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Thread: Bass strings

  1. #1
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Bass strings

    Everybody knows brand/type of string makes a difference. I'd estimate it's at least 750% more impactful on an electric bass than a guitar.

    Put Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky 45-105 on my Yamaha, and Dunlop Super Bright Nickel 45-105 on the P-bass. The EBs sound great, good tension, and have a nice punchy tone. When I play "Schism" by Tool, it's obvious EB strings are a big part of Justin Chancellor's tone.

    The Dunlops aren't lying about being Super Bright. Ease up, and they've very clear sounding. Hit them hard, and it almost has a synthy quality. Much lighter tension than the Ernie Balls, or the SITs I typically use. My P-bass has a .047uf cap on a 500k pot, and rolled back it has a very Geezer Butler, gnarly tone.

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    Super Simonologist JOLLY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    I use the Dunlop Super Bright Stainless Steels on my Spector. I tried probably 10 different types/brands of strings on that bass. and I kept going back to them.

  3. #3
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    I recently put SIT Foundations nickel on my Warwick. They’re my new favorite.

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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Strings make a ridiculous difference on bass. I've got a maple neck/maple body J-bass that's a little bright . . . but manageable with nickle roundwounds. You roll a little tone off and a little more neck than bridge, and it sounds great. Picked up a set of stainless steel roundwounds to try instead. Huge mistake on this guitar. Went from being a little bright to painfully zingy and all over horrible - no matter what settings I put the amp and guitar at.
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    Sock Supplier to RHCP Beer$'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I use the Dunlop Super Bright Stainless Steels on my Spector. I tried probably 10 different types/brands of strings on that bass. and I kept going back to them.
    I’m curious about trying these. I really like a bright attack, do the Super Brights have the same fullness and growl and the DR Hi-beams? (My favourite at the moment because they’re bright, keep their tone but are also full and growl.)
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    Super Simonologist JOLLY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Beer$ View Post
    I’m curious about trying these. I really like a bright attack, do the Super Brights have the same fullness and growl and the DR Hi-beams? (My favourite at the moment because they’re bright, keep their tone but are also full and growl.)
    I would say they're somewhat comparable with each other.

  7. #7
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Stainless steel D'Addarios for me.

  8. #8
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Quote Originally Posted by JB_From_Hell View Post
    I recently put SIT Foundations nickel on my Warwick. They’re my new favorite.
    After a few swaps on my Warwick, I’m back to the Foundations. Effing love them.

  9. #9
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Been on a string binge lately. After getting used to my Warwick, my fretted basses always sound clanky, so these are all based on fretless experience.

    In the last few months, my Warwick has worn D'Addario Half-Rounds, Chromes, and NYXLs, SIT Foundations, Silencers, and Power Wounds, GHS Boomers, and Dunlop Super Brights. All sets were either 45-100 or 45-105.

    I'm glad I tried a set of flats (Chromes), but they're not for me. They're comfortable for my left (fretting) hand, but they feel gross on my right hand. I put them on my fretted P bass after the Warwick, didn't like them there, either.

    I used to be a huge fan of half-round strings, specifically SIT Silencers. They feel much better than the D'Addario Half-Rounds, which felt like playing on sandpaper. They sound ok, but didn't spend much time on the bass.

    My preference is clearly bright, ultra flexible strings. NYXL, Super Brights, or Foundations are all great, and I think I could use any of them and be pretty happy. I'm currently using the NYXLs, which have a little more tension than the Super Brights, but are very easy to play. The added tension gives a little cleaner sound with my sub-2mm on the low E action*.


    * Before anybody mentions that this is too low, it's not. Setup this way, this is the most expressive instrument I've ever played, and is the only electric anything I've owned that I love with a 100% squeaky clean tone. No drive, no 'verb, no nothin.

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    Our Neighbor Totoro FuseG4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    I tried d'addario chromes on a squier PJ and they still seem kinda bright to me, was thinking the change from the fender rounds would be greater. They seem kinda versatile but I want to try flats with a bit deeper old school sound, I like the feel.

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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Quote Originally Posted by JB_From_Hell View Post
    I used to be a huge fan of half-round strings, specifically SIT Silencers. They feel much better than the D'Addario Half-Rounds, which felt like playing on sandpaper. They sound ok, but didn't spend much time on the bass.
    I'm intrigued by the concept of the "half-rounds", and I'd also like to try some SIT's. What caused you to take them off so fast? This would be for my Tobias J.

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    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Well . . . I need to try some new things, and my J desperately needs new strings. So I went ahead and pulled the trigger on these:

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    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Got to get a new set for my 5 string Jackson. Going on 3-1/2 years old. Went with EB Cobalts last time. Thinking of something by Dunlop, or maybe Rotosound. I want bright, if anyone has any recommendations.

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    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    I'm intrigued by the concept of the "half-rounds", and I'd also like to try some SIT's. What caused you to take them off so fast? This would be for my Tobias J.
    I went on a string binge and have a bunch of gently-used sets on hand. Unlike guitar strings, you can take them on and off a bunch of times without breaking, so I tend to swap them around frequently.

    The Silencers are cool. You’ll probably be a little underwhelmed by how not flat they are at first, but the left hand noise is definitely less. Also, I like them way better than the D’Addario Half-Rounds. Much more pleasant texture. When I get a chance, I’ll pack up the Half-Rounds and send them your way if you’d like to try them.

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    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Demanic View Post
    Got to get a new set for my 5 string Jackson. Going on 3-1/2 years old. Went with EB Cobalts last time. Thinking of something by Dunlop, or maybe Rotosound. I want bright, if anyone has any recommendations.
    Dunlop Super Bright or SIT Foundations. Really can’t recommend the Foundations strongly enough.

  16. #16
    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Yes, strings make a huge difference.

    But they also make a huge difference on guitars. I don’t believe that they make any more difference on bass.

    If people really explored strings and setup in depth, learned how to e.q. things well, and used outboard e.q. units more, I think there’d be much lower demand for aftermarket pickups. Not zero, but a lot less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

  17. #17
    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    FWIW, I use LaBella Deep Talkin’ .052–.110” flats as my go-to set. Flats have always been what I’ve played on, since I started playing in the ‘80s as a kid. Only now am I starting to keep a few basses strung up with different varieties of rounds.

    Chromes are atypical sounding flats. They are pretty much designed for people who like the feel of flats, but not the tone of flats.

    I have D-Addario half rounds on one shorty that takes short scale strings, and one shorty that requires medium scale strings. I wanted half rounds on these basses, and there isn’t a whole lot out there in the short and medium scales. I wish the strings were fatter (I find .100s to feel overly thin under my fingers). But the feel and tone are fine to me. I wanted a bit more tooth under my fingers on these basses, but not to the level of roundwounds.

    One of my Mustangs has LaBella Beatle Bass medium scale rounds. I was coming from the disgustingly floppy/flimsy .040–.095” stock strings. I wanted something that was one notch heavier on the low strings, but two notches heavier on the high strings...plus being available in medium scale. These LaBellas fit the bill at .050–.100”. Very nice set of strings, but IIRC, they are only made in a 34” wound string length (i.e. they are too short for regular scale basses). They have a roundwound tone and feel, but not to the extreme.

    Another Mustang wears LaBella D-Tunas. These are .111” rounds designed for drop tuning on regular scale basses. But I use them in regular tuning on a shorty, in order to get thick rounds. They sound and feel incredible. All the cool stuff about rounds, but without the skinniness and lower tension that most roundwound sets have.

    Rotosound 66s are the classic industry standard rounds, just like LaBella Deep Talkin’s are the same in the flatwound realm.

    One of my builds will be getting balanced tension D’Addarios, which use a .120” E string. Can’t wait to try those.

    Rotosound 88s if you want fat, smooth strings with the closest you’ll get to an upright tone (one of my Ps wears these).
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

  18. #18
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    I'm intrigued by the concept of the "half-rounds", and I'd also like to try some SIT's. What caused you to take them off so fast? This would be for my Tobias J.
    Just realized I'm not sure which strings you're asking why I took off so quickly. Here's brief summary of the ones I've tried so far. All are 45-100 or 45-105.

    SIT Power Wound nickel - All around awesome string. Great life, retains the brightness for a long time through considerable abuse. I've been through several sets of these over the years. Prior to trying the Foundations, if I had to stick with a single type of string, this would be it.

    SIT Silencers - Darker than the Power Wound but still very clear and present. They mellow a little quicker, but don't continue to darken over a long period. If a half/ground-wound was what I had to use, I'd be perfectly happy with these, but I overall prefer rounds.

    SIT Rock Brights nickel - It's been a long time since I used these, but I remember loving them. SIT's thing seems to be a clear, full tone. I need to try another set.

    SIT Foundations nickel - Put these back on my Warwick last night, and they're my overall favorite string. They have low tension, but not sloppy. As you can see, I really get along with most of SITs offerings, but these are a notch above.

    Dunlop Super Bright nickel - Similar to the Foundations, but lower tension. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews, but I like them. I could use these full time and be very happy with them, and they're pretty cheap.

    Ernie Ball Slinky - I've only tried these on my Yamaha PJ, but they sound great on that bass. Good all around tension, not tight, not loose. When I listen to any of the Tool songs with big clean bass parts, a big part of that sound is Ernie Ball strings.

    D'Addario Chromes - Lots of people really love these. I don't hate the sound, but flats feel absolutely disgusting to me. I could get used to the left hand feel, but plucking them is just gross.

    D'Addario Half-Rounds - These feel worse than the flats. They feel extremely abrasive on both hands, but they sound good.

    D'Addario NYXL - Another awesome string. They growl a little less than the Foundations, but I could be perfectly happy using them as well. Higher tension than the Super Brights or the Foundations, but still very comfortable.

    Rotosound Flats - I don't remember which ones, but I put a set on a buddy's fretless 5 string awhile back. We both believed the common misconception that you must use flats on a fretless, so that's what he bought. All I remember is thinking they felt gross and sticky.

  19. #19
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtieToo View Post
    . . . and my J desperately needs new strings.
    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaBass View Post
    FWIW, I use LaBella Deep Talkin’ .052–.110” flats as my go-to set.
    As I was just saying in a PM, I forgot that I just recently put those strings on the Toby. Maybe, a year ago, but hardly played. They're La Bella Gold Flats 45 - 105's. But the gold color, combined with the fact that the J sounds "flat" when compared to the Fender P, with QP's and DR Pure Blues, made me think the strings were old. I wonder if the Haz Lab-clone preamp is the weak point?

    Found the thread. It was in mid 2018. Funny how one's opinion can change when they have something else to compare too. I'll have to see if I can EQ these back into life.

    https://forum.seymourduncan.com/show...ome-La-Bella-s
    Last edited by ArtieToo; 03-01-2020 at 01:52 PM.

  20. #20
    Chris JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bass strings

    Try the boiling trick I mentioned. It’ll get any residual funk off of them. However, lots of flats players dig the funk buildup.

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