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Acoustic Bass strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Erad, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. Erad


    Aug 2, 2012
    I went looking through the forums and couldn't really find much info.

    With my acoustic bass am I restricted to phosphor bronze strings?

    I've heard that Black Nylon Tapewounds work, but I wasn't sure if I'd still be able to play straight acoustic (no mics or amps) and still be heard.

    What do yo guys use?
  2. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    I think (and I'm probably wrong) but you can use any strings you want as long as they are at the tension requirements. Ive seen acoustic guitars string up with electric guitar strings and I song see why it wouldn't work work on an acoustic bass. But I could be wrong.
  3. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I've also seen the former although I wouldn't recommend it. On an acoustic guitar, since you need to move air to produce sound rather than a magnetic field, strings with bronze content work best unilaterally. Although my inclination would be that basses work the same way, I've seen a number of acoustic bass guitars that come strung from the factory with nickel strings (including a Takamine that I was rather fond of).

    Don't even bother with tapewounds unless you don't like any highs present in your sound. If you'd like, try your favorite nickel rounds, take some recordings, leave them on for a few weeks, and then try a phosphor bronze (maybe even try some flats if that's your thing). If you post those recordings and your findings, I'm sure you'd be helping a few ABG players out on the forums.
  4. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    Just be careful with flats because they tend to be higher tension and acoustic instruments are prone to belly up syndrome.

    If you don't know what that is, it's when the top behind the bridge is warped and pulled upwards forming a belly like bulge. It affects the action greatly.
  5. Tapes are my favorite strings on an acoustic. Then flats, then nickels. I find round wounds of any type create too much fret/string noise relative to the note produced.
  6. Erad


    Aug 2, 2012
    What tapes would you suggest? I've heard it sounds like an upright bass, and I'm super interested in them.

    I'm very fearful of tension being too high. I've seen bridges get snapped right off the body when the tension is too much.
  7. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    Major misinformation here. Pretty much any strings you use are going to be fine, just don't use really thick gauged strings. The issue with tapes will be the thickness of the tape wrap making it hard to get the string in your bridge. D'Addario and La Bella seem to be popular tapewounds. Do you have a pin style bridge or a string through bridge?
  8. Erad


    Aug 2, 2012
    Not sure of the differences.

    This shouldn't be a problem since the strings are just resting on it:

    This I could see a possible problem with:
  9. I believe GHS and Daddarrio are standard guage. Tension is pretty low - so no problem there. These are (I believe) light weight roundwounds with a nylon outer.

    I have GHS's on my cheapy Monterey acoustic ( the camping bass :) ) which sound great and throw out enough sound to back an acoustic guitar round a campfire.
  10. Hawkbone


    Mar 23, 2009
    I use Status Graphite tapewounds - they sound great. IMO, no matter what you have on an acoustic bass you will need to amplify it to be heard over more than one or two guitars and vocals.
  11. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    1 - You can use any type of string you want... as long as it's a light gauge.

    2 - As already mentioned, some flat wound strings are rather high in the tension department, and your bridge might not handle it well... Labella Jamerson's come to mind. Personally, I use light gauge Chromes on my Tacoma Thunderchief... I'm not fond of string noise on ABG.

    3 - Tapewound strings are known for many things, but being loud is not one of them. Playing an ABG with no amplfication is certainly possible, and you will be heard, but if you're playing with other instruments you'll have zero headroom and not be nearly as present in the mix as you would be with even just a little bit of amplification.

    4 - I'm not particularly fond of using a pick, but it does help in the projection department with ABG.
  12. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I've been using TI Flats on ABGs for around twelve years. They're very low tension so you don't have to worry about pulling the bridge off on flat top instruments. They're less bright alternative to the more guitaristic brilliance of bronze rounds. Plus they last forever compared to the six good weeks or so of regular playing you get out of bronze. Using them is the single most effective thing you can do equipment-wise to get a more amplified double bass type sound from an ABG too.

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