which brand G to pair with Obligato E-D ?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by myrick, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. I have a bass which bows beautifully with Obligatos across the whole figerboard, but on pizz, only the E thru D sound right. On this bass, the Obli G pizz is just a little too twangy and thin.

    For reference, the pizz sound I am after is somewhere between George Mraz and Peter Washington, and on the lower three strings I more or less get what I want. (Strictly talking sound here, mind you; oh how I'd love to be able to play lines and time like these two !)

    Strange, on reading other string posts about the Obligatos, it seems that many users like the higher strings but swap in other brands for the lower strings. For me on this bass, on the lower strings the Oblis sound heavenly, but it is the G that dissappoints.

    Wonder if anyone can suggest a brand of G string that will pair well with my Obli E-D, and maintain a similar tonal quality and feel.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Try a Thomastik Dominant.

    You should get a very similar feel, but a little bit darker tone. Perhaps a bit less sustain. Arco, Dominants sound very good.

    It, like the Obligato, is a synthetic core string, so overall, they should match well.

    FWIW, I dislike the G most of all with Obligatos as well, but it is it's arco tone that gets me all upset.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The Dominant is stiffer than the Obligatos. You may not like how it matches up tension wise. The best G IMO is the Olive. It is one of the only G strings available that doesn't sound twangy on the open string. Not cheap, but worth it IMO.
  4. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    during my brief, recent Obligato romance, the G was the first to go. too low tensioned, sounded like fretless bass. i found that a flexocor or flexocor original G both mixed well, sound wise. the Flexocor sounds a little "deader" than the Flexocor Original. they both gave the G a nicer "thump" to match the other strings.

    the disparity of tensions was actually nice: the D and A strings (oblis) being easier to stop than the G made playing across the strings in Thumb Position easier. I also ditched the E string for a heavy Helicore arco E. just making do with what was on hand...

    of course by now all the Obligatos are on the shelf...
    Dave P
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    If this is a concern, you might also consider a detuned Dominant solo. It would certainly match tension with an Obligato.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I would agree with that idea. A solo Dominant should match up better.
  7. thanks for these suggestions.

    that Olive is sure expensive. does it last a while ? I'd hate to have to replace that string after six months !

    The idea of uneven tension concerns me, so the Dominant is out. Using the Dominant Solo, detuned, is interesting, but seems a little strange. I worry that detured the whole tone of the string will change too much. Do you guys really think it would still produce the desired tone but with lower tension?
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    It's actually a pretty common thing to play solo strings at orchestra pitch. There are plenty of players out there doing it that want a looser feel. In fact, I played complete set of Dominant solos on my Engelhardt for a while. I really liked them except for the E.

    If you consider that the string length on a bass varies from instrument to instrument, you have to consider that a string must work well under a variety of tensions.

    For example, a "solo" string tuned to B on a bass with a 40-41" mensure will be under roughly the same tension tuned to 440 A on a bass with a 42-43" mensure.

    Dominants are not a particularly high tension string anyway. They land somewhere between a weich and mittel on the "Spirocore relativity scale." :)

    They just feel stiff under the fingers and bow, as Adrian said. A solo tuned down will probably be less actual tension than the Obligato G, but will feel about the same.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't think you have to worry about the Olives..they last a long time. I have played the same G for a year before the windings started to separate(and only slightly). IMO it is worth the price.
  10. bassphase

    bassphase Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2004
    San Francico Bay Area
    Another vote for the Oliv G. I love it--it's big sounding, low tension, sounds great bowed or pizz and transitions very nicely from an Obligato D. Plus, it seems to improve with age--the tone becomes more complex and starts to bloom.

  11. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I vote for a Pirastro Permanent G. Not as dark as a Flexicore, not as bright as a Dominant. Medium tension, plays great both pizz and arco. Moderate price.
  12. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    This is interesting, as I've been trying to find a suitable G to match with my Corelli 170s...the present G sounds too much like my fretless electrics for my taste.

    Francois lent me a Flexocore thin G to try, and I was surprised at how similar the sound was to the Corelli - the same kind of tone and sustain. It bowed better than the Corelli, which I liked, but was slightly thinner in diameter and stiffer in tension, which I didn't like...so in the end I returned it (many thanks to Francois for being so generous).

    I'm interested in trying the Obligatos, since many here like them, but it sounds like the G is no improvement...it's interesting that most are recommending a steel string as a substitute for a synthetic gut...you'd think it would be the other way around.

    Reports on the Kolstein Heritage indicate a rather strident G also - maybe the only thing is to spring for a set of Compas 180s at $200+ and be done with it.
  13. good suggestions and input from all. thanks

    think I'll splurge and try the olive, probably when I put on that new bridge that's been sitting around my practice room for a while. This job may be a few months off.

    FWIW, when I make the change I'll dredge up this thread and post my impressions.
  14. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    My pleasure!
    What I don't like about the Permanents is their metallic edge.
    Otherwise they have a full tone, but they may sound quite bright on some instruments.
  15. okay, this thread I started is now more than a year old. but on my final post here last year I promised to report my impressions. For various reasons I didn't get around to replacing my Obli G until last week. I even went with a new full set of Obli's a few months back when I had a new bridge done. I had a full set on hand, but hadn't got around to buying an Oliv yet. As an update, whereas the bass in question used to bow pretty well with the obligatos (my complaint on the G was more on pizz), after a new bridge and soundpost fitting, the bass changed. Now it still pizzes great but bows poorly with the Obligatos. It has become much more difficult to get the string to speak up. This problem probably could be solved with more tweaking on the post, but the bass is mainly used for jazz, so I have left it be. With new bridge and soundpost tweak it was then sounding great pizzed on the Obli E, A, and D, but the same complaint as last year on the G - too twangy and slightly metallic or hard-edged. So I finally went for an Oliv G. In short, its great - just what the doctor ordered. the tone blends very well with the lower strings (still Obligatos) and the string sounds great. Feels and looks slightly strange, as the G is now slightly thicker than the D !, but who cares, I have quickly adapted and no longer notice it. The Oliv G also bows nicely, with a fairly "gut-like" tone and an easy response, but I won't be bowing this bass much so this doesn't really matter. I firmly believe that every bass is different, so it's risky to generalize too much about strings (and rosin, tailpieces, pickups, and anything else that contributes to your sound). But for anyone with a bass where Obligato E, A, and D sound nice but G is too twangy or harsh, the Oliv G will probably pair up well, as it has for me on this bass. Only downside is the price. The darned thing costs more than the other three strings combined! Yikes! All I can say is great sound, but I sure hope it lasts a year or more. Thanks again to all who offered advice on this topic.