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acoustic bass string recommendation

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by dhudson, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. dhudson


    Jan 9, 2012
    I have a Michael Kelly dragonfly, 4 string, fretted acoustic. I'm looking for recommendations for strings - nylon I guess for more ease on the fingers. Currently I have GHS black tapewound. I have the bass around for jam sessions and play it part-time; generally I play mandolin as my primary instrument. Music style is bluegrass, so I'm looking for that standup bass sound. Just not real pleased with the GHS strings.
  2. Not pleased with the Tapes? To be blunt, they're kind of the end of the road as far as getting any semblance of upright tone from an ABG. My only suggestion would be trying other tapewounds- D'Addario, Rotosound, La Bella, Carvin (repackaged La Bella but cheaper and with $9 flat rate shipping).

    There are companies out there who will make pure nylon (no metal at all; just nylon) strings for an ABG, but I doubt they'll be cheap. I hope someone else can provide more input on that.

    Good luck!
  3. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Daddario tapes are good and cheap, labellas are better and not cheap. Stick some foam under the strings next to the bridge and you're good to go.

    And if you're looking for a great bluegrass tone, check this out:
  4. I quickly got rid of those bronze-round wound strings on my ABG ansd strung it with short scale LaBella flats... chrome?

    Sounds now more like a bass than a bass-guitar.
  5. I recommend D'Addario nylon tapewound strings. They're smooth, long-lasting, have only about a tenth of the finger noise that phosphor-bronze strings have and they have an upright-like sound.
    I use them on my Ibanez AEB5E acoustic bass and they're great.
  6. dhudson


    Jan 9, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. I play with D'Addarios on my mandolin, so I'll give the bass ones a try.
  7. dhudson


    Jan 9, 2012
    Thanks for providing the clip. Nice. What does the foam under the strings do?
  8. dhudson


    Jan 9, 2012
    Forgot to ask about the u-bass. Have you been playing one of those long? Does it work good in a bluegrass setting?
  9. Splods


    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    I have some bronze Rotosounds on my EWB Ibanez, and it sounds gorgeous. Nice and clear sounding strings with some bite.
  10. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    I just installed a set of Labella White Nylon Tapes on my Boulder Creek. Acousticore's have been my favorite strings on all of my ABG experiments but the Labella's are by far my favorite ABG strings. They still have some brightness but easy on the fingers. looking forward to seeing how they break in but so far I am loving them.
  11. The piece of foam acts as a mute for the strings. A small strip was put under (or in the ashtray on Fenders) the strings near the bridge, useful in some settings for taming overly bright basses. I have seen it used in a bluegrass band before with good results, the foam came stock on my '75 Fender P (under the bridge ashtray) but as a rock player I took it off years ago...
  12. Bassman316


    May 27, 2008
    Longs, SC
    Glad I found this thread. I broke out and plugged in my Sonata A/E bass last night for the first time in a looooong time. I think it's time for the bronze rounds to go, and I remember that once upon a time I had Fender nylons on it and it sounded great. I'm curious about the D'Addario tapes since I usually play their XL strings, and have been a happy D'Addario customer for years now.

    EDIT to add that I remember Fender tapes being rather thick, a .110 E if memory serves. One thing I like about the D'A strings is that they're standard gauge.
  13. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    I pretty much hate brass round wounds on an acoustic bass guitar. I have a Dragonfly 5 string fretless. I put a set of Dogal flats on it. It sounds amazingly like an upright. So much so that many upright players have approached me after hearing it.
  14. I'm thinking of a set of Fender 9120 Tapes for my Ibanez AEB5E. I've had D'Addario Tapes on an old Fender ABG and currently have them on my Squier Standard Precision V. The Fenders are cheaper and a slightly heavier gauge, but I've heard of guys using a .110 E on this bass before, so I think I'll give it a try.
  15. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I really recommend D'addario Chromes or Fender flats for an ABG, they are smooth and rich sounding(once they are broken in) but have a midrange push that helps an ABG's presence acoustically. I'm not a fan of a "ringy" sounding string for ABGs but your choice is really up to your personal preference. If you are always amplifying your bass, I have no clue since your pickup will dictate a lot of the sound.

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