Help Me Decide on New Strings for my P-bass

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by KYJazzy, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. KYJazzy


    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    I've been through a number of strings on my P-bass. Here's what I'm looking for (basically things that bring out the best in a P):

    Great low-end fundamental
    Some growl at the bottom
    A decent slap tone

    I'll probably go with a .100-.45 set. From what I've read all of the above can be accomplished with DR Sunbeams but want to be absolutely sure before plunking down money. Definitely think I want nickels.

    Strings I've had in past but had qualms:

    Fender 7150s (low output, kind of a boring tone to me)
    D'Addario Chromes (nice strings, just flatwounds. want rounds)
    TI Jazz rounds (these are also great strings. but I'm tired of playing my P-bass like I'm going to break it, and not good for slap really)
    Fender Superbass (lack in warmth to my ears, otherwise these are pretty good too)
    elixirs (not warm enough as well, love the feel though and good tone when worn in)

    in other words I feel like I've had a bunch of strings that come close to what I want but none have really nailed it. I've never had a pack of DRs and know there's a lot of people who swear by them here. Just wondering if the Sunbeams will do what I want. Or maybe someone can open my eyes to another string brand....

    Also if someone can clarify what will be the difference between roundcore and hexcore. Looking at DR Nickel Lo riders too...I'd be interested to hear if someone has played both Nickel Lo Riders and Sunbeams, and what they prefer.
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Except for the "slap", I was gonna suggest trying a set of flats.
  3. KPAX

    KPAX Inactive

    Mar 22, 2005
    Those terms are subjective but I'd recommend Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky (orange pack, nickel steel) to anyone who uses roundwounds.
    They have great even, focused tone with good grind but not brittle. That's probably about as subjective as anything else but I've tried a lot and love the EB's. They're pretty inexpensive too.
  4. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Based on your criteria, I would say the Fender 7250s, but you don't care for those.

    I would now say Sunbeams, or GHS Boomers.
  5. If your bass has the string-through bridge like mine, I suggest Fender Super Bass 8250s- the E is taper wound at the bridge. Gauges 45-110. I like 'em a lot on my P.
    If not string through, you might like 7250s. Both sets are Nickel plated steel.

    Round cores(which these have) feel a bit looser than hex cores. Normally I wouldn't like a .110, but it's great with the soft tension.

    DR Sunbeams are great also, I use them on my Jazz. Also round core.
  6. KYJazzy


    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    Thanks for the input guys. Rereading over my post I am a little all over the place. Let me rephrase some main points I'm looking for in strings.

    1. Love the feel of elixirs and closer to that, the better.
    2. The tone of 7/8250's is great, but can I get warmer?
    3. I want the strings to bring out the full sonic range of my bass - Rich low fundamentals. Warm/clear highs depending on tone knob.
    4. I like lower tension more than high. (.100-.80-.65.45) is perfect to me.
    5. would love it to be as even sounding as possible from A to D string (i.e. the P-bass pickup design to be negligible)

    I'm really wondering if any strings fit this exact criteria. What about Sadowsky nickel strings if anyone can speak from experience. Also was considering DR Nickel Lo-riders, but don't know if they're going to give me enough warmth.

    In response to the flats post, yeah it does kind of sound like I just want flats, heh, but I like versatility and clarity response to tone knob.

  7. KYJazzy


    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    I think EB strings are of one of the most interesting minorities on here. I hear such mixed reviews about them that I've never given them a shot. When I think EB I think "ballsy" and grindy tone, so associate that with the strings and assume its not what I want. But I'm completely ignorant when it comes to them in all honesty.

    I THINK I want Sunbeams, but I read in another thread similar to mine that they don't have good low-mids? which is definitely not what I want - this is a P-bass after all.
  8. Have you tried the classic Rotosound RS66LD - .45 - .105.? I find they provide:

    Great low-end fundamental
    Some growl at the bottom
    A decent slap tone
  9. Nonsense. They have a very balanced tone. A little(too?) bright at first but they settle down quickly, then remain in a nice zone for awhile.
    I can't help but say it again- your description of what you're after sounds like 7/8250 territory. If you feel they aren't warm enough, you'll need to change something else IMO- they're probably about as warm as rounds get. I find I need to dial back the tone knob on my bass, just a little, to get in the zone with these.
  10. KYJazzy


    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    Thanks again for the reply!

    FWIW, you could be right...the 8250's that came on my P-bass impressed me when I first got it. But the gauge is a too thick for my taste. The bass could use an appropriate setup for those strings as well I think. Maybe all I need is a lighter gauge? Feel is also very important to me as it affects playability so Sunbeams attract because of the supposed softness. Of course a lighter gauge 8250 would do that as well. If Elixirs didn't have such a bright piano clarity and were warmer they'd be my favorite strings.
  11. p-bass

    p-bass Guest

    Feb 17, 2008
    Nickel Plated Roundwound (DR,D'addario,Ernie Ball,GHS,Fender,Ect.) + Tone Control
  12. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Sunbeams or LoRiders depending on how much tension you prefer.
  13. KYJazzy


    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    well which one has the smoothest/slickest feel?
  14. Don't know about the others, but the D'addarios and DR's are very smooth- smoother than the Fenders, anyway.
  15. I believe the 'Sunbeams' will help you reach your tone goal...

    they warm up really nice yet stay bright-ish with no zing
    IMO they age very well
  16. Flats, TI jazz flats or GHS precisions for more thump
    I really dig my TI's, I can get warm & thick with solid fundamentals and even slappy, very even up the fret board
    they do take a while to really break in and they have low tension, killer strings, the string to string balance is great...

    P-bass/TI flats/.1 cap = awesome combination
  17. precision punk

    precision punk

    Mar 15, 2009
    ernie ball super slinkys are my fav they are warm yet have a nice punch which is perfect for the p bass. i use em on my 08 Am st p bass with dimarzio model p's and they are perfect for me. they are also 20 bux and last a good amount of time
  18. KYJazzy


    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    Thanks for your 83 P bass has Model P's also and slinkys are cheap enough to give a whirl. Maybe I will try these first.

    Still interested in trying Sunbeams. Also I know absolutely nothing about GHS strings but I think a lot of people here use them. All string companies use the same generic terms to describe their strings (really no other way tho..) but you never have any idea until you try them. Anyway I'm searching for great feel here.

    I'm aware of TI jazz flats but dont think I wanna go flats. I had Jazz rounds on the p bass and they are GREAT strings, but I don't think they're adaquate in a loud band setting. Maybe for smaller combo jazz stuff. I went with the jazz rounds because they are REALLY warm and mellow, enough for me without going to flats, and can still growl a bit.

    So I'm looking at super slinkys and sunbeams right now. Oh and I put my 8250's back on - yeah the strings are just too heavy gauge for my liking. 7250s 100-45 might be a great middle ground, but they are a bit rougher than I'd like as well.

    seems kind of lame to be this picky about strings, but there's so many brands out there, we can afford to be.
  19. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Also, chiming in with Thanks!

    This thread helped another beginner, here!
  20. DavePlaysBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    Your description is pretty much where I am trying to head these days. Nickel rounds are where I am settling, at least for now, after a lot of experimentation with steels and flats. On my 50's P with maple board, I love the 7250MLs (45-100). They seem to minimize the phase change when going from the A to D which I believe is due to the 80 A and 65 D. They are punchy as hell. And for rounds I think they are fairly warm. Rolling some tone might help. I have the 0.1uF on the tone control which I recommend. Also, on my P bass, I think it sounds warmer and better with vintage style bridge. I put heavey Gotoh 201 on it for a while and then pulled it off. And pup wise, I prefer the Fender 62 to the Nordstrand NP4.

    One other suggestion that I have no experience with are compression wound and ground wound. Ken Smith and GHS have products in the realm that might be interesting to check out.