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the holy grail again. help with suggestions please

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by mike_odonovan, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. I am playing mostly arco in an orchestra at the moment and my strings are pizz strings that came with the bass. :rolleyes: I seem to be hitting a bit of a brick wall with getting rid of scratchyness on the A string and i am thinking of shelling out for some new strings.

    now the dilema. I also play jazz a lot. everyone sighs... :oops: they know what i am about to ask and yes i have read all the other posts.

    my take on the whole trade off thing is that i want bowing to be really easy with a sound similar to Gary karr (i wish) :D as i use the german bow but would like a pretty "descent" pizz sound. i like charlie haden's sound. does that mean i could get away with arco strings? and still be happy playing jazz or would everyone start cussing my pizz sound?


    again really want a good arco sound as i am starting to bow jazz solos anyway. all your suggestions much appreciated.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    If you are playing Jazz amplified, you could buy a set of Pirastro Flexocores(the newer ones). I find them to have a little less volume than Spirocores for instance, but they are very warm and incredibly smooth sounding. Another string to look into is the Obligato. Recommended 100's of times on this board I am sure. They are a very good hybrid string. Smooth arco, with a nice old school pizzicato. They may fit your playing well.
  3. i am playing jazz amplified and turn the amp off for bowed solos. playing in orchestra section doing Tchaikovsky's 4th and the finale is pretty quick and my strings aint helping me thinks.

    Pirastro Flexocores(the newer ones) - could you describe the pizz sound?

    what are Spirocores Orchestra like for pizz?

    Obligato - read the posts. everyone was raving about them but then seems to go off them. any further updates from Obligato users? 6 month wear out of a string is too short a time for this struggling muso. :rollno:

    cheers for your help

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Flexocores have a smooth pizz sound with little sustain. Thomastik Orchestras are I would say mainly a pizz string. They are very scratch arco. Although they do sound good once you have played them in for 2 months or so.
  5. The D'addario helicore hybrid strings are my favorite strings period. I have tried a few other types (including corelli and the D'addario Helicore acro strings that I currently have). Not only did it give me the pizz. sound I like, I think the arco sound is smoother than the D'addario Helicore arco and definetly the corellis.

    I am not an expert, but I have yet to find a set of strings I like better. My teacher, a master of the bass (he has his doctorate in performance, plays Viol de Gamba in in a Baroque group[lyrabaroque.org], and teaches a number of high school and college age students in the St. Paul area)
    also likes the Hybrids.
  6. The pizz tone of (new) Flexocors (also called Flexocor '92s) is very warm, almost thuddy, with very little sustain.
    This is primarily an orchestral string.
    There are not that many hybrid strings.
    You may also consider Kolstein Varicors and Pirastro FlatChromesteels (the new ones, not the Original FlatChromes...).
  7. Aaron J

    Aaron J

    Jul 16, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    I can vouch for the Pirastro FlatChromesteels...great string. Wonderful for pizz and they bow pretty well. Somehow I believe that any string that is somewhat of a hybrid might be a little scratchy for the last movement of Tchaik. 4. With that said, I can still get a pretty decent spiccato with the FlatChromesteels. This is the first time in awhile I haven't been curious about trying another string, so I really like em'.
  8. just got back from orchestra rehearsal and the Tchai is giving a right pain in the ass. all those 16ths so scratchy. need to practise more granted but i will try changing strings as the ones on the bass are helicore pizz and i don't think they help.

    i am so confused about peoples feedback. i was thinking in the car about how i would like to describe strings for me.

    here it is

    if 1 is the best for pizz and 10 is the best for arco
    i am looking for a string that sounds pretty damn good for arco and just alright for pizz.
    so that would be about a 7 in my formula.
    get they idea?

    could you all rate your suggestions in this way.

    thanks so much
  9. Problem is: all instruments won't sound the same with a given string set.
    Also, your evaluation scale misses the most important, I mean, what YOU think is a good arco and pizz sound.
    Saying "the best" is, with all due respect, totally worthless, IMHO.
    Some people like dark and thick, others brightness and sustain.
    I think there's really no other solution than to buy a few sets and try them for yourself on your instrument.
    Sorry if it didn't help, but there's no magic solution in the string quest!
  10. If this is going on mainly with the A string, it begs the question: Do you have a wolf tone problem on your A string? Try playing the octave up 'A' both fingered and harmonic with the bow.....if you get an unfocused, inability to produce a nice, clear A, part of your problem might be a wolf tone.
    Get a wolf eliminator.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    If it comes down to strings, get the Flexocores. They are made for arco and excell at that. You will get a fat thumpy pizz sound with them(old school tone). Even if you have a wolf...if you are primarily playing arco, get arco strings. It really comes down to the player how they sound, not how the string sounds. Different strings will just make it easier.
  12. Are you talking about Original Flexocors or Flexocor '92s?

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The new Flexocores.
  14. I am about to go and bite the bullet and buy some strings. wehey! first ones i have bought! :D

    after doing all the reading and getting your replies i am going to start out with some Corellis.

    i figure they are the cheapest ;) and have recieved some pretty good comments so i will give them a try.

    anyone got advice on whether i should go for the 370 Forte TX or for the 380 Forte TX? I have pretty big hands and am worried about the comments of Corellis being quite thin. at the moment my bass has Helicore pizz so would like to keep the same thickness. If i go for the extra thickness of the 380 will i lose bowability?

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Corellis are really bright. You would probably want the thicker gauge. I still think there are much better orchestral strings out there. But you never know until you try.
  16. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I just took my 370 Forte's off a couple days ago and put some Spiro's on. They were on for about 6 months. The thin strings didn't really bother me, but that the E & A strings seemed a bit flappy, especially the E. Being so, the E was kinda slow to come back to my hand playing pizz. I like the brightness myself and bowing was pretty easy, so I might go back and get the TX's. So if you do alot of pizz, you might think about getting the TX's instead. On Bob G's site, he says that they're not much different but hopefully you'll get a quicker string return with the thickest gauge.

    I have some Kolstein Heritage's on order so I'll see what that's like. Sure the Spiro's haven't broken in yet, but the spiro's are way to scratchy and tight for me... I think my bass likes the looser tension. I had a more open sound with the Corelli's. My $.02.

    One more thing: Mike you may have gotten the string designations off. 370 = Tungsten, 380= Nickel. Forte = Medium gauge, TX = Heavy Guage. I think that's how it goes. What I'm suggesting (at least for myself) is the 370 TX. I don't have any experience with the nickel ones on a DB, except for a set of 1/2 size strings on my EUB. I prefer the tungsten. They just felt better.
  17. corellis kind of bright - like Gary Karr kind of sound? i dont mind bright just don't want scratchy.

    strings are going on a old carved german double bass and i play german bow. so the bass is quite dark.

    give us one string that you would recommend bassed on what you know or me.

    sorry for faffing around so much. really appreciate your help.
  18. JonB


    May 27, 2003
    My old German bass sounds good with 370tx. It's a dark instrument. The new Bulgarian bass is pretty bright and actually sounds better with 380tx. (They're cheaper too) There is hardly any difference in thickness.
    Don't forget, the G string is nickel in both cases. 370F's are higher tension, but there is no 380F.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    My bass is really dark sounding as well. I have Thomastik Superflexibles on it right now, and it sounds quite good. I actually just finished recording a demo. I may put a couple tunes up on the TB sampler soon. They are good crossover strings. Less scratchy than Spirocores by quite a bit, and they have a really nice thick pizz.
  20. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    On another note, Bert Turetzky mentioned to me that you never play fast AND loud. I didn't get it at first, but my teacher Ken Friedman said basically the same thing. You might try putting less weight down for the 16ths, using a small amount of bow. I think precision and playing really well in time will help your sound project, rather than digging in too hard. (You can still whoomp the long notes! :) )