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Fave Strings for Fretless

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Sundogue, Jan 7, 2014.


  1. Sundogue

    Sundogue Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    So what is everyone's favorite string for fretless? Thus far I've had Circle K's rounds, D'Addario rounds, Sunbeams (rounds), Chromes (flats) and I'm digging the D'Addario rounds so far.

    I'm really looking for a nice roundwound, preferably nickels. I'm not too concerned about fingerboard wear and more concerned about tone. I'm open to groundwounds, but not flats. I dig flats, but not on my fretless.

    So what is everyone using on their fretless basses and why?
     
  2. Marial

    Marial Three Weeks of Freedom Start Right NOW Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Location:
    Emerald City
    Right now light gauge Sadowsky Black Label flats are my favorites. I love them on my Squier VM Jazz fretless. I had stock Pedulla nickle rounds and now Circle K nickle rounds on my Pentabuzz, but I'm still unhappy with the B and E strings, so I'm going to try the Sadowskys on it. DR Legends flats are very similar to the Sadowskys and they're my second choice.
     
  3. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    My fretless string of choice at current is Pressurewounds. Nice warmer tone that has less finger noise but plenty of articulation and clarity. On my fretless Alien 6 (acoustic/electric), they allow a lot more character of the instrument to shine through.
     
  4. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    CO
    You've named the stings that I normally go to: Sunbeams, D'Addario Nickel, or Chromes. I don't much care for the tension of chromes on anything but my fretless for some reason. I also have used Ken Smith burners, very Sunbeam-ish in feel and sound. Sadowsky blue label nickel strings, I've used them on fretless a few times. They have a more tension than the sunbeams, nice feel, and sound great. I would try a set of those if you've not.
     
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  6. kesslari

    kesslari Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Disclosures:
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I like Sunbeams, and I love Smith Compressors. I bought a new pair of each and A/B'd them and both were great, but I liked the Smiths a bit better.
    I don't like the low B, though, so I grab a .130 Sunbeam for that.

    Enjoy the fret-free world, amigo.
     
  7. Sundogue

    Sundogue Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    Anyone try the Ken Smith Slickrounds?

    My favorite roundwound for feel and tone (on fretted anyway)is really the Sunbeams, but I only have an extremely old set and would need to order a new set. But before I do, I just want more feedback from other fretless players that like to use rounds.

    Keep the ideas coming. Thanks.
     
  8. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    LA California
    Disclosures:
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    I have 3 Fretless basses each currently strung with different strings and each have seen multiple types of strings...

    I love the sound of light gauge stainless steel on fretless instruments. Pressurewounds are a great string on fretless as well if you want round wound qualities with less "OMG my fingerboard" worries. Generally I go for lighter tension strings on my fretless instruments for more MUAH and dynamic growl.

    Although my Jaco Relic Jazz Bass lives with RS66LD's and that is all it will ever see...
     
  9. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    I'm using this, as I nearly covered my laptop screen in coffee.
     
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  10. Sundogue

    Sundogue Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, I'm not worried about fingerboard wear at all. It's just Tung Oiled Rosewood, but I still don't care. I seriously doubt it will ever get much more than cosmetic wear and if it's more than that I'll just give the fingerboard a little dressing. ;)

    I dig the roundwound tone on my fretless (which is weird as I almost prefer flats on a fretted). Go figure.

    I want a little less mwah as I get it in spades on ALL strings. Raised my action a tad to minimize it a bit so I can get it only when I want it.
     
  11. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    LA California
    Disclosures:
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
  12. Fit4pain

    Fit4pain Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Location:
    San Antonio Texas
    Sadowsky are by for the best I have ever used
     
  13. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    LA California
    Disclosures:
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Less Muah will come from higher tension / higher gauge strings. Also depends on how you pluck with your right hand and how much left hand pressure... all factors...

    So if I were you Sundogue, I stick with Hex Core NPS Round Wound strings, maybe experiment with different gauges... 50-105 / 45-105 what ever is usually considered "Medium Gauge" by most companies.
     
  14. Sundogue

    Sundogue Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, I agree. I've got the technique down to control mwah and also part of the reson I have the D'Addarios on right now is they are a little higher tension than my other sets.

    I do believe hex core strings are a little stiffer by nature. That mwah sound comes out by extra initial string vibration (i.e.- plucking a little harder, low action, with lighter gauge strings being more apt to vibrate more freely even with a lighter touch, etc.).

    I'm still getting used to fretless and I've always been a bit heavy handed, so it's just a lot practice to control things more...which is fine by me.
     
  15. Sundogue

    Sundogue Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Location:
    Wausau, WI
    After reading another thread (anyone try?...) I think I'm going to see how putting the heavier gauge Chrome flats on just my D and G strings affects what I'm after.

    I've done it before...rounds on the E and A (although this would be on the B, E and A as its a 5 string) and flats on the D and G.

    The reason being is that I'm getting far too much mwah on the D and G and the rounds (all sets I've tried) are just too "zingy" on the D and G strings.

    When the Chromes were on my fretless, I dug the D and G tone. Still pretty bright on those two strings (for flats), but not on the B, E and A. So, as long as the tension isn't too far off, I'm going to give it a try and see how it works for me. It's worked before on fretted.
     
  16. Marial

    Marial Three Weeks of Freedom Start Right NOW Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Location:
    Emerald City
    I've heard of people mixing strings on uprights, but this is actually the first I've seen someone do it on BG. I'd love to hear a sound clip.
     
  17. aproud1

    aproud1 I don't feel tardy? Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Media:
    4
    Location:
    Cincy, OH
    Labella white nylon tapewounds are my go to fretless strings now. They have the perfect feel and sound. Love them on my P5 too. I have played most flats I could find and nothing works better for me.
     
  18. babaseen

    babaseen Don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2001
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I must agree after a very long and expensive search that the Roto SM66 set are the perfect match for my BRavewood Jaco Relic...my search is over thank you SLaPiNFunk! The compromise I found is the lighter gauge improves my playability (provided you focus on a lighter touch) and mwah significantly but this is the important trade off...heavier gauge is more forgiving on my intonation, guess I need to practice more;-)
    Tone differences are minimal. YMMV:meh:
     
  19. bkbirge

    bkbirge

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2000
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I always seem to come back to TI flats, it's like they designed the string just for me. I do sometimes like a round sound on fretless but mostly flats and a good studio eq can get me just about anywhere.

    I've had good results with those DR NEON's on fretless too surprisingly, they don't really last too long but I've recorded with them a few times.

    On upright my favorite sound by far come from guts except I can't bow them so I have to use steels, have some Olive Permanents on right now that are a good compromise and bow very well.
     
  20. Matthew_84

    Matthew_84

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    +1 to Ken Smith Compressors, and their lightest gauge. Fretless bliss
     
  21. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2001
    Location:
    Missoula, MT
    I've used D'Addario Nickelwounds on my 5ths-tuned fretless Jazz for several years and have not been compelled to try anything else.
     

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