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Best Strings for Fender P Bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Jdog568404, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Jdog568404


    Oct 14, 2010
    Have a MIM Fender Precision Bass and I love it. I have been pretty picky over the last year on only using elixirs because they last long and sound good but I wanted some more opinions of those other p bass players out there! And what's the diff between flat and round wound and which styles are they best for etc. thanks!
  2. xander8280


    Dec 29, 2011
    I've used a lot of strings on my MIM precision. Both flats and round wounds. If you really want the bright thin gauge use ghs light gauge. They don't last long, but they're very bright. The only strings I've really broken, haha. Went through 3 sets over a summer. I perfer d'addarios though, sound the best from start to finish and last for months without the smell or total dead sound. D'addario chromes(flatwounds) are kickass, they are very warm sounding and sound great with age, they're very bassy. If you are used to using a rig and switch to them you'll have to adjust your preamps/distortions, those babies clip with the increased lows. Surprisingly you can use a pick or slap with them pretty good. I used them with my jazz bass aswell. Ernie ball roundwounds are good too, they're an inbetween to d'addario and ghs's. I had an ill experience with ernie balls. I had bought my first pair of slinkies to test them out, this was me ending my ghs binge(I was searching for strings with more life to them) ironically the ernie balls broke way before any ghs ever would have. I was playing some metal fingerstyle and boom, my low E uncoiled, I had put the strings on two weeks earlier. It was ridiculous. But I tried them out this year and they worked fine. On a MIM precision you gotta try the ghs boomers light gauge, they'll give you that razor tone, its worth the experience on your precision man.
  3. Jdog568404


    Oct 14, 2010
    Alright I might just do that! They were in the bass player magazine and I was thinking about trying them out. Why the light gauge btw? Do they have like a medium?
  4. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Midtown Guitars Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    im sure the "search option" would help.

    also "best" is a relative term. ask 100 people get 100 answers.
  5. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Just try different ones, it's very subjective. And you're gonna get harassed by the search Nazis for this thread.;)
  6. 98mtd


    May 24, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Depends on what sound you want. I have DR Flatbeams on my P bass and love the sound and feel.
  7. I have been using D'Addario brand Regular Light Gauge (45-100) strings on my Fender Precision for years. They are round wound, have a great bright sound and I would suggest them to anyone who plays a P.
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Banned

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    Well you might begin with a decision about whether you want flats or rounds. That would at least narrow the search down a bit. Next you may want to think about the music you play and the style you play in; finger style, pick, slap, etc. There is no absolute best. Just the one you feel is best for your situation.
    davebe likes this.
  9. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    I do agree here. They feel and sound great to me and are inexpensive.
  10. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    For old school tone, I suggest GHS Precision Flats. Very affordable, and they do the job! I think GHS is often overlooked as their name is not as caché as others, but I was impressed with them.
  11. Systolic

    Systolic Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    I play a lot of different styles so in a round I look for versatility. I've been very happy with Dean Markley Blue Steels (light gauge.)

    I've yet to find flats i'm in love with.
  12. Jdog568404


    Oct 14, 2010
    Ok well I play finger style, I play lots of different genres such as Jazz, Funk, Blues, and Rock. I like the Elixirs because they last long and they stay true to their tone almost their whole life. Ok so the first thing I'll ask is whats the difference in flat and round and how does each feel when pressed down? Also, I'm not sure if I'm describing this right but I have tried other peoples basses and their strings seem to go into the fret more than my elixirs do ... is this just the feel of the elixirs or what? I'm about to have my bass setup with new strings (Elixirs Medium gauge) and a Bad Ass Bridge II, would this help?
  13. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'll second the recommendation for GHS Precision Flats. That's my own preference. If round wounds are more your thing, it's more of a challenge for me to recommend anything. Are you looking for very bright stainless steel strings or just bright nickel? I started out using GHS Boomers .045 - .105. They're a great place to start, I think.

    I got tired of changing strings regularly, so when I get a nice set of stainless steel flats (Lakland Joe Osborn) I was happy to find that they sounded about like GHS Boomers after they had been played in nicely, but basically didn't degrade very quickly from there. I've since found that GHS Precision Flats get me to the same place as The Lakland Joe Osborns at a little over half the cost.

    I'm surprised that I'm pretty much a GHS guy right now. It's not a conscious choice, but they've always made nice enough string.

  14. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    It's got to do with string gauge and set up. Flats are reputed to be higher tension, but my action is pretty low and it's totally comfortable for me. Perhaps if you do a lot of string bends it would make a difference.

  15. I have a custom P-bass made by Dan Atkinson and I currently have GHS Pressurewounds on it. These strings sound awesome no matter which way I move the tone knob.

    I should note that right now I have a ToneStyler in the bass, but even before I installed that these strings sounded good no matter where the tone knob was set.
  16. Jdog568404


    Oct 14, 2010
    Alright looks like I'll be trying some type of GHS's pretty soon .. Thanks for all the suggestions guys
  17. Bassman822


    Sep 1, 2007
    Bessemer, AL
    Ive always had good luck with D'Addarios on my MIM P-bass, both XL170 (nickle rounds) and now flats (the 45-100 set)
  18. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    Flatwounds: These strings are smooth as you run your finger up and down them. They are similar to cello/violin/viola/double bass (sometimes) strings. They typically are of higher tension then roundwound strings. They usually give a deeper tone. Famous users of flats on a P are James Jamerson, Steve Harris (however, his sound is not like most percisions with flats), Phil Lynott, Sting, John Deacon, and more jazz players than I can ever remember. They get deeper sounding with age, and if you are using flats, that is probably something you want.

    Roundwounds: These are made like guitar or piano strings. They are rough to the touch and give a brighter and more defined sound. The two most common types of roundwound are Nickle and Stanless Steel. Stainless Steel strings are a bit harder on the fingers and have more high end (at the expense of a shorter life) while nickles are easier on the fingers and last longer at the expense of high end. Off the top of my head, I can not think of any famous recordings that were made with percisions running rounds, but I am sure they exist.

    Which is best for you? Depends. Do you like a bright sound, low tension, and/or do a lot of slap/pop? Then go for roundwounds (I personally like Rotosound SwingBass 66 Stainless Steels, but try as many as you want before finding your favorite).

    Do you like a deeper sound, high tension and never want to change your strings again? Go flatwound (My favorite flats ATM are D'Addario Chromes 45-105s but if you ask anyone on this board, they will probably say TI Jazz flats. I have not tried those yet as they are expensive.)

    Also, there are types of strings that seek to combine the best of flats and rounds. These are called either pressurewound or groundwound. They consist of a roundwound string that has had all the edges polished off. I do not have enough expertise on these to give advice.

    Sounds complicated? Don't worry. It all boils down to these three questions:

    Who are some of your favorite bassists? Who are some of your influences? What are some of your favorite bass tones?

    From there, the good people on this board will be able to tell you what strings to get.

    Hope this was helpful!

    Charles F. Sporn
    davebe and RiZzBot like this.
  19. GrooveRonin


    Nov 20, 2011
    thanks sporn i did find that extremely helpful!!
  20. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

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