1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Alternatives for Rotosound

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Ezmar, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    So I typically use Rotosound Swing bass 66 SS strings, but I'm looking to try some other things. I absolutely love the Rotos, and it's not so much being dissatisfied with them as it is wanting to look at my options. I tried Hi Beams recently, and although they're fantastic, they're not the string for me.

    I'm looking mostly at D'Addario right now, and I know most of the major manufacturers, but I don't know which ones make those nice bright Stainless steels with a sparkling midrange. For example, I hear a lot about La Bella, but mostly about their flats. What other strings should I give a shot before definitely deciding that the Rotos are MY string?
  2. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    I have never found a string that sounds as good as Roto Swing 66 SS.
    I have heard people say Ken Smith Rock Masters compare well against Rotos. Never tried them myself.

    I have tried:
    DR Neons & Black Beauties - not as good.
    DR Hi-Beams - very good but Rotos sound better.
    D'Addario XL Nickel Round Wound - not as good.
    Circle-K Balanced Set - not as good.
    GHS Boomers - not as good.

    Some of them have their strengths and Rotos have their weaknesses, but at the end of the day only Rotos sound as good as Rotos.
  3. I recommend Elites Stadium strings. They're stainless steel, very bright, consistent and long lasting. They compare well with Roto Swing '66. I use both these brands.
  4. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Sadowsky Blue or Black steels. I like the blue steels a lot.

    Rotos are next on my list to try.

    Question: do roto 66s do well tuned down a whole step? And how is the B string?
  5. 4-string


    Jul 23, 2006
    +1 on Elites. They are great strings, and the closest to Rotos I've found.
  6. AuntieBeeb


    Dec 12, 2010
    Afraid I can't comment on the 5-string sets, but otherwise yes: Rotosounds tend to have higher tension than a lot of other popular brands, so they can tune down a couple of semitones without getting too slack.
  7. La Bella SS rounds are similar to Rotos. smoother feel and a bit less crunch up top. i really like them. DR SS lo-riders are also in the same ballpark.

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    This might sound wierd but I have used Roto 66 SS for years and years.
    One day, by accident, I bought Roto 66 LD NICKELS.
    Now all my fretted basses wear Roto 66 Nickels. Still have that Roto sound without some of the ,IMHO, uneeded overtones and string noise you get from Steels.

    Really, give them a shot.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've tried Blue Steels, Pro Steels, and Hi-Beams. None of them sounded quite like Rotos. I don't use them anymore, but if you like Rotos, stick with Rotos, because nothing else is quite like them.
  10. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    NOTHING sounds like Rotosound... The original and the best!!!

    I've tried EVERY string on the market, and I've always come back to the Rotos. A lot of strings claim to be better or sound like Rotos, but they don't.
  11. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    I wish they wouldn't break so easily, or be so rough on the fingers, or be so stiff, but at the end of the day it's the tone that wins.
  12. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Do Rotos (66 SS) have a good strong fundamental low end? I know I should just try them so I know, but I have a P5 that I've dedicated to a Pink Floyd tribute band, tuned down a whole step. It currently has chromes on it for a bright but decidedly flatwound tone. I would love to be able to use it for more modern sounding stuff too. If I put 66's on it, would I be able to mimic that "lots of fundamental and bright clicky attack" thing that chromes give? Or is it too "wet" sounding to work in the classic rock/Floyd kind of sound?
  13. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Usually when people ask for strong fundamental low end they mean "powerful sounding". That actually comes from harmonics, and yes that's what Rotos are famous for.

    A fundamental note is a sine wave, like a tuning fork. A tone that's mostly fundamental and not much harmonics is like a Reggae tone. Flats or tapewounds are a good bet for that.
  14. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    No, I actually mean "fundamental". I don't want only or mostly fundamental, but I want it to be there. I'm not talking about a bass-heavy sound, which usually comes from a bump in the low mids. A lot of roundwounds (and some basses) don't produce much fundamental, and I don't mean just on the low notes. I can hear this easily by rolling the tone all the way off. If it's hard to hear the pitches without the highs, that means there wasn't much fundamental there.

    With the chromes, I can get a sound with good attack and pitch definition wherever the tone is set. That sometimes isn't the case if a string is mostly upper harmonics. I want the nice rich harmonics, but I also want the fundamental clearly audible in there.

    Let's put the question this way. If I roll my tone all the way down and play over the fingerboard, will Rotos still give me a nicely defined sound, or will it sound mushy and hollow?
  15. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    Mine usually sound fine. Don't play much with the tone down, but I still get a nice dull sound. If you can deal with how they feel (which I actually like), they're a great, bright, aggressive string. I'd try for yourself, though. You're the only one that can decide if they sound right to you.
  16. Rotos IMO don't have a ton of "top", but they have a very defined sound and a strong mid content. They weren't mushy or hollow at all.
    OTOH, I don't use them but think every Bassist should try them at least once.
  17. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Yeah, I know I have to decide for myself... But I've been trying a LOT of strings lately, and it's getting expensive. :(

    Just over the past couple of years I've tried Chromes, XL170s, LaBella Flats, DR (hiBeams, LoBeams, FatBeams, DDT, Neon), Circle K, Sadowsky Blue Steel, Ken Smith Rockmasters, TI flats, Roto 77, Dunlop Nickels, ...

    I have at home a few sets I haven't tried yet. Just got some MTDs and Roto 66s. I think the Rotos have to be the next thing I try, there seems to be a resurgence of enthusiasm for these strings.
  18. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    The 'enthusiasm' for Rotos never went away.

    All the top players use them... and for good reason. Best strings... ever!!!!

    GODSBASSMAN Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    I have never broken any bass string. How is it done? Sharp edges can cut strings.