acoustic bass strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by vivaknoxvegas, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas El Duderino Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Has anyone used Martin acoustic bass strings (80/20 bronze .045 - .098)? That's all I can find in town. How are they? Thanks.
  2. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Used them, don't like them or any other phosphor bronze string on an ABG. I think they make an acoustic bass sound too much like a solid body electric. I use the Labelle black tape wounds on mine. Those make the ABG sound more like an ABG. The black tape wounds are much deeper and smoother sounding, to me anyway
  3. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas El Duderino Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Where can I find them? How much are they? Thanks.
  4. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002 has them but they're expensive, 42.00 for four string and about 54.00 for 5 strings. I got mine from the Carvin web site
    They're about 19.00 for 4 string and about 25.00 for 5 string
  5. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas El Duderino Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Cool, thanks man.
  6. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    You may want to try out a set of Thomastick Acoustic bass strings. They have a phosphor bronze winding over a nylon core. They are the only string designed for ABGs and piezo equipped solidbodies. They are quite light gauge and low tension, so that may take some adjusting as to your touch on the strings, but they are incredibly responsive to dymanics in your playing style. They were desigened by TI and Rick Turner, who strived to create a string which responds to the player's digital tone controls....the fingers!
    They are quite quiet...piezos have a tendency to pick up all the extraneous squeaks and squawks of your fingers on the strings, but the TIs really work well with piezos.
    They also give the BEST tone! Full and deep, yet also with a smooth mid and bright top end without any of the harshness or quackiness that ferrous strings can give with piezo pus.

  7. ss_human


    Jul 25, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    how is the volume on the Labella's black tape wound compared to the phospherbronze?

    (new comment) Sorry, I mean when its not plugged in.
  8. i wonder the same...
  9. RobinL


    Dec 9, 2002
    Merrick, NY, USA
    I am trying TI Acousticore strings for the first time on my Epiphone El Capitan. They certainly come up to expectations in terms of tonal quality. I find, however that unless I am extremely careful, I get a lot of buzzing, particularly on the G string, since the strings are much thinner and the tension much lower. The buzzing is easier to control if I play sitting down, but I don't want to have to worry about it. As a longtime guitarist, but beginnner on bass, I have enough to think about :)

    Would it make sense to raise the action? If so, is this something I can safely do myself, or should I take the bass to a professional?

  10. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I use TI acousticore strings quite a bit on both my fretted and fretless Godins. Two things you did notice:
    They are very light gauge and low tension, which does translate to requiring a more "delicate" touch with your right hand. Also due to these factors, the virational arc of the strings is much wider than steel core strings. Higher action is required, most of the time (unless you have a great deal of control over your note articulation).
    Becuase they are so light, the higher action does not translate into harder to play. Just the contrary...these strings are VERY easy on the hands. The higher action will give you more tone, and more tonal variety (check out the action specs of most studio cats and you will see some hefty heights...this gives actually more control over dynamics and tonal variance).
    In return, you will get some incredible bass tones, warm and woody to sharp and edgy, all depending on where and how hard or soft you play. The strings CAN give a very acoustic upright like thump, but also have a crisp top end (verty acoustic gtr like), sweet mids and a unique "rolling" quality which makes them sorta like a huge calssical guitar.
    What's better...they only get better with age. I have had one set on one of my ABGs (Dean Performer Plus) for over a year now and they sound great!
    In reference to the acoustic volume: the TIs are slightly diminuative as far as acoustic vol. goes. They were deigned to be used with piezo equipped basses (whether solid or hollow body). Yes the sound is somewhat less in the output, but still the tone is greatly enhanced. But face it kids, to get a really good tone with volume from an ABG you need to plug it in (hey Tacoma fans...don"t flame me over this, I know they are loud enough, when played hard, but there is some tonal compromise made....even the slightest amplification makes these basses come alive).

    As far as setting the action yourself. This can be tricky. Often a simple truss rod adjustment is all that is needed. But if you have never done thatv yourself, take it to a pro.
    Other basses often need extra help, such a shims at the nut and it best to leave this to some one experienced.

    Good luck with the you can tell I thinkthey are great strings.

  11. Be careful! I tried a set of Tomastiks on my Guild BC4E which is a short-scale (30") bass, and was very disappointed with the result - much too floppy and quiet. I ended up scrapping them as I'd already cut them to the right length, and so they were useless for anything else. You might also try a set of the Elixir ELX-14502s from - I have them on my Tacoma CB10E4 and they sound OK. Interesting comment re. the Labellas - I have them on a number of my basses, but I've never tried them on the acoustics - perhaps I should...

    Hope this helps -
    - Wil
  12. RobinL


    Dec 9, 2002
    Merrick, NY, USA
    Thanks for a detailed and thoughtful response, Max. Yes, I am delighted with the strings. Now I just want to make the most of them.
  13. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I'm with Max--the tone from the TIs is supersweet, but the strings truly are designed with piezos in mind.

    I've currently got a set of Acousticores on my Athlete 6 string ABG. I really love the way they feel, but the action is so low on my bass that I can't really get much volume at all out of the bass. The truss rod is as loose as it will go, and the bridge saddle is cut pretty low. The top of the instrument just can't get enough vibration to get the sound moving.

    I'll be keeping the strings for a six string Lightwave fretless I have in the works--they'll be perfect for that, I think. The piezo sound was much nicer with the TIs than with the bronze strings that were on the bass, but I'm just not a big fan of the piezo sound. I'm looking at either a Highlander mic/pickup system, or a Shertler Electrodynamic Acoustic Transducer, so I'm not worried about the sound from the piezo in the bass.

    If I had a Godin, Rob Allen, or Turner, the TIs would be my first choice, bar none.

    I just ordered a 5 string set of Labella Tapewounds from Carvin. I'll use them with a TI Jazz Flat for the C string. It was either $24 for a 5 string set from Carvin, or $63.70 from Just Strings for a 6 string set of tapewounds. :meh: Five black strings and one metal string isn't ideal aesthetically, but this is a much cheaper way to see how they sound. I think the Jazz Flat will mix nicely with the tapewounds, too.

    They should be here in a couple of days. I'll post what I think of the comparison between the two sets when the LaBellas arrive.

  14. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Whoa! That's a sweet bass! I tried an Athelete a few years agao and was impressed. Hasn't the company gone out of business?
    Yes, I will agree that with something such as that bass, TIs may not move enough to set the top off. And so tapewounds may be the way to go...I am curious of how you match up the LaBellas with the TI flat C, tho.
    Nice choice in PUs too...I have tried the Highlander (I have one in my Dean ABG)...FYI, Rick Turner has a new line of acoustic transducers with mucho headroom (18volt systems) and true acoustic integrity. The guy knows how to design a circuit. These are made in tandem with Seymour Duncan (Turner/Duncan Acoustic Research) and they sound phenomenal! MIght be worth checking into?

    I have two Godins, one fretted four and a fretless five. TI acoustics are now on both of them, tho I have been playing around with TI flats on the fretless; it provides a "different" tone with more thump...and yes, curiously enough it gives a more reasonable "faux-upright" sound than the acousticores.
    But, the Acousticores justr plain sound richer! On the fretless, there is mwah for days, so to speak!
    In fact, sometimes I think there is too much....
  15. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    The more I play this bass, the more I love the way it feels. Athlete did, in fact, cease to exist. It's really an amazingly nice bass.

    I thought I'd give the tapewound/TI Jazz Flat set a try. I figure the high C string could have a bit more output than the rest. We'll see. I might end up getting a 5 string Jazz Flat set to match the high c if it doesn't work, or I don't like the way the tapewounds sound/feel. We'll see what happens. I'm still seeing what this bass wants to be happy.

    I'd forgotten about the Turner/Duncan stuff. I can't find anything online, but I'll probably shoot Rick Turner an email to see what he can tell me. I'd love to be a guinea pig if they are still in the experimental stage. Hmmm.....
  16. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Lafayette, LA
    I use Fender 9050 Flats on my Martin Acoustic Bass, I get a nice upright sound with those.