Bass Player Article on strings...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Humblerumble, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    What do you guys think of the Bass Player magazine article on strings? Agree or disagree? I thought the D'addario's were brighter then the DR Lowriders, but not according to them. Does it line up with what you guys have experienced?
  2. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I skimmed the article at Barnes and Noble. It said D'addario Chromes had more mids than TI jazz flats. Can't agree with that. :rolleyes:
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I always take those tests with a grain of salt, or no salt at all..... Different players, different Basses, different Amps..... How can you judge like that? They tell you if it's good for Jazz or RnB or Rock or Whatever... I think Bb is Bb regardless of the tempo or lyrics. Frequency responce, attack and decay, time lasting till the edge wears off, Hours of playing till the strings are dead, etc.. That's a Test!!

    I know quite a bit of the "Insides" of the String Industry and took note of two brands tested (Not related to me or my company at all) and they had a completly different results from the test. The only problem here is that they were both the EXACT same string in two different packages under two different names (Private Label). I would bet my House on this....
  4. tappel


    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Ken addresses an issue (with refreshing frankness) the bothered me as well with those string reviews. I sell bass strings, so I too know that not all companies make their own strings. Additionally, I private label my own strings, so I know how that works.

    While the BP article had good information regarding string construction etc., I found the reviews to be without any merit.

  5. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i'm with tappel and ken - this doesn't surprise me.

    bassplayer and other rags just don't really conduct scientific tests.

    i just like to look at the pictures :D
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Yup. If you only knew how many packs of strings sitting next to each other on the storeshelves with different brand names were IDENTICAL strings packed differently from the same factory . . .
  7. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    That is what I figured, but it is refreshing to hear from insiders that I am correct. An I didn't know that Ken Smith was ...Ken Smith :D Very cool, I have used KS strings in the past and liked them, but I don't find them often in this area. I actually just got to play my first KS last month :) in Richmond Music. Sweet bass, but I only got to play it for maybe five minutes :crying:
  8. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    "Does it line up with what you guys have experienced?"

    I think its hard to say, since much of the verbage is in subjective terms. I think in some cases, they must have tried to find different words to express essentially the same concept or character about a string. I think they knew what they wanted to say about a string, but finding precise and consistent terminology is a challenge, particularly when you want to maintain an interesting article. We read these different descriptions and then in our minds we add further subjectivity based on our own perceptions, and experiences. And this doesn't even take into account how a particular string would sound on different basses. So, I think the descriptions are a good rough cut that can help you downselect a string set, but in order to determine if the descriptions are accurate (for your situation and your bass), there is no substitute for the "buy and try" method.

    Its a great reference article though, and I particularly like the bar chart of the highs/mids/lows for each string. Sure, thats also subjective, but the bars are more useful to me than the verbage.

    The rest of the magazine, however....well, I guess I can use it for a drink coaster.
  9. Davo737


    Feb 29, 2000
    Syracuse, NY
    I've haven't tried anywhere near all of the sets discussed, but I have tried around 10-15 of them. In some cases my impressions did line up, but in others they didn't. Hard to say for sure, because what I remember about a string I tried three years ago may or may not be all that accurate. One thing I did notice about their reviews was that their verbal description of the string didn't always seem to match up with the corresponding bass/mid/treble bar diagrams. But, I agree 100% with what Luckydog said about there being no substitute for the "buy and try" method.
  10. Same for peanut butter

  11. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    I have been on a stirng thing lately and pondered that article quite a lot. All of the observations mentioned above I noticed too. Their general observations line up with my personal experience to some degree. For example, I've been using DR Sunbeams for a little over a year. I tried some DAddario XL's and did find them to be a bit more balanced (more bass specifically) across the sonic spectrum. BUT, the article lists them both as "smooth" in feel...NOPE, to my fingers, the DR are MUCH smoother...the DAddarios were much coarser. Also, it would have been nice if they had commented on the overall tension of the string. The 'Beams are a lot less tense than the XL's...and that is after making appropriate truss rod adjustments to get the action the same. I don't recall the article mentioning truss rod adjustments from set to set. Finding the right tension string vs the sound of the string is the big mystery...I liked the overall sound of the TI Flats, but couldn't deal with the very low tension of them in a band setting...would have been nice for them to mention stuff like that before someone plucks forty bucks down on them. I do find the article somewhat helpful though...the Fenders with their rolled off treble, maybe worth a try...the Peavy's with bootyless bass, I'll pass.
  12. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    The main reason the DR Sunbeams seem to have less tension is that they are round-core strings whereas the D'Addario XLs are hex-core.
  13. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I noticed that they said Rotosound 55's had an exposed piano-wire core. That describes the Rotosound 99's, not the 55's, and that made me wonder if any of their other "findings" were mixed up.
  14. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    Right you are "r"...the round core DR have less tension...which I have grown to like...odd since I used to be Mr. Tight Tension with strings. I find with the 'Beams, I can lower the action and have only very slight neck relief and they play nicely...tight, but not too tight. That same set up with the XL's made them REALLY tight...I had to add more relief to get them to relax a bit, lower the action a tad to compensate, which made things slightly more prone to fret buzz.

    I would love to find some flats that have the same tension as the Sunbeams...all appear to be hex core...and most are stainless...why is that?
  15. Rick1114


    Sep 23, 2004
    Newbie question here - I recenty tried TI Jazz Rounds (for 6 months) and recently TI Flats. I liked the TI rounds but tension was too low for my fickle bass. The Flats actually are a perfect match in terms of tension, balance etc..

    But.. I'm sort of missing the Rounds punch (maybe I just need to play a flats a bit more?)

    For the future, can anyone suggest a 'mellow' round string like the TI Rounds but with a 'bit' more tension to avoid the buzzing. I'm using a Rockbass corvette (starter bass) so it's very bright to begin with. The flats do work nicely but a some mellow rounds would be 'perfect'. I was dissapointed because the TI round were a bit too 'limp' and caused too much buzzing even after many neck adjustments. Cany anyone suggest a string to try next time?

    Any help would be appreciated!
  16. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas

    I don't know that the DRs actually have less tension or not but a round core does bend more easily than a hex core.
  17. Rowka

    Rowka Supporting Member

    Dec 9, 2002
    Jacksonville, FL
    and frozen conentrated orange juice. :p
  18. And beer. The Miller brewing company produces some 40 varieties out of 11 vats of brew.
  19. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Hey, does this logic apply to motor oil too? I hope so, I just topped off my 5.0 with Castrol semi-synthetic the other night, when it's got Quaker State semi in it right now. :meh:
  20. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Yep, I have concerns with the article as well. I've tried a number of different sets over the years, and I agreed with BP on some reviews, and disagreed on others. Like Ken Smith said, take it with a grain of salt. I won't be cancelling my BP subscription, but I don't always believe everything that I read in BP either (this goes for all the gear reviews too).

    Another bunch of variables that affect the test results are the bass, amp, speaker cab, and player's finger technique. We can be using the exact same string, but the tester may get a significantly different tone than I do because of these variables.

    :D :meh: :D :meh: