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Thomastic Spirocores..who likes them?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by jhendo, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. jhendo


    Jan 14, 2005
    hey guys, just got Thomastic Spirocores,i just put them on the bass yesterday...any opinions? they sound bright and hollow...

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Give them a couple months....
  3. jhendo


    Jan 14, 2005
    ok, will they sound dark then?
  4. Nobody can say that the strings will sound dark or not on any bass other than their own. All basses are different and eventhough a certain string will have a sound that makes them what they are, each string is "colored" by whatever bass they are on. Just like each bass is "colored" by the strings, but in a couple of months of steady playing the Spirocores will "mellow out" a bit and then you will have a better idea wether or not they contribute to YOUR sound. I have used Spirocores, Velvets, and currently using D' addario Heliocores. Each string brings something different to the bass, but for now the Heliocores work best with my bass/set up. Just give it some time and you'll get an idea if they are for you or not. OH! Welcome to the world of "string madness", it's expensive but sometimes fun. :rolleyes:
  5. flat five

    flat five

    Sep 1, 2004
    It reallydepends on your bass. Spirocore weichs work best for me. I play mostly pizz and the brightness of the weichs gives my dark sounding bass more clarity. Some people find that they are difficult to bow on. I've found that they require you to not have sloppy technique, then they are fine. There are other strings that are more forgiving, but they don't have the feel and sound that I like for jazz.

    They will sound very twangy for a while, depending on how much you play. For me, I'm very happy with the pizz sound after about three days of hard playing and the bow sounds acceptable after about two weeks. The twanginess goes away and a sort of midrangey sound emerges. If you are looking for a dull and thuddy sound, then Spirocores are probably not the best choice for you. But since you have them you should give them a little time. And you can EQ out some of the brightness.
  6. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I like 'em. So does Dave Holland, Marc Johnson, Percy Heath, Drew Gress, Mark Helias. So did Ray Brown. Everybody (among non-classical players) uses them at some point, it seems, and for many of us it becomes impossible to play on anything else once the addiction to the pizz response sets in.

    Here's a trick for breaking steel strings in quickly: after you put them on, take a towel or a t-shirt and, pinching quite firmly around the string, rub vigorously up and down the entire length of the string between the nut and the bridge (it may be awkward the first time you do it...) Do this until the strings get hot--and they will get very hot, so don't burn yourself. You'll turn the towel or shirt black, simultaneously cleaning the new strings (don't ask me why they're dirty when they're new--I guess they put a thin layer of grease on them to prevent rusting as is done with metal tools and such) and putting a couple of weeks' worth of wear on them.

    I learned this from someone on the old 2xbasslist, and it really works well with bright strings like Spirocores. Of course, you wouldn't want to do it with Obligatos or Dominants or something, and you wouldn't want to do it repeatedly with your steel strings (I suppose it would shorten the life of the strings). Then, in six months to five years when you finally change the strings and put on another set of new Spirocores, you'll be slapped in the face once again with the brightness of new Spirocores and will long for the mellowness of your old ones...

    Another thing with Spiros: play around with your string height to find the best spot. It may be higher or lower than you would expect, but I've found that there definitely is a "sweet spot" with both weichs and mittels at which they have a perfect combination of sustain and thump, darkness and light and all that. Depending on bass and fingers, of course.
  7. I was talking strings with the girl at the biggest stringed instrument shop in town. She stated that Spiros either Weichs or Orcs sell the most. It seems like every jazz player I see has spiros on their bass. They are the loudest string I've ever used. Which is nice when playing out without an amp.

    I'm going through string dilemma myself, I might string up my new bass with an old set I have..
  8. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    DP (new owner of some Chordas, perhaps?),
    Note the "for many of us" in the mention of addiction to Spirocore's pizz sound (for there are indeed a ton of Spirocore users out there, even while recognizing the mounting dissatisfaction in the bass community with the strings). Back when I was a brass player, a famous local pedagogue would mention in response to questions about which mouthpiece to use (the brass analog to the string obsession amongst bassists) "just get a 7C and live with it." I answer the same thing to bassists who seem to be obsessing too much about strings: just get some Spirocores (or Helicores, or Superflexibles) and make them work.
    I do agree wholeheartedly about the "generic post-1960s bass sound"--just turn on WBGO in New Jersey (or go the website) and you will hear it all night long. But for me, I can't blame it on Spirocores, just the uninventive minds playing them. Dave Holland's Spirocore sound is utterly different from Marc Johnson's; Percy Heath has been thought to be using gut strings for many years even after he long ago switched to Spirocore mittels (according to an interview in "Bass Player" magazine). I feel like my bass (an important point, that possessive) sounds very similar no matter what strings I have on it, and Spirocores are the easiest to play/get around on/express myself with (especially on those nights when you do everything from Oscar Pettiford stuff to Paul Jackson "Headhunters" basslines on one double bass). Knowing what a bass player may be asked to do on one gig, I have to pick the most versatile, on average, strings possible. If anyone wants, listen here: http://www.artistshousemusic.com/brookflash/brooknew1.html
    It could be generic and post-1960s, but I think its simply what a bass sounds like. Not gut-like, I know; whenever I've played a bass with gut strings, I've thought it was the coolest thing ever, but I've known that I could never cut all of the different gigs I do (jazz [old to modern], orchestra, klezmer, funk, Afro-Cuban, free) with just those strings. So I must remain an unabashed Spirocore lover, envious of those with the option not to be.
  9. Johono5....I'm trying to figure out who you really are. If you want to remain anonymous, of course, it's more than cool. But after enjoying your posts, i'd like to find out who you really are. I've tried the A.H. site and still can't figure it....any chance?
  10. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Ha! I'm not anybody, just somebody; my name is Jeremy Allen, and that Bob Brookmeyer/Kenny Wheeler CD is probably my only presence on the web (although you're right, the AH website doesn't tell you much about anything). I gave up the pursuit of enlightenment in NYC recently and am working on a PhD in musicology and getting some unofficial teaching experience in the jazz department at Indiana University (in my hometown, Bloomington, IN).

    I'm glad if some of my posts are interesting, and thanks for saying so. However, you may remember me not-so-fondly as the wanna-be journalist who tried, and failed, to get the Ron Carter interview for TB a couple of years ago. I swear, he just refused to acknowledge any of my requests to answer the interview questions! Either I offended him, or I'm not cut out to be a journalist...
  11. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Heck, DP, you didn't tick me off! Everything I write is done in the spirit of congeniality (except my letters to Rumsfeld and GWB). But I got docked a grade in a doctoral seminar last semester for not asserting my opinions strongly enough, so I'm practicing on you all. A truth is most likely to be found somewhere in the middle of two (or more!) well-reasoned points of view, so let us not hesitate to express ourselves. (Hear that, GWB? OK, I'll stop with that now.)
    Sorry for the perceived diss with the Chorda comment, which carried no particular significance; I just saw that one of the Adrians was selling a set of them minus the G string recently, and then you posted an ad looking for one Chorda G string, and I thought "aha! maybe that's where they went!" I had contacted him about the strings (to use in a Baroque orchestra that uses period instruments--I don't think ANY of us will try to make a case for Spirocores working there!), but I got cold feet (about the orchestra).
    While respect for everyone's right to their own opinions is of course essential, my little "possessive" comment was meant to refer to my particular bass rather my particular ill-formed preferences: I swear that my instrument sounds bright and growly and scratchy no matter what kind of steel strings I put on it, Spiros or Flexocors or whatever (even the Velvet E string sustained all day), but I know that is not the case with everyone's axe and thus string characteristics are subject to widely diverging opinions. I almost dread ever getting a new bass, because then the wretched string experimentation will have to begin again.
    And you are correct to call a bit of a bluff on the versatility thing: although I like to brag about doing a wide variety of gigs with Spirocores including orchestra ones, I would never take an orchestra audition on them. Sitting back in the section, they seem to blend in and project well, but when exposed they show their true colors (under my home-brewed arco technique). I know I'll be glad to have them tonight during the fourth set, though, when Steve Houghton wants to play a twenty-minute version of "Red Clay..."
    Peace out,