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STRINGS: What Should I Know About Gut Strings?
Recent News and Updates
Gift Ideas for the Bassist in Your Life
Looking to get a holiday gift for the bassist in your life? We've got lots of great (and affordable) stuff to choose from! Under $25 items include our popular clip-on electronic tuner, the clever Turbo-Tune string winder, and our "nation of bass" hot beverage travel mug. We also have videos and book sets, instrument cleaning/polishing kits and more - all under $50! Most items don't require you to know specifics about their bass - most of them are delightfully universal! Click here for our guide for holiday gifts!
Stocking Stuffer - Get a Nifty Case Tag for only $1!
Our super-cool aluminum gig bag tag is really spiffy, and features a pocket where you can write your contact information in case your bag gets misplaced. Attaches securely with a braided steel loop with a screw closure, so it will stay on the bag or case. Features our Gollihur Music script logo in a classy hunter green screen print. Regular price is $5.50, but get one for just $1 with a purchase of $100 or more!

Limit 1 per order.
Traditional NXTs IN STOCK
Get yours now!
This is an amazing value -- for our upright bass-playing friends who want an EUB that can "sub" for the big bass, we've done all the upgrades for you -- and even put a custom "traditional" finish on the bass.

You get all the modern ergonomics and portability of the NS Design Electric Uprights, but with the Traditional string set for a more authentic doublebass sound (and bowability). We've also had NS Design upgrade the tuners to the CR-spec Schallers. And the cool traditional brown finish, over the veneer, looks classy and traditional -- and we even include a set of f-hole decals you can optionally install on the bass.

Available only as a four-string, the bass is the current NXTa "active" model, with the built-in flash-rechargeable buffer circuit.

You can't get this exclusive model anywhere else, folks.

Read more!
Ingles SA-22 stands are IN STOCK AGAIN
We ran out of SA-22 Upright Bass Stands a couple weeks ago, and were told not to expect that new stands would be available until after Christmas. But, lucky us: they arrived early, and we got several pallets full, so they are now BACK IN STOCK and ready for IMMEDIATE SHIPMENT.

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Bass Bomb - Feedback Fighting Resonance Reducer
Bass Bomb - Feedback Fighting Resonance Reducer
Feedback issues? This thing is da bomb. It'll solve ALL of your feedback problems. Okay, maybe not. But it's absolutely adorable, and might help a bit. And it's good for finger warmups, too.
Novelty Street Sign - Doublebass Place
Novelty Street Sign - Doublebass Place
Need some decor for your music room? Our aluminum "Doublebass Place" street sign is full sized (24" x 6") and can be used indoors or out.
Radial Engineering Tonebone AC Driver 1 Channel Preamplifier
Radial Engineering Tonebone AC Driver 1 Channel Preamplifier
Like to 'KISS' (Keep It Simple, Stupid)? This preamp just has the most crucial features in a small, portable box that is quiet, beautifully engineered, and practically bulletproof...
A lot of players love the soft feel and organic sweetness of natural gut strings. If you want the sound of vintage, all-natural bass, or you are a rockabilly player wanting the most authentic sound, you may want to consider trying them. They are easy on the hands and provide “the sound” for bluegrass and old-school jazz, among other styles.

On the downside, gut strings do require a little maintenance; for instance, it is advisable to gently clip any "hairs" (hair-like little strands of gut that develop with play). You may also need to oil them as part of your routine (more on that below). Finally, they’re on the costlier end of the scale, owing to their costs of the raw materials and the time and effort of manufacture.

If you take the plunge, preventing damage before it occurs is really key – gut strings can be especially susceptible to cuts from nuts and bridges with sharp edges or overly deep grooves. Keep in mind that guts are usually larger in diameter than strings of other materials, and you may need to modify those string grooves to prevent the strings from getting caught up in them.

We get regular calls and emails from players asking about whether they should oil their gut strings, and what sort of oil to use. While many players do put various oils on their gut strings to preserve them, you may opt to not bother with the (sometimes messy) process, depending on your circumstances.

If, for instance, your hands perspire a lot when you play, or you play (or live) in a very dry or very humid area, it might be a good idea to consider occasionally oiling your strings to protect them from these extremes. Also, if your fingers are particularly rough, and tear up the strings’ surface easily, a little oil can help create a "skin" of sorts to protect from excessive damage.

What to use? Definitely keep it light; walnut oil, almond oil or “salad oil” are usually good bets. We (and others) also sell a kit that includes a bottle of string oil. Our oil is natural, and animal-based (like the strings themselves), and it works very well.

Use it very sparingly – not a lot is needed. Most players simply put a small amount on a clean, soft cloth and run it up and down the string. Let it sit a bit, then use another clean cloth to wipe off any excess. You’ll want to avoid getting it on the instrument’s finish, and if you bow, you should probably avoid the area where the bow hair contacts the strings – it’ll mess up the “grip” that you’ve worked (and rosined) so hard to achieve. Also, while oiling plain gut strings is easy, the oil may not work as easily on “wrapped” or “wound” gut strings. I suggest trying in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure that it can penetrate between windings (without leaving behind a sticky mess.)

As you can see, there are some minor sacrifices to playing gut strings – namely, cost and maintenance. If you’re not willing to keep an eye on the strings and maintain them when needed, then you are probably better off looking at other string choices, including the many synthetic alternatives to the gut sound (like Innovations, Pirastro Obligatos or Eurosonics, among others). However, with a bit of attentive care, the strings can last a good long time – and for some players, there ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby.




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The Fine Print:

The information contained herein is based on what's in my brain — and/or my observations and opinions from my personal experiences (and those of Bob, before me) — as of this moment today, and is subject to change. I'm sure that a great deal more information and detail could be added — but the intent of these writings is to present easily understood, quick FAQs, to address common questions and improve the reader's general knowledge.

What's written here is by no means any kind of authoritative absolute answer, for I am not the world's greatest authority on bass (not even close), or on much of anything else, for that matter. So, by all means, get a second opinion, and know that all the information provided here is for general informational purposes only. I am not providing professional advice; be aware that, where applicable, any information acted upon is at your own risk.

I simply and sincerely hope the information and opinions here are helpful to you on your quest for knowledge about the bass and related subjects... that's the point!

I welcome email with dissenting and additional viewpoints/information/updates that help improve my personal awareness and these content pages. If you have a question that you think belongs here, please let me know.
Mark

PS: It should go without saying that all of the information here, unless otherwise attributed, was expressly created by us for the benefit of our customers. All graphics, text, data, and other information is copyrighted © 1995-current. You are not permitted to re-use any text, information, or graphical elements on your own website; you may post links to it, or small excerpts, on message boards if properly attributed and linked back to our pages.