Re: Flatwound? Roundwound? Help!

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Posted by Rich Laird on January 26, 2001 at 15:19:44:

In Reply to: Flatwound? Roundwound? Help! posted by Tony Baluga on January 26, 2001 at 14:04:42:

: Hi all,

: What are you guys talking about? How many kinds of strings are there anyway?

: What would be the best kind for plucking and what would be best for bowing?



If I remember correctly, your bass is an upright electric. I'm almost sure you don't want gut strings. I mean - assuming the pickup(s) on that thing are magnetic - you need steel!

Maybe I'm just getting to be an out-of-touch old fart...but the terms "flatwound" and "roundwound" conjur up bass guitars to me. Yes, gut A-strings and E-strings typically have metal windings that bear a certain similarity to Rotosounds or something like that. But - to the best of my knowledge - steel double bass strings have a flat winding - different types of chromium or stainless steel might be used. The guage, tension, and core varies among different brands. I would think (kind of guessing here 'cause I have no personal experience with electric uprights) that you want to stay away from anything with a non-metal core. And there are a variety of kinds of metal cores...some are solid...some are stranded...and rope cores (the term pretty much means what it sounds like) are somthing else again (I think!).

So, yes....there's a myriad of different strings made by different manufacturers for different purposes. I don't know if you looked at my response to your 1/5 posting - where you were asking about videos. (If not, you may want to do that 'cause I gave you some details on a video you may want to get.) I gave you the web address for Shar Musical Products. The section on strings in the Shar catalog has some (IMHO) useful and clear info. on what different strings are all about - and some delightfully simple and basic info. on how they play etc. No big deal - but I found it helpful.

As to your questions as to which kinds of strings are best for plucking and which are best for bowing - this is another one of those things where the answer begins with "It depends". IMHO, the big thing it depends on is the individual instrument you're talking about. Generally, I would say that for bowing, most people prefer a darker string - but with a certain amount of tension. "Pluckers", especially jazz players, usually want a brighter string with less tension and therefore more sustain. That's how you get that sexy "growl".

Haven't tried them yet myself....but Corellis seem to be getting very popular with people who use one bass for both kinds of playing.

Hope that helps to clear things up - rather than confuse.


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