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A Review: D'Addario EXL170BT

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Linnin, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. I find the notion of balanced tension bass strings intriguing, so when I needed a new set of roundwounds for my Fender American Standard Jazz I opted for a set of D'Addario EXL170BT

    They are nickel plated stainless steel roundwounds on a hex core. The winding is uniformly fine and about as smooth as any roundwound gets. This yeilds a reduced amount of string screech.

    Tone: Full & Highly Textured. Nice taut bottom end. No flab here as in many other roundwounds. A tight firm punchy bottom is the hallmark of a good flatwound and unusual to find a nice bottom in a round. Fat meaty midrange with plenty of beef; aggressive low-mid growl with snarling high-mids. A top end that barks and has plenty of bite. No uber-zingy nonsense.

    Overview: Excellent String-To-String Consistency Of: Volume; Tone, And Feel. Balanced Tension has really paid off! They played in quickly and hold their tune well. I've had this set on for a month of daily play and it's still going strong. I positively lothe the sound of a dead round, and ditch the roadkill quickly, so longevity in a roundwound is important.
  2. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I bought a few sets from Bassstringsonline. My son and I have been using them on a few of our basses. I put them on an American Special Precision and on my G&L Tribute JB2 and they really work on those two basses. He uses them on an Ibanez EDB 5 string and they really sound good on that bass. He particularly likes the balanced tension with the B-string. We both noted the strong bottom end compared to the other strings we had used on those basses (mainly DR HiBeams).

    Between these and Dean Markley Helix strings (on my American Std P and my Ibanez 5-string) I am a pretty happy camper string wise.
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  4. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Dec 31, 2011
    I'm assuming you guys got the 145 B string? My son and I have the balanced tension EXL170 sets with a tapered 145 B arriving today and we can't wait to try them out. His are actually going on his 35" scale Spector so it will be a huge step up from the 135 B he has now.
  5. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Yes. It was the 145 B string. Sounds great to me.
  6. I like these well enough to have purchased a new set. The original set will be 90 days old soon. They still sound OK, and are not dead. I loathe the sound of a dead round will not let them go that far. I would still play out with this stringset, but I wouldn't record with it. It's on the cusp.

    Lovely, Lively Strings. Crisp Toneful Soul With A Taut Round Bottom. Beautifully Sexy Strings.
  7. I estimate that I have a good 130 or so playing hours on these strings. The E has had it, the A is on the cusp of death, and both the D & G still have some life left in them. Some bass players will play on dead strings no matter what. I'm not one to do so. Others love only the first 10 hours or so. I like the middle ground after the stringset has played in; holds tune, and the super ringy-zingy; twangy-wangy, clanky-wanky nonsense is gone and the good tone sets in for a spell.
  8. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Just put a set of the mediums [50-67-90-120] on my '66 P. The E is big but so far haven't had an issue w/the nut, which I did not alter. It's a warm sounding instrument on its own, so using these nickels rated bright on the D'Addario spectrum works out nicely. With treble full up, it's not clangy but instead has a nice definition, almost like a good flat-wound. Full bass on the tone knob is big but w/a slight bit of treble it doesn't get muddy. Rich round bass tone across the board and very musical. The 120 is a bit getting used to being a 45-105 player, but time will tell.

    (update after a day of playing) love them! :thumbsup:

    update 2: did a bit of nut filing and bridge adjustment to fine tune set-up after the strings have settled in. Haven't played them in a group setting yet and looking forward to that.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
    Linnin likes this.
  9. joelb79

    joelb79 Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    These are my favorite strings. I keep going back no matter what. i used to use Fender 7250's before they changed the package, but I am smitten by these balanced tension strings. I like the 160BT's and the 170BT's, depends on the bass or the music. Like the OP I get many play hours from them; and they even sound great dead (although I do not generally play dead strings, I "slap the **** out of them" marloweDK style).
    Linnin likes this.
  10. groovyBoom

    groovyBoom Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    Hickory, NC
    I only use the EXL170BT's on my basses-- with and without the tapered .145 (Huge thanks to BassStringsOnline for even stocking this set... so awesome!) for 4/5 strings. Absolutely massive tone with a nice, taut feeling. Without strings like this, I don't think I could get my bass action so low!

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