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String dilemma-Help!

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Chef, Aug 28, 2004.


  1. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Ok, my King came with guts on it. Loved the way they play, but they're short on sustain. They sound very nice thru the K&K rab pickup system; big warm sound. But, the attack on them is very slow, and I feel like I really have to play ahead of the beat.
    I tried spiro weichs, and they sound good on the bass itself, but they're very "skinny and insubstantial feeling" after playing big thick guts. So I then tried spiro mittles. While I like the way these feel better, both spiro's are very "electric bass soundning" thru the pickups, whereas the guts definately sounded like an upright. Needlees to say, I've spent hours playing with the rab blender settings, and my swr redhead settings.
    I next tried Labella 7710's, thinking the nylon wrap might take some of the "highs and metal-ness" out that I didn't like about the spiros. The Lebellas may actually be brighter, and sound like glass rods thru the pickups. Ick!
    I have left in my bag-o-strings:
    Pirastro Jazzers, Velvet Garbos, Eurosonic U/L's, and the efrano guts that came with the db.
    I guess my only real complaints with guts after launching my great string experiment hoping to find someting better are: any temp/humidity shift makes them crazy, I wish they were just a little less dark, and the whole having to "play ahead thing" as their attack is so slow and soft.. But the whole spiro and labella thing ain't working to my satisfaction. What should I go to next out of what I have left in my bag-o-tricks, or should I just go back to guts, and live with their shortcomings?
    Thaks for your advise, Alan
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I didn't see much mention of the plastic cored strings, like Thomastick Dominants, Obligatos, Innovations, Kolsteins new strings or Velvets (there are more as well, I'm thinking) in your post.
     
  3. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Of plastic cored I have velvet garbos (boy do they seem skinny), and eurosonic ultralights.
    This morning's update:
    I spent a bunch of time messing with the internal adjustments on the K&K blender. Dialed the treble all the way out of the bridgefoot element, and mostly all the way out of the fingerboard element as well. The biggest change that went in the direction I wanted to go was moving the fingerboard element out of "the scallop" on the back of the fingerboard, and moving it all the way up to right underneath where the fingerboard joins the neck. This, and *securely* taping down that piezo's wire made a big difference. Possibly a lot of what I didn't like was fingerboard resonance. Better, but still not quite what I'm hoping for. I've now dialed the fingerboard element almost all the way out of the blender as well.
    I've never tried just a mike under the tailpiece.
    I need to buy a string winder (whew), and then try the velvet garbos next I guess....
     
  4. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    What did you think of the Ultra Lights? Or have you not gotten around to them yet? I find them to have a big, gut-like tone, but the steel component of the core gives you quicker attack and more sustain -- not to mention they're VERY stable. My advice would be to forget about amplification until you settle on which string gives you the sound you want acoustically, THEN dial in your amped settings to most accurately convey it.

    Good luck, man!
     
  5. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Super-Sensitive Sensicores.
    Someone suggested Eurosonics but they have a steel core, with synthetic wrap.
     
  6. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I think you really have to leave a set on the bass for at least a month for them to start mellowing. I was making the mistake of judging a string to quickly for a while. It takes a while for them to loose the brightness. If you are thinking about a faster response, without brightness, the Thomastic Dominant is a great string. I have played them quite a bit in the past and they are a great string. I would be interested in trying the solo Dominants tuned down.
     
  7. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Brent, I have not tried them yet, though I suspect they'd be pretty similar to the labella 7710's, no?

    I guess now that I've got the pickup system dialed in a little more to my liking, I'll let the labella's settle in for a while. I really liked the spiro mittles in terms of how they sounded acoustically, and how they felt under my fingers, and the labellas are pretty similar. Maybe brighter! These are all sets of bought "very lightly used" right here at the tb forums.
     
  8. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I don't know about the Ultralights, but the original Eurosonics are a very substantial string. Higher tension than guts, with a quicker response. They have a big sound, not as dark as guts, and great tuning stability.
     
  9. Kevinlee

    Kevinlee

    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    The eurosonic ultralights are darker than the labella 7710 and the tension is quite a bit lower. I used the 7710's for about a year and they due settle some away from that bright tone but never completely. I have the ultralights on one of my basses now and like them alot. Good piz, slap, stable tuning and warm tone.

    I agree with Brent that you should really get an acoustic sound you like with your strings before you worry to much about the amplified sound.

    Then you can go through all the agony of trying to reproduce that sound through amplification.
     
  10. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    In terms of acoustic sound, I really liked the spiro mittles, and the labellas are just about the same. The e string may be just a little less responsive...
     
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I disagree. My position would be that unless you can afford a couple of basses, then get the bass working for the way that you play mostly and then make comprimises to satisfy the other.

    If you never play acoustically what does the acoustic sound do for you?
     
  12. Kevinlee

    Kevinlee

    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    You've got a point there.....

    However, I've come across players new to upright that depend to much on there amplifier producing the sound, therefore never really getting there technique together as far as getting a good sound out of just the bass.

    Seems like there’s always compromises when you try to get a natural acoustic tone happening at unnatural volume levels.
     
  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    That's another topic, but no disagreement here.
     
  14. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but that sounds like you're implying that the acoustic character of an instrument has negligible bearing on its amplified sound... :confused:

    Alan, as Kevin alluded to, the Ultra Lights and the LaBellas are two different animals. While the Euros DO have a steel component to the core, the strings are designed as a whole to be a viable alternative to gut, while the LaBellas aren't really much more than a garden variety steel string with a nylon wrap. Per ctx's post, the ULs are much slimmer and lower in tension than the original Euros.
     
  15. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm saying, that once your are beyond the very basic fundamentals of getting a sound out of a bass that you should set up your bass properly for the way that you're going to use it. Carry that further and let me add that it's also wise to select a bass for your use.

    If you're playing primarly through an amplifier you want a bass and a setup that amplifies well. If you're doing something else then you make different selections.

    A bass that amplifies well, in my experience, tend to be deadish and low in volume acoustically. This helps offset the negative characteristics of the pickup.

    A bass that works well acoustically (pizz or arco) tends to be a nightmare with an amplifier as the basses, good acoustic basses being more live, tend to act like a microphone at even moderate volumes.
     
  16. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Actually, Ray, I'm with ya 100% on all points. Again, it was your initial question (even if only rhetorical) that had me scratching my head.
     
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Taken out of context it's pretty open, but hopefully I cleared things up.
     
  18. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, sounds like I ought to string up the es u/l's today and give them a shot. I'll report back...

    Also, to amplified vs, acoustic part of the thread...I use the db for both. While a King ply db probably is not as loud as many others, I do get by with a acoustic piano, sax and bass trio with it. This was one of the reasons I moved away from guts. At least on this db, with those strings, it just kinda thudded and went away. I then switched to spiro wiech, which sounded much better acoutstically, but just sorta disappeared under my fingers. The spiro mittles felt much better.
     
  19. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Eurosonics on...I like the feel and sound of them acoustically, and they're much closer to what I want than the LeBellas...I'll take it to work tonight and see what the band/sound guy/crowd report. Tonight is Blues night at one of the local places, and we're the host band. Come down and sit in if you're in the neighborhood;)
     
  20. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Eurosonic U/L's: worked real well for me last night. Sound guy, and other bass players in the crowd liked them, as did I. They feel good too.