Best strings for fretless?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by PolkaHero, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    I just picked up a fretless Fender American Jazz Bass that came with flatwounds. I just don't care for the dull, lifeless sound of these strings. What is a decent roundwound or bright flatwound string that will give me that singing fretless tone but yet won't eat the unfinished rosewood fingerboard at the same time? Thanks!

    Also, isn't there a trick to properly set up the string action to get the right amount of "mwah" factor out of a fretless? :meh:
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Lower the action. Straighten out the neck.

    As for the strings, dunno really.. halfwounds?
  3. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Non-dull-and-lifeless fretless strings that won't eat rosewood fretboards:

    TI Flats
    D'Addario nickel halfwounds
    Ken Smith Compressors (also half-wounds)

    Oh, and as stated above, you want a flat neck w/ almost no relief. Action has a huge effect on "mwah", as does playing style. Try different right hand (assuming your a rightie) technique, picking high over the fretboard -- if you sort of "roll" your finger over the string you can get a good upright-y tone. You can get tons of different tones just with r.h. technique.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There you guys go with that mwah crap again! Creeping me out intensely!
  5. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I use SIT Rock Bright Steels on my fretless. With a light touch and proper technique, rosewood should hold up for a good long while.
  6. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    I've got an extra set of D'Addario XL nickel roundwounds laying around. I don't really plan on making this my main bass so do you guys think the board will hold up well with these strings? Thanks for the input!

    Also, my vibrato technique is similar to a violin vibrato technique if that makes any difference.
  7. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Fender 7150 pure nickels sound good on a fretless IMHO :hyper:
  8. ganga


    Jul 14, 2005
    +1 on the TI's and the Ken Smith's.

    I've never tried D'addario's halfwounds.
  9. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Im buying TI flats for my MTD kingston fretless this winter. Should be interesting to see what that thing sounds like with em, right now it has a few year old standard strings that it came with , and it still sounds good.

    cant wait.
  10. Throw some epoxy on the sucker and slap some rotosounds on it. :D
    Aside from that, groundwounds might do the trick.
  11. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
  12. unlined4string

    unlined4string Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Baltimore County, Md.
    For a solid body fretless with magnetic pickups I prefer DR Sunbeams. Before I changed to Sunbeams I played Zon Ultrasonic nickels.

    For ABG fretless with non-magnetic pickups, I like TI Acousticores.
  13. Try either the Pedulla strings or the Thomastik Jazz Rounds on the fretless.

    The Pedulla are nickel plated while the TI's are pure nickel. I like the Pedulla's but many have said that the TI Jazz Rounds are the ultimate fretless string. Hvaen't tried the TI JR's on fretless yet.
  14. Wolf


    Jan 30, 2004
    Well, I've tried 'Brite Flats', and I've tried the TI Flats (which
    were an 80 dollar import, and took nearly two months to
    arrive), and I've finally reached the following conclusion:
    Use whatever you use on your fretted. That's your string!
    I have Roto's on my fretless right now! Before that it was

    Screw the fingerboard -
    "You only live but once, and when you dead you done,
    so let the good times roll!" - Louis Jordan
  15. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
  16. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
  17. cdb


    Jan 12, 2004
    phila, pa area
    I recently bought a 5 tring Euro Rebop fretless from SomeGuy here, and it was strung with DR Black Beauties. I like the tone very much, sounds non-dull and full of life, and i am hoping the nice black coating will help alleviate the wear and tear on the rosewood board.
  18. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    I like my Rotosound swing bass' on my fretless :)
  19. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    A small (but perhaps significant) part of the dull sound might be the fretboard itself.

    Rosewood is not known for producing sizzling highs. Pau ferro and especially ebony are fretboard woods that produce a more trebly tone.

    Good luck in your search for the sound you want.
  20. TI Jazz Flats have more tone than other flats.

    Also, heard good things about Labella Tape Wounds for fretless that are Roundwounds with nylon tape wrapping.