge set up

    I will ask for the bridge to be 7 - 5 at the bottom of the adjustment I can always jack the stings up a mm or 2 if it's too low.
  6. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    In no way am I trying to disrespectful by the following statement. With what I've read in your posts, in this thread, I think you're wanting more volume and the dead, thumpy, sound to come from your bass ACOUSTICALLY. Not through a pickup or amp. Is that right?

    The upright bass requires a good bit of physical stamina or strength, to produce the sound acoustically. You have to get that whole instrument vibrating in order for it to produce it's maximum potenial volume.

    By lowering your string heighth, you will be decreasing the tension load on the top, and quite possibly, decreasing the volume your bass can produce, to some extent.

    The last steel strings I played (5-6 years back) were Helicore Orchestral mediums. They were lower tensioned strings than Spirocores and that appealed to me.

    I'm not trying to tell you what you should or shouldn't do, just trying to help provide more information to help you determine what you may want to try.
  7. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    There's a bunch of stuff to jump on here, but I'm going to stick to your original question and take it at face value. I've used all of the strings referenced here, and just chose Jazzers to go back on my bass for reasons of my own. For you, at face value, I STRONGLY recommend Spirocore Weichs.

    You may develop some other preferences over time (or not), but it's the right string for what you describe. Jazzers would be heavier in gauge and are a very good string, but Spirocores are the gold standard and I think they are a much better choice for you based on your self-assessment.

    Evah Pirazzis are a fine string too, but they are not especially light gauge, even the weichs and I think it requires a lot more technique to coax a big sound out of them. Since you're new at this and don't want a teacher, I don't think you will get what you want to there. Even if you were going to have a teacher and learn properly, Spirocores are a fine choice. The pitch is much more defined and that's useful while you're working on your fingerings. Plus they will last longer than post-nuclear cockroaches.
  8. Thanks for all the advice, I am working on my right hand and am far from happy will my ability but if it was easy guitarists would do it...

    I am getting the full circle fitted to my new adjustable bridge so I will be able to amplify the sound - and my goal is to integrate the DB into my set for 50% of my list.

    Do you consider that the Helicores are lighter / more flexible?
  9. Thanks TroyK, I'm looking at the Spirocores but they are listed as "soft" here is that the same thing? I'm in the UK
  10. Helicore mediums are a fairly dark thumpy string. I found them to be more so than any spirocore. I just moved from Helicore medium to Evah Pirazzi Orchestra's and they are thumpier and easier on the fingers.
  11. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    yes, "soft" "light" "weich" are all the same thing. They are the right strings for you. Much better quality than Helicores, likely a little lighter in gauge, but way more responsive.

    Evah Pirazzis are thing right now and I don't want to start an argument, but if you're working on your right hand and your ear, just go with Spirocores, they are a great string, read the Spirocore threads. It's not a beginner string, the weich gauge is not a beginner gauge, although it is better for people who either are working up or recovering from an injury or have some other reason for wanting less tension to wrestle with.

    They start out a bit bright, but get better with playing and stay good for a really long time.
  12. Helicores come in orchestra, hybrid, and pizzicato varieties. We need to know which kind you have now to better help you. Also, you may find that "loud/thumpy" and "low string height" are mutually exclusive. IOW, you can't have your cake and eat it, too!
  13. They are Helicore Pizzicato Medium Tension, I am struggling to improve with the current tension of the strings - I have been playing slab for 25 years and have never thought about tension and have never been fussy about strings so this is all new.
    I am hoping lowering the action will improve the tension and would conpromise on sound over playability in the hope that I can develop a good right hand if my left hand would stop hurting!
    I'm not trying to be arrogant in saying I don't want a teacher - they are few and far between up here - I only know of one other gigging DB player and I'm gigging every other weekend so we are a rare breed in the north of Scotland!
  14. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Great strings. I've been telling them how much I missed them these last five years. Sorry I ever left.
  15. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Get that bridge lowered before you worry about strings. You're dealing with pretty high string height which is making the whole experience harder than it need be.

    IME, I've found the Heli Orchs to be stiffer and harder to pull a good pizz sound than many other strings. One of my students started with them and had a pretty dull, lifeless sound. I suggested he go with EvahP weichs and his pizz sound is now dark, but vibrant. Spiro weichs are also a fine choice with more "zing" (highs) and a different feel.
  16. It's back from the luthier!!! So happy! :oops:

    So back to earth, I've had it back for an hour it is now strung with Spirocore Weichs (previously Helicore Med) the action is now 8.5 - 7mm, The Full circle is fitted and I'm a happy man.

    The luthier pointed out a couple of obvious faults... the original bridge was a 4/4 (much wider at the feet and was miles away from the sound post and barely touching the bass bar.

    - I bought this bass new and "set up" by a DB shop and reputed expert... No gold star for the Glasgow Violin Shop then.

    The luthier did say it was a nice bass (Zeller carved top) but was very badly set up.

    It feels and plays like a differnt instrument, the sound is clear, loud and full of life.

    That was £225 of my hard skived beer tokens - but for 15 hours of luthier time - I consider it very good value.

    Thanks for all the advice on strings / pickups etc Im sure Ill be back with questions soon but for now I'm gonna play the heck out of my new best friend :hyper:
  17. MIKMAN


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    Good morning to Scotland the Brave!!!
    Needless to say that the proper set up can transform a seemingly mediocre instrument to a powerful, floor shaking double bass. Glad to know that it worked for you. I also learned it the hard way, many years ago and i'll never stop emphasising the virtues of an impeccable set up.
    Enjoy your bass!

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