Anyone playing half rounds on a music man?
So I have a Classic Music Man that I've dedicated to playing in a certain cover band I'm in. I've always thought I had some decent callouses built up from playing rounds on my P's, but after every band practice, I end up with new blisters on my right hand index and middle fingers. I play fairly aggressively pretty much right over the pickup and I'm wondering if half rounds would be a little easier on my fingers. I like the bright zing of rounds on this bass and I'd like to keep those characteristics as much as possible. Anyone care to chime in?
Here is a picture of the surface of 3 types of strings...
Round Wounds / Pressure Wounds (Ken Smith Compressors shown here) and Half Rounds (Ken Smith Slick Rounds shown here).
At first half rounds can have some liveliness like rounds but that fades fairly quickly. They also smoothen out as you play them more. Pure Nickel half rounds (D'Addario & SIT) can be and do feel smoother sooner but they are also warmer in tone than the Nickel Iron Alloy Half Rounds (Ken Smith Slick Rounds & GHS Brite Flats). La Bella makes Quarter Rounds which are Stainless Steel and don't have as much of the winding shaved off.
Now the pressure wound type strings in the middle are smother, they are brighter than half-rounds, but not as bright as a true round wound. Ken Smith Compressors & GHS Pressure Wounds are Nickel Iron Alloy so they last longer than Nickel Plated Steel and Stainless Steel which is a plus. SIT makes a Nickel Plated Steel compressed winding string like this. ROTOSOUND does as well (theirs is Stainless Steel). This type of string may be the solution for you (easier on the fingers).
Now, what kind of rounds are you playing? There are some round wounds with smaller diameter outer windings like DR rounds, Fodera, Elrick, and the new Hyper Elliptical wound Dean Markley Helix HD strings. Those will help you keep the brightness while having a softer not as coarse surface.
Great advice as usual from Jason. I suffered with what you have now, only in reverse. Years ago I played a very old Aria that had two humbuckers, one near the neck and one near the bridge, almost exactly where your Sting Ray's pickup is located. I played over the bridge pickup and in short order built up some major calluses due to the Rotosounds I was using. I later sold the Aria and began playing a Jazz bass and was surprised at how loose the same strings felt. Then it dawned on me that what I was doing was playing in the middle which gave me less perceived tension. I believe you are experiencing the same thing. Also, I have tried, really I have, to like half or ground wounds, but they are not my cup of tea. Also, since they start out large and then are ground down, their tension is usually more than what I like and their texture gave me blisters worse than any round wound I had ever used. Compression wounds are another story. Right now I'm playing SIT Silencers on my P bass and they are just the ticket! Low tension, great sound! If they other compression wounds are like these, I can see why people on this board really like them!
Currently I'm just using the stock Ernie Ball strings that came on it. I tend to like the high tension near the bridge on the Ray since I have a really heavy hand.
Jason, I would be open to trying pressure wounds, probably from SIT. I just strung up 4 of my Ps with SIT stainless rounds and I love them so far. Thanks for the advice!
SIT is a solid string. They are the only ones that make a Nickel Plated Steel pressure wound so it is unique. You will dig them when you give them a shot!
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