Polychrome Hybrid Medium Tension Strings
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Innovation Double Bass Strings have a unique, non-metallic core which provide a gut-like tone without the cost or maintenance of gut upright bass strings. They hold their pitch well in climate and temperature changes, and most of their strings are equally suited for pizzicato (plucking) and arco (bowing).
The new (in 2017) Polychrome are the best string at this so far. They were specifically designed to have the well-loved pizz tone that so many of their strings (particularly the "Honey" set) have, but be more arco-friendly for those players who needed a full, non-scratchy tone under the bow. This is the set!
After working for well over a year to get the balance and tone right, the new Polychromes (Polymer core, Chromesteel winding) have got the goods. This is the first true "hybrid" string developed by Innovation, and it's gaining fast favor with the many players who need a string that is more than a one-trick pony. The designer reportedly used the old "Monel" strings as an inspiration, and word on the street is that these hold their own with other popular (and more expensive) options from other makers.
We put a set on a bass here at the shop, and they have a nice feel - while they are a "medium" tension string, they have a "softer" feel and give a little under the fingers, so they're not too tough to play. They don't have a lot of "roll" like some synthetic core strings can have.
They bow VERY nicely - with a big and warm, not harsh, arco tone. They took very well to the bow and played easily - no special concentration on technique to ensure a good tone and volume.
The sound is as you might expect; warm, on the the dark side but not muddy or indistinct. Balance was very good on all four strings, even the low E. And tension from string to string feels very consistent.
Color me impressed!
Note: The cores in all of the Innovation strings do not contain any ferrous materials; they are generally not suitable for use with a magnetic pickup, like the Schaller and Krivo we carry. HOWEVER: These strings do have a chromesteel outer winding, so they do work with a magnetic pickup (we've tried!) although they have a bit less output than a "full" steel string. Regardless, all strings, regardless of materials, will work with typical piezo-based pickups (like the Realist, Full Circle, and all the K&K pickups and systems).
Innovation designs these 3/4 size bass strings to fit on a standard 3/4 size bass. They may very well fit your bass if it is larger than 3/4. For your reference, the lengths of the string, as measured against the bass tailpiece to the nut is 51.5 inches, plus an additional 17 inches to handle stringing in the headstock.
For a comparison chart of the differences between the different Innovation String models, visit our Innovation Strings "Manufacturer" Page.
- Ball end to nut (Afterlength + Playing Length): 51.5 inches/136cm
- Afterlength (Ball end to bridge): 5.5 inches/14cm
- Wound top of string (pegbox): 17 inches/43cm
(Measuring a representative set with a caliper)
The Polychromes fully broken-in have really worked out very well. The bottom strings loosened up and really came together with more playing time and now it’s a great sounding, balanced set in feel & tone, and easy to play. And the big plus is their great arco tone & playability compared to the other synthetic core strings I’ve tried (the usual suspects).