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Dunlop Super Bright Steel - do they have a long lasting "piano tone"?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Pier_, Nov 22, 2015.


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  1. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    the question is in the title :D

    on one of my basses I need the typical "piano tone" of stainless steel strings, and right now I'm using an old (but still sounding) set of DR Hi Beam 40-95.

    I really like the sound and the feel of Hi Beams, but I wanted to increase the gauge to 40-100 or 45-105, and right now DRs are too expensive (35/38 euros in Europe).

    so I was wondering if the Super Bright Steel are this kind of stainless steel string, that can give me a bright and crispy clear piano tone, without getting dark and muddy after a couple of weeks.

    for example, I really like the Hi Beam tone in this video:



    and in my exprience Hi Beams are the only strings retaining that clear sound after loooong time.

    in the end, it's all a matter of money :D

    DR are expensive, but I know they'll give me the sound I want (they are doing it right now, and I just want to raise the gauge for feeling reasons).

    Dunlops SB are good (I've tried the nickel plated version, but I'm not a big nickel fan), but I don't know if the steel version would give me the same kind of sound and same longevity. they cost just 22 euros, so if they match my taste, it's a big deal, saving 15 euros every time.

    however, I don't want to "bet" 22 euros without some reviews and advices from you guys :p

    so thanks a lot!
     
  2. LowB-90

    LowB-90 Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2014
    USA
    I honestly like them for the day or two..
    But after that they went completly dead..

    Im personally gonna stick to elixirs..my 2 cents.
     
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Yeah they have definitely lasted as long or longer than the DR's I used before. Of course everybody's definition of 'dead' is different, so I guess what I'm saying is..you've got nothing to lose by trying a set!
     
    LowB-90 likes this.
  4. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    Elixir are not mentioned in this topic :p and however, they are the farther thing from "piano tone" string, in my experience... even their stainless steel sounds like nickels...

    yes, that's one of the hardest thing to ask and answer :D usually I consider a string "dead" when I pluck it and it almost don't vibrate, sounds like a rubber band, and usually this thing matches with a lack of intonation.

    usually I can get several months from an Hi Beam set, because they keep the "crisp" response forever, and if I slap the open E, it sounds good. a dead string sounds muted when I slap the open E, for example.

    what about the "piano tone" with steel Dunlops?
     
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    I'd be shocked if you're not blown away by it :)
     
    Pier_ likes this.
  6. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    guess I'll give 'em a try, I'll order them after the reharsal tonight (playing with the Hi Beam), just to be sure that I really need that lovely "piano tone" :p I'm pretty sure of it, but I must be careful.

    I fell in love again with that sound after months of Thomastik Jazz Rounds, really warm and "woody" tone, lightyears from the typical steel round tone. I mounted the old set of DR just to try, and I was blown away by the crispy open E and overall sound, bright and powerful.

    really another world, so I want to restring it with powerful steel rounds in a bigger gauge (slapping the 95 E is not so great).
     
  7. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    NY
    I've been using the Superbright SS for a bit. They do have the dr hi beam piano sound thing going. I haven't had them on long enough to speak to their longevity. The SB nickle's longevity was average for me.
     
  8. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    usually I don't like nickel strings, due to the fact that, IMHO, they die very quickly, or at least sound dull/flat after a few weeks. the only "long lasting" nickel I've ever had are the GHS Boomers, because they are not meant to sound bright, and they have a wonderful and "fat" tone after the first hours of playing, never sounding dull.

    on the other side, stainless steel strings, to me seem to keep a lively and metallic tone for a very long time. I tend to change steel strings only when I want to try something new :D for example, the last set of Rotosound I've had, lasted more than six months, and I changed it for a set of Hi Beams. if it wasn't for the gauge, I'd keep the 40-95 Hi Beam set.

    however, tonight the bass sounded perfectly! wonderful slap sound, clear notes with fingerstyle. guess I'll give the Dunlop a try.
     
  9. The piano tone lasted about 3 weeks for me, but they don't sound as bad as some others at that point in time. My usual string of choice are D'Add Prosteels which last about the same amount of time; they're really bright, but don't really have a piano tone - not like the Dunlops. Very different in sound, and both SS rounds.
     
  10. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    Have you tried Fodera's s/s? They're round-core, also, and known for their longevity. Even their nickels have the 'piano tone' going for a long time.
     
    dannster likes this.
  11. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    no, because here in Italy they are really hard to find, and expensive (30/35 euros). I'm looking for a set that costs less than the DR's, but with the same quality.

    that's interesting, can you explain it deeply?

    for my taste, the most important thing is that they don't sound "dull" and muted when they age. that's why I can keep Hi Beams so long! :D even after months of use, with gigs and reharsal, they still sound clear and focused, with, for example, a wonderful open E with the right amout of crunch.

    I tend to consider "dead" a string when it loses the "focus", it doesn't vibrate freely and the sound is muddy. as long as the string keeps the note clear, it's alive for me, and with some strings it's even better.
     
  12. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    ok, they arrived today, I mounted them and did a complete setup.

    the sound is all there, similar to the Hi Beam

    the tension is somewhat similar, if not identical (the 40-100 were tighter than the DR in the same gauge, for what I've tried)

    the texture is rough, not as smooth as the Hi Beam, but maybe I'm used to the 40-95 gauge, and for what I've seen in many years, small gauges are "smoother" in texture.

    right now they are working good, I'll see how much they last, hoping to get used to the rough texture.
     
  13. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Yeah we went over that last year. I spent about on hour on the phone with Dunlop and got a great explanation on how they are made and why they come out smaller gauges. Basically a .105 starts out as a .105 before winding, but after being compressed it can come out smaller. They are also designed more with a specific feel in mind rather than a number. That's one reason they have such a balanced feel and even tone across all strings.
     
  14. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    that's interesting, but if I want to buy a 105 and you sell me a 100, is not that good... what's the actual gauge of a 40-100 set?
     
  15. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    But it can start out as a .105...there is a lot of magic that happens during the winding process! I never measured the 40-100's, but they feel great with no floppiness. I can measure them though.

    Keep in mind you will never find a set of strings that measure 45, 65, 85, 105 AND have a balanced feel or sound. It's a tradeoff. I really think Dunlop just puts 45-105 on the package so the buyer will know what to compare them to with other brands. It's not really stating what specific gauge they are, it's stating that if you use other 45-105's, these are Dunlops equivalent to that. Might as well call them 'medium' and 'light' if you ask me, but that would confuse most buyers because they have bought strings by the numbers for years, instead of by the feel.

    Strings like SuperBrights and Kalium will hopefully cause players to re-think how they buy strings.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  16. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    the overall gauge says nothing about the tension, because the core makes it... a 105 with a small core has less tension than a 100 with a big core. that's how the "drop tuning" strings work.

    if I buy a 45-65-85-105, I want it to be 45-65-85-105, not 43-61-82-100... it's even a matter of string spacing, noticable for my hands. considering the gauge, it would be right to label this set 40-100, and not 45-105... a 45-105 with "altered gauge" could have been 48-66-87-105 :p I switched from the DR 40-95 to have more tension and bigger gauge, I ended up with almost the same gauge...

    I find that the GHS Boomers are perfectly balanced, and the tension chart says that the differences are small from string to string. Elixir have a stiffer A lighter D, D'Addario a stiffer D and lighter A, and both E and G are differente, so the "overall gauge" doesn't mean specific tension.

    however, this Dunlop are nice, I won't dismount them because of the difference in gauge. sure is that I'll never buy them again, if I'm looking for a 45-105...
     
    Gideon352 likes this.
  17. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Boomers have about a 10lb swing in tension, that's huge! To me, anyway. Makes for a super tight D string and super floppy E string.

    Have you ever looked at Kalium strings? Their gauges may be eye openers for you. Yes, bass players have been buying strings the wrong way all these years :) Gauges mean nothing. It's all about the feel and sound. That's why I hate 45-105 sets with their stiffness and sound all over the place. My favorite Kalium set before switching to SuperBrights was 102, 76, 57, 41.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  18. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    about this I'm 100% on your side :) measuring them I found lots of strange things, like Rotosound showing a 48 G string in the 45-65-80-105 set, and the complete set is 48-63-82-103.
    I've always thought that this set was one of the most balanced, and that it had the "less twangy" G string of all... it's a 48, damn!

    however, I'm not saying that the Dunlops are not balanced! I'm saying that I was expecting a set with the "feel" of a 45-105, not a 40-100 set labeled as a 45-105 :D
    it's easy to say that it's light tension, when you drop the gauge and don't mention it! :roflmao: if it was labeled as a 40-100 or with the actual gauge, I would have looked for some other string in this particular moment, or I would have bought them conscious of the gauge.

    anyway, they are good strings, they sound good, the feel is soft and balanced, and the price is low. if I fall in love and they last long, I'd probably buy them again.

    another beast compared to the nickels... but I have to repeat that nickel strings to me sound so flat and boring... the only nickels I like are the Boomers, because their used sound is so huge and warm.
     
  19. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    Well, that is a better balanced set than what it's labeled as.

    IMO, the Dunlop SB Nickels are anything but "so flat and boring".
     

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