What kind of strings do you use?

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Whoopy, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. Whoopy


    Aug 2, 2005

    How goes it?

    I'm new at playing upright and I'm wondering which strings I can put on for best result( besides taste of course)
    I 'm strictly plucking ( pizzicato) and play jazz like music mostly.

    Anyone got any advice?

    With kind regards, Whoopy.
  2. (Sorry if this has been dicussed at length in the Strings forum, but I guess this is specific to EUB)

    I'm new to EUB as well. I put Helicore Pizz Lights on my bass. They have a wonderfully growly sound for pizzicato, with big open low end and clear highs - maybe a little bright at this stage (new), but nothing a tweak on the EQ can't fix.

    Arco is another story, but since I've only owned a bow for two weeks I won't blame the bass or the strings for the kind of sounds I'm producing.

    The instrument does have a lot of sustain (I guess a solid body is going to sustain more than a hollow box). The big powerful sound suits the music I'm using it for at the moment, but if I wanted to get a more traditional sound I'd have to damp it somehow. Would a switch to Orchestral strings achieve that? Or would I also lose the throaty growl that I love?
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Yes, orchestral strings will give you a more traditional sound, at the cost of a loss of sustain and brilliancy.
    I switched to EUB about 10 years ago, and have been advocating the use of orchestral strings myself.
    However since a year, more gigs and some recording sessions, I came to the conclusion I needed something clearer and more midrangey.
    To my great surprise, I switched to Spirocore regulars for the E & A!
    Within only two or three weeks, they settle in to a warm tone, not metallic at all, with plenty of definition and low end.
    For the D, I've settled to a Super-Sensitive Supreme, which match very well with the Spiro bottom, without the nasality and twanginess of the Spiro D & G. (I tried several other ones, which were all too bright or too nasal)
    I'm still experimenting with the G string but I should settle to one within the next weeks.
  4. daveant


    Feb 17, 2006
    THomastik SpiroCore Orchestras, or Weich
  5. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Since then, I've replaced the regular Spiros E & A with solo ones.
    For the D, I use a FlatChromesteel solo and for the G a Thin Flexocor.
    For the moment... :)
  6. Gasp!


    Apr 27, 2005
    I have D'Addario Helicore Hybrid Medium on my new EUB. The sound is great, but the tension is too light for me.
    I have Thomastik Spirocore Medium on my DB. the tension is little bit heavier and I prefer that.
  7. onkelpo


    Dec 1, 2004
    I recently fitted a set of Thomastik Spirocore Mediums on my NS, a real improvement on the stock strings.
    I would also be interested if anyone can tell me if there is any major difference between these and the Spirocore Lights ?
    I'm a light player as in pressure on string to board so think from a playing perspective they may be easier for me but I don't want to lose too much in the way of tone.
  8. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    With an EUB, I think using lighter tension strings doesn't have much impact on the volume, furthermore if you're using the magnetic pup. The character of the tone will change though.
    With Spiros I've found I like the solo ones better on my EUB.
    I get a warmer tone, and they're MUCH easier to play!
    The solo G is too twangy though, so I'm using a Pirastro one.
    I have a solo Superflexible D on order.
  9. Salut Francois!

    Are you still using the Carruthers? I'm going to change strings this summer and am intrigued by the solo strings. Did they cut down on the "tension" of the strings. I find the strings feel tighter on the EUB than on my DB.

  10. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Hi Randy.
    Yes, I still have the Carruthers.
    I'm still experimenting with the strings.
    Since a few months I'm looking for a clearer (but not too bright) tone, and smoother feel; less tension.
    These days, I'm quite happy with Corelli 370F on both the G and D.
    For the A, I had a solo Spiro for a while but changed it for a Pirastro Flat-Chrome one.
    I still have the solo Spiro E, but will try a regular Superflexible soon.
    Solo strings are indeed much easier to play, but most brands get too floppy at orchestra pitch, IMO.
  11. Thanks Francois,

    With the orch spiros on my Carruthers I find I need to lower the string height to make the string feel less like telephone wires! I am wondering if I installed the solo gauge if I could raise the strings to the height I have on my DB. I should be able to find out in a month or so.
  12. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Spiros are about the only brand the solos have enough tension at orchestra pitch to be playable and sound okay.
    I found the G (solo A1) to be too twangy though.
    The bottoms are okay, but dig in too hard if the action is low.

    The Corellis are surprisingly easy to play, but the bottoms are not to my liking.
    The 370F are giving me the best compromise for low tension, clarity and sustain. I prefer them over the M and TX gauges.
  13. gvb1


    Jul 10, 2005
    San Anselmo Ca
    I've been playing a BSX Allegro for 3 years now. It came with Weichs on it but I was never very happy with the sound.Then I replaced the G with an Orchestra and that sounded better but not what I really wanted. I'm playing it through an Acoustic Image Contra which is really designed for an acoustic instrument. Be that as it may I now have a set of La Bella Deep Talkin black nylon wound strings on there and I like the sound but it sounds like dog doo when you try to bow. Everything seems to be a trade off. I'll stick with the La Bellas and do my arco playing on my big bass with the Corelli 370s. And one of these days I'll try the Corellis on the BSX.
  14. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    I'm using heavy gauge helicore orchestrals on my zeta strados and loving it. I tried flexocors, and found them too heavy and lacking in the mids. Actually too thuddy. The helicores have thud and can growl when coaxed. I use spirocore starks on my db.
  15. TCube


    Sep 1, 2007
    Eugene, Oregon
    I got rid of the D'addario strings that came with my Zeta Uprite (used - the 41.5" Strados model, not the Crossover) and replaced it with Velvet Garbos - synthetic gut. It now sounds much closer to my ordinary non-electric UB. The piezos allow you to use non-metallic strings. Bandmates in my gypsy jazz group didn't realize that I'd switched to the Zeta until they turned around to look. (I always stand in the back where they put the good-looking guys.)
  16. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I've got an Eminence that I've had Garbos on for over a year and they still sound really good. I've been really liking the Velvet animas on my Kay and will try them on the Eminence. On the Knutson Messenger bass I've got Spirocore EA, Flexocore D, Jargar G.
  17. hensonbass

    hensonbass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    On my 5-string Azola Ultracoustic bass I use a stark (heavy) Spirocore E-string, medium Spirocore A,D,G, and a Flexocore C.

    I had been using A,D,G Superflexible strings this past year but recently changed to the Spiro's because I was losing the clarity. Even though I was a little worried that my bow tone was going to suffer with the Spiro's so far it sounds pretty good, and I think the extra zing won't hurt when playing live.

    I also think my bass's tone has darkened up in it's first year of use.:)
  18. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    I've since then had several mods on my EUB.
    These days, I'm leaning toward a full 370TX setup.
  19. jonjo57


    Dec 10, 2008
    I bought a Harley Benton EUB 500.? as I did not want to pay too much. It is only for handiness sake when it's too awkward to haul my upright. My problem is the strings that were installed are too twangy with far too much sustain. I play mostly bluegrass, country and folk. I'm looking for that big fat sound with no woofing or feedback. Any advice on setup and strings?.
  20. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    That's not an easy question.
    However, as a general rule, you may want to lean toward orchestral strings, as they have dampening material which makes them darker and thumpier.
    Some examples: Helicore orchestrals, Pirastro Flexocors, Jargar.
    Keep an eye on the Classifieds.
    There are a lot of strings there...