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Electric strings on an acoustic bass?

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

  1. DeepBottom


    Apr 8, 2009
    West of Eden
    Hi all!

    Can I put electric bass strings on an acoustic bass guitar?

    I just bought a used Michael Kelly Dragonfly 4-string (fretless) acoustic/electric bass guitar (3 years old). The current strings are roundwound. However, I don't really like the feel of the strings or the way they seem to grind in to the fretboard. Also, I think flatwounds may produce a better sound for me.

    I wanted to change the strings so I purchased some D'Addario XL Chromes (ECB81), regular light gauge, long scale for it. But I just realized these are electric bass strings and not specifically acoustic ones.

    Will it harm my bass; i.e. - the fretboard, or the neck from too much tension?

  2. MadMan118


    Jan 10, 2008
    Vallejo, CA
    Acoustic strings are usually slightly larger gauge as higher tension is needed to produce better sound. Also acoustic strings are usually an alloy of phosphorus and bronze, stainless steel strings will produce a brighter sound. Electric or acoustic strings: all the same in principle. Though you might want to try a larger gauge.
  3. Despite the stainless steel, D'Addario Chromes won't produce a brighter sound than Phosphor Bronze.

    D'Addario publishes the string tensions for their sets. IIRC, Light Chromes will have less tension than Phosphor Bronze. Take a look at D'Addario's website.
  4. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Yes, you can use them just fine, I always use either Dunlop nickel plated steel rounds, TI Jazz Flats, or Roto flats, on mine, I hate acoustic strings.
  5. I use GHS Precision Flats on both my ABGs without any ill effects. I actually prefer them to bronze strings, which I find have too much finger noise and have that overtly nasal-y sound.
    I have also used D'Addario Chromes, GHS Brite Flats, LaBella and Fender Tapewounds and even once GHS Compressors, which were horrible for the purpose. But, most of them were quite good and had their benefits to the sound.
    Since most ABGs I have ever owned or played didn't have enough volume to play in any acoustic setting other than with just one acoustic guitar, I am not concerned with the lack of volume acoustically when compared with PB strings.
    Hope you get it sorted out soon.

  6. DeepBottom


    Apr 8, 2009
    West of Eden
    Thanks for all the input folks. I decided to go with the Chromes.

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