D'Addario Information Thread

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by madbassplaya, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I know a lot of people do not like D'Addario strings because they are very affordable, but in the past few weeks I have settled on D'Addario as my brand of string.

    This thread is intended for people seeking out information about D'Addario strings, so please, lets avoid the mindless bashing.

    I've played several other brands including: Sadowsky, GHS, Warwick, Labella, Carvin, Dunlop, SIT, Peavey, Elixir, DR, Dean Markley, Fender, Ernie Ball, Hartke and Thomastik Infields to name a few. Some of these sets were great strings and I would use again, but there is a method to my madness. Here are the reasons I am choosing D'Addario:

    1. They are affordable! I can get a 2 pack of rounds for 25 bucks or a set of flats for about the same. Being a graduate student that cannot work full time anymore sucks, but their prices do not!

    2. They cover everything! I want a string brand that will meet all my needs. D'Addario makes Nickel and stainless rounds as well as flats, half rounds, and nylon strings. They've got it all!

    3. Availability! Most music stores carry this brand, so if I need some quick, they are accessible.

    4. Tone! As stated before, D'Addario's are affordable, but you get a solid string with a great tone!

    5. Longevity! A set of Nickels last no less than other string manufacturers for the most part!

    Another reason to use D'Addario is because they have been around forever and many professionals use them as well. I know I know, they get paid to, but they still use them and are used on many of the recordings that we love!

    Here are some clips of artists who endorse D'Addario:

    Justin Meldel-Johnson Chromes

    Justin Meldel-Johnson-Half Rounds

    Justin Meldel-Johnson-XL's

    Jayme Lewis

    Chris Chaney-Chromes

    Bryan Beller-Pro Steels

    Severo Jornacion-EXP's

    Gary Willis-EXP's

    John Patitucci

    Jimmy Haslip-Pro Steels
    gsgbass likes this.
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    I tried D'Addario....I wanted to like them so bad because of some of your same reasons...but just couldn't get used to the higher tension...and even worse, the uneven tension. Each string has a huge difference in tension and it just bugged me.

    I eventually found Dunlops, which are even cheaper ($18 for two sets when they are on sale...so just stock up), have more even tension, and they have a much fuller sound than D'Addario.

    The only thing I've found better than Dunlops is Curt Mangans. They cost a bit more, but they are worth it....especially on my G&L. On other basses I didn't notice a huge difference over Dunlops, but man for some reason my G&L brings out the magic of those strings. I keep Dunlops on everything else though...can't beat the price to quality ratio!

    But as always, there is no right answer. What works for me might not work for you :)
  3. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Hmmm,... I suppose "a lot" of people do not like D'addarios. But, they ARE the best selling string brand worldwide. So, it goes to figure that possibly more people like them then don't?
  4. I have used or tried just about every string out there and I have switched to these:


    I think these are the best sounding and playing strings for a passive Jazz Bass tuned to standard pitch.

    Also, you can buy them in a twin pack and save some $.
    villis likes this.
  5. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I don't feel the need to settle on a single brand, but, even so, your reasons for going with D'Addario make sense. I love Chromes, and installed a set on my new G&L JB yesterday. They sound great, as they did on a fretless P I had for awhile.

    The XL rounds are, IMO, good, middle of the road nickel rounds. They're nothing special, but get the job done just fine, so I understand why folks use them. They're like the Toyota Camry of strings: reliable and high quality, but not exciting. I've tried them on a couple of basses, both of which I thought sounded more lively with other strings. For rounds, I prefer Fenders (old version), GHS Boomers, Dean Markley Blue Steels, and some DR types. The XL's do last much longer than Boomers, which makes them a better value.

    Edit: Forgot to mention I exclusively use D'Addario XL's on my Strats. Other than possibly Dean Markleys, they are the best of several brands I've tried.
  6. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I totally see your point. But on this forum I have gotten a lot of mixed and bad reviews about their bass strings. Everyone always recommends a more expensive brand when I was looking for opinions on them.

    Guitar players on the other hand seem to love them.

    I think bassist sometimes hear with their wallets rather than their ears. ;)

    Crazy you commented about putting Chromes on your G&L JB because I did the same thing this past week. Totally love the tone coming out of it.

    The XL's are a good string to me. They last a while and I really like how they settle in after about a week of playing.
  7. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I love XL's! Most of my colleagues and friends do too. I've been given strings from all of the 'big' companies & always come back to D'ddarios. Probably 90% of the professional bassists I know use primarily XL's.

    That's not to say that I don't like other strings. The only strings I like on my fretless maple P are Rotosound Monel flats. I've also gotten great results that I liked from Dean Markley, DR, ErnieBall, even Black Diamond!

    XL's are no "middle-of-the-road" string! At least not in terms of quality, tone and playability. They may be ubiquitous, but perhaps that ubiquity is warranted?
    villis likes this.
  8. dj150888


    Feb 25, 2008
    Belfast, Ireland
    I've been rocking some Pro Steels on my Warwick at the minute. I tried them because I was able to get a .145 gauge. I'm currently pretty happy with them, though they lost that REALLY fresh sound pretty quickly, they seem to settle around a nice, still bright, sound for quite a while.
    villis likes this.
  9. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    Thanks for your comments. I agree, Xl's are great strings and like I said before, they settle in very nicely.

    I stayed away from D'Addario for the longest time because they were affordable and readily available and I saw that as cheap, now I see it as resourceful! ;)
  10. adivin


    Jul 9, 2009
    New Orleans, LA
    I don't think XLs have high tension at all. I love their feel. Less tension then DR Sumbeams.

  11. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    I'm lucky enough to know someone who knows someone who can hook me up with D'addarios at a really good price :). They're what they string modulus basses with from the factory, so that's what I've been keeping on my modulus. That and they make 35 inch scale strings, which in my area are hard to come by. I know Could order different brands, but D'addario nickel rounds just work for me. Good sound, good longevity, good price.
  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

  13. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    It's economy of scale. D'addario sells more strings, so they can afford a tighter margin = cheaper prices.

    Then, consider that there are FAR less string-making facilities than there are brands! It's difficult to get reliable information, but I usually hear the # 4-5 mentioned as to the number of factories making 90% of the strings sold.

    I'd definitely expect more complaints about the bigger-selling brands too. Again, it's a function of scale. Let's say that 1,000 sets of XL's are sold for every 50 sets of DR's (total guestimate on my part, but an educated one). You'd expect maybe 1 complaint over the 50 sets of DR's (either legitimate complaint or interweb trash-talk), but the D'addario complaints would likely be on a factor of 10 or so, right?

    The good news is that there are plenty of choices for everybody! :) As a longtime D'addario endorser, i 'm happy to have a relationship with a company whose product I love & can rely on, while feeling entirely comfortable recommending their strings! But, at the same time, I'd never disparage most of the other string brands that I've used. With the exception of one brand (which will go unmentioned) who sent me 10 sets of wildly varying quality and even gauge accuracy, all of the string brands I've used have been remarkably consistent & had their own merits. Even strings that I didn't particularly like myself - I could see others getting great value from!

    As with any other commercial product, remember that the law of diminishing returns often applies regarding price as well. Paying double for a string doesn't necessarily mean that you get a 100% better string! You might really only get 20% 'better' performance (or whatever). Of course, for some, that 20% is well worth it & I totally support that train of thought.

    Bottom line? Find a string you like & use it! It's always good to try others from time to time to see what else is out there. But don't let chat-room anecdotes make you feel you're wrong about a choice.
  14. CharlieC

    CharlieC Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    New York, NY
    I love and use Ernie Ball Slinky's for my basses, however I like D'Addario strings better, but find that their string sets do not fit properly on through-the-body bridges on 34" scale basses like my ubiquitous 2009 Fender MIA Jazz.

    Strung through the body, D'Addario's tapering on the nut-side of the E + A strings usually begins slightly before or just inside the nut itself, which does not sit well with me :-(

    IMHO, D'Addario's are brighter, smoother feeling, more tonally balanced, last a little longer, and cost me $25 for 2 sets

    The Slinky's are a little rougher, a little less tonally balanced, last less as long, and cost me $30 for 2 sets -- but they fit properly on through-the-body bridges! (Winner)

    I am aware that D'Addario makes longer scale strings, but I will wager that they will be too long and the tapering will be on the peg, and even worse, no killer discounts usually exist for these sets

    If only D'Addario begin tapering at the nut-side another 1/2" on the E + A strings then I would not have to settle :)

  15. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I use Xl-5 170 long scale on my MIA Precision Deluxe through-the-body & they fit perfectly. I also used to use regular XL 170 long scale on my MIA Jazz Deluxe through-the-body with no issue.

    In fact, here is a pic of how the tapering lays when strung through-the-body on my 5'er (the 'A' string taper is inside the string retainer, not pictured):

  16. lareamond


    Nov 16, 2010
    I use D'Addario strings exclusively. When I was a gui****, I used their EXL120s. Best strings ever. Rarely ever had a break, they held a tune, were really bright, and a single set lasted me a long time before they went "dead." Usually, the strings would rust on the guitar before they lost their tone.

    My main playing bass is strung with Chromes. ECB82s if anyone's interested. I like them, but they took awhile to get broken in. The first few weeks was constant retuning, but once they got broken in and stopped stretching too much, they sound great.

    I was concerned with the taper at first. I have a top-loading bridge, and when they were first put on, the silk didn't even stretch all the way past the nut. I have a 34" scale, 24 fret bass, and these strings were for a 34" scale. After the strings got broken in, the silks extended past the nut.

    I did try to venture out of my D'Addario "safe zone" and bought Ernie Ball Super Slinkys (45-100) and I wasn't even done setting the neck on the bass I put them on. The strings were not at full tension, and the E string snapped while the bass was on the stand at the tuning post of all places (no I didn't overwrap). I wasn't impressed at all.
  17. CharlieC

    CharlieC Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2010
    New York, NY
    Thanks for the picture!

    I believe you on your 5'er, but when I slap a set of EXL165 Long Scale on mine, the tapering on the E + A is how I described (they fall short of the nut.) Perhaps my saddles are pulled back more than yours due to intonation requirements on my particular instrument?

    I tried 2 different sets just in case there was an anomaly with the first set, same result.

    I even tried the EXL165's on my string-through 34" Schecter and had slightly worse results as that body is a little thicker.

    The Ernie Ball Slinky's do not exhibit this on both of those basses as EB extends their taper lengths another 3/4", I actually took a tape measure to virgin E + A strings to see why this was.

    Again, I love the D'Addario's, and they will remain the string of choice on my top-load-only Spector :)

  18. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    played a bass Sunday that had been strung wit SIT strings before it was shipped to me and realized that I love D'Addarios more than I thought! :)
    villis likes this.
  19. brickerenator


    May 12, 2010
    Phosphor Bronze's on my acoustic guitar, crispy like an apple

    Chrome flats on my P.
  20. Used to play the slightly heavier gauge nickelwounds, moved to ernie nalls, now I play DR Neons. D'addarios are ok IMO, but go dull too soon.