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student strings for orchestral


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Morning all,

just looking for someone to point me in the right direction. My son (a 5' 9" tall 14 year old) is showing an interest (FINALLY) in my upright bass. He plays in the school concert band on clarinet so can read music and is competent but several new clarinetist have joined so he is one of many... The band struggles with bass frequencies as there is no tuba, bass clarinet etc, not even a cello. Bass duties are currently held down on keyboard (not piano) by one of the trumpet players who has had to move across, so I am sure a bassist would be very appreciated.

So, I am keen to embrace this new found interest by providing what I can, but realise this might be a flash in the pan. I was going to use my spare bass and make it more suitable for ochestral use. I am a rockabilly and bluegrass player so I use low tension steels (Blast Cult lowlifes) with a high-ish action and it sounds terrible with bow.... so I need to change strings and set up to be more appropriate for him as well as allowing me to still play pizz at home to a degree when inspiration strikes.

What strings would suit a student bassist looking for orchestral use (and still be able to be played pizz), and what can I do to the setup without having to spend a fortune getting it set up fully? Does orchestral need a low action or s a medium high action ok?

If he takes to it and gives it a couple of months practice then I would happily buy him his own bass or give him mine properly and set it up with a £250 set of strings and full setup, but money tight as it is for everyone so would prefer to spend less than £100 if I can. But on the flipside, i don't want it to be hard and for him to give up because it is harder than it could be.

thanks in advance

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I would consider a secondhand set of Pirastro, Evah Pirazzi's, which I think are one of the best hybrid strings to cover both arco and pizz. They can often be had for around the £100 mark and often appear on the Basschat Ads.

As for set up, if you have an adjustable bridge, anywhere from 8-11mm from the E-string to the end of the finger board, to 6-9mm from the G-string to the end of the fingerboard - (not definitive) would be a good target for string height.

There are better strings for orchestral, but the suitability for pizz diminishes.

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1 hour ago, philparker said:

I would consider a secondhand set of Pirastro, Evah Pirazzi's, which I think are one of the best hybrid strings to cover both arco and pizz. They can often be had for around the £100 mark and often appear on the Basschat Ads.

As for set up, if you have an adjustable bridge, anywhere from 8-11mm from the E-string to the end of the finger board, to 6-9mm from the G-string to the end of the fingerboard - (not definitive) would be a good target for string height.

There are better strings for orchestral, but the suitability for pizz diminishes.

Thanks Phil

I would consider losing some of the pizz suitability as it would be for me at home more than anything else, but he might like to do a bit of jazz too as they also run a jazz band at school. Mainly for orchestral though. Thanks, I had already looked at the EP strings but a price of £200 + put me off a little!! I will keep a look out for some in the Classifieds..

I do have an adjustable bridge so I will see how much adjustment I have left and maybe bring it down a little, my normal setup is normally higher than that.

Very much appreciated.

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55 minutes ago, randythoades said:

I would consider losing some of the pizz suitability as it would be for me at home more than anything else, but he might like to do a bit of jazz too as they also run a jazz band at school. Mainly for orchestral though. Thanks, I had already looked at the EP strings but a price of £200 + put me off a little!! I will keep a look out for some in the Classifieds...

Another set of strings to look out for, if you don't mind losing a bit of the pizz, is the Thomstik Belcanto, which does pizz remarkably well for what is an out-and-out orchestral string. Although I have found that they don't last as long as the Evah's, when in regular orchestral use - again, second hand. There are often sets of used strings on the classified and if a set-of-interest shows up, you can always post again and ask the community.

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