Buying Strings: The Impossible Choice

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by cahir231, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. cahir231


    Apr 4, 2011
    Hello folks,
    It's not as bad as the title would make it seem, but it sounded more compelling/gripping to put it that way than "Buying Strings: I Am Clueless".

    Beyond the basic tonal aspect implied, I don't really know what all these string terms mean (roundwound, flatwound, etc). I don't even know much about different brands of bass strings. However, here are some things I'm considering:

    1) I have a 6-string.
    2) I would like a more mellow, less metallic C string (can get quite twangy).
    3) I'm going to be playing mostly rock, blues, and jazz on this bass...probably no slap (since I'm still learning). However, if there are strings I can get that are both great for fingerstyle and slap sound WITHOUT being too metallic on the C, please do recommend...but the good slap aspect isn't crucial.
    4) For the fingerstyle aspect, I really was considering strings that were conducive to making a more "soul/funk/R&B" tone...though I know you can just EQ most of that, I figured the strings would make a small difference.

    Also, I need to have them on my bass and ready to go by the 29th, 12 days from now, so anything you can tell me asap would be awesome.

    And please, if you have the time or know some links beyond Wikipedia, do tell me (or send me stuff that tells me) about bass strings and what's important/interesting/beneficial to know about them and current brands these days....PLEASE SHARE.

    Thank you all for your help.
  2. intheory


    Nov 17, 2009
    SW Florida
  3. intheory


    Nov 17, 2009
    SW Florida
    As an aside, the genres that you described give a pretty broad (and possibly conflicting) range for us to work with, as bass sounds can be quite different between rock, blues, and jazz. But your expressed desire about the sound of the c string provided a good description of what you didn't want. :). Good luck in your endeavors!!
  4. kander


    Feb 3, 2007
    You would probably like nickel-plated strings over stainless steels. I recently tried a set of DR Lo Riders (nickel-plated) and they were too mellow for me: I like the extra "zing" of stainless steels.
  5. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    I use DR Sunbeams on my 6er, and think you'll like them. Mellow and warm, but with just enough top end sizzle for slap.
  6. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Roundwound strings are generally brighter than flatwound strings. Flatwound strings are just that - flat / smooth, and their sound is generally rounder, smoother and less aggressive than round wound strings.

    Go to string manufacturer web sites to read their shpeel about their strings to see if you see something that seems to fit your bill.

    IIWY, when buying new strings I'd start by narrowing your choices down by doing research and then start at the low-cost spectrum of choices until you find the strings that work for you.

    Don't worry, finding the perfect set of strings can be a life-long quest.


    Some string manufacturers:

    -Ernie Ball
    -Dean Markley
    -La Bella
    -D'andrea (I like their Snarling Dogs)
    -Circle K

    Good luck!
  7. u84six

    u84six Don't panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    You sound like a good candidate for nickel plated roundwound strings since you're playing multi-genre stuff. Nickel will be less bright and less twang than steel, but will have a nice mid range when you need it.
  8. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    IMHO you are describing the need for nickel round wound strings.
    One of the most popular strings for overall genres.
    I use GHS Boomers.
  9. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha & Grosbeak. I’m Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    I agree, but it sounds like he is looking for mellower nickel strings.

    I think either Ernie Ball Slinky Strings or DR Sunbeams may suit your needs.
  10. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    You're still learning, and you have a 6-string?

    I in no way mean to put you down for that. I actually encourage it. Easier to work your way down if you need to than up if you want to.

    But on topic, I'd suggest nickels as well. If a nickel plated steel set still makes the C too twangy, maybe try full nickel wrap.
  11. SS Roundwound = bright
    Nickel Roundwound = warm/bright
    Halfround = not so bright
    Flat = not bright/dead

    Try some SIT Powerwounds; they're very nice sounding strings.