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Your Favorite Affordable Orchestral String

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Steve Freides, Sep 27, 2013.


  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I have a new-to-me plywood bass that's about 70 years old.

    It currently has Pirastro Obligatos on it - they sound great but they're old. And, at least for me, they roll a bit when you bow them, but maybe that's me. Especially the lowest two strings have a wonderful sound.

    I am big-time into working on my orchestral playing. I've set myself an informal goal of taking - and passing - an undergraduate entrance exam as a double bass player. I have a _long_ way to go.

    I've owned and play D'Addarrio Helicore Hybrids in Medium tension on another bass. They were OK but the G didn't do much for me.

    I've also had EP Weich's on that other bass. I liked those but they didn't really rock my world, either.

    I'd like a string that bows just great, that makes my arco playing sound better than it really is. Yeah, I know, and the check's in the mail, too. :) And I'd love to make my choice affordable.

    Your recommendations are solicited. Right now, D'Addarrio Helicore Orchestral Mediums are at the top of my list. Or there are some used Thomastik Dominants in the Classified section - cost would be roughly the same.
     
  2. D'Addario Preludes?
     
  3. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I would go with:

    Spirocore Weich E - A lot of orchestral players use them, they work pretty well under the bow, and they're one of the cheaper E strings out there.

    A, D, G - The used Dominants or new Dominants are a good choice. Sometimes Dominants don't do well when they've been on and off a bass, sometimes this isn't a problem. As long as they don't look like the winding is coming loose at the bridge/nut you should be fine.

    Does anyone have any experience with Superflex above a Spiro Weich E? Maybe a better bet the whole way across? I know some arco players that love them, but don't know about mixing them with other strings. They're also a little more affordable than some other options.
     
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Thanks. I didn't know Di'Adarrio Preludes even existed. The price is certainly right!
     
  5. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    UK
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    I really like D'Addario strings a lot and the value is great. I'm not sure on the pricing, but the Kaplan strings are great for orchestra playing. I also like the helicore hybrid lights for jazz.
     
  6. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Jargars (Forte or Medium) are very warm strings and very affordable. Also good and fairly cheap Supersensitive Pinnacles. They are a brighter string. Corellis are also inexpensive but not to everyone's liking. The 380F might be a good choice for your bass.

    Louis

    PS: Also look for a used set in the want ads here: bel cantos, permanents etc; that would probably get you pretty far along
     
  7. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Though not my favourites, the D'Addario Helicore Orchestral strings are decent arco strings. I really like the Jargars, too, but a set of used Pirastro Flex '92s are the way to sound better than you are! ;)
     
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    There are some used Flex '92s in the Classifieds...
     
  9. Flexocor 92s are very nice but the E is too thin and sounds weak. Flexocor Deluxe are very nice and better balanced. My experience with heavy-duty arco strings is that something gets lost in translation when you put good arco strings on a plywood bass.

    The D'Addario strings have always sounded blah to me, and they're the only strings that have ever broken on me. The Preludes are the worst of a bad lot IMO.

    If you can find a used set and your bass is sturdy and likes high tension, Spiro Starks can be very good under the bow. Maybe somebody still has a set laying around from two years ago when Uncletoad was preaching the gospel of Starks from the one mountaintop in Western Ohio.
     
  10. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    They are only A, D and G - add a Spiro E and you're good to go.
     

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