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Need String Advice


actrade

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I've been playing for about 18 months, enjoying myself immensely, but have hesitated to change strings. Actually, I've bought 7 basses in the 18 months and haven't played any single one very much, yet. I guess I've found it easier to change basses than strings :P So, after my severe bout of GAS, I need to find a site that describes the differences in the different types of strings and when to use what with which kind of bass. I don't think my marriage will allow me to buy another bass so I'd better learn something here! I found a link on how to change strings, but don't really know the in's and out's of flatwounds, half rounds, etc. I have played a fretless with smooth strings (flat's, I assume) and really liked the fact that they're easy on the fingers as I play at home quite a bit every day. For reference, I play mostly 4/5 string Fender Jazz basses and 4/5 string G&L basses if that helps. Thanks.
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This is an oft discussed topic, indeed. I have gone through a lot of strings in the few short years I've been playing, and I've always wanted a good source of info, but the best I can ever seem to find are scattered string reviews at various sites such as activebass.com and harmony-central.com and similar sites. My strategy basically became finding a string I was curious about (many times from discussions here) and then looking for reviews on that type of string. Sometimes I found a good review, sometimes not, but I inevitably bought a pack and tried them out. That's really the only way I think one can truly get a feel for strings. Try different brands and types, and if you find one you really like, buy an extra set so you can go back to them if your next set doesn't do it for you. These days I'm keeping it simple and fairly inexpensive and playing D'Addario XL or some variation on my P-Bass and J-Bass. I came full circle, trying different materials, flatwounds, groundwounds, and ended up back at a basic, middle of the road nickel alloy roundwound string. Go figure.
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Experiment. It's the only way. Just take the plunge.

 

I like roto-sound swing bass. I'm not sure any one else here uses themany more. But the suit my style. Four basses all rotos, always roto.

 

Flat wounds. Not my cup of tea but they work for some. Ease on the fingers should't be the issue though. A certain thudddieness or lack of finger noise in the studio maybe. But comfort? Build up your fingers some and play what SOUNDS right to you.

 

D.

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Personally, I like DR (Fat Beams) at the moment, but you'll need to experiment because it's highly dependant on your bass/pickups/electronics/playing-style.

 

Important: Changing strings will usually affect the "setup" of your neck, especially the truss-rod adjustment! You should decide quickly if you want to do that your self (I do!) or pay somebody.

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Hi Actrade,

 

Here is one of the only articles I could find on the different types of strings. I, myself, just learned about the ones called "flat-wounds" and I love them. I've had my bass since Dec 1999 and have only changed the strings twice I think. This is probably not a good thing! :rolleyes:

 

I have pasted the article below: (I tried to link to the URL but couldn't get it to work right :( )

 

We just did a whole thread about flat-wounds, if you can find it.

 

I have now personally used round-wounds and flat-wounds, and at this time, I prefer flat-wounds.

 

Hope this helps! :thu: ... Connie Z

 

This article was found at: www.bassplayer.com.au

 

8/10/01

Choosing strings for your bass can be a hard and involved task.The type of music can impact directly on which guage or make of string. Should i go with this guage,lighter or heavier, roundwound,flatwound, nickel, steel?? There are endless brands and hence choices to be made.

Here is a list designed to aid you as a player decide what strings you might use and to a certain degree, attempt to describe what different strings sound and feel like. (This is to be a guide only,there are no hard and fast rules, opinions of different people may vary).

 

First of all, lets start with Roundwound strings.

Roundwounds are the brightest of all strings.Brands include GHS, Players, Rotosound, Daddario and so on.These strings are favoured by most bassplayers these days, they provide a bright clear sound and can be used in any type of musical situation.They come in two main forms, stainless steel, which are generally a "rougher" feel than nickel or flatwounds and have good amounts of treble through to bass.On the other hand there is nickel, which is smoother to feel than steel and slightly less trebly than steels. Example of these are GHS supersteels, Players steels, versus GHS Boomers, Daddario XL strings. Notable users are John Entwistle,Geddy Lee,Flea,Les Claypool

 

Another type is pressure wound strings.These are less bright than steels or nickels and are made by being wound under pressure by a machine, They feel smoother also.An example is GHS pressurewounds, or Daddario Slowounds.

 

Another type of string is whats called a groundwound or half-round string.These are not quite as bright as steels or nickels.They are ground down to produce a slightly thicker tone with less brllance.An example is GHS Brite Flats.

 

Last but no least is what is called a Flatwound string.These are the least trebly of all the strings.They a smooth surface and produce a lower end respone, or a "thud" almost.Flatwounds tend to have a higher tension per string, so some bass necks will not like too much tension, be careful! An example is Thomastik-Infeld, GHS Precision Flats, Labella Deep Talking Bass. Notable users are James Jamerson, Carol Kaye, Joe Osborn, Steve Harris.

 

Now on to String Guage..

 

String guage, has alot to do with your preferred feel or tuning of the intstrument. Generally the favoured gauge, is from G to E- 45-65-85-105, Lighter would be 40-60-80-100, heavier, 50-70-90-110.For Alot of detuned playing it is better to go for a heavier guage to compensate for loss in string tension. This means the lower you tune the string the floppier the string gets hence the floppier the sound, so by using a higher guage string it compensates for the lower tuning, but at the same time simulating a similar feel if in standard tuning.

 

It must be noted that with every different brand of string, guage, type even the same type as used previously, basses need to be set up and intonated as things change from string to string.

 

Have fun and experiment away!!

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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Mmmm, strings, ok.. my faves are GHS bass boomers in a medium gauge, there round wound, bright as hell, mellow at times, not as easy on your fingers, innexpensive ( about $18 dlls a pack of 4's) and really cool for everything...Versatile...cool :thu:
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Pedulla makes great steel strings. They brought my P-Bass to life, but chewed up the frets pretty badly.

 

The strings are bright and beefy with great midrange pop. If you go to Pedulla.com, you can get them for about $30 a set.

 

But I played rotosounds for years and they were pretty much fine.

When in trouble

Or in doubt

Wave your arms

And run about.

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Strings can be a very personal issue......with many factors coming into play.

 

I've fingered my fair share of basses and strings over the 25+ years of bass playing.....and can say that the even the same set of strings can sound and feel different on each bass.

 

So it's important to find out what string type ( Roundwound , Flatwound , groundwound....etc ) you generally prefer....then try out a few recommended brands on your bass.

 

You may go thru a few sets of strings b4 settling on a string ......but thats definately cheaper than buying new basses.

 

G'luck....

 

PJR

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Just my $0.02. In 26 years I've tried lots of strings and about 10 years ago tried DR's and have stuck with them ever since. I started out with Rotosounds,then GHS Boomers,then Labella Deep Talkin,then DR's. DR has done an excellent job creating a great sounding string and lately producing a variety of different strings. My second favorite is D'Addario XL's which I have on one of my medium scale basses. The reason I like DR's is because they are slightly more flexible in comparable gauges to other strings,have excellent string-to-string balance,and last a little longer than other brands. No,I don't work for them. :D
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Originally posted by PhilMan99:

How's the intonation on flat-wounds these days? I stopped using them in the 70s because it was so bad. I heard it was still quite a problem, but I'd be interested to hear what the flat-wound fans had to say...

The only Flats I've used recently are TI's.

 

My intonation is as good as my ear and fingers are.....not any fault of these strings.

 

PJR

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Hi everyone, I have tried several different brands of strings, Dean Markley,GHS, D'Addario, La Bella. Roundwounds, pressurewounds and Flats. I still keep coming back to Rotosound Swing bass. Not that the others have been "bad", it just seems that evrytime I put them back on after trying out something else I just think "aaahhh, that's the sound I was looking for!"

 

Question to other Rotosound users: what happened to the red silk wrappings? I had a set of R66's put on my new Fender Jazz when I had the bridge changed and there is no silk on the ends. I went back to the GC where I bought them and looked through a couple other packs and none of them had wrappings. I went to the website but couldn't get any info there either. What gives? :confused:

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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I got a set a while(1 - 2 years) ago without the red silk. But It's been there since. I usually buy bulk though so I haven't purchased in a couple months.

 

It would be a bummer if they axed it. Trivial and superficial I know but still... I like it. I'm a proud roto user and like it to show.

 

D.

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Hi, went to a different store today and checked out their Rotos. They had the R66LDs and they had the wrappings! I realize now that Rotosound makes a gazillion versions of the Swingbass string so I'll have to pay closer attention next time! :rolleyes:

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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Wow! I took the plunge and replaced the roundwound strings (don't know which brand) that came with my Jazz bass (the first set I've ever replaced!) with Thomastik-Infeld Flatwounds. OMG! I feel like I'm playing a different instrument! These babies eliminated the squeaks and squeals my roundwounds would produce when sliding and have the best tone on the G/D strings I've ever heard. I'm a big Jamerson fan and found that with these strings, I can emulate the "Motown" sound like never before. Very, very satisfied with these string and would like to thank you all for your help. There aren't too many boards where people are so knowledgeable and kind with their help. I ordered TI Flats for my other 4 basses that I actively play as well. Thanks again.
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Wow! I didn't realize Thomastik-Infeld made strings for electric bass, always thought they were more an upright thing. Might have to give those a try on my P.

 

Personally, I've always really liked Dean Markleys. They seem to last the longest for me (I've done my own little shootouts every once in a while) and have a tone that sits well with my P-bass.

 

This brings me to a question: Anyone here have any string care tips?

 

I've often heard people talk how their strings last them a couple of weeks to a month. Man, I wish!! The longest I've ever had a set last was about six hours of solid playing. This is with wipe-downs at any break or after playing. I generally consider a set dead once that piano ring has left.

 

Is it what you eat? Is it the whole boiling thing? Does it just come down to playing styles (aggro vs soft touch)? What do people do to get the most out of their strings?

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Originally posted by actrade:

In regard to purchasing strings, juststrings.com has about every brand and type I've ever heard of at reasonable prices.

Hi Actrade,

 

So glad you are happy with your flat-wounds! The set I have on my bass right now are D'Addario Chrome Flats, but I do want to try some of the Thomastik next time because so many folks are saying such good things about them. Of course, I usually get at least 8 months of use on my strings.

 

And thanks for the link to juststrings.com. :thu:

 

... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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I just got my other 4 sets of TI Flats in the mail today and can't wait to put some on my two 5 strings! I'll let you know my own personal experience, but from what I've read, Connie, these strings, although pricy, last a long, long time and I can tell you they sound great!
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