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D'addario Prelude upright bass strings for acoustic bass guitar (ABG)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by SkippyR, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. SkippyR


    Jun 1, 2007
    Hi - sorry if this is an old question, but I got no relevant hits when I searched. Has anybody tried the 1/10th scale D'addario Prelude upright bass strings on an ABG? They would seem to be about the right length and have appropriate tension (~180 lb). Do they give more of an UB sound? They're also triple or more the cost of regular strings, so I thought it's better to ask first before experimenting.

    My Stagg ABG is fretted, which I intend to change. I recently switched from phosphor bronze to GHS tapewound because I wanted less "nasal detuned guitar"-tone and more bass. I'm not sure I like the results.
  2. I've thought about, and came really close to buying a set a couple times now. But the 1/16th set, since I have a 30" scale acoustic.

    Can't help you much, but if you do try it, let us know how it works out! Keep the 'ball' end of the strings in mind too. Sometimes upright strings have much bigger ball ends that wouldn't fit in an acoustic bass, but you could always string the other end through from inside the bass (under the bridge) to get around that.
  3. SkippyR


    Jun 1, 2007
    Thanks for the reply. Didn't know they made a 1/16th. As far as the excess length goes, I'd heard of R. Mottola using D'Addario Helicores in a couple of his project basses (Google liutiao mottola for details on the libellula and tinozza projects). In one case, he improvised a strings stop using a set screw-and-collar assembly. The extra string was simply cut away. Of course, such a beast would have to be strung through the soundhole as you suggest. If such a thing were contemplated, TI Spirocores (1/4th at smallest, 35.6" scale) seem a bit cheaper than Helicores and are far and away more popular with the jazz crowd. If nobody else comments I may try to get a couple of single strings and tune all-A, which would be cheaper but not so informative. If so I'll let you know.
  4. That's what I had thought of doing too, getting some single strings just to see how they would work before spending $$$ on a full set. Thing is though, I'm ideally looking for a flatwound wrapping over a nylon, or gut core. Which I know various orchestral string manufacturers make, but not in any scaled down sizes that would work with my 30" scale acoustic bass (at least, not that I've found yet). I've seen some 1/10 and 1/16 "rope core" strings, but if I understand correctly, I think rope core is made of woven strands of metal somehow, rather than actual string/rope :meh:
  5. SkippyR


    Jun 1, 2007
    You're right, rope core strings have a metal rope.

    This won't get to a bottom E, but have you considered TI Dominant Cello strings, which are available as individual strings? They come in soft (W), normal and strong (ST), with either chrome or silver (A) winding (C and G strings only). Orchestral players mix sets, even metal and steel from different manufacturers, pretty often. Cello has a 27.6" scale, which ought be a good fit for 30" bass. The extra 2.5" vibrating length is worth about a whole step down, and it's possible to get the following tensions. I don't know that I'd risk the 37 lb on a nylon string. Sorry, the best one can do for the 44Hz E is 13.9 lb, but:

    All tension given in lbs.
    bass G (98 Hz)
    143ST______144W________144 or AW_____144ST or A______144AST

    bass D (73.4 Hz)

    bass A (55 Hz)
    145________145ST or AW__145A_________145AST

    To clarify, the tensions listed above are calculated value for the listed strings tuned to normal bass pitches on a 30" scale instrument, rather than TI measured tension on 27.6" cello. Tensions would be somewhat higher on a 34" ABG, in fact the 145AST would be at 30 lbs tuned to A.

    Of course, if you're interested I'd consult with your local orchestral shop to make certain that the strings will fit, and if you have an choice of silver or chrome which string has the better diameter.

    It might be possible to crimp something onto a Dominant bass E string (34.9 at E, 27.8 at D) to shorten it, impregnate with superglue, or just tie it off like a very thick classical string. The orchestral shop technician would be a better resource.
  6. I have thought about Cello strings as well, but Cellos are tuned in 5ths from C, so you'd have to tune down progressively farther with each higher string to get EADG. I'm not sure how the string balance would be then.

    It would be an expensive experiment, but right now I'm pretty happy with the TI Acousticore strings. They just sound better with age :smug:
  7. SkippyR


    Jun 1, 2007
    I clarified the table, which was pretty confusing to start out with. The tensions were not specified values for the strings as strung on a cello tuned a-d-G-C, but reverse engineered values, calculated assuming a 30" scale instrument tuned G-D-A-E (actual frequencies are now listed above). I skipped all of the bass E tensions because I doubt anybody would want a bottom string running at 14 lbs. For those with 34" scale instruments, the tensions would be ~25% higher, so the A would have a reasonable 30 lbs.

    Cello players seem to tolerate strings at 20-25 lbs. tension. Go figure.
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