Put Tapewounds on my Breedlove Fretless

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bswag, Jan 15, 2014.


  1. bswag

    bswag Not a Real Bass Player Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2013
    :cool: Hello Pipples,

    Since my queries thus far had yielded no solid information, I decided to be the space monkey and try some D'Addario Nylon Tapewounds (ETB92) on my Breedlove Atlas Fretless ABG.
    Taking a hint from many of you TB'ers, I called up Jason at BSO- can't beat the price + TB discount! Strings arrived today.
    Doing an eyeball check, and not having changed strings on this critter yet, I elected to remove the silks at the ball ends; I used a dental pick to pry up threads till I could grab enough of 'em w/fingernail to unravel (w/out pulling up the nylon wrap). Wasn't that difficult.
    Since the silks on the other end fit through the bridge holes, I guess next time I'll try installing 'em w/the silks on the ball ends too. I haven't had any troubles at the nut, either; despite the .005 difference in diameter. And despite the 44.64 lbs. difference in overall tension, the truss rod hasn't needed tweaking yet. [The OE strings- D'A EXPPBB170 coated phosphors- have a total tension of 190.8 lbs, acc'd. to the package; the tapewounds have a tt of 146.16 lbs.]
    The tapes are also closer to "balanced;" the tightest string is the G, at 40.04 lbs., the loosest is the E, at 31.90. This as compared to the 170's, where it's the D at 55.7 vs. the E at 40.2. Yeah!
    And- they sound great on this bass! With zero finger noise, and less wear on my fingers. Very nice. Hell, they look good too. :bassist:
    Now to see how long these suckers last! Cause you can bet I'll be playing it bunches.
  2. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

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    Lincoln, NE
    Had a set of D'Addario tapes on one bass. They sounded good but the "E and A" both unwound.

    Had much better luck with the GHS and LaBella tapes. Both sound good, play well and last forever. On a long scale I heartily recommend the GHS 3060s.
  3. bswag

    bswag Not a Real Bass Player Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2013
    Ya well, we'll see how mine last... I'll probably try LaBella next, for comparison. The GHS set has some too-fat gauges in it, so I'll pass on those.
    [In case anyone wonders why I'm posting all this, well, it's in case any other nimrods like me are curious and do a search like I did- they'll see that someone tried it, with what results. Aren't I nice?]
    So meanwhile, today I did need to loosen the truss rod a smidgick. Noting the differences in playing: with the tapes, I find it easier to get MWAH! on all four strings; whereas with the rounds I played over the last 3 - 4 inches of the fretboard for best Mwah, with the tapes I get best results playing near the bridge side of the soundhole, an easier position for the right arm. I also find it much easier to get a good vibrato DB-style, even on the E string. With rounds, I couldn't really get an audible slow vibrato on lower notes; with tapes, it's almost easy. Only "con" here is that the E isn't as loud as rounds. For me, not a problem since I'm not "entertaining," maybe a factor if you are.
    Of course, sliding up or down is much easier, making it easier for technique-challenged types like me to hit the pitch. Finally, sliding harmonics work great on tapes!
  4. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

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    Product Specialist, Marketing/Social Media: GHS Strings
    They may seem "too fat" on paper, but having played them and worked on tweaking our set the past couple months, the .070 and .090 fit fairly well in the set as a whole.
  5. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

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    Agreed. I've never found that the tapes played too big. And they have the best tone and feel of all the tapes.

    Unfortunately, since I only have short scales I can't use them on anything. When they asked for suggestions on new strings on their Facebook page I asked for 3060 SS strings. They wrote back that a SS set wasn't being considered at this time.

    That leaves me using the LaBella Tapes. I use both the black and white and while they are good strings I'd like to have 3060s on a couple of them.

    There's always the future, so maybe then.
  6. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

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    From the article that Jason at BSO wrote up, our tapes seem to be the only ones that are a groundwound string underneath the nylon tape; all the others are roundwound.


    Yeah, sadly that's not on the radar at this time, unless we can build up some more demand for them. I'll keep that in mind when talking to people at NAMM and see if I can use that as some extra momentum to get something moving.
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

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    I've had a set of D'Addario tapes on my Barker going on 2 years. No unravelling and they still intonate. Sustain is not an issue with that bass ever... Graphtech/Ghost piezo system on that bass.

    I have LaBella tapes on my 2 Godin Acoustibasses. They have a woodier tone than the D'Ads but I have had one set where the tape began checking and peeling. That was one set out of 10 or more sets I have used though. Tonally, there is nothing better that I have found for me. Those are my #'s 1 and 2...

    My fretless ABG has TIJF's as I already had a set cut 2x2. I put them on just to get rid of the boingy phosphor bronze crap. I don't see any reason to change them. That bass also sees a lot of use when I gig with percussion rather than drums.
  8. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

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    It's true that any one set can just be bad. I haven't seen other people complain about them unwinding so maybe I was just unlucky. Mine were a short scale set, not that it probably makes any difference.
  9. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

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    Thanks.
  10. bswag

    bswag Not a Real Bass Player Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2013
    GHS Official- It's not the "on paper" I'm worried about, it's the "fitting in my nut slots and bridge holes." Which I don't want to mess with since that would void my warranty. Actually, in a perfect world I'd prefer larger strings on a bass, but I don't think I'll get gauges larger than the .050-.065-.085-.105 which D'A and LaB use to fit mine without modification. I have no bias against your brand; decades ago, I wore out many a set of Guitar Boomers on my used Jaguar...

    Maybe someday we can build a little momentum with ABG makers to cut their nuts and bridges (and pins, if need be) to use something larger than the omnipresent "Light" .045-.100 rounds that every ABG out there seems to come with. I understand there's tension issues- don't want to blow up the bass! But in a case like mine, where the tapes have lower tension, it would be nice to allow for slightly larger gauges, yes?
  11. Root 5

    Root 5

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    They look to me like Brite Flats! It'd be great if that's what you're using in your tapewounds!
  12. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

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    I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations. :)
  13. Root 5

    Root 5

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    Cool! :D

    They're nice strings - the Brite Flats and tapewounds both!
  14. bswag

    bswag Not a Real Bass Player Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2013
    Since you asked- wait, you didn't?- well, a status update anyway: Still playing the D'A tapes, still sounding great, no wear or tear discernible. I'll play 'em till they plotz, then try the LaBella black tapes I have waiting & ditto. Then I'll try to decide which I prefer... At the rate at which they're (not) wearing, this experiment could take years, which is OK by me!
  15. Grissle

    Grissle Supporting Member

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    Uhh you know they can last for years and years right?
  16. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass Supporting Member

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    Northern Va.
    So side by side which string would you say is loudest on that Breedlove the tapes or the Reds?
  17. Root 5

    Root 5

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    Nov 25, 2001
    Location:
    Earth - the Canadian part of it.
    The Reds will be the loudest for sure.
  18. bswag

    bswag Not a Real Bass Player Supporting Member

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    Dec 21, 2013
    As for lasting years & years- I hope so! I'm in no hurry.

    Loudness-wise, the roundwounds it came with (D'A EXPPBB170) win for brute force; for subtlety and definition, not to mention playing comfort, the tapes have it. And actually, they can be pretty loud if you really rip on 'em; they just don't feature that bronze clatter.
  19. bswag

    bswag Not a Real Bass Player Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Excuse me for exhuming my zombie thread (MWAH HAH HAH HAH!), but-

    Call me a dirty rotten liar (Hey! I shower every day!), 'cause I went and changed them strings, yup. Figured that I might as well compare 'em while they're new, since the LaBella's don't have that nifty sealed pack like D'A's, and they might turn to dust before the others wear out. And, y'know, give the kid a new toy, he's gotta try it....

    Wherefore and neverthewhence I doth discern, and forthwith cogitate, that the only problem with using tapewounds on this ABG is taking 'em off! 'Cause on the E especially, the tape seems to get stuck on the bend in the bridge-hole. Well, I cut 'em off about an inch from the bridge and widdled and diddled 'em out gently (trailing yards of tiny black nylon slinky!), while protecting the top, of course.

    Then I installed the LaBella's- black nylon tapewounds, same gauges (.050 - .105), purple silks. With the usual touch of gentle pre-bending at both ends of the strings, they went in with no hassles, silks and all. And again, no issues at the nut either. The only things about the LaB's are that 1) the strings look a wee bit leprous, at least when new- where the nylon tape edges meet, the nylon is almost white. No, it's not the metal showing through; I've checked with a magnifier. Any LaB users know if this is normal, or do I gots a haunted set? And, oh yeah, 2) the silk/wrap junction at the peghead is pretty random from string to string, with the G actually having a bit of nylon on the tuning post. Again- normal LaB practice, or no?

    As for sound, thus far the LaB's seem a bit more focused, especially the E- which is also a tad louder than the D'A E was. The tension is so close I really can't feel any difference. And they play nice, though thus far I'd say the D'A's are a bit smoother in feel.

    So, this is gonna be a tough choice! Both brands are very good-sounding.... I guess when my tax return comes in, I'll have to order another set of each for future reference! This experiment could take years... Unless I prove fickle yet again! Well, as the old drunk said, "Next time'll be the last time, I promise!"
  20. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Supporting Member

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    Pics or lies

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