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There must be a string for both........

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Arnold, Feb 18, 2004.


  1. Howdy,
    I've read the post's, and searched the newby links and am still looking for an answer. I play an older american plywood bass, that Arnold Schnitzer did a lot of work on in 1994. This included an unbelievable fingerboard, adding wood between the neck and fingerboard, endpin, and lot's of small stuff also. This bass is awesome, now, I need to find strings that are eqully awesome. I use this bass with cabaret singers, on musicals, jazz gigs, etc. I never would bring it to an orchestra gig, however I'm finding more and more that I need a better bowing sound. I need new strings, the old ones have been on so long I don't remember what they are, and any recomendations would be great. I appreciate the "change strings between gigs" advice that I've read, but I occasionally need a pizz bass at 5 o'clock and "broadway bass" at 8, so I'm looking for a set that can do both. Thanks.
     
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Obligatos are a popular selection as a hybrid. I have them on my bass. I really like the round pizz round, and they are very easy to play.

    The E is a bit hard to start with a bow. I also think they are a bit thin sounding bowed on my bass, which is a new hybrid. They may sound bigger on a darker bass that has opened up already.

    Varicors are also often recommended. They are going to be much stiffer than the Obligatos.

    I am sure others will chime in soon.
     
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    The most popular "hybrid" (read: do a good job at both arco and pizz) strings include:
    Pirastro Obligatos
    Pirastro FlatChromesteels
    Pirastro Permanents
    Kolstein Varicors
    Corellis
    Thomastik Dominants (if you can stand the stiffness)
    Thomastik Superflexibles (blue ends)

    Those are the best, IMHO.
    HTH!
     
  4. FidgetStone

    FidgetStone

    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    Francios,
    In your opinion, how would you rank the strings that you listed above from best to worst. We know that every bass is different but your opinion is still valuable.

    Thanks . . .
     
  5. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Best to worst?
    What's the rule?
    Some will be better at arco than pizz, or the other way.
    What's a good pizz tone?
    For some people, it's brightness and sustain.
    For others, warmth and thuddiness. (is that a good word?)
    As you see, it's all subjective and pointless to discuss without a precise analysis grid.

    Sorry if my answer wasn't! :)
     
  6. FidgetStone

    FidgetStone

    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    You should go into politics! ;)
     
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Every string, every bass, no matter what the type or label, has been able to do both for me. Use the bow or pizz, the string will vibrate regardless. You really are empowered.
     
  8. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    This is a good point, although most do one better than the other. I've changed to getting a string that bows well, because with my pizz technique I can generally get a good sound on most any string.

    Currently using Velvet 180 (the new ones). These strings just kill me with how good they are. They make me sound like I can do a proper spicatto, and they can be played in orchestral OR solo tuning without damaging the string. Fairly low tension, and with my action around 7-10mm I can really get a gut like sound on my jazz pizz. These strings really project well.

    Monte
     
  9. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    monte - i'm curious to hear more about the 180's... anything else you'd like to add? where'd you buy them? cost? are they available (unlike velvets in my past experience) as singles? windings? cores?
     
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Velvet 180s are $250 at Lemur. That is probably about as good of a price as you will find. They are available in complete sets only.
     
  11. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    The Velvet 180's are so good for arco it isn't even funny. They have a very deep pizz sound similar to Olivs. Someone who wants a great deal of growl and snarl for pizz may not dig them. Light in tension, and these seem noticeably less thick in gauge than the previous versions. Fairly similar to the Obligatos in thickness.

    I got mine because I griped about the original version of the 180's. They were advertised as a bowing string, but they were very scratchy. They sent me a new set to test, and after the Obligatos died on my new bass at less than 6 months old, I gave them a whirl.

    If you have been using higher tension strings, it may take a week or two before your bass opens up under the lower tension. With mine it sounded good from day one, but it has gotten louder. Tuning stablized within a week, and are extremely stable; as stable as the Obligatos and more than the Eudoxas. The best thing is that they are extremely well matched and even throughout the range of the bass.

    The best price is
    Lou Roten Music , who has them at $240. I would be very wary of any store unless I was POSITIVE that these are the new formulation of the 180's. The new formulation is straight on both ends, and black on both ends with small color rings telling you which string is which. You have to tie your own loop for the tailpiece end. The old ones had a gold loop on the tailpiece end and are completely different.

    These are designed to be able to handle being tuned up a whole step and played in solo tuning. The tension is still manageable, especially if you have an adjustable bridge and lower your action to at least 7mm. I don't use that much, but for a student or pro who has to do both, it would be nice to do them on the same bass.

    Windings are very smooth, and are flat wound. Core is said to be natural fibre, but they say this is not gut. They are kind of secretive about it. I believe part of the core is silk.

    Hope this helps.

    Monte
     
  12. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    thanks monte!

    sean p