Tell me your story
How did you find the perfect string for you/your basses? How did you know? how long did it take?
Over a period of years (decades) of playing bass, I finally discovered DR Sunbeams about 10 years ago, and I have lived happily ever after.
Geddy told me.
Then I spent years trying to prove him wrong - especially before the Internet and when most local stores didn't carry Rotosound.
Turns out he was correct.
Any one set seems to fit well on one bass, then sounds terrible on another,
and what sounds great on any one bass may or may NOT sound good on any particular other one.
Gotta try lots of variety 'til you get what you like.
When I find what goes good on one, I leave 'em there for a while
and the rest get rotated 'til the gold is struck.
My basses are substantially different from each other in several ways- woods, pups, pre's, length, etc.
I just use the strings that I got on the bass I bought 10 years ago.
Haven't been bothered to change them yet.
A lot of research on TB and asking questions to Jason at bass strings online.
I like many different strings. TI Powerbass, D'Addario Slowounds (discontinued), Fodera Nickel, Sadowsky Nickel and probably a bunch I've never tried but would like. For flats, right now I have D'Addario Chromes on my Roscoe Beck V and TI Jazz Flats on my LeCompte VB5. I like 'em both, but the TIs are my faves.
Kind of accidentally. When I got my DR endorsement, I decided to get a set of green Neons for fun. Once I put them on The Monster, I FINALLY got the sound that was in my head for the past few years. Been using them exclusively ever since.
Started with Roto steel rounds, then played a bass that belonged to Molly Hatchet's first bass player and it was strung with Dean Markley nickel rounds. He said they were easier on frets and still sounded like rounds, and I agreed. Then I noticed GHS were cheaper so I switched to them for a little while, and was only OK with them, so I tried Ernie Balls. Much better. Meanwhile I'd see D'addarios were cheaper than any of them but resisted because I figured they'd have to suck being cheaper. Decided what they hey and tried them...they were great. Reminded me very much of the Ernie Balls. I'm pretty sure they were the exact same strings, actually. So that was 84 and I've stuck with them ever since, although I do have one bass that has LaBella flats.
Still on my string journey ....
I recently got hung up on ti flat wounds for my jazz bass
I have rounds on my p
I use to only worry about gauge and pick up what ever brand the local retailer had in stock
My life was simpler like that... But after being on TB for a while I figured I should lift my game a bit and learn a bit more about strings.....
There is good and bad in that.... The good is I start to realise my guitars can play and sound differently with different strings....
The downside is there are so many options and now I don't know where I am at and its turning into an expensive exercise trying to work through it...
My sense of it is the ti's are good for finger style but not good for pick
I have recently got my p back after a couple of years apart and I had it set up with rounds...i think there is something that is basically good about a p with rounds...
.. I appreciate lots of TB people have it sorted with flats and good luck to them...
But I have to say that I am starting to question whether flats are a bit over rated...
I don't ever recall being unhappy with rounds and I appreciate that 'vintage' sound that is so often spoken about is all the go for a lot of people
But I also feel there is a lot to be said for contemporary sound....I want to sound the best I can as me I am not into trying to copy someone else so to speak.
In offering these comments I am not seeking to spark a flame session about flats or rounds....
I just think for me that rounds at 45 - 100 always seemed pretty good and that I should just settle back to that on both my J and P...
Took me a couple of years, actually. Both to accept what I liked, and accept that I pretty much like 'em no matter what the bass is that they're on.
Rotosound 66 -> D'Addario XL -> DR Fatbeams -> D'Addario Chromes -> GHS Flats -> Fender 9050 flats -> LaBella Deep Talkin' Flats -> Ernie Ball -> Elixir -> DR Neons -> DR Lo-Rider Nickels -> DR Sunbeams -> Fender 7150 -> GHS Boomers -> TI Flats -> Fender Tapewounds -> SIT Power Wounds -> GHS Progressives -> D'Addario Prosteels -> Dean Markley Nickels -> D'Addario XL -> Dean Markley Blue Steels -> Dean Markley SR2000 -> S.I.T. Conklin Snakeskins.
... all of the above in a whole mess of gauges.
... I can offer an opinion on entirely too many kinds of strings.
Spend too long on TB, and you'll convince yourself that you have to play some kind of flat, and/or that if DR's aren't working for you you're crazy. At least, I did. Tried waaaaay too much stuff and spent entirely too much money on strings only to end up pretty much where I started: rounds, either nickel if I want to be subdued or stainless steel when I'm looking for grind.
D'Addario XL, standard top/medium bottom (i.e., 0.45-0.105 or 0.135) work whenever I want nickels.
Dean Markley SR2000, custom light (balanced tension, 0.135 for the B and everything relative to that) for steels.
Currently trying some S.I.T. Conklin customs (stainless steel, exposed core) - the tensioning is all messed up, but the strings sound good. I'd use 'em if I could find a way to order singles for not-insane prices (the Conklin website is charging $9 for a 0.020w?!).
It took many years of playing for me to "discover" D'Addario Pro Steels. I've been playing them exclusively now for over 10 years, on my fretted and fretless basses.
For me, it's kinda like El Dorado, I think it doesn't exist but I have been trying to find it. I started in the mid '70's with the stock Fender flats but switched to Rotosound 66's around 77-78 when I heard a local guy using them. I used them when I could find them and when I couldn't, I used Dean Markley rounds that had brown silks and sounded great and some of the early Peavey rounds that I believe were made by GHS and sounded satisfactory. in the late 90's, i switched to nickel rounds and have used D'Addario Xl's, Ernie Ball Slinkies and Dean Markley Nickelsteels but, and I have no reason why, have never tried GHS Boomers and find them all very similar. I have also tried SIT Silencers and am currently trying Chromes on my p bass. Honestly, the Dean Markley's, both the older rounds (ANY IDEA AS TO WHAT THEY WERE CALLED?) and the Nickelsteels were my favorites but not really enough to justify their higher price. Right now, I'm using Xl's in the lighest gauge possible and am very happy.... for the time being!
Back in the day, they were the only strings I knew.
Problem was back then, Rotos would sometimes get scarce at the stores around me. I believe I overheard the owner of one of the stores saying they got an allotment of Rotos and apparently they went fast. In fact, it was this same guy who recommended the Dean Markleys to me. I honestly liked the Markleys better but was a true Roto convert at that time, in other words, I was told they were the best so they had to be, right?? Wrong in so many ways... Not saying they're bad strings, just not for me anymore although I would be open to the nickel versions.
I remember buying rotos at the local music store in the 80's and paying more than $40 for a 4 string set...that was pretty tough for my teenage self :). Ah, the days before the net...
Every bass sounds different with different strings so its a process of trying out different kinds until the moment of bliss happens.
Many of times i had a bass sound fantastic with certain strings only to use the same strings on a different one and was dissapointed.
Its brutal but part of the process.
I have a made from parts p bass right now in search of its perfect string and i havent found it yet. Tried 4 different brands but still searching.
I discovered that I preferred the right hand feel of nickel wound strings better than stainless, and that I preferred higher tension strings to lower tension. The midrange growl sealed the deal.
I've been using DR Lo Riders nickel wound for years now.
Started with everything budget (warwick red label) and got my first Rotosound 66 for christmas when I was 13. I stucked with them for long time until I joined the first band that gigged and practiced regulary and my strings died on me too fast - as a student with no money I went back to Warwick red labels and used them far too long!
3 Years ago I went back to RS66s, had a fine affaire with Daddario chromes, liked them but could not fit them into the band sound, tried Daddario half wounds, hated them... Went back to Rotosound Preassurewounds (Solo 55s) and stayed happily ever after with them!
I would like to check out their 77s flats some time - I like Steve Harris' sound (I know he changes strings every day, so his sound is not particullary representive for RS77s when broken in... But still ;-) )
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