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The search for strings go on...

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by ethnotime, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. ethnotime


    Sep 24, 2006
    New York, NY

    So after a long search, I thought I was happy with my spiro mediums but now they just sound too bright for me. I've tried various gut strings (garbo, anima, evahs) but they're all a little too dark sounding for me. Can anyone suggest any middle ground string? My bass actually responds very well to the high tension spiros but the sound is a too tight for me, especially in the upper register, so I guess I'm looking for a low tension string.

    I've read about a few different varieties here, but I just wanted to see what other people have used, or tried, in a similar situation.

    I play jazz and have a carved Juzek. I do use the bow extensively when I practice so it'd be nice to have something that works well with arco.

    Any suggestions?

  2. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Innovation Honeys?
  3. The brightness of Mittels wear off after a while.

    You might want to consider Spiro Weiches--they're darker (on my bass, anyway), better for arco and not as tight. (They're also better balanced on my Kay.)
  4. HateyMcAmp


    Apr 13, 2006
    Maybe Spiro Solos at concert pitch? The loosest and darkest clan....
  5. Pirastro Obligato (a bit bright at the beginning but less than spiros, getting darker over time),
    Innovation 140B (soft attack, lower tension, some mids and some highs, getting darker over time) or
    Innovation 140H (old school sound with a lot of attack but medium dark sounding, lot of mids, but almost no highs).
    Spiro Weich (3/4 or 4/4 depending on the scale size of your bass).

    I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I tried.

    The obligato might be the brightest of these, could be combined with 3/4 Spiro Weich or 4/4 Spiro Mittel on the lower strings.

    The Spiros (specially the Mittel set) needs a lot of playing until they get more flexible and darker (might even take months). But then you can play them for many years.
  6. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    Sounds like you're a candidate for Helicore Hybrids. They're basically Spiro mediums but slightly darker. I think the G has a little less tension than the spiros medium, but the E is about the same.

    But I have to ask, how old are said Spiros? Sticking with those may yet be a better option because of the way they age unless you have some abnormally bright bass on which strings on the bright side of the spectrum just never settle.
  7. ethnotime


    Sep 24, 2006
    New York, NY
    Thanks for the replies!

    Yes Helicore Hybrids, somebody just gave me a HH G string and it's way way better (might be the orchestral string i forget). Much darker and not as bright and is particularly bow friendly. I think some people would really like the bright spiro sound on my bass, it sounds like fretless electric bass! But I want something darker. I have a dark sounding bass and the combination is very nice. I also got a set of evah pirazzi weichs that I want to try out.

    I'll look into the spiro weichs, I remember the sound being kinda thin but that was years ago. Also the strings are thinner and it hurt my LH a bit. I'll definitely keep them in mind.

    The spiros are about a year old and the brightness is uncanny! They honestly sound brand new sometimes: I took them out for about a month in October and I just put them back on and it sounds like the break did wonders for the string. It's not for me anymore but spirocore mittels are really amazing.
  8. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    The Orchestral string is blue and gold and the hybrid is green and gold. All three varieties are pretty solid strings, just depends upon how dark/bright you like it.
  9. Thomastik Dominants. Low tension, stiff, superb arco, amazing spiro pizz without the harshness. Very loud and powerful, great attack... Anything else, sir?

  10. I would call Dominants rather high tension than low tension. And yes, they are stiff.
  11. The tension on Dominants is similar to weichs on the e-string and less than mittels (slightly more than weichs) on the rest, that is at least not high tension in my book.... See thomastiks site for details.
  12. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    As I've said before, I love the Dominants but it's important to be aware of the breakage issues that many players have experienced. Some have had no trouble at all. I wish I were one of them.
  13. PrairieDogma


    Jul 11, 2012
    Hamilton, ON
    From the Gollihur website, listing Spriocores. I assume it is correct -

    String Gauges:

    Medium (Mittel)
    G D A E
    .051 .068 .082 .110
    G D A E
    .044 .061 .076 .103
    G D A E
    .046 .063 .079 .107
    G D A E
    .054 .065 .095 .120

    The D appears to be disproportionately heavy in the Mittel gauge, heavier even than the Stark, which could lead to what you are hearing.

    Until I noticed this, I was going to spring for Spriocore Mittels for the first time (I'm usually too cheap). I think I might go for the Weich on the theory they will be easier on the fingers. I like to get new strings every ten years or so whether I need then or not. Sad to say I've only been playing slab the last three years due to working away from home.

  14. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    On further reflection: dark but not gut: Bel Canto's. They have a dark pizz, not as dark as gut. Not as stiff as Spiro Mittels, not twangy at all. As a matter of fact, a lot of folks think they're too dark. But I like them.

    If you're not adverse to synthetic cores, the Innovation Braided (braided core, not solid like the Honeys - and they have a tad darker tone) might also suit.

    Blue Velvets, have a synthetic core, not a gut core, and are a tad brighter as well, but with the same lighter feel.

    Since they are an "orchestra" string, if the Bel G string is too dead, then a D'Addario Prelude G matches the Bel D & A for tone with more sustain. I wouldn't go with the entire set of Preludes because even though darker, they have practically the same tension as Spiro S42 mittels on a 3/4 bass.

    If the Bel E is too dark or you feel you just can't "dig in," then the Spiro 3885.5W E string matches in tension and feel, but isn't too bright, just a tad of growl to help it speak promptly, and settles in quickly.
  15. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    The gauge of a string has very little bearing on its tension or feel, due to the differences in interior construction, number of wraps, damping material to optimize the string for arco, material(s) the string is made from, etc.

    That said, and all else being equal (which it rarely, if ever is) yes, a thicker gauge string of the same make, model and construction will have more tension and slightly less flexibility. T-I has a downloadable pdf catalog on their website that lists tensions as well. But even that does not tell how a string will feel due to differences in wrap and construction affecting flexibility.
  16. I also have carved Juzek and went the opposite direction when I became dissatisfied with Mittels -- I went with Starks. The Mittel G was sounding a bit twangy on my bass and the Stark G sounds awesome and full. My bass has a 41" string length and I didn't notice a huge change in tension.

    The Starks were super bright when I put them on about 3 months ago but have settled in nicely. My bass likes high-tension strings that are on the brighter side. I feel like the Starks really "turn on" the bass.

    If you went with Starks you might be able to lower your action a little and still keep a full and focused sound.

    I play probably 60/40 arco to pizz/slap, so take that into consideration.