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I think I get in the way of myself

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Doodaddy, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Doodaddy


    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    As most anyone, I struggle with my tone. I hate it. I love it. I hate it. I hate it. It changes from nearly every note. I listen to music and find tones I like. I watch Youtube videos and find tones I like. One thing I know I'm hearing is stainless steel strings. I hate stainless steel strings with a passion. The feel....is.....offensive. I hate it. So for the better part of my entire musical venture, I have exclusively used nickel strings. Feel wise, I love it. Tone wise, some days I like it. Some days I don't. I really don't get it to be honest.

    I know the basses influences tone immensely (duh), but I listen to the above video and know I can't seem to nail such a lively sound with the directions I've been taking. That tone in the video is nearly ideal in my head.

    I have really explored in equipment with the exception of stainless steel strings so I'm thinking I may need to suck it up and go that route.

    Where should I start? The vast majority of the steel strings that I've used have been DR and maybe that's why I have such a disgust and bias against SS strings. hrm
  2. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks. Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    The tone in that video is pretty righteous. Realize, though, that it is as much to do with the pickups (Bartolini) as the string. What kind of bass (and pickups) do you use?

    As for strings, the video definitely sounds like SS, but I cant be totally sure. There are other options - Nickel/SS alloys (like Circle K) that have the feel and more open midrange of Nickel, but the high end sheen and snap of SS. Check 'em out, they're worth a look.
  3. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Hmmmm.... and until this sentence, I was going to suggest DRs. They've been the easiest on the fingers of any SS strings I've ever tried.

    I think if you want the SS sound, you're going to have to get used to the feel. I'm lucky, I prefer the nickel tone. But my guess is you would get used to the feel of the steel in a few weeks.
  4. Doodaddy


    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    I do know that there are other influences in tone and even acknowledged that in the OP, but strings are an area that I've explored the least to me so I'm focusing there.

    I use and have used a variety of different instruments, both mine and sampled. Primarily over the more recent years I have used my LeCompte TRX 5 with Nordstrand Fat Stacks. I recently picked up a Marco TFL 5 that I think will be a major role in my options. I've owned and gigged with some instruments that are very praised on this board and I didn't experience any different scenarios in tone with those particular basses.

    Since I have been relatively unhappy with my tone over the course of this, I have to approach it objectively. The main constant from amp to amp to cab to bass to bass was my strings. I have used several different kinds and mostly used Sadowsky Blue Labels and Dunlop Nickels. So I'm looking to try something pretty far from the normal and just see what happens.

    I have tried Circle K strings before and still have a pretty unused balanced set (though they have some age, they've been hanging in a closet). They didn't quite do what I wanted, but I tried them on the LeCompte and I had some string trouble with it in the past. I landed on the Sadowsky Blue Labels on it and they seem to work well for the most part, but I have certainly learned I hate those strings on nearly every other instrument I have.

    I've tried DR Lo Riders, Hi Beams and their Taper Core set...I could not have been more unhappy with those strings.

    I feel like I'm at my wit's end. :(
  5. Sponsored by:

  6. Taken from an article written by the guy in the video. He's a member of this forum also.

    What kind of gear do you use?

    I have been recently using my Dingwall Combustion bass quite extensively – it just feels right for my kind of playing with tight percussive punch and great ability to cut through the mix. I am hoping to have a Z3 model as well sometime in the future.

    I use Taurus Effects (all of them!) and I’ve got a new Taurus amp on the way. I’m really excited about that, these guys make some serious kick-ass gear.

    All my basses are equipped with DR strings, mostly Dragon Skin sets which I found out about at Musikmesse and got hooked. I recently tried Hi-Beams and really loved them as well.

    Besides that, I have a Gibson Tobias 4 string, an Ibanez Grooveline 5 and of course I have my signature “Or Lubianiker Atom Bass” I designed and was built to my specifications by the amazingly talented luthier Benjamin Millar here in Israel. I will prepare a demo for it soon enough.

    On the amps side I have a Hartke VX3500, an EBS Neoline 112 Cab, a Markbass Littlemark tube head, and that’s about it. Which reminds me, I gotta sell some stuff.
  7. G3Mitch


    Feb 8, 2011
    New Zealand
    i love Dean Markley Blue Steels. Tried DR Hi Beams and enjoyed them as well, but the Blue Steels are my string of choice.
  8. Doodaddy


    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    I actually saw that. I know DR is the favorite of this forum by a large margin and have never understood why they don't work for me. I just don't get it.

    What I also don't get is that those are coated strings?! Holy crap no coated string I've ever fiddled with (DR included...Black Beauties EWWWWWW) sounded so...lively. Color me intrigued. I saw him mention the Dragon Skin, but I didn't search them or think about them being different than any other set. I remember thinking that the D'Adarrio EXP set was "not bad", so maybe a coated steel string isn't such a terrible idea. I don't use a pick all that often so I wouldn't think flaking would be too prevalent for me.

    I have tried the Blue Steels for a while on my Yamaha. I found them to be pretty "harsh" and low scooped. They may not have that presence on my other basses as they are a bit more aggressive in the mids so they could possibly balance some.
  9. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    You're just too picky, I consider myself lucky to have a set of strings that aren't completely dead.
  10. Doodaddy


    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    Why consider yourself lucky about something that is entirely in your control?

    The fact that this board, so many brands and variations of every nuance of music exist says that if I'm too picky, so is everyone else in the world. :p

    What I would consider being lucky would be not caring and being happy with nearly anything. Perhaps I am envious of you. ;)
  11. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Leading me to my point. I don't have anything to offer as far as finding your specific sound, except: don't let the pursuit take away from your enjoyment of just plugging in and playing.

    It's really easy to get sucked into the tech part of things, fussing over the endless search for Best Action and Ultimate Tone. It can destroy what music is really all about. Keep it in mind, and make sure you also spend some of your playing time not stressing over it and just - plugging in and playing.
  12. Doodaddy


    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    I do try and keep that in the fore front of my mind, but I've experienced that "magic" before....when you're playing and really into it...loving every note you play because you know it sounds incredible. I play better when I'm in love with the way it sounds so I feel like I am selling myself short if I don't at least put forth effort in finding it. :p
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps
    It ain't the gear.
  14. Won't you go buy yourself a good set of Rotosound Strings? People can say whatever, but there's no other SS string that sounds like 'em. Talk about lively strings.... Zzzzzzing!!!!

  15. Touche, Jimmy. Touche.:D
  16. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    Use loads of compression...
  17. Doodaddy


    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    To some degree the gear has to be questioned regardless of technique. I know a large portion of the tone comes from the fingers, but I have to at least try and find something that works well with my tonally speaking.
  18. klaus486


    Jun 27, 2009
    portland or
    sales geek Portland Music co.
    I too would recommend trying the Rotosound strings. There really isn't anything quite like them.
  19. clejw


    May 28, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Yep, steel's brighter. But strings are only a small part of tone, particularly if you're just comparing nickle to steel roundwounds. Technique and even the thickness of the calouses on your plucking fingers have a lot to do with it as well. And then there's the bass itself, pickups, preamps, eq, eq type, effects, amps, drivers, cabinets, PA, venue, and so forth. Oh, and how the rest of the band sounds too...
  20. I'm sure the excellent bassist in that video could get a similar sound on any active fretted bass with low action and new-ish roundwound strings. Watch the video careful and pay attention to executing similar right- and left-hand technique on your bass. Private lessons with a good teacher who has similar sound to what you're going for will be invaluable. Good luck! :)
  21. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps
    Well no sense picking gear that works against you like a Beatle bass ;) but still, that's a sound that a lot of gear can cop.

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