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Innovation string for jazz and arco?

double bass pizz arco string innovation

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#1 endorka

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:27 PM

Hi Daf,

For some time I've been looking for a double bass string that is good for both jazz pizz and classical type arco playing. Previous experiments with hybrid strings have not been that great, so I've contemplated getting two instruments with ideal strings for each type of playing. However, quite often I'm in the situation where both types are required - the Horse tours are like this - and taking two double basses as well as bass guitar etc. is not really practical.

One of my students has a double bass with the Innovation SIlver Slaps, and I was really impressed with the sound and playability of these strings. They don't seem great for bowing however.

I wonder if there is a string set from Innovation that will address this requirement? The Honey's seem to be quite close, but of course it is quite tricky to judge from just reading about them. Have you any experience of them in this regard?

Thanks in advance for your help,

Jennifer
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#2 Beer of the Bass

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 01:45 PM

Honeys do a decent job on this front. The Pizz sound is softer in the attack than Spirocores but has a fair amount of sustain and growl available, and the bowed response is good. They don't feel too low tension either - a little lighter than Spiro mittels but not floppy.
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#3 hubrad

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:17 PM

If you're swinging by W.Yorkshire you're welcome to have a play on mine, usually strung with Honeys. I've also tried the Orchestral Braided, which are slightly better under the bow but softer attack pizz. On balance as a general string I am in favour of Honey Jazz

#4 owen

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 07:31 PM

I will also speak for the honeys. I have spent a LONG time looking for a decent hybrid. None of them actually do both, but honeys are the closest I have found.
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#5 daflewis

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 09:08 PM

Thanks everyone, I think I'm a bit redundant here! :)

Jennifer, I'm curious as to what it is you don't like about any hybrids that you've tried, so i can get an idea of what you're after (and thanks for filling in my questionnaire btw). I notice you mentioned the flexocore pizz sound being too dark (and the tension too high); is that basically the problem? (pretty standard issue for orch strings)...

Cheers,
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#6 endorka

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 10:28 AM

Thanks for all the advice everyone, useful indeed.

I've tried D'addario Helicore Hybrid strings, which had a "twangy" aspect to the sound I didn't like, in particular I found getting good intonation more difficult than usual with these. I also briefly tried Eva Pirazzi but was a little underwhelmed by them.

Yup, the dark / high tension aspect is more of a feature than a bug with orchestra strings. I like the Flexocores for bowing, but for jazz pizz I find the sound lacks character and "mwah", for want of a better word, and that I have to work very hard to get expression from them when playing jazz.

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#7 daflewis

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:35 AM

Yes, don't get me wrong, dark sound and higher tension are only an issue if you want to play jazz - it's an integral part of the setup for a good bowed string, and therein lies the problem - the one kind of precludes the other and we get the classic search for the perfect hybrid....

I too have tried the helicores and the evahs - the first stayed on my bass for about 10 mins!... as for the evahs, i know what you mean - there's nothing really wrong with them that you can put your finger on, "underwhelmed" pretty much sums it up.... i think for me it was a mix of the "stretchiness" and the slightly darker sound.

It's worth trying the honeys, though a work of caution, they are designed to sound like gut, so they aren't the most growly and sustaining string in my experience - though Beer seems happy with that side of things.

I've currently got some prototypes of a new hybrid on my main working bass and have to admit that they're very promising - a bit higher tension, but really responsive under the bow with a lovely thud at the beginning of a pizz note and a brighter sustain (they'll even work with a magnetic pickup) - i actually don't want to take them off, which is a good sign! :)

Edited by daflewis, 10 November 2011 - 11:55 AM.

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#8 owen

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:43 AM

View Postdaflewis, on 10 November 2011 - 11:35 AM, said:

I've currently got some prototypes of a new hybrid on my main working bass and have to admit that they're very promising - a bit higher tension, but really responsive under the bow with a lovely thud at the beginning of a pizz note and a brighter sustain (they'll even work with a magnetic pickup) - i actually don't want to take them off, which is a good sign! :)

You are teasing us!
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#9 daflewis

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:51 AM

View Postowen, on 10 November 2011 - 11:43 AM, said:

You are teasing us!

:)

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#10 daflewis

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:53 AM

Actually, if anyone can make it to Victoria, (west central London) I'd love to get some feedback on them!...

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#11 owen

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:57 AM

Just turn your amp up.
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#12 owen

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:58 AM

Sorry, I came over all "MB1" there.
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#13 daflewis

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 12:54 PM

:) yeh! - let's rock!

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#14 hubrad

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:48 PM

View Postowen, on 10 November 2011 - 11:58 AM, said:

Sorry, I came over all "MB1" there.

You'll be needing your coat then.. :)

#15 Beer of the Bass

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:15 PM

View Postdaflewis, on 10 November 2011 - 11:35 AM, said:


It's worth trying the honeys, though a work of caution, they are designed to sound like gut, so they aren't the most growly and sustaining string in my experience - though Beer seems happy with that side of things.

I've currently got some prototypes of a new hybrid on my main working bass and have to admit that they're very promising - a bit higher tension, but really responsive under the bow with a lovely thud at the beginning of a pizz note and a brighter sustain (they'll even work with a magnetic pickup) - i actually don't want to take them off, which is a good sign! :)

Yeah, I like the Honeys for pizz, but they're more Charlie Haden-ish then Dave Holland-ish, if that makes sense.
The new hybrids sound intriguing - do keep us posted!
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#16 daflewis

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:54 PM

Certainly will!


View Posthubrad, on 10 November 2011 - 01:48 PM, said:

You'll be needing your coat then.. :)

A nice leopard skin one perhaps... :)

Edited by daflewis, 10 November 2011 - 09:55 PM.

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#17 owen

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 10:14 PM

View Postdaflewis, on 10 November 2011 - 09:54 PM, said:

Certainly will!




A nice leopard skin one perhaps... :)

Now that's what I call tasty!
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#18 endorka

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 11:17 AM

Thanks Daf, my preference for walking basslines is more "old school", i.e. a shorter, punchier note as opposed to the more sustained types, so the Honeys sound like a good bet.

I'll get a set and let you know how they work out. Any recommendations as to the best (cheapest :-) place to buy them? String Express have a set for £75, with free delivery, which seems like a good deal.

Jennifer
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#19 daflewis

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 07:04 PM

Hi Jennifer,

I must admit that I've not found them any cheaper than that, and on the innovation site they're a tenner more - can anyone else beat £75?

I'm sorry that I haven't been able to get the string trial thing sorted yet - it would have been ideal for you.... soon, i hope.... but when i get these prototypes sorted i shall be on to you guys to beta test them for me anyway, if that's ok.... :)

Edited by daflewis, 12 November 2011 - 10:53 AM.

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#20 hubrad

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 04:32 PM

I'd just like to get my name on the beta testing list!!
If you do get round to taking your proto set off.... :)

#21 stewartmusic

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 12:45 PM

Hi Daf,

Sorry it's taken me so long to get round to posting this!! Had to catch up on sleep after that Bus journey from London to Edinburgh!!!!

After some thought, my comments on the strings are pretty much exactly the same as what I said when I was down with you. They had a nice ping in the lower register but, this may be due to the lower string hight, I think a little bit of the projection was lost - It also might be just because I'm used to a lathering of pops before I play!! I'm sure you wouldn't really notice that in the pit, especially as you are mic'd before any resonance is really taken into account (Contact mic rather than a DPA job wan't it?)

Good job so far!

I'll PM you regarding the other details we were talking about :)

Hope its all going well, I'm going to be down again for new year so I might give you a shout if your about for a quick coffee? I owe you one!

Thanks,

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#22 daflewis

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 11:12 AM

View Posthubrad, on 29 November 2011 - 04:32 PM, said:

I'd just like to get my name on the beta testing list!!
If you do get round to taking your proto set off.... :)

Noted! :)

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#23 daflewis

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 11:23 AM

Dara,

The lack of volume may be down to the bass - it's not that loud an instrument, and the protos are significantly louder than the 140Bs on it... (i've had to turn the preamp input gain down by about 20% to prevent clipping).

Quote

I'm sure you wouldn't really notice that in the pit, especially as you are mic'd before any resonance is really taken into account (Contact mic rather than a DPA job wan't it?)

The bass has both a contact pickup and a normal mic on it, but of course, these aren't just for me, so projection is still important.

Daf :)

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#24 sbasstraveller

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:58 AM

I've just bought a second hand Eminence DB, had INOVATION black RockaBilly strings fitted - previously unknown to me: was knocked out by them and pleased to find INNOVATION represented at the Bass Show: 3 different sets I have now tried. All deliver and extremely comfortable to play. Crispy sizzling bowing response as well. Steel strings were starting to p** me off: so happy now! Way to go....!

#25 daflewis

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:59 AM

Hi Sbasstraveller,

Welcome to the site! and sorry I haven't replied, I've been on holiday for the last 2 weeks... B)

I'm glad you're enjoying the Innovations - which other sets have you tried? - the bowed response is certainly better on the black wound sets than the silver/golden slaps, but i think the breathy sound can put some people off - not a problem with the H/B140s of course. I guess it depends on priorities...

Did we speak at the bass show? - I was there on the Saturday (just before leaving on hols :happy: )

Cheers,
Daf

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#26 endorka

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:18 PM

Great to see this thread still going :-)

And despite the passing of many moons, I've still not sorted out the string question.

I'm trying to sort out various sounds in my head... so which set of Innovation strings would you say comes closest to this sound - Danny Thompson on David Sylvian's "The Ink In The Well?"



Cheers!

Jennifer
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#27 daflewis

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:03 AM

Hi Jennifer,

Sorry it took me a while to get back to you.....

My first thought would be either the silver slaps or super silvers - though from the lovely woodiness in the sound i would guess that spending £20K or £30K on a bass is probably going to help too! ;-)

Anyone else have any thoughts?

Daf

Edited by daflewis, 29 March 2012 - 09:04 AM.

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#28 endorka

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:23 PM

Cheers Daf, I like it - £20K on the bass and a bunch of priceless talent from Mr. Thompson, but apart from that... :-)

From what I recall from my student's bass tone the Silver Slaps would be good for this style, as you recommend. I don't think they were great for bowing, but what I do recall is that I thought "wow!" when playing them pizzicato, and that's a rare and great feeling to get from spending £80 or so on a set of strings.

How do the Silver Slaps compare with the Super Silvers?

Jennifer
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#29 daflewis

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 09:26 AM

Ah yes... Talent - yeh, I guess that would help too... ;)

Bowing on the silver slaps - no, I must be said that's not exactly their strongest point! - a bit squeaky and reedy.... It can be done, especially if it's just the odd final note, but I certainly wouldn't want to try a concerto on them. (not that I'm likely to be doing that anytime soon! :rolleyes: )

As for the difference between silver slaps and super silvers; well the supers are higher tension (with the proportional increase in volume and body that would go with that)

I should also mention the psycho slaps, which are a similar tension to the supers but are thicker, though I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the sound of the psychos so I'm not sure how that differs from the supers....

Edited by daflewis, 30 March 2012 - 09:29 AM.

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#30 endorka

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:05 PM

Thanks Daf,

I reckon I'm going to follow the pizz. sound here, since it's more of a priority and I'm playing more pizz. notes at the moment :-)

Silver Slaps it is then. I'll let you know how I get on.

Cheers,

Jennifer
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