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ABG, Strings, and Etiquette

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by BrentD, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. BrentD


    Jun 7, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    I was at a holiday party this weekend and the host - a good friend from work - took me aside to show me his fretless ABG. I love the bass, and I am kind of the "resident guitar nut" at work. The bass doesn't get played much because he has young kids, and I noticed that the phosphor bronze ABG strings on it were gunky and dead. Having owned a fretless before, I also know that rounds chew that rosewood all up. I was thinking of sending along a set of flats with a thank-you card as these will 1) last a lot longer and 2) preserve his nicely-inlaid fretboard.

    If someone did this for/to you, would you be pissed, though? I don't want this to be like rearranging someone's furniture or messing with something where they have preferences. So that's the first question - would it be an affront to send along a set of flats?

    If so, question 2: what's a good set for a fretless ABG? I put basic GHS flats on my electrics when I want them, but are there any special concerns for acoustics? I don't want to be cheap, either, but TIs are probably out of the picture. Something basic is probably best.
  2. For me buying someone else strings is like buying underwear for someone else (other than your girlfriend/wife/kids...) UNLESS they are a beginner and have previously discussed the change. I guess for me it is a little close to the strange side of the room but YMMV. I am not a fan of flats (why buy a set of strings that are already dull sounding???) so I think the idea is not so good but that's me and my taste.

    I own a Micheal Kelly Dragonfly frettless 5er and I use only Phosphor Bronze rounds. I have had the bass for about 6 years and it gets light use. The fingerboard has extensive decorative inlays and has only minor surface scratches from the rounds. That bass will easily last my lifetime (might change if it were to become my primary bass...) and look great so fingerboard wear is not that big an issue for me.
  3. My Dragonfly is on its third set of strings in 6 years so string cost and wear is also a non issue. I do not have sweaty hands so my strings last me a long time. The pastor of my church is the praise team leader, he can't get 4 weeks out of a set of strings (acoustic guitar) he corrodes them up so fast. So how long the strings will last is more related to the players body chemistry and how often the bass gets played than whether they are rounds or flats. Again this is my experience.
  4. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    I've bought strings, other accessories, even a bass for friends, past and present. The above posts have diverged about string life instead of the primary question of is it appropriate to purchase a set as a gift. With the costs of raising children, I think he would appreciate it.
  5. BrentD


    Jun 7, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    Thanks for the posts so far. The underwear comment is spot-on, I think, and why I asked. I believe his bass is also a Michael Kelly, so it's good to know about the wear.
  6. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    Fender tapes. A gift is a gift. He can do what he wants with it.
  7. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    If you want ask him what kind of strings he likes and get him a set of those. These will of course be roundwounds. Since thats what he has on it now. If someone sent me a set of flats and a card saying they where better. Id laugh and send them back as unwanted stuff.
  8. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    I think it's a nice gesture as long as understands your motive was to improve the tone of the bass and help extend the life of his fret board.

    If you're a fan of GHS strings want another alternative to flats I'd suggest their Pressure Wounds. Several guys here have posted that they play those strings on their fretless basses. They'll get you closer to the sound of rounds and with far less damage and wear on the fret board than any round and more punch and clarity than flats.
  9. chronrondo


    Dec 2, 2011
    I have strong feelings about this. First, thanking someone for inviting you to their home by sending them a small gift demonstrates something about what you are and about what you have. Know what that is? CLASS!

    I am an ABG nut, have owned several. My current favorite is a Boulder Creek. Three great choices, try any of them: 1) Thomastik Acousticores. 2) DA chrome flats. 3) Nylon tapewound flats.

    Happy Holidays.
  10. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    I am not a big flat wound fan, but a gift is a gift, and I would be quite happy if someone bought me strings.

    The phrase "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" applies perfectly here.
  11. boristhespider9


    Sep 9, 2008
    What about a gift card to GC or MF and he could buy his own. Say in the card: "Thanks for having me over...Thought you could use this for some fresh strings for your ABG (I recommend half-rounds by the way) or something else music-related. Thanks again."

    You give him the option of what to use it for and still get your recommendation in there. Yes, I prefer D'adario half-rounds.
  12. ShonenCello


    Sep 21, 2011
    If a band member bought me strings I would take offense.

    But your gesture is out of kindness. I think he will be pleased.
  13. I want to put some flats on my Boulder Creek. Do these basses take a standard length? And what sort of gauge have you tried? I was thinking chromes. Thanks!
  14. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I love tapes on fretless acoustics, or fretted for that matter. FYI, labellas making white tapewounds now, that are actually clear, and available in a lighter gauge.
  15. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I like this much of the idea. I'd keep my opinion about strings to myself. A gift is a gift, so don't muck it up with your own agendas.

    FWIW, I have Chromes (flats) on ABG and they sound great. Go with light gauge or the windings on the bottom end may not pass through the bridge - ABG bridges don't seem to have string holes as large as those in electric basses.
  16. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I agree that while the idea of a gift is extremely nice, doing so to change the Player's choice in Strings to something that's more fitting to your needs and thoughts has some un-needed overtones. I know it's not so much "The Cool Thing" to do, but I string my '96 Taylor AB-2 with D'Addario's Coated Phosphor Bronze set because I view The Instrument (or at least how I play it) with emphasis on the "Guitar" part of "Acoustic Bass Guitar" and prefer to bring the acoustic string sound out it (and granted, I do use the Coated version of the string to cut down on the high-end and "grind" of Ph-Bs). Mine is also a fretted, and should I ever be lucky enough to find a fretless version or have something akin custom made (Rob Allen Deep 5, I'm looking at you! :smug: ) I might make the change to Half, Ground or Tapewound, but it would be my choice dependent on my needs as a player.
  17. I have them on a EAB Dean.....Two good affordable gift sets:

    Webstrings.com Detroit SS flats
    DR SS flats

    You might consider sending a 5 string set and give him the option of stringing his bass BEAD for "5 string-like" option. My EAB is BEAD with Detroit SS flats. It's also fretless.