What do Tomastik Bel Cantos and Spirocores have in common?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Ric Vice, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I've been using Spirocore Weich's for a very long time. As I'm looking for a string that's better under the bow will Bel Canto's work for that while still providing something close to that sustained pizzicato that the Weich's posses.

  2. SVT4001

    SVT4001 Formerly DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Laurel, Maryland, USA
    Many folk hold a very different opinion of the Bel's than I do- so take this with a grain of salt.

    Sustain- very good on my bass. No "growl" like Spiro's, weich or otherwise- but they have a nice warm, but clear pizz that I found very pleasing for jazz. Not as much sustain as the Spiro's- perhaps you lose about 25%? They definitely aren't "dead".

    Arco- most people are totally enamored with the Bel's. I think they bow just fine, but not as well as many here seem to find them (I prefer Flexocor 92). I do think their arco sound is more pleasing than the Spiro weich- "sweeter" and smoother.

    For me, on my carved bass, they were a great "do it all" string. They sounded great in the orchestra, jazz combos, what ever. Not fun to slap- but I don't hold that against them.

    All that said, it's hard to say if they will be a good fit for you or not.

    How often do you change your weichs? Do you like them new and zingy, or well broken in? If the latter, I think you might dig the Bel's- but as you know- ymmv and all that!

    Hope this helps some- you are sure to get many different opinions on this!

    Good luck!

  3. SVT4001

    SVT4001 Formerly DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Laurel, Maryland, USA
    Pirastro Permanents might be worth looking into too!

    Again- ymmv :)

  4. I'm a Spiro guy, and I didn't like the BCs. The set I had was used for about six months but were fairly fresh.

    They are bright like newish Spiros but I think the comparison ends there. Less raw volume. Less snarl. Less attitude. Overall, they are inoffensive. Read the BC mega thread for Unka Toad's on-the-gig reaction, which I wholeheartedly confirm. They sang with a beautifully warm and liquid voice under the bow but, on a new Shen hybrid, were kind of invisible otherwise.

    A Bel Canto G over Spiros isn't a bad set but otherwise I wasn't all that sad to see them go.
  5. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I've had both, and I now have BC's working on some arco. Spiros: louder, edgier, growl, Boulevard Pale Ale. BC: rounder, broader, purr, Michelob Marzen. As far as "absolute" sustain, they each have about the same sustain as far as actual time of decay, but with the BC giving a "parting is such sweet sorrow," while the Spiros "do not go gentle into that good night." I don't notice any real volume difference, only the character differences.

    I do like the BC being absolutely stable with tuning and precision. I don't like the BC E string being a little looser than the A string, so I have a Spiro 3/4 3885.5W coming for an E string to give a little more oomph to the bottom, but still be a good overall balance to the set. Being a ply, my bass needs it.

    As this summer I'm playing some WWII & Korean War "reunion" gigs with the two jazz/dance bands, as well as a Celtic jam, I actually think for those gigs the BC will be a better fit. And finally, what they say over in the BC thread: the absolute easiest string to bow there is.

    And the bottom line: my Wife prefers the BC. She says it sounds better out front, with all the bands. (Hey -- don't laugh. She has heard me play everthing, guitar, bass, keys, brass, tuba, DB, novelty gigs, everything from Friday night to Sunday morning, including chopping wood at home and the labor of intense focused practice, for over 20 years, and from even before we were married. She knows my playing better than I do!!!)
  6. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    IME Belcantos are a superb arco string and spiros are a superb pizz string.

    The belcanto pizz is pretty good acoustically but poor amplified. No definition, very dark. If the majority of your performance is pizz go with the spiros.

    The spiro arco is fine, but it's no where near as easy to get a decent sound as the belcantos. Fine for arco practice and the odd bit of arco playing, but if the majority of your work is arco I would choose the belcantos.

    For most jazzers who practice arco and do occasional arco solos/long notes etc... spiro weichs are a good choice.

    I also tried mixing them and it didn't work out for me.

    There are guys here getting great results who have different views. It depends massively on different basses.
  7. tomshepp


    Jan 11, 2006
    Maynard MA
    On my bass, the Bels were great for arco. Not so much for pizz. They were kind of dead on my bass. I just changed them out as I'm experimenting with different strings for arco. I now have Perms on and again on my bass, they seem to be better for pizz. Perms are brighter. More sustain and growl than Bels. Still good for arco, but not as sweet as bels. I'll leave these on for a while, and then I'm going to try Spiro Stark, for arco. Hope this helps, but for me, I felt like I have to try as many different strings to find what I want or what works best.
  8. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    Ive found that Evah wiech are the best hybrid string for me & my bass.
  9. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Thanks to all of you for your helpful responses as they saved me a good deal of money and frustration.

    :) Ric
  10. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    I have used both recently on my custom Hybrid and I had to kill my hands to get any good pizz tone out of the BC. I found that Spiro mittles were WAY louder on my bass, especially the E string. The best bowing string I have every used without a doubt. If you need a true hyrbid string, Velvet compas 180 is the best I have found, but the pizz tone is darker and gutlike almost. I am trying spiro weich next since I mostly pizz but like to take arco solos.
  11. MIKMAN


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
  12. MIKMAN


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    I have the luxury to own three double basses and i have strung each one with the proper string. My work horse for everyday is strung with EP Weich, since they offer a decent arco sound and an excellent pizzicatto. My jazz bass is strung with Velvet Garbo and my orchestra bass is strung with Belcanto.
  13. I just want to add that the Compas 180 is brighter than Innovation 140B (with lower tension) which is brigther than Evah Weich (which is brighter than Evah regular).

    I wouldn't say that the Compas 180 is gut-like, but thicker on the higher strings than steel with a little bit more rounded pizz attack.
    The string sound gets darker over time as all the strings mentioned above, but the Compas 180 is still on the bright side for a multifiber synthetic core string.
  14. jan-erik

    jan-erik Guest

    Jan 2, 2009
    Tännäs, Sweden
    After having Bel Cantos on for aound two years the whole set went dead so I took the opportunity to try the spiros stark.
    The G and D strings sounded fine but the A and the E strings was almost dead to pizzicato. I bow most of the time.
    One thing I discovered was that the seam on the left shoulder seems to be opening, one can hardly see it, but I can stick in my nail of the finger,(I know I should cut my nails). The A string almost have wolf and the wood of the bass is fighting it.