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Thomastik Spirocores vs. Helicore Pizz

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by bassist1962, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. Before anyone gives a groan, I have searched the threads and found very little (usually mixed in with other subjects) on this comparison. I have heard that Helicore Pizz are Daddario's version of the Spirocores, but all I can really find is a comparison with is the Hybrids. Are the Helicore Pizz comprable, or should I spend the extra and get the original Spirocores? How are they similar, how are they different, durability, etc. I need some objectivity here, not just stubourn opinions of what I should do. Thanks.
  2. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    I recently bought a set of Spiro Weich strings. My teacher recommended either those or the Helicores and told me there is very little difference. Maybe a bit more sustain on the Spiros. I know he runs the Spiros on and old carved German bass and until recently, the Helicores on another old carved bass. The Helicores were replaced with Obligatos. I don't know why he switched.
    I chose the Spiros because I figure they are the 'standard' jazz string and have been used by virtually everyone at some point.
    Who am I to argue at this point. FWIW, I like them alot.
  3. bassist1962;
    Anyone who groans has probably just speant a lot more than you and me on strings.

    A friend of mine has a cheap but well set up carved Czech bass he got at Gage's. It is a very dark sounding bass and he has Helicore Pizz and they sound great on his bass, so I tried them and on my bass they were not so good. (But neither is my bass. :meh: )

    I think the Helicore Pizz are brighter than spiros. If your bass is dark that could be the deciding factor.

    Many people seem to complain that the A is weird or too banjo-ish. I found the Helicore Pizz A took the longest of the set to break in but once it did, it was fine. When I saw Christen McBride with Metheny he had Helicore Pizz with what looked like a spiro A. But I was pretty far back.

    The surface of the Helicore Pizz feels a little smoother than spiros to me, the winding is different. Helicore Pizz are lighter, lower tension than spiros. the Helicore Pizz med is more like the spiro wiech.

    I've heard people say the big difference is that spiros are indestructible and last forever.

    Right now I am using a spiro E w' Doms but depending on what my new bass is like I would use them again especially for the brightness and the price.
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I've seen one set of Helicore Pizz strings ever. They're pretty unusual. The helicore hybrids and orchestra are more common and the hybrids are really a pizz string, so maybe no one ever gets to the Pizz string in that line. Your search kind of supports this.

    On the bass that had them, which I played and listenned to others play. It was a really cheap plywood bass with a good set up and it was LOUD! It really projected and spoke. It made me wonder about the strings, but I couldn't really judge too much based on that one instrument.

    Spirocores are the standard. Other makers equivilants will compare to them somehow and maybe more favorably for you, but it's going to be tough to really tell without trying them.

  5. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    FWIW, I've tried Spiro weichs, Pirastro Obligatos, Helicore Pizz mediums, and T-I Super Flexible mediums on my current bass. I've been using the Super Flexibles for the last 3 sets of string changes since I liked 'em the most. I'm a jazz player who strives for an old school type tone (think John Clayton). But I just ordered a set of Spiro mediums that I plan to try next, just 'cuz I think my bass likes the medium tension of the Supers, and thought perhaps the medium Spiros would speak out and bounce or boing just a tad more.

    Out of this small subset, I liked the Helicores the least. The feel was nice on the fingers, but there was something kind of indistinct and rubbery about their sound. I thought they kind of gave out fairly soon too. Went from rubbery to rubbery and flubby (flabby?).

    Ooh - Just found my original notes, which read:

    "E and A have power, volume & sustain. Nice growl too. However, never did like the G string. Issue w/ wolf tones or weird overtones on open G, Ab, and octave above. Lacked a certain articulation, or spring, bounce & blossom that the Thomastiks have."​

    Just my two cents, YMMV, etc., etc.
  6. fred pratt

    fred pratt

    Jun 20, 2004
    New York City
    I had Spirocore Orchestras on my Juzek for over a year and have had Helicore Pizzicato mediums on it for about the last five months or so. I also had the Helicore Hybrids on it for a few months.

    I find the Pizzicatos to be noticeably warmer than the Spiros. (On that point I disagree with univac, jr.) I find the Spiros to be a bit more bright and brash, but also perhaps more focused, with a clearer tonal center, if that's the right term. The Pizzicatos feel like they are less tense than the Spiros, ie, easier on the hands, and they have perhaps a shade less volume than the Spiros.

    I like the Pizzicatos a lot. I like bright and punchy, but not too bright. I did have one break one me, and I have a friend who also had one break on him. Like anything, the sound coming from the strings and my bass changes with the weather. And I suppose my taste changes something like the weather. Sometimes I wish my strings were brightrer and sometimes I wish they were darker.

    I like the Helicore Pizzicatos much better than the Helicore Hybrids, which sound to me similar but deader, with less sustain. I don't really bow, so obviously that's a factor in my preference, but I actually prefer the bowed sound of the Pizzicatos to that of the Hybrids, and the sound of both of those to the Spiros, which sound raspy.

    I hope that helps. If not, at least it's been something of a catharsis for me.
  7. Racsen


    Dec 6, 2003
    On the helicore pizz. package it sais 3/4 scale lenght but my bass is 4/4 is this strings fit on my bass?
  8. Racsen


    Dec 6, 2003
    I'll buy this strings tomorrow I hope they'll fit. :(
  9. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Regarding the Spiros vs. Heliacores:

    I've used Spiracore Ochestras and Weichs and recently tried Heliacore Hybrids. For the life of me I cannot decide which I like better.
    First of all, I can't decide if my bass is "dark" or "bright"; I think the way I PLAY makes it sound bright compared to others I've heard play it, so IMO the Heliacores are alittle darker sounding and maybe better for me. Then again, I really liked the "clear, snappy, bouncy" tone of the Weichs....and whenever I hear Dave Holland play, I want the orchestras again.....
    I have not felt a difference in either with the bow....MAYBE a little better with the Helicores but I won't put money on it.
  10. fred pratt

    fred pratt

    Jun 20, 2004
    New York City
    The intonation on my Helicore Pizzicatos started going --they were on one bass then off, and then onto another bass, for a total of about a year of playing time-- so I tried Spiro Superflexibles, having heard so many good things about them on this website. I belive the Helicores have less tension than even the Superflexibles, because for the first few weeks with the Supers my hands were hurting a bit. I'm getting used to them now and really like them. The Supers are still brighter than what I remember the Pizzicatos to be.
  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    OK, I've never bought a set of strings for DB, I'm playing the strings came with about 3 years ago, and I dont know what they are?

    I played a guys bass last night and he had super flexibles on it. I loved the way they played - really light, really easy compared to my current strings which have much higher tension.

    But, they were also not very bright. My bass is a cheapy, it's 40's/50's Czech made, not ply wood, and it is very bassy, has alot of low end. So I dont want to get strings that aren't very bright as the sound might just turn to mud.

    So, I need some advice.. I want easier to play strings, but I dont want them to have too low tension or be too muddy. I want good clarity, but I want less tension

    So, can any one make any recommendations based on the above? I'm totally new to buying DB strings so anything is good as a start point!

    many thanks :)
  12. Spirocores Weich
    Pirastro Jazzer
    LaBella 7720L (light gauge)
    Helicore Pizz light gauge
  13. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Is that in that order, or just any?
  14. GriffithLea


    Aug 29, 2006
    Cypress, TX
  15. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Now that is a good idea!!
  16. In no particular order, but the most popular are the Weichs and the Jazzers I think. Followed by the Helicore Pizz.
    The LaBellas 7720 are somewhat marginal, as few retailers keep them.
  17. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Thanks. OK, this is odd, I checked withed the guy who I bought he bass from who says I have medium tension spirocores.

    They are seriously more tense than the superflexibles I tried last night, whcih were easy toplay but a bit too soft, is there something in between in terms of tension I could try out?

    If not I'll just stick with the spirocores I have and save my hard earned cash! :D

  18. joel kelsey

    joel kelsey

    Aug 1, 2006
    Chicago, IL


    I have tried all three of the helicore string types. I liked the pizzacatos the best by far. The price is good and the sound is pretty good. Here is what I did not like. The strings just did not last, after a couple of months they went dead. Also, I broke two A-strings within 3 weeks (who breaks A strings?). The customer service at D'addario was lousy and I had to call several times to speak to the rep as he was at "lunch" for about 5 hours. He did apologize and claimed he had been at his desk all day, and he overnighted me a new string. I was happy until the replacement string broke a couple weeks later (first tune of a 4 hour gig). So, I switched to spirocores. The spiros have worked out great. They last a very long time and sound really good. I switch the E and A about once a year. The G and Ds have been very bright and take a few months to chill out so I leave them on longer. So, I would recomend the spiros, they are little pricier, but they last longer and sound better, in my opinion. I suppose it depends on your bass and what you think is a good sound, but I have had much more luck (sound and durability) with spirocores on the basses I have owned. However, it is possible that I just got two bad A's due to a bad "batch" that was allegedly circulating at the time. If you can afford to change your strings a couple of times a year, heliocores could work out for you. Good luck!
  19. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    I just put Spiro mediums on after having Heliacores on since March. I like 'em. Lots of sustain and growl, sound good arco, but the G needs some real breaking in.
  20. I have pretty much made up my mind based on what I have read in these forums, and have heard on recordings that I know what is being used. In terms of durability, long life, and most importantly...sound, Spirocores it is. knowing that my bass responds well to higher tension, I will probably be using mediums. To the best of my knowledge, I currently have Supersensitive Stellars on it now. I have emailed Supersensitive for information on tension to no avail. Does anyone happen to know the (pounds of) tension for these strings?