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Best Tapewounds for DB sound

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. I know an electric solid body bass won't sound 100% like a DB, but for numerous reasons I can't have a DB or even an EUB right now, so this will have to do.

    I bought a set of GHS Black Nylon Tapewounds (.050 - .105) and had them on another fretless, but right now they are back in their packaging. I know the GHS ones are the thinnest and usually don't require any adjustments to the nut, but I don't care if I have to make adjustments for this bass because I'll likely have the same set of strings on it until I'm done with it, and I may be replacing the nut anyway.

    I *think* that the GHS's are actually groundwounds under the nylon, where as other brands are roundwounds, hence why the others are thicker. I'm not sure if this is true, kind of a rumor that I heard. I know that Labella's are pretty much the standard and are what come stock on Rob Allen's, which can sound like a DB, but it's not a solid body bass either.

    Has anyone tried numerous brands of tapewounds on the same bass and have any preference as to which one sounds the most like a DB?

    I don't have an issue with the GHS's and I like how they sound, but am curious if there may be something better.
  2. Ghs tapewounds will get you there. Stick some foam to the bridge and you have an illusion of upright sound!
    The Ghs tapes are the only ones I´ve tried but I was completely happy with them.
  3. Coldmilk


    Jun 13, 2011
    San Diego
    I've tried only two tapewounds; the Fender roundwound tapewounds and the D'addario flatwound tapewounds. I didn't really like the Fender tapewounds, as it felt like I was grabbing on plastic, but I remember it being less bright than the D'addario tapewounds and much more mellow. I believe the D'addario tapewounds are just Chromes under, and they are probably my favorite tapewounds that I tried so far. Very smooth satin finish, but it may be a little brighter for your tastes.
  4. billgwx


    Apr 10, 2009
    Centereach NY
    From what I gather elsewhere on the forum, I'm pretty sure D'Addario tapes are rounds underneath.
  5. Well, I do want the tapes to be pretty bright actually. A lot of people roll down the tone knob all the way with tapes/flats to get a DB sound, but that doesn't help too much. Sure if you listen to jazz recordings with multiple instruments playing, the DB is primarily a deep bass tone, but when it's soloed it can actually be pretty bright. I think that's the tone to emulate because as other instruments come in, they will take up the space. I'm not saying that I want something as bright as roundwounds though, on a fretless the tapewounds really accentuate the woody tone, as well as take away sustain, fingernoise, and high end sparkle, but I would like the tapewound to be on the bright side for a tapewound, I can always EQ it differently if I feel the need.
  6. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    Try the D'addario tapes, if you like deep but really, really articulate, you'll like them. I can't comment on the ability to mimic DB, but with the right mindset and touch, you can get in the ballpark - maybe more Charles Fambrough than Dave Holland.;)
  7. Thanks for that. They seem cheap enough, I may get a set and A/B them. What's the tension like? I love the feel of the GHS's tapes and flats, but am not a huge fan of the stiffness of Chromes, and I can't help but thinking that D'addario's tapes would have a similar stiffness.
  8. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    The D'addario tapewounds are much lower tension than the chromes - very similar to any of the round core DRs.
  9. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I have always used the LaBalla tapewounds for that sound with a bit of foam under the bridge. You cut it in a skinny triangle, so there is more damping for the top strings and less for the thin ones.
  10. I agree. They are probably the best of the tapes when sounding like an upright. I've used the Fenders, LaBellas, and GHS. My fav, however, is the GHS set when playing on electric basses.
  11. Thanks everyone. I do plan on putting on stuffing a mute under. The strings, and thanks for that tip. Any good material you can recommend for a Squier bridge?

    Fretlessguy, I am a bit curious why you prefer GHS's over Labella's on an electric. Is it the feel of them, tone, size, tension? And how much better do the Labella's do a DB tone on an electric?

  12. mrbell321


    Mar 26, 2012
    N. Colorado
    To my ears, the D'addario ETB92 strings resemble a DB, but you'll probably also want a mute. But I doubt you'll ever get 100% DB sound. BTW, I got mine from bassstringsonline. I'd recommend them.

    Hmm... I wonder if there's some sort of electronic filter that would give you the right sound...
  13. Definitely using BSO!
  14. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    LaBella's-never tried them with a foam mute, but shifting the playing position to the heel of the neck seems to help emulate the DB sound.

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