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The Best in Double Bass Strings by Maureen Pandos

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The Best in Double Bass Strings by Maureen Pandos… Wow, bass strings…  I could talk to you about them until I’m blue in the face.  There are so many to choose from and, unfortunately, they’re not so “budget friendly” for most of us.  This is where (I hope) my experience as a Luthier, who specializes in double bass will come in handy.

I’m going to start by separating this into a few sub-categories.

#1.  Best strings for the money.

In my personal opinion, D’Addario makes the best strings for the money.  Their Helicore series is exceptional.  I personally recommend the Helicore Orchestral for my classical students and clients, and probably recommend the Helicore Hybrid’s most to clients who play an array of musical styles.  Also, check out the synthetic gut Zyex strings. I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from customers.  Generally, all their strings are reliable and consistent.  They warm up well without an awful amount of “break in” time and sound pretty darn good under the bow or pizz.

#2.    Most versatile set.

Hands down, Tomastik Spirocores.  Initially marketed as an Orchestral string, the Spirocores have transgressed all genres.  They are specifically popular among jazz musicians because of the deep growl they possess.  They can be a little bit aggressive for the beginner bassist, but once you get used to their beefiness, you won’t be disappointed!  Also, this string has the longest life of any string I’ve ever used;  they just won’t die!

#3.   Best Orchestral set.

Pirastro Obligatos or Permantents depending on whether you want darker (Obligatos) or brighter (Permanents).  Both are a helluva string and you won’t be let down by Pirasto’s products.  Pirastro is an older company that has been making strings for a long time (over 200 years!)  So, in other words, they know what they’re doing.

#4.  Best jazz set.

Spirocores.  Thanks for playing.

#5.   Best solo set.

Tomastik Dominants or the Helicore Solo series.  The Dominants are a bit more rigid but have a wonderful upfront, but song-like quality.  The Helicores are a bit more friendly under the left hand and also have a beautiful solo voice. 

#6.   Best Bluegrass/Country set.

I’d have to go with the Helicore Hybrids.  Very versatile and user friendly.  Great under the bow, amp, and finger (pizz). 

#7.   Best Slapping set.

LaBella Supernils take the cake on this one.  If you’re into Rock-a-billy and/or all it’s sub-genres, this is the string for you.  Nylon wound and beer/sweat proof, this string slaps like no other.  Plus, it’s reasonably priced so go for it!  Slap the heck out of those things!

#8.   Best gut-like set.

I’m a pretty big fan of the Velvet Compas strings.  They are warm and user friendly and sound fantastic with very little “break in” period.  Very gut-like. 

#9.  Best gut set.

Handmade strings by Damien Dlugolecki.  They’re not cheap, but they’re worth it.

#10.   My personal favorite set.

Pirastro Original Flat Chromes because that’s what my teacher Homer Mensch loved and I listened to him without question.

#11.   My secret personal favorite set.   

Jargars.  Known more for their cello strings, the Jargers are clean and bright and don’t compromise darkness for a good, straight forward sound.  Give them a try, let me know what you think….

Thanks for reading!  Now get practicing!

Bass Videos

Working-Class Zeros: Episode #3 – John Patitucci IG Video, The Summer Festival Gig, iPads on Stage

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WORKING-CLASS ZEROS With Steve Rosati and Shawn Cav

In this episode we cover John Patitucci’s IG video about saying ‘no’ to the gig, the Summer Festival gig, and iPads on stage (sure it’s awesome but is it necessary?)

These stories from the front are with real-life, day-to-day musicians who deal with work life and gigging and how they make it work out. Each month, topics may include… the kind of gigs you get, the money, dealing with less-than-ideal rooms, as well as the gear you need to get the job done… and the list goes on from there.” – Steve the Bass Guy and Shawn Cav

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Curly Hendo

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Interview Wity Bassist Curly Hendo

Bassist Curly Hendo…

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, bassist Curly Hendo has been super busy. Starting with dance from a young age, Curly took up bass shortly after and has been going strong ever since. She has collaborated with numerous acts worldwide and is an in-demand session/touring bassist and musical director.

Join me as we learn about Curly’s musical journey, how she gets her sound, and her plans for a very bright future.

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @jermsbass @degierguitars @meridian_guitars @xvector_basses @marleaux_bassguitars @mattissonbass @alesvychodilbasses @gvguitars @thebassplace @xylembassguitar

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Bass CDs

New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

The Chilean bassist, producer and sociologist, Ben Mortiz, celebrates the launch of his latest studio work, “MORENO” an album that mixes jazz, soul, and funk following the characteristic Latin style of  Mortiz. The artist completely produced the album under the label “Fallen Lab Records” in the south of Chile.

“MORENO” brings deep and smooth sounds, expressing a sophisticated and elegant Latin vibe. You will find meditative harmonies and joyful melodic voices. The record’s core is the human vibration that Mortiz feels from the Latin American music. The Caribbean rhythms and strong Latin percussions are the musical glue in every song that emerges with the force of the electric bass.

“MORENO” creates a real connection between corporal reactions and mind sensations, always in reference to the originality of Mortiz to fuse modern and classic Latin sounds.

For more information, visit online at danielbenmortiz.com/

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Gear News

New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Dual Compressor/Effects Loop

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New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Duel Compressor/Effects Loop

Step Into X2C With Phil Jones Bass Dual Compressor/Effects Loop…

Phil Jones Bass latest pedal innovation is the X2C Dual Compressor with Dual Effects Loop for performance and recording. The X2C incorporates advanced compressor circuit technology and provides comprehensive tone control with a dual crossover feature which divides the signal into frequency bands ranging from 100Hz to 500Hz, ensuring exceptional clarity and dynamics in tone refinement. 

With insert jacks on each band, the X2C unlocks limitless creativity, enabling players to use various FX pedals for custom tone sculpting. Additionally, it functions as an electronic crossover, ideal for driving high-performance, 2-way bass rigs.

PJB’s Dual-Band compression design is more flexible than standard single-band compressors and provides a more natural and transparent sound. It also provides greater control over shaping and managing dynamics where standard compressors affect the entire frequency spectrum of an audio signal.  

PJB’s dual compressor enables the player to shape specific frequency ranges of an audio signal which allows for compressing the low frequencies while preserving the high frequencies, or vice-versa. Treating the low-end with a dedicated band also allows for heavy compression without affecting the midrange frequencies, which carry the attack of the sound. 

Effects can be plugged into the insert jacks on the X2C and controlled separately. As an example, the lows can be adjusted separately for an overdrive pedal while the highs can be controlled for a chorus. 

Dividing the audio spectrum into fundamental frequencies and harmonics is also effective in the enrichment of slapping techniques. The low frequencies can be compressed without changing the dynamics of the “slap”. By controlling the low frequencies and focusing the attack on the slap the amplifier will sound louder while avoiding overloading of the amp or speakers. The low band can be compressed without the harmonics being affected. In addition, the send jacks can go to different amplifiers/speakers for a bi-amplification set up.

Compact and potent, the X2C embodies studio-grade excellence, setting a new standard for dynamic processing in an uncompromising, portable pedal. The street price is $359.99.

Visit online at www.pjbworld.com

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