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String testing methodology musings

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  • String testing methodology musings

    I want to take a bit more control of which strings I use. I constantly end up with bad matches between strings and basses. I permanently designated my Stingray to be the string testing vehicle. Strings are moderately cheap and it makes a big difference, so I think it's worth it.

    So here's what needs testing, all assuming that you want roundwounds:
    • Which construction (hex or round core, nickel plated steel or stainless steel)?
    • Which gauge?
    • Which manufacturer?

    So here are the circular dependencies:
    • I can't figure out which kind of string (hex or round core, nickel plated steel or stainless steel) I like just with one manufacturer since the same kind of string could come out differently for other manufactuers
    • gauge is intermixed with construction, because:
      • nickel plated steel versus stainless steel windings have magnetic implications, that means the same gauge will have different magnetic induction
      • round core versus hex core changes string tension, so the same gauge will feel different
    • construction is intermixed with manufacturer since some strings are more difficult to make, namely a round core needs higher quality making so that the string doesn't get uneven

    So what to test first? I would be tempted to just go through the 4 base constructions using the DR strings, but that's $80 right poink.

    Or I could go through manufacturers first with medium gauge nickel plated hex core strings.

    I already know that I don't want anything fancy. No long life coating. No taper at the bridge (anybody wants a discounted set of Dean Markley SR2000s?). Prefer no silk anywhere. I guess I'll end up with medium gauge so I probably won't put that test first.

    I have a high preference for manufacturers that clearly label what you get (which wind, what kind of core), so points for DR.

    What do you do about your strings?

  • #2
    Re: String testing methodology musings

    Hmmm I've tried alot of different kinda of string but I'm a D'Addario flat wound strings kinda guy!
    BASSES: Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass/Ric 4003 Bass (Blue)
    Fender 51 P Bass RI/Traveler Bass
    Schecter 5 String (Sunburst)/Gibson SG EBO RI
    Epiphone Rivoli (VC Sunburst)
    Warwick Thumb BO/Kramer DMZ 4000/
    Fender Jazz 72 RI (Sunburst)/Ernie Ball Earthwood ABG
    Fender P Bass (White)/DiPinto Belvedere Deluxe (Black)
    Gibson 09 Thunderbird (Sunburst)
    Fender Jazz Bass 5 string (Sunburst)/Fender HMT bass (Red)
    Gibson EBO


    • #3
      Re: String testing methodology musings

      I'm not sure if having one bass as THE string testing instrument for you is a good idea, mainly because as you stated, there are a lot of variables in that and as many will probably mention, different basses sometimes require different strings to find their unique voice.

      Myself, I'm normally a med-light to light gauge person on my 6 strings, opting to get a heavier C string; the heavier gauge tends to make the C string less trebly and thin sounding, and more cohesive to the entire bass. I also opt for steels because I like the bright and articulate nature of those over nickels. On my 5 and 4 strings, I've been closer to the medium gauge camp for various other reasons. My current strings are as follows.

      Streamer LX 6 - GHS Progressives (nickel/iron alloy), light gauge
      Corvette $$ 6 Fretless - GHS Contact Core Super Steels, light gauge
      Alien 6 Fretless - GHS Contact Core Super Steels, light gauge
      Corvette Std 5 - GHS Progressives, med gauge
      Jack Bruce Sig - GHS Brite Flats (basically ground Progressives), med gauge
      Rockbass Fortress 4 - GHS Boomers, med-light gauge

      And in full disclosure, I not only endorse GHS but also work there as their social media/marketing ninja.
      I write Articles for Seymour Duncan
      I write Articles for Bass Musician Magazine


      • #4
        Re: String testing methodology musings

        I switched from 45-100 nickelwounds to 50-105 flatwounds, both D'Addario and couldn't be happier with the tone or performance.


        • #5
          Re: String testing methodology musings

          what's wrong with Rotosounds ?


          • #6
            Re: String testing methodology musings

            Originally posted by post toastie View Post
            what's wrong with Rotosounds ?
            My testing so far indicates that I am more inclined to use round core bass strings.

            Ordered a couple more sets. Watching out for deals on Amazon pays off, and I wanted to support "local business" aka bassstringsonline who's owner is very helpful on basstalk.