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Anyone playing Kaplans?


tommyjamesallen
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 My usual string is Belcanto for both pizz and arco usually with the E and sometimes the A swapped out for a spiro or heli hybrid. I'm quite happy with the way it works, but I'm thinking of getting some Kaplans for another bass, but I'm wondering if the pizz would be similar to the belcanto ( I'm thinking  maybe a shade darker) and whether it's pointless buying a whole set if I might end up not useing the E and swap with a spiro and add it to the pile of unused orchestral E strings? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks. 

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I have used them, the strings that are most similar are the Belcantos, the light ones have a little less tension than Belcantos, pizz is also quite similar, short sustain, dark tone. I think they hold up better than Belcantos which sound great for a few weeks and then they are done. I agree that the Spiro E ist mighty, but it dies not always mix Well with other strings.

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I used Bel Cantos for a few years, but I'm now on my third set of Kaplan Light. I love them, they seem the right tension to make my bass come alive. Gorgeous rich and sweet tone all the way up to the rosin dust. Really great strings, very resposive and complex tone. D'Addario have really nailed it with the Kaplans

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  • 1 month later...

So I bought a set of Kaplan light's.  And I'm after a bit more advise from you fellow Kaplanees.. 

One of the things that I notice people say about kaplan is that they are very even across all 4 strings.  But the set that I have put on are anything but that. The E and G are very much like belcanto's which is kind of what I was expecting, smooth arco and a strong dark pizz.  But the D and A string are soooo much darker than the E and G and have no real pizz.  To me they sound like a they're from a different set of strings. I think I would expect the strings to have less sustain as you go down through the strings, that's not uncommon right? Hence people using a spiro for and E or A. But this A and D are just so much darker whereas the E and G are brighter.

Can any of you who have used kaplan strings before throw some light on this?

Thanks.

Edited by tommyjamesallen
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All 3 sets I have bought have been almost identical in sound and feel. I wonder if maybe there's a difference in the way they're wound on the tuners? or whether the notches in the bridge are different sizes (or the nut, come to that). It's very easy to damage strings when fitting. All my experience of D'Addario strings is that the quality and tone is very reliable. BUT if there's no obvious problem with the bass or the fitting of the strings, I'd suggest you email D'Addario. Their customer service is first class, in my experience

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Thanks neilp. 

I don't think it's a bridge or nut problem. The bass has fairly recently been restored and has a new Bridge and nut. Before the kaplans it had  belcanto A D G and heli hybrid E with no such issues. I reckon I'll try the kaplans on another bass before I write to D'addario. I've got the luxury of 3 nice basses here and a selection of strings. It's not like I've got many gigs to worry about. ☺

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Bear in mind that the Kaplans are an arco string - not a hint of that hybrid nonsense, entirely designed for orchestral/chamber music. That's all I do on double bass, so it's not a problem for me. As such though, they do need a fair bit of playing in before they settle. However it may be that they just don't like your bass!!

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  • 10 months later...

If I may stick my oar in here.

I've just taken delivery of a set of Kaplans from geoffbassist. The service was excellent and I'm indebted to him for the good price, but that's an aside and not what this thread is about.

The strings were replacing a 12 year old set of Obligatos. I don't actually know what sound I'm after, but I know a good price when I see one which is why I thought I'd take a punt. For me this was a punt and a miss, but as with all things there are too many variables to blame the strings as such. I'll happily answer any questions as they're on my bass at the moment though.

In comparison to the Obligatos, the strings are quieter, and that's an objective observation. Also objective is the ease of bowing. It's much more reactive and easier to get an even volume across the strings and to choose the dynamics. In terms of tone, that's where opinion creeps in. To me the pizz is lifeless but functional. To me the bowing with the Kaplans has with less scratch than the Obligatos and more body, although bear in mind that these Obligatos are 12 years old. I've elicited feedback from someone who has exceptional taste in everything (my wife) and she said that she preferred the Obligatos in both bowing and pizz. We ran two strings side-by-side at the same time which, while not scientific, is good enough for us to compare the two sets at the same time. She said there was more definition in the Obligatos and I'd say it's her opinion that's important as after all it's the tone from a few feet away rather than on top of the bass that's what you get paid for. Perhaps that's what D'Addario were going for: something which blended into an orchestra better rather than something that stood out. Absolutely no sense in getting any high frequencies out of a bass in an orchestra with so many other instruments.

For me, while I do try to keep my bow warm, it's not in an orchestra pit. The pizz with the Kaplans just isn't doing it for me. It's not old-school warm like the Obligatos. It's just dead. This is totally appropriate in an orchestra, but just not for me. The bowing again is very much an orchestral bow. I preferred it. My wife didn't.

Update: Actshwally, I'm starting to warm to the Kaplans. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with an updated appraisal, but the bowing is much, much better than the Obligatos after some extended playing.

Edited by chyc
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As I said before, Kaplans are purely arco strings. If you want sustain and brightness in your pizzicato sound, don't waste you time or money on Kaplans. I'm mainly an orchestral/chamber player, with some solo recitals occasionally (when I think I can muster an audience) and the Kaplans work beautifully with my bass (1820 ish German). I won't be bothering to try anything else now, these do it for me!

Edited by neilp
typo
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  • 2 weeks later...

Jason heath has just done a comparison of Kaplan Strings vs a new Pirastro Perpetual Strings (to which he no doubt got given for free); but he does a good review of the Kaplans here:

 

I was fortunate to blag a free set of Kaplans off a D'Addario Rep, a couple of years ago when my new DB was being built (I also blagged some bass guitar strings from him as well).

After a year of using Kaplan lights, I switched over to Pirastro Passiones, which were much brighter, but didn't quite have the speed of attack that the Kaplans have under the bow, so I am switching back to the Kaplans this week and they will stay on my orchestral bass for at least another year. As NeilP reviews, the Kaplans are not as good for pizz as other strings and are best suited for arco, however, I much prefer them to Belcantos or Flexocors.

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Flexocor Original come close, but the Kaplans are much more enjoyable to play than Belcantos, which in my opinion are decent, but unexciting in every way

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On 31/03/2020 at 22:09, tommyjamesallen said:

I've got the luxury of 3 nice basses here and a selection of strings. It's not like I've got many gigs to worry about. ☺

Respect is due.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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