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Velvet strings megathread part I

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by mic_j, Oct 25, 2000.


  1. Apparently not...

    18.5%
  2. Sure doesn't look like it

    40.7%
  3. Nope

    33.3%
  4. Nein!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Nyet

    3.7%
  6. Nay

    3.7%
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. mic_j

    mic_j

    Oct 25, 2000
    Howdy

    I play a 40's era Kay upright. At least I try to play it. The action is incredibly high and the strings are very unforgiving. Actually, I'm an electric player who wants to play upright. My question(s) is...has anyone out there tried Velvet Garbos? If so, what do you think of them? If you live in the U.S., where did you purchase them? How close to the $450.00us retail price did you pay for them? Would you recomend a different brand/maker for playing a percussive/slap style of bass? I'm a novice on a limited budget. I welcome any and all advice.
     
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Hammond Ashley out in Seattle (http://www.bassviolins.com) sells the Velvets for about $350 a set (this is from memory).

    For slapping, I used to use Spirocore E and A (steel) and Golden Spiral (gut wrapped in nylon) D and G, this is about $150 for all four strings. Cheapest all gut set I know of is the Labella set, about $200.

    I buy all my strings online because no local dealers will give the 50% discounts that the mail order vendors offer.

    High action is easy to deal with, lower the bridge, replane the fingerboard if you need to and you're done. A good repairman should be able to do this for under $100. Keep in mind for slapping you'll want higher action than if you're trying to play like Ron Carter.
     
  3. For all their breathless advertising, I've yet to find anyone who uses Velvets. They are much too expensive to buy as an experiment. In addition, I'm told they're difficult to bow. There are lots of slap players around who can advise you. I'm not one of them. But I know there's better ways to spend $450. I'd spend the money on a proper bridge. I see no reason to plane the fingerboard unless it's worn down unevenly. Your bridge may be salvageable, but that's not usually the case. Check the Lemur website for string prices. They're among the best on prices generally.
    http://www.lemur-music.com/index.html
     
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    A followup.

    I finally bought some Garbos late last year (2000) after playing someone's bass with the cheaper Velvet 180 strings (synthetic gut). I contacted the US distributor who happens to be here in Mass. and ordered a set (diff in price from the 180s was only about $50 so I bit). When they arrived, I put on the E string, tuned it to pitch and started playing. Within 20 seconds the string snapped! Talk about bummed....a $100 string busted in 20 seconds, that's a mere $18,000 an hour to use them :eek:

    I called the distributor and got a brand new set shipped out, no questions asked. He told me they had seen some breakage problems and the new set would be a new formulation. I put these on and have been playing them for about three months, just started gigging with them a few weeks ago.

    The bowing is really quite good EXCEPT on the G which is awful; the windings above the gut on the G is different than the other three strings for some reason. I'm not a great arco player anyway, but I can say that the E, A and D are much better to bow on than Spirocores if not as nice as Helicores.

    As far as the sound, well it's really sweet. Not at all "thumpy" like other gut I've used, warmer than steel but admittedly less sustain than common jazz strings like Spirocore or Helicore. For slapping they are astounding, having all four strings gut works a lot better than my old mixed setup of Spirocore E and A and Golden Spiral D and G. Tuning stability is better than the Golden Spirals. I amplify with a K&K Bass Max pickup through a Fishman Pro-EQ preamp and get a nice amplified tone with these strings.

    The real question is how long will they last. If I can get two years or more out of them, they'll have been worth it for me. Your mileage may vary.
     
  5. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    I've been using the 360's for 9 months. Yes Don, they are difficult to bow, but so are gut and I can get by using less tension on the hair and using cello rosin. For jazz pizz, they are wonderful after a few weeks for your bass to adjust to them. As far as others using them, Larry Grenadier was using them when I last saw him. I tried the Garbo's on a bass in Austin, but for me they weren't worth the extra bread. Velvet lowered their prices recently also. I haven't felt I needed to change my first set yet, and I've got another set I bought for cheaper from a guy who didn't like dealing with black fingers when I need to change.

    Monte
     
  6. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Thanks for the info--I've been looking at the web site, very seductive. Hey, there's been a miracle breakthru. sounds like they are good, but not all that
     
  7. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    If anyone here uses Velvet 180's, would you be willing to sell me an old set when you put on a new one for a reasonable price so I can try them out? I've been using the 360's and just put a new set on, so I won't need a new set for about a year but I'm tempted to try the 180's on my next set, but at $220, I want to know what they sound like on MY bass. There have been some disparate views regarding the use of these orchestral strings for jazz, with some liking and some not, so I think it depends on which bass and the player. I know the strings will be dead, but I think I'll be able to tell enough to know whether I'd like them or not.

    In addition, if someone wants to do the same with the set of 360's I took off after a year, send me an e-mail. I'm extremely pleased with the pizz, but might be willing to forgo some of the pizz sound in exchange for a better bowing string. I've also thought a lot about Oliv's, but they are even more expensive.

    Thanks for any help,

    Monte
     
  8. Monte, if you recall, I mentioned to you I'd be trying a "pre-broken-in" set of Anima strings, after having used Olivs for about 13 months. I've had the Animas on my bass now for about two weeks and love them. If all I did was play arco, I might stick with the Olivs. But now that I'm use to how I have to play the Animas, I can't say for sure.
    When I first put them on, I could tell they'd be good for jazz, but I was really worried about how they'd be arco. There was much more sustain when played pizz, the arco was very weird for about a week. For starters, they are lower tension than Oliv so I had to adjust my technique, and they also have a narrower sweet spot. That was all easy enough to adapt too. The real problem at first was the sound arco produced, especially on the A and E strings. It was downright trashy. The G string is wrapped with silver, the second with a combination of silver and copper, the third and fourth are all copper wound. I think it was the harmonics produced by the copper that sounded like I was bowing an oil drum.

    After about a week of beatin' up on 'em they began to settle in. A sax player I work with comented that the pizz sound really jumps out compared to the Olivs. And they're sounding pretty damn good when I practice the Bach and excerpts I'm doing. The cat I study with didn't curse me out when he heard them. I got to listen from in front, it was nice. Overall, I'm extremely satisfied.
     
  9. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Cool,

    Lou Roten mentioned those as good Pizz/arco strings. I broke down and bought a set of 180's which will be put on this afternoon when my new tailpiece is put on. I bought the Mike Pecanic compensated tailpiece as I've been meaning to get a different tailpiece for awhile; the one on there is a HEAVY ebony 5 string, and I'm curious to try the Ray Brown method of a lighter one, since my bass is being used as a 4 string anyway. The tailpiece wasn't much more than a conventional one, and it is made of wenge. Always willing to try something new, Lou also threw in a new tailpiece cord that Velvet developed. It is a light weight cord that can hold up to 1500 lbs pressure and is supposedly better than aircraft cable. It ties on rather than crimps. I don't know if I'll be able to tell the difference, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I think Don Higdon is right; you're never completely satisfied with what you have..........

    Monte
     
  10. I know their has been some talk about the new Velvet Garbos, comments such as; hard to bow, loud, good, bad. I need to find out as much as I can about these strings before I buy them. Please give me all the info.

    Thanks

    C. Landry
    Acoustic Bass Player
     
  11. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I'm surprised to see that no one replied to this. I unfortunately don't have an answer. I would like to try the Velvets myself but haven't gotten around to it yet. Mostly also because I am concerned about the suitability of the strings for bowing. I would like to try the Anima because the Garbo G does not have a metal winding and is reportedly very, very hard to bow.

    Adrian
     
  12. I asked these same questions on another messageboard and I got the same feedback about the G-string(not a thong) This was a Rockabilly guy who said the G was uneven and sounded bad the further up the fingerboard. I do not know from experience I am just passing this info on. Check out
    www.markrubin.com I think they sell them and the site will probably offer some support on them. See ya. :D :D
     
  13. The Garbos rule. Yeah they may not be the best string for bowing but neither are the Golden Spirals. Anyway I bought them I think the piz sound is ridiculous. They have so much sound and I don't find the sound uneven at all. Will I buy another set? Yes I think I will. Their is still a part of me that want's to own another set of the Compas 360's because they sounded great too.

    Peace
     
  14. Chris: Are you at William Paterson?
     
  15. I'm 15 minutes from there. Maybe sometime I can hear the Garbos. My luthier swears they'd be great on Old 87, my American Standard.
     
  16. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Well that's a big endorsement of the Garbos. What is the sustain like?

    Based on the assumption that the arco is better for the Animas, that's what I will be trying. I hope that the pizz is almost as good as the Garbos. I ask about the sustain because the Velvet literature explicitly says that the Animas have a long and deep sustain.

    Adrian
     
  17. The Garbos don't have nearly the sustain as a steel string. However I didn't really want that I wanted a dark sound with the gut pull. Maybe the animas have more sustain, I can get a decent amount of sustain from the garbos on the low E string where I guess it is most important.
     
  18. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Chris

    Did you have to increase the bridge height because of the thickness of the strings and/or the amplitude?

    I don't mind raising mine if the tension really is low (unlike these Innovation 140Hs I put on my bass the other day). I like to be able to pull the stream with my fingertips and not the distal joint on my fingers.

    Adrian
     
  19. Definately had to raise the height of my bridge to accomodate the thickness of the string. No problems after that. I guess the question you have to ask yourself is what height do you use for steel strings. If the height is 2mm off the fingerboard. A height where a 4 year old is able to play the instrument then the height that's required for these strings is going to be too much for you to handle.

    Also I went back and played my bass to check out the sustain. I then realized that my bass with these strings has a good amount of sustain throughout the instrument (up until thumb position that is) However the sustain is a lot different than the steel strings.
     



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