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Fretless String Advice?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by phnord, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. phnord


    Oct 26, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    I've been playing in a jazz trio setting a bit lately, using my friend's upright-electric -- but as that instrument is going to be inaccessible soon, I'm planning to switch back to my fretless for a bit. That said, I need the right strings for the tone I'm looking for - as the current Roundwound's on it aren't cutting it.

    Here's the deal. It's a Dean Edge 4 Fretless bass. I'm looking to make it sound as much like an upright as possible, to get a smooth jazzy tone and feel out of it.

    I have the following strings available to me for discounted prices (all under $20) as I work at a music store:

    * Fender Light Stainless Steel Flatwounds - $15
    * D'Addario Regular Light Half Rounds - $18
    * D'Addario Regular Light Flatwounds - $19
    * D'Addario Medium Nylon Tapewounds - $21
    * ROTOSOUND Standard Jazz Bass Monel Flatwounds - $23

    Are any of those good strings for the sound I'm looking for? To describe it better, I'm looking for the following elements to my tone, in approximately this order:

    * Woody
    * Punchy (i.e. a strong attack, and a lower sustain level)
    * Very little growl
    * Clarity (nice high end)
    * Smoothness
    * Depth

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! :)
  2. radiowavesurfer


    Jan 10, 2010
    I've used the D'Addario tapes and the Rotosound monel flats on fretless. I'd say the tapes would be pretty close to what you're looking for, and the Rotos wouldn't. (Those Rotos are some of the least flat-sounding flats I've ever played, they have a little bit of roundwound-style growl and clank to them.)

    However, I've not tried the other strings on your list at all.
  3. I've been using D'Addario Half rounds for years on my fretless and I'm quite happy. A bit brighter, tight and focussed then flats, but still pretty warm.
  4. sounds like tapewounds to me. They're pretty much a one trick pony in my opinion, but that one trick they do really well
  5. Dig Wilbur Ware

    Dig Wilbur Ware

    Mar 7, 2003
    +1 on the D'Addario nylon tapes ... with maybe a mixture of their light flatwounds for D and G soloing. I've done something similar with Pyramid tapes and TI flats up top with fairly high action. Enjoy.
  6. phnord


    Oct 26, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks guys - I think I'll go with the tapes! I've never played tapes, but taking a listen to a few samples I think they're pretty much exactly what I'm looking for :)
  7. If the tapes sustain longer then you wish, even though they have the shortest natural sustain I know of on an electric, you may want to add a foam mute under the bridge.
  8. As already stated,a set of tapes will be what the doctor ordered. I prefer the new GHS ones myself. After installing put a piece of foam under the strings beside the bridge roll the fader knob to about 60 to 75% towards the front pup. Add a little reverb from your multi-effects pedal and you're good to go.

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