Thomastik Dominants

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Chasarms, Mar 21, 2002.

  1. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    A few weeks ago, I was in a local music store and the they had a set of Thomastik Dominants marked all the way down to $59!!!

    Well, I know I am an ultra-newbie, but I been around long enough to know this is a killer price. The best internet price I have seen was something like $130. The clerk said that they had been on the shelf since he started there two years ago. I took them off their hands.

    I play folk and bluegrass only and everything I read talks about dominants being an orchestral string, but since these are supposed to be Thomastik's take on gut, I thought they might be cool for me.

    After three weeks, I love these strings. They are very easy to finger and also seem gentle on the right hand. These strings along with a slight shortening/thinning of the bridge have made the bass play about 1000 times better than before.

    The strings have a wonderful, dark tone. Short and thumpish like bluegrass ought to be, but if you let the note sustain it does have a great deal of tonal color and character.

    Perhaps any string compares favorably to the La Bella 610s that were on there, but wow, what a difference.

    When I first brought in the bass to my lesson after the work, my teacher played it and said it was MUCH better for me to be learning on. This adjustment has greatly reduced fatigue.

    At first the E was weak and muddy. I thought this was odd since I read that many use just the Dominant E along with other strings. My teacher moved the post closer to the bridge foot and it helped both the E and the A. Now they are fairly well balanced.

    The combination of the lower action and these strings have lowered the bass's volume, but that is a suitable compromise IMO. Although the bass is new, just the couple of hours a day for the past month seem to be helping it begin to open up. I think it will get louder with time.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I sat in one time on a guy's plywood with these strings. I recall they sounded pretty good, in spite of a bass only a mother could love. The strings were pretty high and I recall telling they guys not call anything too fast as the bass was going to win the battle early on the way it was set up -- it felt really stiff on top of being high. As I played, though, the strings were surprisingly loose feeling. I didn't have a chance to get the Stick on them, but I'm sure they're a lot friendlier than the Spirocores that I can't seem to get off...
  3. I just put on a Dominant E & A yesterday and have to agree with you,nice feel(even though they come out of the packet like a stair rod)nice sound.I am almost tempted to buy the rest of the set.Do the D & G have similar qualities?
    I and my bass seem to like lower tension strings,I just can`t seem to get comfy with Spirocores.
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Who can? You can get to where you can tolerate them. Just don't put Spirocores up too high. 5mm and 8mm here.
  5. Perhaps I am too much of a wimp for Spiros,I love the sound and maybe if I played acoustically more than I do amplified I would keep them on,but subtle jazz ballads are not what we do so I prefer a string I can thrash a bit for two hours and not feel like my fingers have been through the mincer.
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I would call the tone consistant from the E to the G.

    I don't have enough experience with bass strings to assure you that they are really low tension, but they surely are way more comfortable and flexible than the La Bellas that they sent me with the Engelhardt.

    And sound tons better. Very round, soothing tone. Nothing harsh at all. Even the thumpiness quality of them isn't aggressive.

    It may be that all bass strings are this way for the first few weeks, but they get crazy out of tune between sittings. I almost thought my kids had been messing with the bass.

    I guess it just takes a while for the nylon to stretch out.

  7. Hellfish122


    Mar 26, 2002
    Is anyone using the Thomastik Dominant E & A with plain gut G & A? How does it sound? I'm looking for relatively inexpensive gut or gut-like A & E strings to compliment the plain gut. Chasarms review intrigued me! I play a little bit of everything (jazz, classical, country, RAB), but want to play mostly rockabilly and classic country, hence the switch. I have a fully-carved Lidl URB.
  8. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC

    I've had my Spiros on for almost 5 years, and they're just now starting to sound good! ;)
  9. Georgia Watt

    Georgia Watt Guest

    Mar 2, 2002
    I just got given a spare set of Sprios with my newbie bass...haven't put them on yet. Am I reading into your posts that they're tuff on the fingers, but sound okish? I'm thinking anything is better than the factory set I have now!
  10. I've had my Spirocores (with the red wrappings) on my bass for a good three years and I love the sound!

    Feel-wise, I dig the red Spiros - enough tension to really dig in and with the right action a very versatile string. With a almost orchestral pizz technique near the midpoint octave they're well suited for bouncy two-feels. A more horizontal two-finger technique yields a punchy and powerful sound suitable for shout choruses and letting a wayward drummer know where the beat really is. A diagonal approach with the meaty part of the index leads to a nice and full, growly tone. A bow sounds like a bison with a hairball.

    Three out of four ain't that bad .... :D

    Sorry - didn't mean to steer this thread into a Spirocore love-in. :eek:
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I haven't found another string that has the volume, clarity of tone and pitch, or sustain that the Spiros have. Once they settle in they sound good with the bow, too. They definitely like to fight the bow, however, but I've been working diligently to overcome this...
  12. Georgia Watt

    Georgia Watt Guest

    Mar 2, 2002
    Which do you prefer? and why?
  13. Watt, Why, When, Where:

    Preference is subject to mood.
    If you're not prepared to buy at least 7 different sets of strings, you have no business being a bassist.
    The difference boils down to tone. All the adjectives in the world aren't going to tell you how they'll sound to you.
    The Dominant seems to be constructed similarly to the Obligato, which has a vaguely gut component to its overall sound.
    My experience is that the Spirocore pizz sound is strong, robust, with maximum sustain. Arco, blah; screechy.
    Synthetic gut (Dominant, Obligato) has a nice sound, too, and bows much better.
    Thomastic acknowledges that the Dominant doesn't have the sustain found in their steel strings.
    As for tension, the aggregate tension of Spirocores is 278.8 lb., or 126.5 kg
    Dominants are 260.0 lb., or 118.0 kg.
    If you want the Thomastik steel string sound but not the tension, there are options. You can get Spirocore Weich, with tension of 252.3 lb or 114.5 kg. Another old trick is to put on Spirocore Orchestra Solo strings but tune them up only to EADG, rather than F#BEA. I have no idea what the tension is.
    Ray is spot-on re string height; it's part of the equation. 5mm - 8mm max for Spirocores. I used to be 4.5 and 7.5.
    Finally, be aware that basses, never mind your fingers, also have unique responses to various tensions. You just don't know till you try.
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I've not tried the Dominants, but I HAVE tried Spiros, Weichs, Spiro Solos, and Thomastic Rope core. For me, only the Spiros get THAT SOUND. Everything else sounds like a compromise in comparison(YMMV, as always). Over time, the tension starts to feel a bit more normal. My string height for the red Spiros is 1/4" at the G, and 1/2" at the E (I forget what the conversions are).

    P.S. - I don't bow, so the Spiros are an easy clear choice for me. If you bow, you just opened Pandora's box...
  15. Georgia Watt

    Georgia Watt Guest

    Mar 2, 2002
    i wuv the red spiros!! thanks for the advice guys
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    If you like them, then I fear that you, like me and innumerable others, are hooked for life :)
  17. You could've said so before I wrote a f***ing essay.@#$%^#*$%^@#@&$(
  18. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Temper, temper, Don-O.

    Besides, that wasn't an essay, it was a tech-sheet.
  19. Georgia Watt

    Georgia Watt Guest

    Mar 2, 2002
    er...Don. It was your 'essay' that convinved me to put them on and have a go...

    so thank you!