Evah Pirazzi Gold/Slap Upright Bass Strings
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Don't be fooled by the "slap" in their name -- this is far from a one-dimensional string set. It's what I would call the first legitimate "three-way hybrid" set. It's equally well-suited for pizz, arco, AND slap. (We've never had a string we could say that about before!)
In fact, we've taken the cue from other string sellers, and are informally calling these strings the "Evah Pirazzi Gold" so that they don't get labeled as a one-trick pony. I can assure you that the Evah Pirazzi Slap set is designed to be a wonderful all-purpose string -- that also happens to be excellent for Rockabilly and Slap Bass players.
The "original" set features a mix of two different string types; the classic G and D plain gut for the most organic feel and tone, and a lighter tensioned synthetic-cored A and E string with chrome steel windings for fuller low-end tone while maintaining that warm, organic vibe. You get the best of both worlds!
From players worldwide, including Christopher, here at the shop, who has been rocking a set on his Kay for two years now (!), the consensus is that these strings are really well designed and executed; the holy grail that many rockbilly players have been looking for -- real gut G and D, with perfectly balanced E and A to match.
Christopher, as I mentioned, has been quite happy with them. He plays a wide variety of music; from 50's rock and roll, to jazz, to a little rockabilly -- and most anything in-between. The strings work equally well for slap AND more traditional pizz; with a nice warmth and organic sound on the upper strings that gut is so well known for (and these are NICE guts). But the E and A, which are a variation on the regular Evah Pirazzi strings (they're lighter, more flexible, AND a bit beefier) blend perfectly. As you run up and down the scale, there is no drop-off in tonal character, volume, or feel. They've really done their homework here!
We do notice that it does take some time for the gut strings to "settle in" -- meaning, expect to do some fairly regular re-tuning for the first couple weeks you have them. But this is normal for gut strings. And once they stretch in and become stable, that should diminish to a normal level.
Pirastro, having seen how well the original set was received, got right to work on developing an alternate G and D string, also made of their synthetic construction, for those who maybe would prefer not to use gut strings (for cost, care and feeding, animal-friendly, or other reasons). Those have now been released, and are available separately as well as in sets. We at Gollihur Music even put together a custom set with the gut G string and synthetic E/A/D so that you can realize the benefit of the gut high string and the durability and lower cost of synthetics for the rest of the set.
Yes, the gut strings have a "sweeter" tone, and under the hands, nothing is quite like the real thing if you're a purist - but the synthetics get you about 90% of the way there at about 50-60% of the cost. So there's that.
The Evah Pirazzi Slap set is a unique blend of modern and traditional core materials, combining a plain gut G and D with a synthetic core chrome steel wound A and E.
Some data from Pirastro:
- The tone is dark and rich with great projection which is ideal for slap style but also great for old-school pizzicato.
- The tension is low and even across the entire fingerboard.
- The plain gut G and D of the Evah Pirazzi Slap set are made of sheep gut using new techniques which allow for reduced playing-in-time and increased tuning stability without losing the beauty of the gut sound.
- G- and D-strings are also available as modern synthetic core strings, wound with aluminum (G) and chrome steel (D).
- The core material of the A and E consists of a new synthetic material that Pirastro co-developed with their supplier and it is proprietary to Pirastro.
- This new core material offers an unmatched wide range of sounds, is absolutely insensitive to temperature and humidity changes, and offers the musician an unparalleled dynamic range.
- The A and E strings are then precision wound with a finely polished chrome steel flat wire.
- The design of each individual string has been carefully matched to one another allowing for effortlessly smooth transitions from string to string without any tonal break between the plain gut D and synthetic A.
They also say:
The gentle processing of the gut core is key to conserving the beauty of the gut strings’ sound. At Pirastro we exclusively work with sheep gut and have been developing our expertise in processing gut strings since 1798. Our family formula has been carefully protected over generations within Pirastro’s employees. The plain gut G and D of the Evah Pirazzi Slap set are made using new techniques which allow for reduced playing-in-time and increased tuning stability without losing the beauty of the gut sound.
The core material of the A and E consists of a new synthetic material that we have co-developed with our supplier and which we obtain exclusively. This new core material offers an unmatched wide range of sounds, is insensitive to temperature and humidity changes, and offers the musician an unparalleled dynamic range. The A and E strings are then precision-wound with a finely polished chrome steel flat wire.
Nicolas Dubouchet, a well-known slap bassist, helped Pirastro develop the strings. On this page, check out the video clip of him demo-ing a set!
- At the tailpiece end:
- E and A Strings: Gold spiral on Black
- D and G Strings: Plain Gut (loop)
- At the peg end:
- Mittel/Medium/Orchestra: G – brown; D – red; A – black; E – green
String Gauges (diameter) and Tension:
Gauge measured on a representative set using a digital caliper - gut strings, in particular, may vary slightly. Tensions provided by manufacturer.
- G (Plain Gut): .085 • 45 lbs tension (20.4 kp)
- D (Plain Gut): .105* • 39.7 lbs tension (18 kp)
- G (Wound Synthetic Core): .080 • 47.6 lbs tension (21.6 kp)
- D (Wound Synthetic Core): .089 • 44.3lbs tension (20.1 kp)
- A (Wound Synthetic Core): .092 • 47.6 lbs tension (21.6 kp)
- E (Wound Synthetic Core): .106 • 45.6 lbs tension (20.7 kp)
* Yes, due to the thicker nature of plain gut strings, the D string is larger than the synthetic A string. This measurement isn't a mistake!
4/4 bass? Pirastro designs these 3/4 size bass strings to fit on a standard 3/4 size bass and most 4/4 basses. They may very well fit your bass if it is larger than 3/4.
Special Note About Packaging:
Be aware that the D string comes packaged in an oversized envelope that doesn't match the rest of the set. This isn't something we've done - it's how they come from Pirastro. They feel that coiling the plain gut D string as tightly as the other strings may cause premature damage, so they are taping the original envelope to a larger one. So don't worry, even though it looks weird, that's what it's supposed to be.
These strings are effortless to play, very low tension, and they roll A LOT. So much that they’d only be a good choice if you hardly ever bow and like to have a high string set up.
Have had for a few months now and gotta say, I am really, really, really liking these strings. Just short of "true love" - one point to share in a bit. They were billed as all-round performers — and they indeed are. Slapping, pizz, bowing (arco) — all good. Actually bowing is better IMHO than the Spiros I had on the bass previously. What's the rub? That's just it: these are very low tension strings. The E especially. The A and E both buzz a bit. Is +5 for that "big pluck on the E with resulting fingerboard growl .. but a -1 for regular slap work, as need to be mindful of the attack on the open A and E. Pizz: all good! Arco: all good. Slap: need to be a wee bit careful.
Fully synthetic set on a laminate bass. The G and D project really well and help me drive the rhythm section with their sharp attack and quick decay. The A is good but a touch darker. I’m not thrilled about the E string: it seems to be a a few shades darker than the A but also it doesn’t have much definition and is quieter than the A. I can make up for the volume by digging in but that produces more of a dead thud than a clear note, so I’m considering other options for the E. Overall they are fun to play; they’re easy on the hands and the low tension makes pulling notes into tune easier than the steel strings I’ve used.
It's been a long time coming- I've been using gut or gut mixes for 10 years or so, Gamut for the last 8. While I love the gut feel, sound and tension apparently I got accustom to the fussiness. After my last fail (broken winding and the backup set having issues which were replaced) I thought maybe it's time to try something else. I got the Evah's as a backup and away at a camp my new A unwound mid song (kept pitch, worked fine but big gaping hole). So i put on the Evah for the evening jams thinking there'd be a huge difference from all gut. Other than diameter slightly less, it wasn't different (more slippery feeling than the copper wound A, E), and I was shocked at how fast it tuned up and stayed up. Next morning I put the other 3 on, didn't even need to fuss about the slots in the nut or bridge. Played the rest of the weekend hardly needing to tune at all. The windings are smooth, the tension is so close to gut. I'm sold. I have no idea how long they'll last- for gut I think one of the strings had been on 4-5 years, but often they'd break, fray, or open up the windings within a few years (wish i had kept track). I have a 1st year Kay, and want to keep tension low on it- these are perfect. I play bluegrass at festivals in fields during the summer in New England. I'm sure their gut G and D are great but I'll stick with synthetic. Biggest differences are it doesn't feel like the strings are up in my hand as much (bridge height change?) and they're smooth and almost slippery feeling. But I'm already used to that after a few weeks.
I made the switch to gut a couple of years ago. I periodically switch between natural gut and the full synthetic set of these strings. Gollihur hit it right on the head by saying that the synthetic set gets you 90% of the way there. I would say that compared to the Oliv, these strings sound a little bit more like raw gut and have a little bit less sustain. The tension is very much like a raw gut string. The lower tension strings seem to allow the top of my bass to move a bit more and have a nicer acoustic bloom. There’s a very clean attack, and especially on the D and a strings, a very nice silky color that’s typical of gut. Plenty of bottom end in the E string as well. No lack of power anywhere on my bass. Under the bow, they sound quite nice. One thing I would say is that similar to natural gut, the lower tension makes it difficult to add too much pressure with the bow. In that way you can approach bowing this set as if you were bowing gut strings. But once you start a note, unlike gut, they have a nice warm, clean sound that is very consistent and more indicative of a steel string.