I can't get no satisfaction...
My strings change faster than fads.
I started with rounds. Wanted a meatier sound, so I gauged up. Then I started to resent the overtones, so I moved to flats (GHS Precision). Found that sound a little too dark but loved the feel, so I tried the ever-popular D'Addario Chromes. Tried so hard to love them. It just... it felt like plucking cables. Now I'm at GHS Pressurewounds, which I actually enjoy the feel of quite a lot. But I'm realizing I constantly play with my tone rolled all the way off. My ear is craving that warm low-end.
Is there a happy medium? Feel seems to be the make-or-break factor for me, but the sound is what keeps me searching the horizon for my next set of strings.
Pressure wounds/ half rounds are the next step before flats tone wise. I've tried a lot, and I feel get a much "Smoother" sound out of steel strings than I did with Flats. Technique and EQ will take you a long way with that. I recently tried GHS pressure wounds, and I wanted to like them, The feel is pretty slick and the shiny strings with Black silk looks nice on a Black Sterling. But I hated them. Seemed the only sounds I got were either Thumpy and clanky, or Thumpy and muddy with the pressure wounds.
Also, your solo tone doesn't always sound the same at higher volumes and/ or with a band. gear is a factor as well, No strings are going to have a good amount of clean Bass through a 15 watt sealed practice amp's cheap 8 inch speaker.
I think your title says it all. Youre doomed to continuosly switch out strings, seeking something different! You wont be happy with a string that is "middle of the road", which to me just means it doesnt do anything well. And youll never find a string that truly does it all...it doesnt exist. Hey, its an ok affliction to have! Youll at least get to try out a truckload of strings so youll be able to identify what you like and dislike about each! Its a journey, not a destination!
You're a wonderful consumer.
String companies love you.
Good luck with the eternal search.
Try D'Addario Half Rounds.
Honourable mention: GHS Brite Flats.
Applause for each of the three posts directly above. There is no perfect string even those that are perfect for me aren't for others as poster #2 says he doesn't care for Pressure Wounds yet I think they're one of the best I've ever played. Good hunting!
I followed pretty much the same path. Im not 100% set, but one thing I learned is that it's ok to use the tone knob. Rounds with the tone all the way down is a good tone in it's own right. Do I like it as much as a good set of flats with the tone open? No, but it gets the job done and I still have the whole spectrum to go after that,
I've pretty much decided on going with rounds on my main bass (warm nickels), and flats for my backup bass.
I'd like to try pressure wounds again. I tried them when I was much more on the flats mindset so I didn't like them that much, but I might more now that I'm more used to rounds.
Also, a good tip is to try used strings in the classifieds.
Fender 9050CL 45-60-80-105 flats. They do exactly what you describe you want strings to do, and they are reasonably inexpensive. They growl when you want them to, mellow when you want them to, and retain character with the tone knob rolled off instead of descending into indefinite thunk. Flexible. Consistent tone string-to-string and up the neck.
These are the strings that converted me from a rounds to a flats player after 35+ years.
Sounds like the path I've been traveling this year. Picked up a P-bass to complement my J, and have tried out many different types of string on both. I finally got the P down to 3 possibilities--heavy gauge D'Addario XL rounds, D'Addario nylon tapewounds, or LaBella 760FL flats. Also got the Jazz down to either medium GHS Boomers or light gauge Chromes.
And to think that at this time a year ago, I was content with only a J-bass and the light gauge D'Addario XL rounds it was sporting at the time!
Just try a set if TI-JF344 flats and be done.
Ya, there exspensive, but they last forever.
Great feel, and they keep sounding better as the get older.
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