Transition from Oliv G to Jazzer E

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Tom Baldwin, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. Well, after reading and rereading as much as I could find on strings here and elsewhere, I finally took the plunge and tried some new strings. I have been a Spiro Mittel user for 15 years, and have recently become attracted to a somewhat more old school sound. To cite one example, it would be Scotty's sound on Hampton Hawes' record For Real! As was discussed in another thread, he's got that gut sound, but with growl and sustain to boot. Some of that has to do with the setup and bass, and the player, of course.

    Anyway, to take a step in that direction, I thought I'd try an Oliv G. In addition, I knew I'd want a steel E of some kind, but maybe with less tension than a Spiro. So I decided on the Jazzer, based on comments about a rounder tone. So far I am happy with the G and E.

    To "bridge the gap", I was not sure what to get for the D and A. I based my decision partly on string tension, as it seems logical to have a gradual increase in tension from G to E. Is there any validity to this concern? It seems there are some sets where the D and G have the same tension, or some where the D is lower tension than the G, for example. Why is that?

    Here is what I ended up with:

    Oliv G
    Obligato D
    Jazzer A
    Jazzer E

    I think the loser of the bunch is the Obligato. It has less volume, clarity and sustain, and tone than the Oliv. I guess for a third of the price, what should I expect? It's also thinner and floppier feeling, despite supposedly being higher tension. I'll definately want to change that, and possibly the Jazzer A, which is so far too bright and stiff. Granted they have only been on for a day, but if the Obligato is this dead now I can't imagine what it will sound like in 6 months. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. In theory, I am looking for a gradual transition in tone from the Oliv to the Jazzer, as well as a gradual increase in guage and tension.

  2. peteswanson91

    peteswanson91 Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yo man,
    To be honest with you, the best sounding "old school with punch" strings are the velvet animas..the garbos are too thick and slow responding imho. I tried obligatos after hearing so much praise from the forum, and to be honest with you, I have never been so dissapointed in a string in my just added nothing to my instrument...I tried jazzers years ago, and can't quite remember how there were...If I were you, I'd go for the animas for the sound you're looking for....
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    String mix and match is quite tricky.
    What works for someone else may not work for you.
    There will be some trial and error in my opinion, so are you ready for that?
    I'll restrain my suggestions to Pirastro strings.
    Also please note the Oliv G is quite thick, so I wouldn't expect a linear gauge progression from thr G to the E, unless you consider gut strings.
    For the D, I suggest an Original Flexocor or Original FlatChrome.
    It's basically the same string, the latter is selected with a closer tolerance range.
    For the A, I'd suggest a Flatchrome (new Flatchrome).

    About the other Pirastro strings I didn't suggest:
    Permanent A: you'd probably find it too stiff, the New FlatChrome sounds clear but is easy to play.
    Flexocor A: would probably be too dark and miss volume
    Chromcor A: would probably be too dark and feel too stiff
    Eudoxa A: could be a great choice, how about your budget? :)

    Last but not least, don't throw me rocks if you try some of these suggestions are are not happy!
    Throw me the strings instead! :D
  4. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    i don't have any string ideas but just a comment about tensions.

    I found that when mixing strings, a higher tension G string helped give notes on that string more "oomph" and allowed me to lower the bridge. my bridge height is usually determined by where I have to put it to make the G string sound good... the other strings are where they need to be then by default.

    a setup i recently enjoyed had G and E both being higher tension and the D and A softer and easier to play. makes playing across the strings easier.

    good luck,
    Dave P
  5. T-Bal,
    You prolly read my recent thread on Olives and Superflexs.I think the Olive D would be a good choice and then maybe a darker set of A/E strings.I have the Superflex on my A right now and got rid of the E for a Helicore Hybrid.I am thinking of the Orchestra Helicores which are dark and alittle thuddy for the A/E.The Olive D is thicker in gauge than the Superflex A and that Superflex is still alittle bright after being on the bass a couple weeks.It really is a crap shoot mixing and matching bass strings and very costly to boot.
    I too love Scotty's sound on that Hampton Hawes album and think the new Velvet Anima's are a pretty good choice.I got to do some work for Dan Greenspan earlier this year and he uses that type of string.[He is a Velvet endorser]
    They have improved their strings somewhat,but they take a few weeks to settle in.I didn't care for the E string though.
    At least you have this forum to somewhat help you narrow your choices down.Good luck on your search.
  6. Thanks for the suggestions, everybody. Yeah, Mark, I'd be clueless without this forum. I've followed your thread and just about every other since I got sucked in to this mess! :rolleyes: Both you and PeteHUNGRYMAN suggested Animas, but I don't think Id' like the roundwound aspect - I really like the smooth winding for ease in shifting. Any Anima users - do you find this to be a problem? Besides I'm not ready to spring for a whole set at this time. Is Grenadier using Animas or Garbos? I love his playing but I prefer his sound when he had weichs. Whatever he's using on the +3 records (which I also love overall) is too thuddy for my taste... I've read unfavorable comments about the Oliv D, that it just doesn't measure up to the G.

    DP: my bridge height is determined by what feels right for my right hand. Maybe this isn't the best way to go about it, but I figure if the right hand fingers can pull the string just so, I'll be able to get the sound I want. Too low, and I can't dig in enough. Too high, and can't use the meaty part of the fingertips. My feeling lately was that with the tension of the spiro G, I couldn't pull it past certain point or the tone would be strained. That and the theory that my carved bass might open up with less tension led me in that direction.

    Francois: As you are without a doubt the King of Strings, I'll consider your suggestions seriously. But what about the Eudoxa D? Seems that would blend with the Oliv since they are both gut, but being brighter would ease into whatever steel E and A I have. Anybody know the guages of Oliv G, Eudoxa D, and Jazzer A?

    I am going to focus on the D for now anyway, since the A might settle in if I give it some time. So what say yuns about a Eudoxa D?
  7. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I would forget about the Obligato D and go for an Oliv D. Or go for Obligato G and D. I personally like an even progression in thickness from the top to the bottom strings. I'm currently using Chorda G, Oliv D, Eudoxa A and Superflexible E. Four different strings but the combination works extremely well for both jazz and classical although the top three are all Pirastro guts. I could also easily go back to an Oliv G too - that's one beautiful string.

    I don't know how thick Jazzers are - I'm not sure if a Jazzer A would be thicker than an Oliv D.
  8. peteswanson91

    peteswanson91 Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yo T-Money,
    Larry was using Garbo's for a while, but he just recently switched to the Animas a little bit ago, of which he's a big fan of. The Garbo's are a bit fat to really play with overtones, and really get that sound out of the bass. Although I personally don't use Anima's (I'm gonna check them out again soon) simply b/c for my playing needs they are not what I'm looking for, everyone who uses them and is looking for that particular sound is really impressed, as it is a more natural sound, especially with the tailpiece Velvet has as well (which they highly recomend) that was a sweet run-on sentence....The Animas really offer a lot in terms of hearing more overtones. Hope that helps a little
  9. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    That's also my experience, BUT I was not able to raise the action so I can't comment further.
    I think it'd be too bright for the Oliv G, but that's just my opinion.
    Oliv G: 1.8mm (0.071")
    Oliv D: 2.3mm (0.090")
    Eudoxa D: 2.0mm (0.079")
    Eudoxa A: 2.3mm (0.090")
    Jazzer A: 2.1mm (0.083")
    (all mesured with an analog Kanon caliper)
  10. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I used to play on Animas and I personally think they have nothing on the Olivs or the Eudoxas in terms of sound. The Olivs and Eudoxas have a richer and more natural sound, are easier to play with the bow, and their construction makes more sense to me - smooth windings, no copper or aluminum and black stuff on your fingers, etc.
  11. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    T-Bal, I think the Oliv D is a beautiful string and have never had any problems with it. On two basses with a variety of strings, the Oliv D has always been the nicest string.
  12. You are the MAN!

    Well, fortunately for my obsession and unfortunately for my bank account, Bob's House of Basses is only 20 minutes away, and he stocks strings. Good prices, too. So today I picked up a Eudoxa D. It is of course in another league form the Obligato, which will end up in the trash unless anybody wants it. As you can see, the guage progression works just right with Oliv G (1.8) Eudoxa D (2.0) and Jazzer A (2.1) Why the string manufacturers don't make these informations readily available is very frustrating, but I digress. On my bass, the Eudoxa D is a good match for the Oliv G. Maybe it's that any G on my bass will be inherently bright or any D will be darker than it would on another bass.

    I think I will live with this combination for a while to see how I like it over time. Down the road I might spring for a Eudoxa A, but I have noticed what some have said about the feel of the silver winding - I wouldn't exactly call it sticky, but there is definately more friction than the chromesteel winding of the other strings. It affects me in both hands, shifting and pizzing. Anyone who has experienced this, does it go away, or is there anything you can do to reduce or eliminate it? Is it perhaps a residue from the manufacturing process?

    Thanks to all who replied. It is great to have this forum where you can get immediate feedback and have these ongoing discussions.
  13. Regarding L.G. and animas - being an endorser, doesn't he get them for free?
  14. A little over a week now, and the strings are settling in nicely. The friction on the eudoxa is gone, now it feels pretty much like the others. The tone of the guts is becoming more apparent - rich and complex. I like the thickness (sound and feel) of the Oliv G, it sounds punchy even in the high register (Thumb Pos. D and above). I find myself bowing closer to the bridge, maybe I'm trying to get the steel string clarity which is still in my head.

    For future reference, anybody have the diameters of the following strings?

    Chorda G
    Eudoxa E
    Jazzer E

    Thanks for all the help guys!
  15. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
  16. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Interesting that the eudoxa E and A are actually thinner than Spiro Mediums by your measurements. Oh, that A is tempting...
    By nicest, did you mean, like "real nice" or, like, "better than all the other D strings" or, like, " better than ALL of the other strings"?

    Thanks for the info.
  17. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Better than all the other strings on my bass at the time. On the previous bass it was Oliv G then Chorda G with Eudoxa A and E and also with Oliv A. On my current bass it's Chorda G with Eudoxa A and Superflexible E.

    By better I mean a really full tone.
  18. Still digging these guts, but tuning them is tricky. They certainly go out easily, and are harder to adjust on the fly (in the middle of a tune). I'm just not hearing the pitch like I can with steel. I guess that's normal, but here's what's really freaky: Using a tuner, I tune the open string. Then I check the octave + a fifth harmonic (D on the G string), and it's sharp. If anything, the harmonic is supposed to be flat compared to the "equal tempered" fifth.
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That's exactly why I'm afraid of them! Can't wait to hear a recording when you get a chance.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    That was the biggest problem I had with gut strings. They worked fine for quartet and big band gigs, but when it came to duos I just couldn't hear the pitch that well and the tuning stability wasn't there. I would still like to try either the Garbos or the Animas since they should have more definition and clarity, but for now the Helicore Hybrids sound great.