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Thick/Flexible steel or synthetic strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by ERIC A, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. I am looking to put a set of steel or synthetic strings on one of my basses, so I can get a more modern sound. I am a gut user, so I am looking for something that won't be a complete feel shock. Any help would be greatly appeciated.

  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I would say Obligatos. They will feel very, very thin compared to what you're used to -- give that some time -- but sound and response is more like what you're used to and nearer the other sound as well.

    Give the steel string thing some time. You're going to have to learn a different touch to get the sound out the bass. Like somewhere between a couple of weeks and a month before you freak out and rip them back off :) And -- if you play your strings pretty high right now, you have to change that. Steel strings are stiffer and the lower string height is part of the growl. Unless you wanna yank REALLY hard.
  3. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    Kolstein's Heritage strings are synthetic core and will give you a more modern sound. I found plenty of growl, even on the open E. The tension seemed very similar to gut.
    I don't know what type of gut strings you are using now, but Pirastro Pizzicato strings are gut with a much more modern sound than you would expect from gut. They might be good if you are looking to change your sound without a drastic difference in feel.
  4. The steel string that's most similar to gut, IMO, is the Jargar string, made in Denmark.
    They're available in three gauges; Dolce, Medium and Forte.
    The Dolce would be your best choice in this brand.
  5. JAS


    Jul 3, 2001
    Are the Jargars similar to gut just in sound or do they have a similar feel as far as their thickness and tension. For me the nicest part about gut strings is their thickness combined with their tension more so than their sound.
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Overall, I would recommend dismississing too much importance on feel. If you have an important gig in a couple of days, then put off the string-type change. Otherwise: You're planning on playing a different beast, so take that beast with all of its plusses and minuses. The strinsg are going to feel different, and if you get yourself out of the way you can make that adjustment in a pretty short amount of time. If you insist on finding strings that sound like Spirocores and feel like gut you'll never do it and probably give up on steel strings after a few weeks and never look back.

    An example from my own personal experience that I can share is that I play (currently) Spirocore Solos very low. Because that's where I like the sound. Every Monday night you can find me hanging out at Arturo's, where the house bassist plays guts string pretty high. After just a few sittings-in I adjusted to the strings and get around the bass just fine and also get the gut version of my tone. It only took a few rounds of this. At this point, after a few months of sitting in on that bass, you could have me switch back and forth between basses -- one on each chorus of a tune -- and, aside from the theatrics and lack of continuity, I wouldn't have a problem.

    Like FuquaEd likes to say, get the sound in your head, associate this (to start) with a set of strings. Put those strings on your fiddle and just play the thing for a while. The feel of the strings will feel normal in pretty short amount of time -- as long as you don't try to make them feel like your old set.

    Thus my recommendation on the Obligatos, as the respond similar to gut, but sound more modern. Thus reducing the shock of EVERYTHING being different at the same time. Plus, they're pretty cheap given the universal success that Obligatos have with players...
  7. I appreciate the input. I have tried a set of Jagar strings, but they had a very similar sound to gut. I am now looking for something with a more modern sound. From reading the post, it seems like the obligatos, as well as the Kolstein strings seem to be a popular choice. I have tried used steel in the past, but always found the g-string the hardest to get comfortable with. So, I went back to gut. Any opinions on using an oliv or eudoxa g string with a set of obligatos?

    Thanks again!!
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Sometimes I think that I'm typing just to hear the noise...
  9. I understand that I would need to give it time to adjust to a different set of strings. But, between 3 sons, a day job and 3 to 4 gigs a week, I really don't have time to play with it a home, nor do I want to experiment with it on somebody else’s dime. However, I would like to have the right sound for the right gig (hence this exercise). I play anything form old swing to modern jazz. People who hire me to play more modern gigs have told me that they would like me to have a more modern sound. In fact they have suggested that I try setting up one bass for this reason. So, what might work for one person might not be true for everyone.

    Thanks again for your input!!
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Eric, I have the same problems, and I play bass full time! (Well, the day job is shuttling kids to school, cooking, and studio work, but same thing). I don't have a chance to try out a lot of strings, because I never have any time off the bandstand to experiment. That's why I really appreciate the Obligatos.

    I think the Obligatos would serve you well, given your last post. I think maybe they're the Swiss Army Knife of bass strings. With the Oblis, I can cover the jazz stuff, the orchestral stuff, the studio stuff, all on one setup, and sound good on all of them. They feel really nice. Give 'em a shot, they're not expensive.

    PS...you mentioned setting up one bass for jazz...implying that you have more than one. Perfect! Just do that. I only have one bass, but I'd love to have the space for another one to use as a string test dummy.

    One final note; try some string changes if you like but don't mention it to your bandmates. It might be an interesting experiment.
  11. Being a steel string, they don't have the thickness of guts.
    They share a similar tone, and in the case of Dolces, the tension.
    Similarity ends there.
  12. JAS


    Jul 3, 2001
    O.K. Thanks Francois. I had a feeling thats what you meant. Are there any strings that you know of that have the thickness and tension of gut but with a sustain and tuning stability closer to steel? The Eurosonics are the closest to that that I have found.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    When they make them let me know.
  14. :D

    I'm not familiar with this brand, but Velvets maybe?
    They use a synthetic core.
  15. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I hope they last a while, 'cause you know they'll go for $1K per set.
  16. JAS


    Jul 3, 2001
    Why hasn't someone made these strings yet!!!?? Please, someone make them.
  17. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    Perhaps, because defying the laws of physics is pretty much limited to those with diety status.
  18. :D

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I just put a used set of Garbos on my bass, and they are "almost" the magic string! I have to give them about a week to settle, but they are sounding quite good already. The bowed sound is the same as if you were bowing on gut. The G while a bit difficult to bow is similar to a plain gut G. If that sound is cool with you, I would recommend them. Nice strings!
  20. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    Those are all good recommendations.
    I've been using the Velvet Animas. They are thicker than steel strings, have agreat pizz sound and also a great bowed sound. I don't htink I'll eve go back to steel strings after this, maybe if I get a second bass I'd try Obligatos.