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Elixir strings on a P-Bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JRBrown, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I've got a P-bass with rosewood fretboard that I'm trying to find the right strings for. I'm fully aware that string preference varies from person to person (and bass to bass). While every string I've tried sounded very good, they've all sounded different. So far I've tried Steel, Nickel, and Steel flats--all were very good, especially the flats! I want to settle on one set of strings, but I don't want to miss out on what I could be getting from a different type/brand. I want to try out the following but it's getting too expensive. Soooo...

    - Has anyone tried Elixir strings on a P-bass?

    - Has anyone tried tapered strings on a P-bass?

    - Has anyone tried DR Sunbeams on a P-bass?

    - What about B-52 and Firewire strings in general?

    - What are you using on your P-bass and what kind of tone are you are getting?
  2. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I bought a set for my MIA Hot Rodded P but have not yet put them on. I am thinking bout doing it this weekend. I will let you know!
  3. jrock111


    Oct 10, 2000
    I had the Elixers and the Sunbeams on my P at one time. Both are excellent sounding strings. I didn't care the greasy feel of the Elixers, but the Sunbeams are great, worth looking into. My preference is flats right now.
  4. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    I've used many many different strings sets, rounds and flats, on several different Precisions. First, you have to define the sound in your mind that you are looking for. If you like a "pingy" or ringing sound, go for rounds. If you want thump and "in your chest punch" go for flats. In my experience, although others will certainly disagree, I've found that flats are heard better than rounds in a mix of loud drums and guitar, especially if there is a keyboard. Some might call it "cutting through the mix"...but that description sort of implies there is a competitive thing going on between intruments for who can heard loudest. I've spent enough money over the years on strings, I could have bought a new bass instead. I've used Elixirs on both Precisions and Jazzes, and they and DR nickle Lo-Riders are my favorite round wound strings. Tried DR sunbeams, a little bright for me. Some don't like the slick feel of Elixirs, I like the smoothness and the coating takes the "pingy" edge off the strings. I didn't like Thomastik rounds, they didn't seem to have any character to me. I am currently playing in a classic rock band, and we do a couple country tunes, as well as a few blues tunes. Loud but tasteful guitar and drums, and a gutsy female vocalist. I think you will find that strings are only part of the whole equation...change an amp, change a bass, change style of music, and your string preference may be completely different. My hands down favorite setup for the styles of music we play is a Fender Precision strung with Fender 9050 Flatwounds, through an SVT head, through a 4X10 cab (I am too old to move a larger cab around, and the places we play are not arenas!). The sound I want to hear from my bass in our mix is thick, somewhat distinct, with a powerful fundamental, and not too much sustain. Many places I've played with rounds, I can easily hear the highs, but if I turn up to get more punch, all I get is more high roar, not thickness. I not only want to be able to hear the note, I want to feel it as well, and I believe that is what the audience likes as well (isn't bass largely about feel anyway?). I don't mean an ill-defined thud, I mean a thick fundamental note, with short sustain, and a powerful attack. I can hear my notes with Fender flats much better than if I use rounds (of any type). IMO they are also much better for producing that booty-shaking thick punch, than Thom flats. Nothing against Thom flats, I've used them, and they are smooth, articulate and easy to bend, but they simply do not have the thickness and power that I prefer. I've also used D'Addario Chromes and found them to be farily bright, but not as articulate in the lows. Jamerson Labella flats, well, unless you're King Kong, stay away from these muthas. Well I really only addressed three of your questions. I think the bottom line in finding your sound is first think about it...what do you hear in your head when you think of bass tone, and what style of music do you prefer. There is no "does it all with perfection" string set. Elixirs...great strings and my choice if I play rounds, but I rarely play rounds.
  5. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer

    Jul 14, 2002
    Aurora, CO
    I started using Elixers on my '66 P-Bass about 2 years ago and have stuck with them. I get a bit less "zing" from string noise and less brightness, but that suits my tastes. The strongs last a long time.
  6. I use Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats on my P, which has a rosewood board. That gives me a round, mellow tone, as heard on your (stereo)typical Northern Soul single. Very nice. I like the somewhat loose, rubbery, feel of the TI:s as well. Try 'em out, since you like flats. They're quite popular over at the Fender Forum as well.
  7. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Elixir strings are very cool, I've used them on P-basses. They are definitely roundwound-sounding, with slightly rolled-off highs. Still much brighter than half-rounds, though.

    Having used lots of flatwounds, I have returned to rounds. I can get the thump I need from them, along with the roundwound "drive" that I like. The thump comes partially from EQ, partially from the P-bass pickup design, though I agree with Luckydog that Fender 9050's are about the thumpiest strings I've experienced.

    After a lot of experimentation, I've settled on Everly B-52 Rockers. I like these so much that I now sell them on my website. I also like the Everly nickels, but there's a character to the B-52's that I really like, and they have an incredibly clean E string, which can sometimes be difficult on a P-bass.
  8. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    I use the TI Jazz Flats on my P, and I love them.
  9. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    I have Elixir Nanos on my P.... but I didn't like them becuase they were way way too bright for my tastes.
  10. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina

    I've yet to decide between Elixir, TI Jazz flats, and Sunbeams on the P-bass. They all sound different, they all sound good. Seeing as how the P-bass is not the #1 choice for slaping, I may as well make it the best fingerstyle bass I own. Think the flats will do it?

    zombywoof5050: What type of fretboard do you have?
  11. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I put on the TI-Flats this morning. They ain't comin' off...ever.
  12. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Just put the Elixir PolyWeb rounds on my MIA Hotrod P yesterday. Very bright compared to my Slowwounds. Likin them so far...

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