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Strings for Double BassBass String Buyer's Guides

Strings: SOLO Gauge Strings, Solo Strings

         Manufactured by: Gollihur Buyer's Guide

Continental US - larger items may carry a partial shipping charge to AK, HI and PR
All shoppers outside the US State of New Jersey pay NO SALES TAX on any purchases at Gollihur Music. (NJ Residents pay NJ State Sales Tax of 7%.) International customers, please visit our "How to Order" Policies page for information concerning VAT and Customs Charges that may be assessed by your country and/or delivery services.
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SOLO TUNING String Choices
A Special "Buyer's Guide" from Mark

Many string sets are available in a "Solo" gauge, designed to be tuned 1 whole-step higher than standard tuning for solo play, usually in classical environments. As an alternative, some players buy the solo strings and tune them to standard pitch for a lighter tension - this is particularly useful when the string-maker doesn't make a designated "light" version of the strings (for instance, the Pirastro Obligato strings).

The four strings are usually designated on the package as follows:

  • F# or Fis4 (E Position)
  • B or H3/H1 (A position)
  • E2 (D position)
  • A1 (G position)
You can read the short descriptions here, and purchase the set of your choice directly from this page. You can also learn more about a specific set you're interested in by clicking its link in the "related items" section, below - this will also provide other string gauge options.

The Choices:
  • Corelli 360TX: The standard versions (370's) of these strings are among my personal favorites -- but that doesn't mean they are perfect for you. I like them for their versatility and articulate sound. These are not your Daddy's doghouse bass string... unlike the more typical and earlier string types, these have an edge to their attack, rather than the traditional blunter attack. Physically, they are thinner in gauge when compared to other strings using the typical Light/Medium/Heavy sort of measurement scheme. I also find them to be more flexible and less stiff, so I can really dig in.
  • Thomastik Superflexible: Thomastik Superflexible Strings have a braided steel thread core. For most players, the Superflexible are a "smoother" sounding steel, rope core string than the very popular Spirocores. Recently, some rockabilly-slap styled players have found that they like the solo gauge Superflexibles. For many, they're just a little bit harder to slap than non-metal strings, but for steel they're pretty easy on the fingers. But they're reported to have a long life, and they work quite well for "regular" pizz sound as well.
  • Pirastro Obligato: Pirastro's Obligato strings have a solid synthetic core with a very thin metal wrap. They were designed to emulate gut strings, and they did a darn good job of creating such a string. Their attack is "old school" with that more blunt and thicker, warmer hit, with a little less sustain than more modern jazz strings. Their very smooth surface is kind to the fingers and they are a dream to bow. If you want your sound to be "traditional", whether for bluegrass, old school jazz and blues, or other styles that calls for that sound, you will enjoy the Obligatos. They may look like metal strings, but they sure don't feel or sound like them-- the thin coating fools you!
  • Pirastro Evah Pirazzi: The Evah Pirazzi BASS strings have a core made from a new synthetic fiber that Pirastro recently developed, wound with a polished chrome steel. They have less sustain than most metal-core strings; their damping is such that their sustain is nice, but isn't overdone or "electric-bassy" sounding. Plucked, they sound full and fat, with a strong, solid fundamental and very good projection. Most notable is a subtle percussive "ping" to the very front attack of the note when playing pizzicato that provides a nice touch of articulation to an otherwise warm, dark tone. This unique and interesting characteristic sets the Evahs apart as an all-around good choice for a variety of styles, particularly if you like the "old school" sound -- yet with something "new" thrown in.
  • Thomastik Spirocore: Spiros are an old favorite for jazz and other genres and has been a popular string for many years. They were one of the first decent metal strings to be adopted by strictly gut string players -- in fact, lots and lots of us played G & D guts and A & E Spirocores, since the larger gut strings of the mid-20th century still were too indefinite and flabby for good jazz articulation. They have great sustain and a big sound good for many styles, but remain a jazz favorite. You'll also find them on lots of general use basses, for bluegrass, blues, and other styles where that big sound and sustain are prized. They have a scratchy sort of arco response, so if you are primarily a bow player, you may prefer some of the other options.
  • Pirastro Passione: The new Pirastro Double Bass Steel Core String, which are tailor-made for orchestral bow style (arco) players. For a metal-based string, they are not "metallic" sounding at all, and have pretty "average" tension and feel. They're not really aimed at the folks who play pizzicato most of the time - they're intentionally a little "dark" and don't have a lot of definition when plucked, especially the E and A strings. The word on the street is that they have big, projecting sound under the bow. Nice clarity, with a full, rich tone, and they're quite easy to bow.
  • Thomastik Belcanto: Thomastik has been making these "rope core" (a style of winding, not what they're made of!) strings for a couple of years, and I must say that we're pretty high on them right now - they’re on Bob's Kay, and he's really loving them for both pizz and arco. They’ve been designed for bowed work, but they have a very musical, warm pizz sound with a very sweet sustain. Their bowed feel and quick response is wonderful. Now they're available in a new (Sept '09) Solo Gauge!


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Check Out the FAQ Resources That Apply to This Product:
   STRINGS: Solo gauge bass strings

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