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Any way to make new strings lose their metallic sound faster?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Milk, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I hate how new strings sound. And i hate that by experience it takes at least two months until they sound right. The problem is i was in the process of recording an album when for the first time ever in all my playing years, a string broke. I replaced the whole of them with the exact same brand and gauge but of course right now they sound all wrong and metallic.

    I kinda don't want to have to wait two months before i can resume recording (aside for not liking the sound, i want the bass on all songs on the record to have the same tone). so in desperation i'm asking here to see if, aside from playing the bass as much as possible, theres any good way of making new strings lose their...newness, faster. I want that sweet spot between sorta new but not metallic anymore and old and dead. Right now they're unusable.

    They should sell lightly used strings :p (seriously if someone online sold my brand and gauge lightly used id probably buy them...)
  2. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    Sounds like you need some fried chicken grease, and fast!
  3. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Maybe you should keep a backup bass at home for the sole purpose of breaking in new strings.
  4. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    Turn the tone/onboard treble or amp's treble down.
  5. cv115505

    cv115505 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Oklahoma City
    I've read and heard that the GHS Pressurewounds basically sound like broken in rounds out of the package... maybe give them a shot... I am a flatwound guy typically, but I'm needing a roundwound bass for some session work. I think I'll be trying these out.
  6. Kraft_Mayo_Real_Mayonnaise.
  7. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    What kind of strings are you using that take 2 months to sound right? How much time do you spend playing every day?

    IME, something like Dunlop Nickels and DR Sunbeams would last me a few weeks at most before they were pretty much dead. No way it should take 2 months, unless you just don't play it. Other strings tend to last me a while longer. I actually get decent life out of D'Addario XLs and Slinkys. YMMV.
  8. DriesG


    Feb 27, 2009
    Gent (Belgium)
    Play more, play harder. It takes 2 hours of intensive practice for my strings to settle. 2 months is extremely long (I do about 2 months with one set).
  9. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I've been wondering if that's what people do.... I mean aside from those who like new strings sound... I have just one bass anyway though i'm getting a second one soon. But perhaps i should also buy a super cheap one just for that. Maybe its time to hit kijiji or CL...

    As for the grease or mayo, ah, i thought of something like that (not seriously though).....make the strings dirty then clean them.... i might be wrong but i have a feeling strings lose the metallic sound faster in summer because of humidity... if it wasn't for the wood, id try leaving my bass in the bathroom....

    I play about 30 mins a day maybe nowadays. It would be more if i could record with those strings right now.... two months might have been an exagerration, i mean i never paid close attention to when they start to sound just right, but a month at least definitely. I use GHS.

    Well i tried that of course but a side by side comparison with the recordings done before i changed the strings showed it still wasnt right.

    I have at least 3 hours on this set so far and they're still metallic as hell. When i used to play more (like an hour or more a day) i changed mine every 6 months. I guess maybe i like strings that by most people standards are dead? I'd say a year would be when i feel my strings are really dead....

    Anyway, i guess there is no trick to break in new strings faster then... maybe i need to try to come up with one. Make a bass playing machine or something...
  10. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    Buy Flats or play the rounds lots without wipeing them down.
  11. GHS Pressure wounds do have a duller sound. Dunlop nickels I put on my bass last year sounded like 3 month old nickels right off the bat, but mellowed more than I wanted. Dunlops might be something you should try. They're cheaper than most other strings, so replacement often wouldn't be so bad.
  12. Hawkbone


    Mar 23, 2009
    Advertise in the TB classifieds. People who love the zing of new strings change them at about the time you want to put them on.
  13. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Where are your old strings? I find it easy and fast to break in strings. Play them much more than 30 minutes a day.

    I generally practice 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day BESIDES gigs, rehearsals, and jam sessions. OK, yeah, I have a lot of free time as I am retired and teach part-time (20 hours a week), but I used to play even more when younger. :bassist:

    Strings will break-in in two days for me, plus I keep them pretty fresh (a old month at most). :D

    Tip: Always keep the last set or two in your gig bag as spares.
  14. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Sounds to me like there is a match made in heaven here. The dude that posted that he changes his strings once a month or so can sell his strings(at a heavy discount) to the OP....win win
  15. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I never actually wipe my strings down..........though i do wash my hand everytime before i play. As for flats, they sound TOO flat. I never bought them myself but i tried them on a friend's bass, i don't like it at all. Nevermind the feel of them.

    Ill give Dunlop a shot next time then. I didnt know about pressure wounds either, i DO play GHS so maybe ill try those too. This time i didnt want to change brand cause as i said i wanted to get the same exact tone across the whole record.

    I still have the old set but as i said, i broke one (frist time in 17 years i break a bass string..). It didnt seem like a good idea to keep the same strings but change the A (the one that broke). Because then id have a super zingy A and that would just sound weird with the rest. I figured i'd change the whole set and try to break them in as fast as possible. Unfortunately as i said, it seems i like less zing then most people.

    Anyway, I practiced 3 or 2 hours a day years ago (i did 3 a day the first year, then 2 a day for like 2 or 3 years) when i started but haven't done that in years. I don't really need to, i mean, skill wise i'm as good as i need or want to be, anything i could further learn technique wise i wouldn't use anyway. I'd get bored nowadays playing that long to be honest. I have to say i don't just play bass either, i play guitar and keyboard too and a typical day will be me playing at least 20 to 30 mins of each.
  16. DriesG


    Feb 27, 2009
    Gent (Belgium)
    I used Dunlop nickels for a while, but those died really fast and became to expensive... So maybe those could be right for you. I use DR sunbeams on my fretless. They're on there for about 6 months but still sound great and are less zingy out of the box. Did you try TI flats? They become even better after say one year. Takes a while to get used to them, but it's a great string...
  17. You could try some coated nickels?
  18. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures

    I like D'Addario EXP's straight out of the package! They don't sound old, but more like a set of good nickels that have been played in for a few hours. They stay at that sweet spot longer, too.
  19. rupture

    rupture Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2012
    Try some Curt Mangan strings.They have that broke in sound ,but not dead. Even the SS strings have reduced zing and there the smoothest SS strings I've played. Custom gauge sets too.
  20. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    Theres been a lot of suggestions for strings here so far, thank you, im writing them all down. Hopefully one out of all these will suit my needs.