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.
The Evah Pirazzi Gold (full synthetic) strings are one of the best strings I've ever used, they really opened the sound of my bass. They're like Oliv and Eudoxa combined, having great note definition and a beautiful tone but with more ease of playing and more durability. Highly recommended these if you're looking for alternatives to gut or other synthetic strings. The Evah Pirazzi Gold are definitely the future when striving for the gut string sound.
Strings by Pirastro are top quality of course. I haven't used as a complete set to date. The E string is rated at less kg/Lb than the Pirastro Oliv E and is brighter. Slap E put on one bass w/ shorter mensure of 41.5" (105 cm) & next to a large Pistoy A, this is a great match! However, on another bass at 41.75" (106 cm) it has much more tortion (much stiffer) than even the Oliv E. Use of individual strings depends on the bass, mensure, adjacent strings etc, obviously. Gut D&A seem like the same gage as Chorda, but I could be wrong.
My friend and colleague Joe Kyle Jr. recommended these strings. He has played my Engelhardt bass before, and has the strings installed on his own Kay. For years I had used Velvet Garbo strings. Now Velvet is out of business and Garbos are no longer available. On Joe’s recommendation I bought the full-synthetic set of the EP Gold and the sound is what I’m looking for- loud acoustic attack. The strings are thick and have a fairly low tension in my estimation. My initial impression is that they appear more durable than the Velvets as well.
Everyone is always trying to find that one string that will “do it all”. For me, these are them. They’re the closest thing to wrapped gut that I’ve heard in a steel string. The Pizz tone is dark yet defined. Arco is smooth to start with a deep fundamental, and they slap incredibly well. Are they the best for everything? Maybe not, but they excel in everything more than most to the point where I have had them on both my ‘53 Kay C-1 and my King Doublebass Roadking for over 3 years. Something I never would have though possible in my initial quest for the right tone. Incredibly stable with weather and humidity changes, and we’re stretched in almost within hours. Recently, I bought another set just for backup. Shipping was fast (as always) and I couldn’t be happier.
I put a full set of the Evah Slap synthetics on my 1940 Kay C-1 the DAY BEFORE a recording session. Horrible idea, right? No! Best idea I’ve had all year! These strings settled nicely soon after installation and were completely stable for the duration of 2 long days of tracking. I have owned this bass for over 20 years, and it has worn just about every type of string imaginable. Spiros, Superflexibles, Evahs, Perpetuals, Obligatos, Olivs, Helicores, Velvet Garbo and Anima, cheap plain gut, expensive fancy plain gut, at least 3 kinds of Innovations, Cortes Lamberts, weedwhackers, you name it. I’ve played countless gigs on this bass and have used it for dozens of recordings. I’ve typically found that I needed to bump a set or mix ‘n’ match different strings to get a good balanced feel and sound from this instrument. I’ve become accustomed to its sound fully acoustic, mildly amplified, amplified louder than hell, and in front of mics/under the headphones in the studio. These Evah Slaps might be the best complete set match for this bass yet. This particular session was a roots/delta blues session that called for primarily pizz playing, with some slap and arco playing. We got great tones in all 3 modes without having to make any changes to the mic set-up, other than stepping back a bit for the slapping. Tonally speaking, the synthetic slaps are warm and a bit dark-sounding acoustically, but under the microscopic scrutiny of the headphone mix they revealed much detail and rich harmonic content, especially under the bow. I’m really glad I chose to get these last-minute before this session. Thanks to the Gollihur crew for getting them to me so quickly!