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  #1  
Old 07-04-2007, 01:14 AM
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Default Original Flexocor & Original Flat-Chrome

Reading Ken's thread on the Flat-Chromesteel strings, and being that Flexocor ('92s) are well documented I thought I'd talk about another of Pirastro's major offerings in the way of steel ropecore strings.

As I understand it Original Flexocor (OF) and Original Flat-Chrome (OFC) are essentially the same strings, with those that meet a higher quality standard getting the OFC label. This could be entirely false, but I've yet to hear otherwise. edit: Rumor dispelled below! Nonetheless, I'm led to believe the OFC's have a bit sweeter sound - for reference they're what Jeff Bradetich uses, as far as I know.

Worth clarifying is that the Original Flat-Chromesteel is a different string from the Flat-Chromesteel just as Original Flexocor is different from Flexocor. While the Flat-Chromesteel's are bright and relatively supple under the hand per Ken's report, the OFC is a stiff heavy string with big dark tone.

Definitions out of the way, I'll share my experience. My string search has taken me from Helicore Orchestral to a mix of Flexocor (92) and Permanent strings, and now to a set of Original Flexocor. The move to Pirastro with my 92's was a great thing, as this was the first time I really liked how my bass sounded. Months later as I played on my teacher's bass I realized that pedigree of bass aside, his strings and setup were conducive to an even bigger tone - so I followed and got the Orig Flex set. They have much of the same dark rich qualities that the 92's had but with a bigger overall sound and a brighter/faster speaking top end. The G was a bit hard to tame, but with the rubber tone ring that comes with it installed it has settled nicely and works with the set. I'm fairly happy with these for orchestral playing overall, but I'm interested to know whether the OFC is worth the extra expense for a bit better tone.



I'd love to hear any experiences others have with these strings and what you think of them compared to the other standard choices.
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Last edited by Jeff Moote; 07-04-2007 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:27 PM
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Lightbulb Originals etc..

First off, let me start by saying that I have actually played and tested all of the Strings mentioned and even sent reports back to Pirastro on how they performed. Also, the notion about the Orig Flex and Orig FC being the same is a mis-truth. One person told me he was at the factory and the only difference between the two was the liquid dampeners the place in the strings. Well then, why are the Orig Flexs so much thicker in gauge?

For ID purposes lets use 4 string models here. The Orig Flex vs the Orig FC and the Flex 92 vs the Flat ChromSteel. Thread wise at the Ball ends I call the Origs Blue or dark blue but not purple which they are referred to. I see purple as a darker color but for now, we can say Purple or Blue. On the Flex 92s, they look purple to me but I hear Ruby and Red being used so lets say Red.

The Origs. are Blue and the OFC have Blue & White spiral.
The 92s are Red and the FCS are Red & White spiral.

Ok so far on the color IDs?

Sound and tension comparisons as well as actual Gauge;

In the Origs, the Blue Flex is a heavy Stark gauge that is actually heavier than the Flex 92 Starks! How many of you know that? Well, now all of you. The tension of the Origs are also much higher that any of the 4 mentioned including the Starks. The gauges of the Origs are also slightly thicker across with the A-string having a huge difference in size as compared to the others. The Orig FC is sweeter sounding to me than the Blues and have less tension overall! The gauges are thinner as well.

On the 92s vs the Orig Blues, the 92s seem to have a darker smoother sound especially on the G-string. When new, all the other Gs sound slightly too bright but they all mellow in time. The 92 G reg or stark, is smooth right out of the bag.

On the 92s vs the FCS, the FCS are thinner in gauge, brighter in tone and lighter in tension. The Flat Chrome Steels are an 'excellent' bowing string as far as I have tested on the two Basses, my huge Hungarian 5er and the English Theress I played recently. Why some people refer to the FCS as a hybrid String must only be because of its brighter tone and more pizz-friendly ability as compared to the 92 Reds.

Both the FCS and Orig FC are lighter tensioned strings than the solid similar colored threaded ball end colors.

Here is my chart of Tensions from heaviest to lighest;
Orig Flex.
92 Stark
Orig. FC
Flex 92 (close to the Orig FC except the E)
FCS

In Tone, I rate them as such from dark to bright when new on the Bass.
92 Stark
92s
Orig Flex
Orig FC
FCS

All of the strings listed about are great bowing strings. I Think now that Pirastro has these so that any Bass can get what it needs to sound good, bow good and feel good. I think all 3 factors are needed to enjoy your bowing Bass.

Not listed here are the Permanents which to me are mixed. The bottoms are thick and tight while the tops are thinner and maybe looser but definitely brighter sounding than the lower strings as far as a mix goes. I also heard these were made to compete with Helicors. Why bother when you have a great string. The main problem with most Basses is the 'E'.

Why the 'E'? First off, its the hardest open pitch to sound a true fundamental note (do NOT even mention the low B!..lol). Second, the E is lower at the bridge as compare to the D and A and the lower height might loosen its tension. Wanna test my theory? Put the E in the middle and move the A lower and test the sound and tension then. Third, the quality of Basses in the world are not equal. I have only seen the great English and Italian Basses mainly with true fundamental bottoms. Add a few German, Yankee and French in there as well as a few others but the average Bass out there percentage wise just doesn't have a thick true bottom!

So, what do we Bass players do? Blame it on the String company? Sell your house? No... Just understand the problem and work with it, period.

In the early 19th century when London was mainly a 3-String town it was believed that any note below their A-strings simply would not sound and this was the town making the best Basses in the world collectively at that time. Tuning to a 'G' was an option but an E? Phooey... Then came the visiting German Orchestras with their 4 and even 5 String Basses to play the Beethoven parts and Viennese waltzes. Soon after England started adding 4-string Basses to the sections but remaining a 3-string town for most of the century. Even in the early 20th century they still offered Hawkes model Basses with 3-strings.. Go figure.. the English...lol

Where was Pirastro then, huh?.. Baaaahhhhh

Last edited by Ken Smith; 01-02-2017 at 01:54 PM. Reason: typos found
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:52 PM
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Now that's a thorough response! I'm going to save that on my hard drive for future reference

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Here is my chart of Tensions from heaviest to lighest;
Orig Flex.
92 Stark
Orig. FC
Flex 92 (close to the Orig FC except the E)
FCS

In Tone, I rate them as such from dark to bright when new on the Bass.
92 Stark
92s
Orig Flex
Orig FC
FCS

All of the strings listed about are great bowing strings. I Think now that Pirastro has these so that any Bass can get what it needs to sound good, bow good and feel good. I think all 3 factors are needed to enjoy your bowing Bass.
I think you're right on here - they offer many choices so that you can match strings to your bass and preferences. I guess the reason I like the OFs (solid blue thread) is because I have a heavy bow arm and prefer something I can pour the weight onto for more sound. From your experiences, it sounds like the next string for me to try might be the 92 in Stark gauge. You say they sit at the other end of things in term of dark/bright tone, but are closest in thickness. Similar under the bow I take it?

Another string that I'm curious about lately (for various reasons) is Thomastik Dominant, but that's a topic for a new thread I think...
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:18 PM
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Cool Thorough...

I have a Sticky here on Flexs and had a big Thread on TB awhile Back from which I pulled my info. Also, as I was testing strings I posted some of the results on TB. That was about 2-3 years ago.

On the Thomastics I have experience with Spiros, Superflexible (Rope Core) and Belcantos. I don't know much at all about Dominants. The Bel's are the best of the group for Bowing. Superflexibles are also Bowable as are Spiros but that depends on the Bass and the mix of strings in the Set. I have the Superflex Ext.E/C mixed with the Orch.Eurosonics. I have also used that E/C with Helicores which came on my Cornerless Bass but I removed them the same day along with the Ext and put a set of 92s on with a Stark E.

If you need the E/C for the Starks, call me as I bought the entire remaining Stock at one of the Distributors here when I heard they were discontinued. The rest of the set in Starks are still available but not the Ext. string.

On a comparison, a player took out my Bisiach to try and put on a set of Orig. Flexs. that I had in stock. 'That's the sound' he remarked when we got the Strings on. When I got the Bass back I just didn't like the tone. When I put back the old set of Flexs on it (don't recall if they were Starks or reg gauge), the darker smoother sound came back in seconds. Different strokes...
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:34 AM
Phil Bishop Phil Bishop is offline
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Ken, your summary of the Pirastro strings is really helpful. Could you rate the strings for pizz as well as arco? Good sustain, etc. and also a mention if any particular string (e.g. an E) in a family stands out in some way. If possible, Permanents as well?

I'm asking as I'm using Original Flat Chrome at the moment, playing about 70% orchestral 30% jazz. Next time I buy, I'll probably switch to a darker string (maybe Flex 92) and it would be really useful to get a view as to how the other strings compare to the OFC.
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Old 05-17-2008, 12:30 PM
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Cool Pizz?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBi View Post
Ken, your summary of the Pirastro strings is really helpful. Could you rate the strings for pizz as well as arco? Good sustain, etc. and also a mention if any particular string (e.g. an E) in a family stands out in some way. If possible, Permanents as well?

I'm asking as I'm using Original Flat Chrome at the moment, playing about 70% orchestral 30% jazz. Next time I buy, I'll probably switch to a darker string (maybe Flex 92) and it would be really useful to get a view as to how the other strings compare to the OFC.
My opinion on the Pizz quality of these Orchestra Strings depends greatly on your particular Bass itself. Put them on a German Shop Bass and they might sound dead. Put them on my Storioni and the sound like Spiros.

The OFC worked well on my Gilkes but then again so did every other string I had on that Bass which included Obligatos, OFCs, Flex 92s, Flex 92 Stark, Flex 92s with Stark E and Evah Pirazzi's. On my Martini Flexs and other Bowing strings do not Pizz as well but Obligatos do. On my Storioni everything Bows and Pizz's fantastic. My Hart has only had 92s and they Pizz ok but that's an Orchestra Bass so is just does what it's supposed to do. On the other hand, all the Basses I have that I just mentioned are Orchestra Basses as well. If the Top floats well, it Pizz's well and if the Bass is a clearer sounding Bass rather than a darker sounding Bass, it can pizz well too. Permanents have less of a quality sound than the others mentioned. The either sound bright to me or dark on the bottom when broken in. I never liked the G and D in that set for the Bow.

The best 'everything' Basses I have had included the Gilkes, the Storioni and the Dodd I used to have. The Dodd was about the best low end crunch powerhouse I had ever heard. The Storioni is similar to the Dodd but will a darker smoother silky olive oil Italian sound. Basses like this are rare but can be found. They just cost somewhere in the neighborhood of a few cars or a house depending.

One more thing. If you like the flat Chromes and need something darker, be aware that the 92s may not Pizz as well on your Bass. The Es are usually softer in that set. The OFC E might be better to leave on or mix the tops and bottoms with the 92s on the G and D.

My Gilkes has the 92s on it now but the E/C ext. string is the original/Original FC which then was called Eudoxa Steels. This was a string someone had lying around slightly used from over 20 years ago. It's so smooth and dark. It blends fairly well with the 92s and sounds even smoother.

I am doing a Pops type concert tonight and had done the 2 rehearsals with the Martini (92s Starks all the way including the E/C which the discontinued but I bought a bunch b4). The Pizz was actually too dark and deep so last night I packed up my Gilkes to use for tonight instead, It has a punchier type Pizz tone regardless of the strings used.

It's usually more of matching the String to the Bass than the player. When you hear the sound you are looking for, you will know it. Each Bass itself will not sound the same because of the string you choose. It's really what works best on that particular Bass. Some Basses are easier to fit and some harder string wise.
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:09 PM
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Abe Gumroyan Abe Gumroyan is offline
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I find the the flexocor 92s to be a bit scratchy on the D an G strings .. Anyone else find themselves in a similar situation with the 92s ?... I switched over to original flexocor across the board and loved them ... the extended E is monstrous in sound even though alot of players do not favor this string for use with an extension
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Old 09-20-2008, 11:57 PM
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Question Scratchy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abe Gumroyan View Post
I find the the flexocor 92s to be a bit scratchy on the D an G strings .. Anyone else find themselves in a similar situation with the 92s ?... I switched over to original flexocor across the board and loved them ... the extended E is monstrous in sound even though alot of players do not favor this string for use with an extension
Well, if they are old or the bow not rosined maybe it will skip and scratch. The 92 G is usually the smoothest darkest one of the group. The Orig. G is the one I find to be brighter and scratchy at times. The D is ok but always preferred the 92 for smoothness. Maybe it's a tension match with your Bass.
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:43 PM
Calvin Marks Calvin Marks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Well, if they are old or the bow not rosined maybe it will skip and scratch. The 92 G is usually the smoothest darkest one of the group. The Orig. G is the one I find to be brighter and scratchy at times. The D is ok but always preferred the 92 for smoothness. Maybe it's a tension match with your Bass.
This is exactly what I found with Orig. Flexocores

1) G is slightly brighter than the rest of the set and can be scratchy at times.

2) Low E is fairly muddy for pizz, most players I've seen don't use the Low E.

3) The A just shakes the room, it has a FAT sound.

Ken, would you say the '92 regular and stark are both darker than the Original Flexocores? I'm looking for something smooth but a tad more punchy and articulate...Many people say Orig. Flat-chrome is the cure.
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Old 04-21-2009, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvin Marks View Post
This is exactly what I found with Orig. Flexocores

1) G is slightly brighter than the rest of the set and can be scratchy at times.

2) Low E is fairly muddy for pizz, most players I've seen don't use the Low E.

3) The A just shakes the room, it has a FAT sound.

Ken, would you say the '92 regular and stark are both darker than the Original Flexocores? I'm looking for something smooth but a tad more punchy and articulate...Many people say Orig. Flat-chrome is the cure.
Calvin (and anyone else reading this), I have read hundreds of posts and threads here and on TalkBass about desired sounds and how to get them. What I am going to tell you is what I truly believe.

Most people looking for the right bow or right string is actually lacking in the right bass and how to play it as well in many cases. This is several different subjects entirely but the same cries about 'how to'.

On the 'which string' problem I think that is usually the Bass itself because most basses, not some but most basses regardless of price are finicky and will only do certain things well with certain strings. They are 'limited' in what they can do. If all or most basses could do anything regardless of cost then the market would be much different price-wise because you could grab about any bass with any string and be happy. That is not the case though.

Even with the basses you have seen listed in my collection, only a few of them are close to being immune to string problems. The English Basses are usually less plush and sweet than the old Italians. Most of the Italians are too dark to have a clear low E with Pizz. So, you need an English E with an Italian G... lol

Ok, ok.. enough rant for the moment. I am sure this will be revived sooner than later.

On your Flex 92 question or Orig Felx in comparison let me tell you the basic differences I have noticed regardless of which Bass I put them on and they are too many to list here.

The 92s are sweeter sounding, especially on the top. The Orig. G is not as smooth as either the 92 or 92 stark G. Some basses with 92s need the stark E. The ext 92s reg E is actually thicker then the non ext. E. Call Pirastro and ask them. They will say they are the same. Then, measure a few of each and you will see that the 92E averages at about .097/.098. The 92E/C measures at about .100/101. Someone in the String room is cheating and making the Ext.E/C a tad thicker to compensate for its length. So, you know what? It's a good mistake to have. According to Pirastro, I can't measure correctly as they denied my findings!!

It is easier to learn this difference and embrace it than to ask them to make something different. They are nice people but my comments have always fallen on deaf ears when I respond with my findings. To make matters worse, the discontinued the Stark E/C a while back so I bought all I could find to have when I need it.

The Orig Flex A is HUGE in it's diameter as compared to the D and E. I think it's unmatched within the set and chokes the Bass a bit. When ever I've taken off Orig. Flex's and replaced them with 92s, reg or stark, the bass immediately felt and sounded more free, more sweet, more smooth and darker.

The 92s have a slightly thinner sound than the Orig's. The Starks are in between but with a bit of both qualities.

Now, back for a moment on 'the bass itself may really be the problem' theory.

Guys, you are making these string companies rich while going poor yourself. Make your string choices wisely and then leave the bass alone. Play it and deal with it. Spend that string money on a better bow or save for a better bass.

My two main English Basses are the Gilkes and the Hart. Master and Pupil but two very different instruments. Only the training of the makers are alike and the town they were made in. String wise, they change very little in characteristics with various strings. I can only alter the sound slightly with a different string but I can't make either one turn into an Italian bass no matter what I do. My 4/4 English Gamba Bass (aka Big Ben) has more of an Italian like deep growl and sustain but still has a bell like clarity. I have tried a mix of Orig Flex with Perm E, Eurosonic Orchestras and Evah Weichs. They all sounded good on that Bass with the Eurosonics the driest sounding and the Evah's the sweetest with the O.Flex/Perm mix in the middle. The Flex were the sweetest though and Bell like as well but the lighter tension Evah Weichs speak more free. Now I am having a C-Ext installed on it and will put my favorite 92s on it with an old Eudoxa Flat Chromesteel E/C, an oldie. The 92s are old as well but before wasting a brand new set of anything, I wanna hear these. I have a slightly used set of Evah regulars with an E/C that I might throw on there but I would rather play the bass with whatever decent used strings that are on it than spend time changing strings again. I like changing only when need be.

So Calvin, did I answer your question just now? Don't be afraid to ask me to clarify or to go into detail on anything we just touched on or anything that we missed here.

Quote:
Many people say Orig. Flat-chrome is the cure.
Ok, missed that one.. Ok..

The Orig FCs made today are the remake of the once made Eudoxa Steels. The Eudoxas were available in either gut core or steel core. The E/C I mentioned I have that is old is one of those actual Eudoxa steel strings I picked up a couple of years ago 'used' and saved it. I have had it on 3 basses at various times, the Martini, Gilkes and Hart. It is a little thuddy now but bows so so smooth and deep. I wish I had an entire set of them. Maybe that's how the Orig FCs will sound when they age.

I had a set of Original FC on my Gilkes about 3-4 years ago and this was before the bass was restored. Now after the restoration it's starting to sound deeper. I did notice however that the OFC G was not as smooth as the Flex 92 but was not as rough sounding as the Orig Flex G, blue silk.

Now about the playing problem. So many pros in Orchestra today are using and are happy with the Original Flex (with some of them using a different E). This might be a combination of their playing, the Bass and their bow. It works for them on the 'G' I guess or why would they use it? They cost way more than the 92s?

Anyway, we should all be practicing right now with what ever strings we have on the bass.. lol
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:09 AM
Calvin Marks Calvin Marks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Calvin (and anyone else reading this), I have read hundreds of posts and threads here and on TalkBass about desired sounds and how to get them. What I am going to tell you is what I truly believe.

Most people looking for the right bow or right string is actually lacking in the right bass and how to play it as well in many cases. This is several different subjects entirely but the same cries about 'how to'.

On the 'which string' problem I think that is usually the Bass itself because most basses, not some but most basses regardless of price are finicky and will only do certain things well with certain strings. They are 'limited' in what they can do. If all or most basses could do anything regardless of cost then the market would be much different price-wise because you could grab about any bass with any string and be happy. That is not the case though.

Even with the basses you have seen listed in my collection, only a few of them are close to being immune to string problems. The English Basses are usually less plush and sweet than the old Italians. Most of the Italians are too dark to have a clear low E with Pizz. So, you need an English E with an Italian G... lol

Ok, ok.. enough rant for the moment. I am sure this will be revived sooner than later.

On your Flex 92 question or Orig Felx in comparison let me tell you the basic differences I have noticed regardless of which Bass I put them on and they are too many to list here.

The 92s are sweeter sounding, especially on the top. The Orig. G is not as smooth as either the 92 or 92 stark G. Some basses with 92s need the stark E. The ext 92s reg E is actually thicker then the non ext. E. Call Pirastro and ask them. They will say they are the same. Then, measure a few of each and you will see that the 92E averages at about .097/.098. The 92E/C measures at about .100/101. Someone in the String room is cheating and making the Ext.E/C a tad thicker to compensate for its length. So, you know what? It's a good mistake to have. According to Pirastro, I can't measure correctly as they denied my findings!!

It is easier to learn this difference and embrace it than to ask them to make something different. They are nice people but my comments have always fallen on deaf ears when I respond with my findings. To make matters worse, the discontinued the Stark E/C a while back so I bought all I could find to have when I need it.

The Orig Flex A is HUGE in it's diameter as compared to the D and E. I think it's unmatched within the set and chokes the Bass a bit. When ever I've taken off Orig. Flex's and replaced them with 92s, reg or stark, the bass immediately felt and sounded more free, more sweet, more smooth and darker.

The 92s have a slightly thinner sound than the Orig's. The Starks are in between but with a bit of both qualities.

Now, back for a moment on 'the bass itself may really be the problem' theory.

Guys, you are making these string companies rich while going poor yourself. Make your string choices wisely and then leave the bass alone. Play it and deal with it. Spend that string money on a better bow or save for a better bass.

My two main English Basses are the Gilkes and the Hart. Master and Pupil but two very different instruments. Only the training of the makers are alike and the town they were made in. String wise, they change very little in characteristics with various strings. I can only alter the sound slightly with a different string but I can't make either one turn into an Italian bass no matter what I do. My 4/4 English Gamba Bass (aka Big Ben) has more of an Italian like deep growl and sustain but still has a bell like clarity. I have tried a mix of Orig Flex with Perm E, Eurosonic Orchestras and Evah Weichs. They all sounded good on that Bass with the Eurosonics the driest sounding and the Evah's the sweetest with the O.Flex/Perm mix in the middle. The Flex were the sweetest though and Bell like as well but the lighter tension Evah Weichs speak more free. Now I am having a C-Ext installed on it and will put my favorite 92s on it with an old Eudoxa Flat Chromesteel E/C, an oldie. The 92s are old as well but before wasting a brand new set of anything, I wanna hear these. I have a slightly used set of Evah regulars with an E/C that I might throw on there but I would rather play the bass with whatever decent used strings that are on it than spend time changing strings again. I like changing only when need be.

So Calvin, did I answer your question just now? Don't be afraid to ask me to clarify or to go into detail on anything we just touched on or anything that we missed here.



Ok, missed that one.. Ok..

The Orig FCs made today are the remake of the once made Eudoxa Steels. The Eudoxas were available in either gut core or steel core. The E/C I mentioned I have that is old is one of those actual Eudoxa steel strings I picked up a couple of years ago 'used' and saved it. I have had it on 3 basses at various times, the Martini, Gilkes and Hart. It is a little thuddy now but bows so so smooth and deep. I wish I had an entire set of them. Maybe that's how the Orig FCs will sound when they age.

I had a set of Original FC on my Gilkes about 3-4 years ago and this was before the bass was restored. Now after the restoration it's starting to sound deeper. I did notice however that the OFC G was not as smooth as the Flex 92 but was not as rough sounding as the Orig Flex G, blue silk.

Now about the playing problem. So many pros in Orchestra today are using and are happy with the Original Flex (with some of them using a different E). This might be a combination of their playing, the Bass and their bow. It works for them on the 'G' I guess or why would they use it? They cost way more than the 92s?

Anyway, we should all be practicing right now with what ever strings we have on the bass.. lol
Ken, thank you for your time and effort in replying. Your knowledge is as always very useful!

Cheers.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:00 PM
Dave Whitla Dave Whitla is offline
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This thread has been idle a while, but I just put Orig Flex G, D, & A on my old bass and am experiencing the harsh sound on the G that has been referred to here.
My question is, do these strings break in after a bit, and if so roughly how long should I expect it to take, or is a permanent feature of the string?

Also wondering if I should install the black rubber ring thingy??

Any help would be appreciated!
Dave
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Whitla View Post
This thread has been idle a while, but I just put Orig Flex G, D, & A on my old bass and am experiencing the harsh sound on the G that has been referred to here.
My question is, do these strings break in after a bit, and if so roughly how long should I expect it to take, or is a permanent feature of the string?

Also wondering if I should install the black rubber ring thingy??

Any help would be appreciated!
Dave
I think it can depend on your bass and the strings as I have found them to vary a bit from set to set, Maybe. It is more the bass I think. I have a Orig. Flex G and D on 2 different basses. One is smoother than the other on the G and D but the brighter of the two is a brighter basses regardless of the string.
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