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Superflexible vs. Obligato

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by FidgetStone, Nov 6, 2004.


  1. FidgetStone

    FidgetStone

    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    After eight months it seems my Obligatos might be going a little dead on me. They are not bad by any stretch but I'm starting to get the itch to try something new.

    From all the posts that I have read about the Superflixibles they seem like they might have the sound I am looking for. I actually love the Obligatos but I can't resist trying something new.

    I am tyring to start bowing more as well as playing pizz so I a very interested in hearing from folks that have had both strings.

    Peace . . .

    P.S. My bass is a hybrid Christopher just under a year old.
     
  2. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I like both strings, but it depends on the bass and what you want from it. The Superflexibles are brighter, and scratchier with the bow. They are darker than Spirocores though. I think you will get a little more modern sound with them. The Obligatos are going to be smoother with the bow, and a little more old school pizz. It really is up to what you want to do, but I would stick with the Obligatos.
     
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Funny...I don't get "old school" with Oblis on my bass at all. They're plenty growly, and fuller sounding than the Spiros were. I can get an old school sound with them, which is sometimes handy for Hawaiian recordings or Django-style music, but it's not their default sound on my bass.
     
  4. FidgetStone

    FidgetStone

    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Excellent information so far. My dream string would be one that performed like Obligatos for pizz and bowed even better.

    Is there such a string?
     
  5. Supposedely the Kolstein Heritage are the New "Miracle" string.
    Haven't tried them yet, but the reactions I've read are still mixed, as they have been with every single other string discussed on this board since I've been a member here.
     
  6. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    There is such a string if your pocket book is big enough;) The new Velvet Compas 180's bow better than the Obligatos by a good deal, and sound great pizz. They are about the same tension.
     
  7. FidgetStone

    FidgetStone

    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Adrian,
    I have read some of your comments on the 180's in other threads. I have two questions for you (or other folks that have tried Velvet 180's)

    - In one of the threads on the 180's there was an insinuation that there had been two different versions of the string and that the new one is better. Any truth to this?

    - Life expectancy? Any clues? If they last twice as long as Obligatos, that would help justify the price.

    Thanks . . .
     
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Hah! Those are on my GAS list, and probably next up in the bullpen.
     
  9. Steve Bassman

    Steve Bassman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Here's my take on the Thomastik Superflexibles. Long before Obligatos or Helicores hit the market, Superflexibles were considered a bowable jazz string that was fairly inexpensive. Some classcial bassists use a Superflexible for their low-C extentions too. They don't have as much pizz growl and sustain as Spirocores, but the arco sound is not as scratchy. They don't bow as well as Flexocores, but the pizz is not as thumpy. They probably won't blow anyone away, but they may be ideal for someone who uses one bass for jazz and orchestra work or for a jazz bassist who takes bowed solos (which is why John Clayton used them for years before switching to Obligatos). Now there are more choices in hybrid strings, but they all have their strong points and by design are a comprimise in some area. I once had a set of Spirocores on my bass and replaced the unbowable "D" string with a Superflexible and I was pleased with the results. The arco was better and the pizz sound similar, although you could hear less "growl" in the sound compared to the Spiros. I later replaced the "G" with a Superflexible and I was surprised at how bright it was. Overall, the Superflexibles mixed well with the Spirocores. I'm surprised more basists don't try this combination. I switched to Helicores after that and that's still what I use. I'll probably try the Obligato's next, but I may consider the Superflexibles again. The top jazz bassist/teacher in my area recommends the Superflexibles over the Helicores, but he says they don't last as long as the Sprirocores. He also said that Obligatos lasted just as long as the Superflexibles in his experience, but he changes strings much more frequently than I do.

    - Steve

    http://kaybass.home.att.net
     
  10. delbass

    delbass

    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY
    I have Superflexible E+A and Obligato D+G on my carved bass which is used mostly for arco playing and it is sounding nice. I found the obligato E and A to flabby for arco and pizz, but I like the D+G. Now, I can really dig in to the E and A with good response, and I can get a nice warm tone on the D and G. This combo also works well for pizz (on my bass). Total cost is about $100, so it is worth trying.
    -Del
     
  11. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I personally hate Obligatos. Yes they have a warm sound and yes they are not expensive but to me, the pizz is plasticky and lifeless, the A and E roll under the bow, and they don't last long if you're a heavy-handed pizz player. The 180s (yes there are two versions - they still make the old ones and called them 180 SUIT) are much better in every way IMO.

    I have been trying out a Superflexible E to go with my gut A, D and G. Now that it has finally settled in, I'm not sure about it but it's certainly better than an Obligato E. I think I want to try a Helicore Orchestra Heavy E.
     
  12. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    It depends on the bass. On my Czech DB the Obligatos sounded great, I just thought I lost a little volume compared to Gut strings, or Spirocores for instance. They do project really well though. The Compas 180's used to be a roundwound string ground flat. Terrible IMO. The new formulation is completely different. They feel like Pirastro windings, and have an exceptionally nice arco response. They will last far longer than Obligatos. Monte has had his set of Compas 180's on for about 8 months, and he said they still sound great.
     
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Sorry for the dummy question...how do you know you have the new formulation Compas? Is it a diferent catalog number?
     
  14. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The windings are very different. The new ones are extremely smooth - so smooth that on some of the strings it actually looks like the string has been dipped in metal because you can barely see the windings themselves. Also, I believe the old ones had the loop ends at the tailpiece whereas the new ones have "dangling threads" at both ends that you tie in a "knot" (you have to see the instructions that come with the strings to understand this).

    They were some of the nicest strings I've ever tried and one of the best pizz and arco strings. Unfortunately they are not for me as they are very thin and they don't really have the response I want when I dig in hard. If Velvet took that formulation and made some thicker strings, I'd be personally quite excited. None of their other strings (360s, Garbo, Anima) have the same or even a similar formulation with the biggest issue.
     
  15. FidgetStone

    FidgetStone

    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Adrian J.,
    Do you have the new 180's or the original ones?
     
  16. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Adrian had new the ones - he got them from me. I'm pretty sure he has sold them since.
     
  17. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I did sell them. They are awesome strings, but I play unamplified almost always, and I just get more volume on my bass with Gut strings. The 180's are excellent strings for both Pizz and Arco. If you play with an amp or are playing mostly orchestral I don't think there is a better hybrid string in existance.