I wrote a post in the fall of 2008 with my opinions of the characteristics of various sets of strings. Though these are purely my own observations and not based of any organized research, this has proved to be a popular post, and several folks have written in with their own perspectives on strings.
Brenton Carter recently wrote to me with the following idea:
i read your blog for many references and, may i say, it has been very enjoyable.
i recently have been reading your updated strings page about all the different types of bass strings. i’m not sure if you are taking requests, but i was wondering if, as a tag to this post, is there enough interest among bassists to comment on mixing sets of strings.
i myself am a “mixer” and have experimented with several different sets and combinations to boot. among kindred spirits there are edgar meyer, jeremy mccoy, stephen lester, dan armstrong, adrian mann etc.
i think it may be an interesting investigation and discussion to present.
what do you think? it may be a huge over-thinking of he subject, when simply more practice should solve most issues of the sound of your bass. nevertheless, let me at least know what you think!
thank you. i will continue to enjoy your blog!
On Mixed String Sets
This is an interesting topic–many bassists (as well as other string students) use mixed sets of strings, for a variety of reasons. Specific instruments react differently to specific sets of strings, and an A string from a particular brand of string may sound and feel radically different on two different instruments.
I’ve used a variety of mixed sets, with varying degrees of success. Once I moved to my current Jakstadt bass, I have stuck exclusively to Pirastro Permanents, but I used the following combinations in the past on my old Lowendal bass:
- Helicore Orchestra (G & D) plus Jazz (A & E)
- Original Flexocor (G D & A) plus Spirocore (E)
- Original Flexocor (G D & A) plus Permanent (E)
I’ve also experimented with other mixed sets on various basses, but the three combinations I listed are ones that I used for an extended period of time. String combinations are incredibly subjective–the player’s instrument, playing style, and musical tastes may lead to vastly different string solutions.
What do You Use?
Some people experiment endlessly with mixed sets of strings, often mixing four separate brands on one bass. What do you do on your bass? Let us know in the comments for this post!