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Bass strings...brand, guage...and why?


mixyzptlk

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Any string made of stainless steel with the gauges as follows is fine by me:

 

105-85-65-50

 

I prefer brands without silk windings on the ends so I can boil 'em as many times as I want without silk threads getting everywhere.

 

Find a gauge that's comfortable and think about strings less. Concentrate on practicing.

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Does boiling really give them that 'new' character? I can see where it might removee the oils and dirt, but it cannot stop the oxidation process.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Thanks for the reply. What's up with the boiling? Does it make them sound new? almost new?

 

Originally posted by BenLoy:

[QB]

 

105-85-65-50

 

I prefer brands without silk windings on the ends so I can boil 'em as many times as I want without silk threads getting everywhere.

QB]

Fah-Q.
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Do a search on "boiling". You'll discover thousands upon thousands upon thousands of posts which all point to the same answer: They remove the dirt and oil that makes a string go dead.

 

After metal fatigue sets in, though, they'll break.

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I am quite sold on the entire line of Thomastik-Infeld strings (and, in fact, am a TI endorsee).

 

Yet recently I discovered, much to my dismay, that I am allergic to nickel (TI uses PURE nickel in their windings), which produced some rather scary moments for me. Nonetheless, I have found TI's, the flats, Jazz Rounds and Powerbass to have excpetional tonal characteristics, string to string balance, and, best of all, the last and last (in fact they get better the longer you have them on)

 

I tend to like light gauges and light tension as I do quite a bit of chordal playing.

 

My main basses are my Godin A4 fretted and A5 fretless which are both piezo-driven semi-acoustics. I string them with TI Acoustic Bass strings (bronze alloy windings on nylon cores) and have some incredible tonal flexibility. The light gauge and tension causes some players some grief; it does take some getting used to, and a very light touch, but the rewards are incredible. They are very responsive to playing nuances, and altering your hand positions provides a great deal of tone options.

 

I have pretty much, for the time being anyway, stopped using metal strings completely, and have with these a wide range of tones available at my fingertips.

 

Max

...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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I just picked up the DR Fat Beams, also known as Marcus Miller's set. They're great. Last reasonably long and are tough. I play really heavy handed and I tend to break strings a lot and these have been on for a month and I haven't broken one yet.

 

I like the bigger gauges because they hold up to my style better. The gauges I prefer are .105, .085, .065, .055.

 

I used to hate the brightness of stainless steel strings and used to use nickle strings exclusively. Now I use stainless almost exclusively.

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Originally posted by BenLoy:

Do a search on "boiling". You'll discover thousands upon thousands upon thousands of posts which all point to the same answer: They remove the dirt and oil that makes a string go dead.

 

After metal fatigue sets in, though, they'll break.

So, you're saying that there are a few posts on the topic? :D

 

I use Elixer Nanoweb strings on all my basses now. The wacky coating makes them sound all fresh and new for a very long time. I can usually get a few months out of a set of Elixers, uncoated strings get annihilated in a few weeks.

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I've been using DR Marcus Miller Fat Beams (45-125) until recently. They are great strings, good intonation, nice punchy tone. They last quite well, but they get really crappy when they get old.

 

I have just bought a set of Thmoastik Infeld. They feel great under the fingers, the string tension is alot lower than the DRs and I'm finding that this takes a bit of getting used to. They sounded great when they first went on, but they have lost their zing very very quickly. Also the intonation seems a little wobbley. They have settled into a nice mellow sound with good bottom end. I am not sure that I will buy them again. They are even more expensive than the DRs and they don't make the sound I want for very long. I may well buy a set to stick on a different bass, maybe a P if I get one or my J once the new pick-ups go into it.

 

Of these two I will be buying DRs more regularly for my main bass, however both sets are a second choice behind Dean Markley Blue Steels. Unfortunately I can't buy these in the UK, because the distributor doesn't import 5 string sets into this country. Dean Markley said that they would sell me some in bulk, direct, but when I got back to them to see if the offer was still available, they stopped replying to my emails.

 

I have only ever had one set of Blue Steels, but for me and for my main bass, they had all the good points of the DRs and the Thomastik Infelds and they lasted forever and ever. Great product, but I can't buy them anywhere and their customer service ain't exactly crash hot either.

 

String choice, for me, comes down to a balancing act between a number of different factors. Obviously sound, but also tension, longevity and the feel under your fingers play a big role in my choices. What I am discovering is that different strings will suit different instruments so do not assume that the same brand and model will be best for all your instruments.

 

With regards gauges, I won't use anything lighter than a 40 gauge G string. Anything lighter and I can't get enough body plus I'm petrified of breaking them if I dig in.

 

The one hard and fast piece of advice I would give you is...don't buy Elites or Rotosounds (the Rotosound flats are great, but their roundwounds suck) because, well, you'd getter a better tone using clutch cable (in my opinion). The Elites go ping and have no life to them and the Rotos go clang and do very little else.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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I've grown VERY fond of the DR High-beam, 130/105/85/65/45 set, with the tapered-B string to accommodate my finicky Warwick's bridge.

 

I didn't like the stainless steel at first either, but now I love the sound AND the gritty feel.

 

I was really digging those stock Warwick Black Label strings, but I can't find them anywhere in the area! They were the closest to the DR's I found.

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Originally posted by getz76:

I was really digging those stock Warwick Black Label strings, but I can't find them anywhere in the area! They were the closest to the DR's I found.

Ebay ......some guy/store sells 'em regularly.

 

<<<...lookin for the link >>>

 

Goes by the Ebay handle of 'Slashmanmusic'

He doesn't have any up for auction presently....but I see them pop up every so often.

 

PJR

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I prefer LaBella Hard Rockin' Steels 45-65-85-105 because that's the gauges I'm used too. I love the sound of them, nice and bright, can slap, play rock, and they're hell on frets and fingers but I'm not complaining.

 

For flats, I'm still looking for something I love.

\m/ Timothy Lyons
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Originally posted by Peter J Romano:

Originally posted by getz76:

I was really digging those stock Warwick Black Label strings, but I can't find them anywhere in the area! They were the closest to the DR's I found.

Ebay ......some guy/store sells 'em regularly.

 

<<<...lookin for the link >>>

 

Goes by the Ebay handle of 'Slashmanmusic'

He doesn't have any up for auction presently....but I see them pop up every so often.

 

PJR

PJR, thanks for the heads up! Much appreciated. I might give them another shot, see if they really do hold up to the DR's.
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Another vote for Elixir Nanowebs.

 

I use Extra Long Scale Mediums (.045 - .130 Taper Wound on my 5-string, .032 - .130TW w/ 6-strings).

 

The coating on the strings preventing dirt and oils getting into the string makes up for the added price of the set. Also Elixir's customer service has left a positive impact on me, so it's another reason for sticking with 'em.

 

-Pernax

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Jazz Bass: Slinkies. (Others are good too, e.g. D'Addarios, but the Slinkies are a great value, imo.) Gimme nickel.

Ric 4003: Smith steel rounds, light or medium. Must be steel!

MM Sterling fretless: still trying to find it. Currently using Smith compressors, & I'm getting used to them. Nickel here, too.

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Rotosound Swing Bass 45-105. I have tried many different strings and several have been good but when I go back to the Rotos it's like "aaahhh that's it". However, I have been interested to try both TI's and DR's.I have never played coated strings before and the price of Elixers make me hesitant, but maybe I will some day.

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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Brand: DR High Beams

Guage: Medium (45-105)

Bass: Tobias Dlx 4

Why: 'Cause I boiled these & my Fodera's, and after putting the Fodera's back on I popped one of them. That was a 44-106 Stainless set, and will be replaced. The DR's are good too.

- Matt W.
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I recently bought a set of "Black Diamond" strings and they are the best strings Ive ever played! They look very cool too (The strings are black instead of the normal metal color) and they sound amazing.

Im just a dreamer

 

Dreaming my life away

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I use 45's

 

Many years ago (30?) it was RotoSound...

 

Graduated to GHS Bass Boomers...

 

A few years later, graduated to Blue Steel (Chuck Rainey was an endorser...I'm sure he got 'em by the case, but he let me have 'em for $12 a set.)

 

A few years later, graduated to DR Hi-Beams. I must say, I was first swayed there by Bakithi Kumalo's endorsing of these.

 

But I found a nice bright tone that lasted forever. I now generally keep a set of DR's for 6 months. I don't boil 'em...by the time I've used them they have nice flat spots from fret wear, and wouldn't sound good.

 

But...I never throw them away. I must have 100 sets of used strings!

 

Anybody else saved used? Dig this: I've never broken a bass string, yet I save used strings just in case I break one. I also don't take used strings on a gig, but generally have a new set in the bag. About all I've ever done with used strings is give them to a student who comes in missing a string, with 3 other strings so rusty they tear your pads.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Yes Dave, When I was a young and aspiring rock star(read:starving musician) I would save the old set when I re-strung and keep them in my case.That way I always had a spare just in case.Fortunately,I never had a string break at a gig. But I did use some to reconnect a muffler to our "touring van" one one dark and stormy night in Middle of Nowhere, Texas.So now I do keep a used set in my gig bag even though I carry an extra new set in my case,cause you just never know.

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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Originally posted by Peter J Romano:

Another TI user.....

 

I use TI Powerbass for rounds....and TI Flats on my Fretless and P bass.

 

PJR

Same for me-- Powerbass 47 to 107 set on the fretted, TI Jazz Flats on the fretless. I like the higher tension and taut sound of the Powerbasses, and the suppleness of the Flats.

 

Bruiser

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D'addario xl nickel round wound, super soft gauge, long scale .095 .075 .060 and .040, nicest strings i've ever played, they do snap quickly though.
"i must've wrote 30 songs the first weekend i met my true love ... then she died and i got stuck with this b****" - Father of the Pride
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I like Peavy Cirrus nickel plated strings. I go with the 4 string set .50-.105 then i get a RotoSound .135 for my B string. Dose anyone know of any other string companies that makes a 5 string set .50-.135 that is not stainless steel?
I didn't come here to play. I came here to make babies.
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Right now I'm using D'addario and I'm not happy. My E-string sounds like it's got flanger (or something) all the time, and they went dead pretty quick. I don't think I've used the same brand of strings twice in a row. I've used DR highbeams, Ernie Ball (the green package, whatever that one is) and D'addario. I was very happy with my first set of D'addario, I think I just got a bad set. Anyhow, they are 45, 60, 80, 100 and 130. I want to get 40, 60, etc etc. but that will come later when I break these or the die. I've kept all my old sets too, they are in a row on my wall in my room, I nailed them up!

www.geocities.com/nk_bass/enter.html

 

Still working on it...

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Yes Dave, I also save used strings, unless they are "all dead." That's why I still have the DR's that are currently on. But they are my last set of usable recycled strings, except for a set of D'Addario half-flats that are waiting for a P-bass or a fretless... they have less than an hour on them.

 

On the other hand, I have only changed a few times, so I don't have enough inventory to go into the jewelry or muffler repair business.

- Matt W.
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