Flexocor Deluxe upright bass strings
(Germany) has some new upright bass strings just coming out.
A lot of bass players that use both the Flexocor and Original
Flexocors were both excited and maybe a bit uneasy: Yes, we
always like something new and better. No, don't mess with our
Original Flexocors! So while Pirastro still has the Originals
and the regular Flex's, they came out with Flexocor Deluxe.
(They could have called them Flexocor Delights!) Let me first
say though, these are not Jazz strings, but people are
already saying how much they like them on the pizzicato stuff as
well. These new strings are going to be a huge seller for Pirastro.
Everyone so far is loving these strings.
It is difficult to just describe a new bass string without any
perspective or comparison to what was used before. You cannot
just say that "they are really responsive strings" or that they are
"warm" etc...without comparing them to what brands the players used
before (or after) for that matter. So here we go....
I have used several different kinds of brands of strings on my
Italian bass: Flexocor, Belcanto, Original Flexocors and in the past
couple of years, the "new" Passiones. Not new
any more now that the Flexocor Deluxes are the new "new"! (We
do have a sense of humor here!)
You can order these here:
Compared to the other strings that I mention, the Flexocor
Deluxe strings are comparably more responsive than the regular
Flexocors and even the Original Flexocors. I suspect that
lately there is some new kind of element (alloy) that string
companies (primarily Pirastro) has found to be a big asset in making
powerful strings, and at the same time, very responsive ones.
For as long as I can remember, there was too stark (no pun intended)
contrast between strings that were real 'buttery' (ie. worked easily
under the bow) and a really powerful sound that didn't sound harsh
or that was hard to bow. When I say hard to bow, I mean
getting the string to speak at the easiest touch or having a nice
fat spiccato without sounding like a buzz saw. For so many
years, it was virtually impossible to have that smooth buttery sound
and at the same time, power. I wouldn't say that they are
better, because that is a subjective issue and that is totally up to
you, the player.
The Flexocor Deluxes (to my ears) still have the same power and
presence that the regular Flexocor bass strings or the Flex Original
strings, have but are easier to start. Meaning...they speak!
No matter what bass or what strings we are ever reviewing, there is
always that "trade-off" factor: What are we willing to give up
to get more of???? With the new, Flexocor Deluxe bass
strings, I feel that that there is more plus and I cannot hear or
feel anything lost negative in comparison. One of my
colleagues in the Phoenix Symphony just put his new set on.
Before he always used Belcantos. Compared to the Belcantos
(Thomastik), the Deluxes (to me) feel easier to play and speak.
Again, it depends on the bass, the player, the playing etc...
Back to my Italian bass. I used to sit back and
laugh at my cello brethren that would all mix their cello strings
up: a Spirocore C, Evah Pirazzi G, Larsen D and Passione A!
I would always use just one set of strings. All Flexocor or
all Belcanto or whatever. It was definitely economically
related because strings are so expensive that we are afraid to try
new ones or goof around with mixing. If we don't like
them...then what? This is why we have websites like this now
to help players have a fighting chance. (Remember me saying at
the top of this page, "these are not jazz strings"?) Just
trying to help. This has been my (orchestra) set up for the past
2 years: Spirocore medium long E (for C extension), Permanent
A, Passione medium D and G. The low C Spirocore (long E) has
power and on my dark sounding bass and not too bright or scratchy
with the bow. The Permanent is a nice cross bridge between the
soft Passione D and the crispy Spirocore. Again (mantra)....
every bass, every player... is different.
My thoughts about the new Flexocor Deluxe strings on my
- The Deluxes are just as responsive as my Passione D and G
and have more presence. Splitting hairs here really, but the
Passiones might be a tad thinner gauge (maybe) and I feel that
the G and D Passione might be a nano-bit more responsive
(maybe), but the trade off here is that the Deluxes have power,
and virtually the same response. On my bass... I will take
that power. On another bass you might be so frustrated with the
stiff way your G plays that you should take the Passione G and
see if that will give you the response you are after. You can
always take both the G Flexocor Deluxe
the Passione Medium G and see which you like better. They are
the cheapest strings in the set to try this. Life is short
and I have two kids in college so I can we can use the
- Compared to the Belcantos, the Deluxes sound fatter to me.
This is where it gets even harder to describe: I feel that the
Deluxes are more open for spiccato type response and that I can
push them a bit more than the Belcantos. The Belcantos though
have that nice punch at the very beginning. I know, just when
you thought I was going to say that the Deluxes are all around,
better! I think that the new Flexocor Deluxe strings will give
some stiff competition to the Belcantos for sure. Again, this
depends on the bass.
Here's what some other players that have tried them think:
Bruce Bransby (bass professor at Indiana University) likes
them and compares them favorably to what he had on the same bass
before. Bruce wrote:
really like these new Flexocor Deluxe strings. I've been looking for
strings which sound good on my Jakstadt bass, and these really fit
the bill. I literally have been changing strings at least once a
week--first Bel Canto, then Passione Stark, then Permanents. The Bel
Cantos are too dark on my bass without much punch, the Passoine
Stark really get a big sound, but I was getting wolf tones
everywhere. Regular Passiones have too weak a sound, and Permanents
are unbelievably harsh.
These new Flexies have a beautiful tone, clean attacks (better than
Bel Canto), and for the first time I can play across all 4 strings
in Thumb position without the tight, wolfy, tubby sound that all the
other strings had to varying degrees. The bottom end is full, and
the attacks on the A string are far better than the Bel Canto A.
getting used to the E extra long, a nice tone with no harshness. It
could speak faster but I'm getting used to it and like the sound.
Everyone has different tastes, different instruments, and will find
what works best for them, but for me so far this is the prefect set
That's a pretty nice endorsement! By the
way, Bruce put these on his newer Al Jackstadt bass.
Another customer, Jason Heath, (Bassblog) and teacher at
Depaul University in Chicago:
I find Flexocor Deluxes to be an
easy-to-play string that produces a clear and rich sound in all
registers of the instrument. Their slightly lighter gauge is
extremely responsive to the bow while still producing a powerful
sound associated with higher tension strings. They are an excellent
string that builds upon the traditions for which Pirastro is known
while catering to the needs of the modern player.
Again, there is never going to be any absolute when it comes to
having the 'best' bass strings. There are too many variables
involved: the individual requirements from the player, his or her
bass, the styles and forms being played on etc... A long time
ago, a bow dealer told me that "you almost need to find the bow that
corrects or makes better the weakest part of your bass."
Strings can be like this too. What you don't like or want
better in your current bass, there is often some bass string that
will make it better.
The Flexocor Deluxes are no doubt, great strings! No one
that buys these is going to be disappointed. As my friend in
the bass section likes to say, "what's not to like?"