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Which strings? (Newbie question)

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by alex_bass_uk, May 1, 2010.

  1. alex_bass_uk


    Apr 26, 2010
    Apologies for this newbie question, but I've just begun playing upright bass and have a new instrument I'm hoping to breath some life into.

    I've been recommended to change the nasty factory strings to either Helicore Hybrids or Thomastik Spirocore.

    Here's some info about my style and instrument:

    - It's a Stentor Student I (currently not set up)

    - I'll probably be playing pizzicato but also arco about 30% of the time.

    - I'm a huge jazz & blues fan and need something with a bit more body than the dull strings I currently have on.

    Any advice, suggestions or alternative recommendations on my choice?
  2. Aside from the obvious "get a teacher". Find a luthier and get it set up. It may not be as expensive as you think, and well worth it. As for strings, I'd go with spirocore weichs if I were you. As for a bow, do you have one? Are you going to play French or German?
    Oh, yeah, you really should check out the Newbie stickies for this forum.
  3. alex_bass_uk


    Apr 26, 2010
    thanks Reedo! I'm looking into the setup but currently it's looking like an extra £150-200 without materials so for the next month or two I'm just going to settle for new strings. Here's a link to what I've been advised on. Any advice on that department would also be muchly appreciated.

    The bass came with a bow too, French I think. Pretty basic but does the job :)

    As for a teacher I think I defiantly need someone to 'introduce' me to proper technique.

    Will investigate the spirocore weichs and check out the stickies too :)
  4. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    And this slip of the tongue is why the bow has been called the 'stick of pain'.
  5. As for the reccomended repairs you listed, I think the music shop is gouging you.
    I never had to pay more than 10$ for a sound post adjustment. Unless It involved a new sound post fitting.
    The music store probably sends the bass out anyway. Find out where they send it to and go directly to them, if you can't find a Luthier Locally.
  6. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    IMO, use the double-bass world standard: Spiro mittels. Hands down. Then, after you gain experience and preferences, you can experiment (and spend a ton of $$$ :)) trying other strings. I've used:

    Spiro mitts, Lycons, Corellis, Obligatos, Dominants, EP regular, EP weich. What's on my bass now? Spiro mitts (but only because they no longer make Lycons ;)).
  7. alex_bass_uk


    Apr 26, 2010
    Thanks for the heads up.

    Regarding the setup, I've also been quoted £145 for a complete setup (labour only). Seems quite vague to me.

    Any UK based players care to comment on this? Is it a fair price?

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    IMO the setup will do a lot more for the sound/feel than a new set of strings. I would spend the money on that first and then get a new set of strings down the road. Where are you located? I am sure there are other TB'ers around you that could point you towards a good luthier.
  9. alex_bass_uk


    Apr 26, 2010
    Agh! Now I'm faced with the strings vs setup predicament! :crying: Why can't I be rich...

    I'm in the West Midlands by the way if anyone can recommend a good luthier.
  10. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Predicament? Take your bass to a good luthier who specializes in double basses and get it set up to sound and play as well as it can. Have adjusters fitted to the bridge. Then you will be in a position to make a decision regarding strings.
    I am in agreement with Drurb and reedo35 that Spirocores are a baseline so you should try them at some point. However, if your particular bass is bright or nasal you will have difficulty with the bow.
    Helicore hybrids are easier to bow while still working well pizz and they are less expensive. That said, I use Spirocores because there is nothing like them for pizz.
    This may help you locate a good luthier in your area:
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I agree. The OP did say that he has "nasty factory strings" on there now. It seems to make sense to get a decent string on there AND have the setup done. If one has to choose though, and the bass is not set up well right now, then absolutely, put the $$$ into the setup. Still, I'd vote for begging and/or borrowing (but not stealing) so that the setup work could be done with a decent string on there.
  12. Alex- It might be more cost effective to check the classifieds here for some used strings at a lower price. They would be bettert than what you have now, and probably last until you can get a new set.
  13. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Get it set up well, throw Spiros on (they last a long time and only get better with age), and from then on worry only about learning/bettering a good, solid technique.

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