“…[Peter] offered a full day of interesting insight, thoughtful analysis, and enjoyable music-making for the students in my program and myself.” – Mr. Michael D. Blostein , Averill Park High School, Averill Park, NY.
I was fortunate to work with local students this past winter (2013) in River Forest, IL.
”Peter participated in our string workshop at Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest. He came super-prepared to work with and motivate our students. Peter brought materials he had created just for our workshop and presented each kid with their own copy. His enthusiasm was motivating. He is very passionate about teaching and about stringed instruments, especially the string bass.” - Mr. David Wuersig, director
And from a parent of one of my private students (9/24/13):
[Student] tells me he won first chair bass, and he’s the only freshman in his bass section! Thank you for all your good work with him!!!
Do you have used or new strings that are lying around and doing nothing? Instead of trashing your old strings, you can join our growing list of string donors that include myself, Liam Wilson of Dillinger Escape Plan, and James Valentine of Maroon 5, and donate your used strings to us so we can get them to underprivileged kids, aspiring musicians, and pros who live in countries like Cuba where strings just aren’t available.
I was recently in the market for a new strap for my bass guitar – a walnut 5 string by Carvin. It’s a bit on the heavy side so I knew I wanted a wide (4″) strap. There are a lot of choices out there with a
variety of materials used for fabrication. It seemed that many pros and people who want
quality go for nice leather straps (including the guitarist in my band). So the hunt began for a quality, 4″ strap that didn’t require a bank loan.
Enter Italia Leather Straps.
I love trying new strings. A lot. And as primarily a double bassist that pays almost $300 for a set of strings, buying bass guitar strings seems like a steal! So when D’Addario announced their new Flex Steels I immediately pre-ordered them from Bass Strings Online. (On a side note, my favorite double bass string vendor is Bob’s House of Basses / Prodigy Strings. )
Last night after band practice I decided to put them on, replacing the D’Addario balanced tension nickel strings that I’ve been using. I have pages of string notes in my Evernote notebook. The D’Addario nickels are a great standard string to start with. They have a nice, neutral sound, play easily and are inexpensive.
D’Addario writes that “…FlexSteels deliver the unique combination of flexible feel optimized for slap and finger-style playing coupled with a coveted deep and round tone with just the right amount of punch and bite.”
I agree! Right out of the package they delivered on that statement. These strings are punchy while retaining an even sound across the sound spectrum. As with most steel strings they do have a more ‘abrasive’ feel than nickels. It’s not a huge difference and after a few minutes of playing you probably won’t notice it any more but I think it should be noted. But again – that’s generally a characteristic of steel strings versus nickel.
I play a 5 string Carvin bass and prefer lighter gauge strings. D’Addario does not yet have a 5 string set in the gauges I like so I ordered a 4 string light set and put on a D’Addario ProSteel low B string. The Flex Steels were noticeably clearer, more defined, and well…punchier.
The sound was great right out of the package. Some strings need to break in, others have too much treble zing but the Flex Steels had the right sound immediately.
Even with a pick they retain their full sound.
I’m completely blown away but these strings! The sound is absolutely perfect and clear.
D’Addario writes on their website, “Kaplan double bass strings are aimed at the most discerning orchestral musicians. Kaplan strings offer a rich tonal color palette and superb bowing response in a beautifully balanced set. The set provides clarity and warmth from low to high registers and allows versatility and control throughout the dynamic spectrum.”
When I try new strings I like to change one at a time to see how they compare to what I’ve currently been using. My bass was strung with Pirastro Flat-Chromesteels which are agressive sounding, have lots of projection, and have a very resonant pizzicato sound. As I play more solo literature than orchestral these days, this works well for me. I also like Pirastro Obligato strings for their lush, warm sound and sustaining pizzicatos.
Kaplans respond quickly under the bow and are easy on the left hand throughout the entire register of the bass. They offer a warm, rich sound and the tension of the mediums is perfect.
I have a fully carved Rogeri copy bass by Rumano Solano with a C extension by Bill Merchant. The instrument is on the small side of 3/4 so I try to squeeze every bit of volume I can from it. I’ve had the top thinned out and replaced the stock ebony tailpiece with a Marvin tailpiece. Both of these modifications added volume and resonance.
On to the Kaplans. They are an oustanding orchestral string – warm and rich with a complex tone that would easily blend well in a section. I tried the medium tension version. They respond well, speak quickly under the bow (about the same as the Flat-Chromesteels) and are easy on the left hand throughout the register. The arco volume is less than the Flat-Chromesteels but the Kaplans do keep giving volume as you dig in and they did not feel like they ‘maxed out’. This is nice as it’s always good to have some volume in reserve. The pizzicato is noticeably softer with less sustain than the Pirastros. They have a nice thump and somehwat quick decay. Again, this is probably a good thing in an orchestral setting. I did notice that after a few days the G, D, and A string pizzicato sound gained some volume and sustain. The low C lagged in pizzicato volume but I think this has more to do with my bass than the string. When bowed, the C string response was clear and articulate as was the entire set from the open C to the stratosphere notes with my extended fingerboard.
D’Addario Kaplans are definitely an orchestral string. The sound is rich and dark – yet still clear. They sound a bit ‘covered’ in the mid-frequency range but this would blend well in a section. I feel they would be great on a large, old instrument or a brighter instrument that needs some edge taken away.
These are a great addition to the D’Addario brand. Although they are not a great fit for my bass and current playing, I must stress that’s a personal sound choice – especially since my playing is currently more solo focused. For an orchestral player wanting a warm sound that ‘plays nice with others’, I highly recommend these strings!
***IN STOCK AND READY TO SHIP***A banner of the order of flats and sharps. I tried having two banners for each but students found it confusing. So here is a banner where they can just read it from the appropriate side and with a single flat and sharp they know which side to use. The banner it 60″ x 6″, made of durable vinyl with ultraviolet protection and has 6 brass grommets for hanging.
$80 + $10 S&H
DISCOUNTED BLEMISHED – Has a tiny (~2″ long and less than a millimeter in width) on the flat and sharp sign. Contact me for pricing.
This is a simple arrangement for string orchestra of Jolly Old St. Nicholas, Good King Wenceslas and Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful).
Only the key of G is used and there are no accidentals. The first violin part has some third position work to provide a challenge for more advance players. Dotted rhythms and hooked bowings have been using sparingly.
The harmony is generally two part between upper and lower strings.
Markings have been kept to a minimum to allow for flexibility, interpretation and to get students in the habit of notating their part.
People are always complaining about companies, products, and customer service. Therefore I like to recognize companies when good things happen. D’Addario makes lots of great products and strings. I’m a huge fan of their patch cables with the mute button. I own three and they perform flawlessly and have been rock solid.
Anyway, I had a TINY issue with another product and their customer service is OUTSTANDING. They actually reached out to me in the popular forum TalkBass. The issue was resolved within minutes and the representative was a pleasure to work with.
Thank you D’Addario! It’s always nice to post positive things!
I have to share with you all my new speaker cabinet. It’s a Greenboy design, Bassic15 model, built by Don Barry. The Greenboy authorized builders do each one to order and there are many variations to choose from.
FaitalPro 15PR400 8ohm speaker
Natural wood bafflle
Recessed handles on both the sides and top Continue reading →
I have updated my arrangement of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. It is an easy version for middle school orchestra. The violins are unison and the viola doubles the violin melody. Cello and bass have the same part. I have included bowings, some fingerings, and courtesy accidentals to make this arrangement easy to put together! All measures are numbered and the staff spacing on parts is very open. I have performed this version with my orchestra and it works really well.
A banner of the order of flats and sharps. I tried having two banners for each but students found it confusing. So here is a banner where they can just read it from the appropriate side and with a single flat and sharp they know which side to use. The banner it 60″ x 6″, made of durable vinyl and has 6 brass grommets for hanging. $50 + $15 S&H
The first studio release from Jungle of Cities. The Chicago-based ensemble plays original music rooted in traditional electric/acoustic folk, pressed with a cinematic feel and delivered with lyrics drawn from today's headlines.
Influenced by music from Roots Americana and Blues-Rock, but our influences are as much literary as musical as we pay homage to Ginsberg, Ferlingetti, Bruce, Orwell and Stephen Vincent Benet.
5 bucks gets you 6 cool new tracks. The ZIP file contains the MP3 encoded at 320 as well as some Jungle of Cities artwork.
Is there a social correspondence between the number of laws of society the number of rules for music. Such as the baroque period there were many guidelines and rules to follow for composition but that were much less number of laws society.
Now with our thousands of laws on the books composers are free from such norms.