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DR Fat Beams Break In????

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by LilRay, Apr 8, 2009.


  1. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    On average how long does it take for fat beams to break in? These are my first Stainless strings, I've always used nickel.
    Do all stainless strings chew your fingers? Put a set on and played them for about fifteen minutes, all my callouses are gone?
    What Gives?:eyebrow:

    Thanks,
    God Bless, Ray
     
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Two separate questions. Here are my IMO answers:

    1) Feel. The Hi Beams/Fat Beams are the smoothest, most nickel feeling stainless steel strings. If they are bothering your fingers, no offense, but you aren't playing enough:D After the initial bleeding fingers when I first started playing (35 years ago!!!!), the idea that any string would result in 'finger issues' doesn't make much sense to me. Even if you are a part timer, playing only a few gigs a month and practicing a couple hours a week, finger calluses should no longer be an issue. If they are... play more:)


    2) Break-in. If you mean that the steels sound much brighter than the nickels you are used to, well, that's the point!!!! Most stainless steel roundwounds, including the DR's, will lose that initial stainless steel sizzle after about 2-4 hours of hard playing (which is why Marcus Miller changes strings after every gig, from what I understand). They will then stay bright for quite a long time. If that extra brightness of stainless steel is not your thing, you can always go back to nickels. I guess one more point on that is that it is amazing how much upper mid and treble response you need to translate those frequencies out into the audience. If they sound 20% too bright too you, IMO and IME the sound out in the audience will be perfect:bassist:
     
  3. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    KJung,

    Thanks for the reply. The truth is your probably right on all counts. I don't play often enough, though I think most of us would say that. I played a long set last night and that's probably when my callouses got eaten. The strings sound great , They just have a rougher feel than the sunbeams I replaced with the fat beams. I'm digging the difference between them tonally though. After 18 years of playing with the same strings a month or so back I tried DR. I was literally shocked at the difference.

    Thanks again,

    God Bless, Ray
     
  4. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    You hadn't changed your strings in 18 years? :eek: ;)

    It's interesting because when I was young and broke my choice of strings was easy - "just gimmie the cheapest set you've got" so it really was shocking as I got older to realize how much strings impacted the sound of a bass. And even more surprising that strings I loved on one bass were completely wrong for another. Currently I've got basses strung up with SITs, Sunbeams, SS Slinkies, DR Flats and TI Jazz Flats. It's about finding the right voice for each instrument.

    Anyway, back to your topic, I've found that stainless strings both go dead faster and are bit rougher on your fingers - though as KJung points out that should have very little effect if you're playing a lot. But if that bright, cutting tone is what you want, they're the only way to go.
     
  5. solomon707

    solomon707

    Dec 12, 2007
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Sounds like a wiring issue.

    Seriously though, I have a bass with Sunbeams and a bass with Fat Beams. The Sunbeams are definitely more mellow sounding, but the Fat Beams do break in a little (and a lot of times you can tame them with your EQ without losing too much of their awesome punch). A few good hour+ practice sessions a week and your fingers will adapt to stainless strings.
     
  6. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Of course the irony of this whole thread is that Marcus Miller never lets his strings break in. My understanding is that he puts on a new set before every gig.
     
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I'd do the same thing if I could afford to do it! Nothing like that first 3 hours of zingy bliss for me:D
     
  8. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Not me. Well, I play in a RHCP tribute and so I have one bass that I only play for gigs to keep the strings bright as long as possible, but for my personal tastes, I like broken in nickels a LOT more than new SS strings.

    Different strokes.
     
  9. dhomer

    dhomer Commercial User

    Apr 9, 2009
    Hickory Corners, MI
    Owner, Gigmaster Soundworks, Auth. greenboy designs builder, MI
    Marcus changes'em every night... that explains it... A few years back I had a set of Fat Beams on my fiver. Bar none (fresh) the best sounding strings I've ever played. Two months later they lost all semblance of tone, and when they went south, it wasn't pretty... Could not justify $pending $40 every couple months for strings.. Found the D'Addario ProSteels to be a longer lasting approximation. Recently the GC salesman convinced me to part w/$50+ for a set of Cleartones.. Check back with me in a year...
     
  10. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member


    I actually find the Hi Beams/Fat Beams to be among the longest lasting stainless steel roundwounds. If you like a bright, crisp tone, the price you pay is changing strings relatively often. Back in the day, I would get, at MOST, 5 gigs per set of Rotosounds prior to them going down. Now, with the Hi Beams, while they lose that initial uber sizzle like every other string in the universe after the first few hours, they stay wonderfully full and bright for MUCH longer, and I now can go a couple of months without changing strings.

    You make a couple of months sound like it's a drag. For those of us who have been using stainless steel rounds since almost the beginning, finding a string that can stay bright and alive for 15-20 gigs over a two month period is literally a miracle:bassist::hyper:
     
  11. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    on my main fretted, I typically change strings every eight hours. This is good for me....I like lively strings. I use DR exclusively.

    DR sent me a prototype set two weeks ago for testing....stainless.

    These are non-coated and are supposed to last an extended period. I'm carefully logging my hours on the strings. So far, fourteen hours and they still sound new.

    ...this, after HARD, torture test type playing.

    I'll update further if anyone is interested.
     
  12. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Put me on the list. If they last even longer than the Hi Beams, this would be a miracle and a wonderful thing IMO!
     
  13. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    will do.

    So far, they are lasting longer than Hi Beams for me. No BS....this is an entirely "different" type of string..... DR is on to something.

    It is so different, that once I'm done with the set, I have to send it back to Mark. They're keeping "control" of the sets in the field and they don't want somebody to reverse engineer the strings. :bag:

    PS- since you like Hi Beams, you'll like the flex index on this new set.
     
  14. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member


    VERY cool! I'll be on the lookout for these if they introduce them.
     
  15. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    Hasbeen, Keep me posted as well. I'm up for trying new stuff.

    Thanks Guys,
    God Bless, Ray
     
  16. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    You know I keep relearning this. My best live sounds seem to come from a stage sound that feels "too bright".

    I will string up a bass with flats and get all giddy practicing by myself. But I get to practice and start playing with a drummer and the all of a sudden its not getting thru.

    I have been running nickels on my RV5 for the last four months. After hearing some board recordings I am going back to steels. I miss the crisp focus.
     
  17. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 It's rare that I hear a bassist live, either with backline only or through front of house and think... man, I wish he/she had more bottom. I literally can't remember a situation like that. It's always 'I wish I could hear the notes articulate better', or, in the case of guys who use J Basses and like to slap a bit, it's mostly 'I wish I could hear ANYTHING above 500 hz and at least some note definition'.

    People, carpet, drapes, etc. really tend to 'darken' the treble response by sucking those frequencies up, and cymbals and keys tend to mask that 1K+ brightness (much less 5K sizzle) of bass guitars. IMO, most who talk about what a wonderful, fat tone they have are hearing themselves 4 feet from the amp, and don't realize that the audience is hearing mostly 500hz and under 'wool' many times.

    Edit: Of course, if you are playing in a near empty room with hardwood floors and a high ceiling with no drapes or carpets and brick walls, it's a whole different thing, with many bassists sounding overly boomy and overly clicky with not enough mid punch.
     
  18. dhomer

    dhomer Commercial User

    Apr 9, 2009
    Hickory Corners, MI
    Owner, Gigmaster Soundworks, Auth. greenboy designs builder, MI
    Generally I expect a set of strings to last me 6-8 months. I'm usually gigging a couple weekends a month. When I have to start adding highs on the amp its time. I'm not really looking for that snap and sizzle, but rather a fatter, well defined sound. The Fat Beams deliver that in spades, best B-string definition I've ever heard. The Pro Steels are close sonically, better on the budget, and last up to a year. I don't make enough money at this to justify stocking a supply of the Fat Beams. If these Cleartones I have now deliver to expectations, I may have a new favorite..
     
  19. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I heard that Marcus changes his strings after every 3 to 5 shows because the pH in his sweat isn't all that corrosive.
     
  20. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution

    Yes....that's the word.
     

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