DR Sunbeams or Hi Beams for Fretless?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Lorenzop, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Lorenzop


    Oct 23, 2012
    I'm having a hard time deciding.
    Forum talk seems to praise much the Sunbeams as fretless strings, as does DR but I have a hi beans strung on my normal bass and really like them.
    Plus, didn't Jacob and Pino ;) use regular stainless steel round wounds, as opposed to Nickels??

    Any body have any sound clips? Ultimately I'd like to chose the ones that will fit better in a mix, especially when processed by choruses, reverbs, and what not.

  2. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I don't have clips, but Sunbeams are my go-to round wounds. That said, I use light gauge Sadowsky flats on my Squier fretless (I tried the Sunbeams and just didn't like the sound on that particular bass) and I like the stock Pedulla nickels rounds on my Pentabuzz so much I've had no reason to try anything else.

    What kind of bass/pick ups do you have? Are you going for the Jaco tone or something else?
  3. Lorenzop


    Oct 23, 2012
    Ahhh the Pedulla...THAT'S my kind if tone I'd say. Absolutely love that bass, one day I'll have one!

    Well I'd say the Jacob tone is my starting point. But good to know Pedulla has nickels. I guess the Rotosound 66 are much "colder" metallic sounding than sunbeams but still the Sunbeams have a nice growl that reminds me of Jaco tone. What do you think?
  4. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    I'm a big fan of the hi-beams as well. I've been going on a string hunt for my basses. I'll buy a set and then play and record them for about 4 minutes. A month later, I buy new strings and record them until I set up a lot of tracks that I can contrast and compare different strings. Sometimes, your first impression or memory of them is not what the recording indicates about their tone! So I would recommend trying this out with both the Hi-Beams and the Sun Beams and whatever other strings you like and see what you like best.

    Sure, Jaco used Rotosound stainless steel roundwounds, and I love that sound too, but you gotta find what works best for you. I've been playing Rotos since the 80's and I can tell you right now those strings sound different today then they did back when Jaco played them. Rotosounds seemed to change in some way back in the 90's. That's why I prefer Hi Beams today, they sound more like how I felt Rotos used to sound.
    trothwell and akori like this.
  5. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    I love that beautiful singing fretless tone and I just switched from DR Hi Beams to D'Addario Prosteels and this is the best my bass has ever sounded, had the strings on here for over a week to see if it stays this way and it has. They sound better and last longer than Hi Beams on my fretless. (6 string, Ebony fingerboard, Bartolini Classic Bass pickups / Bartolini NTMB preamp)
  6. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Dry unprepared recording of week+ old Prosteels on my fretless, play everything 3 times...first time with both pickups, second time with bridge, third time with neck.

    Using Boss GT-100 with a very neutral sound with a mix of the dry and cab emulation.

  7. akori


    Oct 18, 2007
    JacoTone: this is a thread from the crypt, but I concur wholeheartedly that Roto-Sound swing bass steel rounds (THE string of the 80s) went through changes in tone...I moved away from them and went on a long frustrating quest 'til I found DR...fantastic. Then Thomastik...unearthly!
  8. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Yeah, I don't know what happened, maybe they changed something with how they make them or a different composition or something, but they don't seem as bright and brilliant now like they did back then.
    akori likes this.
  9. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Has anyone A/B'd Sunbeams vs Hibeams on a fretless in terms of fingerboard wear? It's all in the fingers, I understand, but I'm wondering the hibeams will cause more grooving over time or not since both are so smooth as far as roundwounds go.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I recently moved over to the new DR Pure Blues as my string of choice when I want rounds. I haven't tried them on fretless yet. But as a former Sunbeams user, I have no doubt DR has another winner with the Pure Blues line.

    FWIW I still prefer GHS Pressurewounds for fretless. They're a nice compromise between creamy chocolate and peppermint bright. If you don't want super hot sizzle - but still want "mwah" this GHS set will get you there. YMMV
    Mystic Michael likes this.
  11. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Actually I have. I used the Sunbeams on a fretless Carvin for awhile and became alarmed at the amount of fretboard wear. I switched to the Hi Beams and was horrified at how much faster I grooved up the wood.

    Now I just stick with the flats.
  12. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    What kind of wood is your fingerboard made of? My ebony board on my Warwick fretless has had Hi-Beams for 8 years with just a bit of wear. Yeah the strings leave marks but it hardly diminishes the function.
  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I sort of split the difference between Sunbeams and Hi-Beams: All my fretless basses (all Carvins) wear FatBeams. They're brighter than Sunbeams, but not quite as bright as Hi-Beams. Though the difference is subtle at best, I believe the Hi-Beams have slightly more high midrange and the FatBeams slightly more low midrange. For my preferred sound, low midrange is where it's at for fretless, so FatBeams it is.

    FWIW, all my fingerboards have been epoxied, so for all intents and purposes, wear and tear is a non-issue.