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History of bass guitar strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Precisionb87, Jul 24, 2011.


  1. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    petrus61 likes this.
  2. Hmmmm.... interesting. They dont mention anything about the spelling, but I used to own a Jazz Bass with the spelling Squire, and in the early 90s I came across a couple of others. Maybe they were knockoffs, but they had the "by Fender" on the headstock, so I doubt it.
    The plot thickens.
     
  3. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    That's news to me! Do you have any evidence of this, I'm very curious.
     
  4. Read Knuckle Head's link.
     
  5. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    I did. No mention of a different spelling and I've never seen it myself (doesn't mean they don't exist, of course). I have played a few JV and SQ Squiers but they all had the current spelling.
     
  6. I thought you meant the Japanese part. Sorry.
     
  7. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I was a Fender dealer from '77 - '88. Never saw anything from Fender spelled "Squire", never. The first MIJ Fender products (excellent instruments BTW, all of them) were the Squier Standards.

    John
     
  8. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Seattle
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Sorry for the mis-spelling . . .
     
  9. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    You spelled it correctly!
     
  10. onestring

    onestring

    Aug 25, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I'm 89% certain I saw a D'Addario brochure a few years back with a timeline in it claiming that they were the first with roundwound bass string. I remember it because it seemed counter to the Dano and Roto stories....

    And haven't bass piano strings always been roundwound?
     
  11. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Yes, but piano string were made out of various brass, aluminum, and steel combinations.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, iron too.
     
  12. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I am reviving this zombie thread because I was long confused by the claim I have read on TB and elsewhere that Rotosound's were the first round wound bass string, and began in '66.

    This claim bothered me, because I know I played on round wounds in '63 on a Danelectro (Silvertone) dolphin nose, and again later in '64 on a Kay. Reading the online history of D'Addario and Rotosound confirms that D'addario was winding round wound bass strings by the early '60s, too. I might add that long ago, I even encountered round wounds on old cheap uprights, too.

    Entwistle got involved with James How of Rotosound in '66 and consulted about improving an existing string line, and that is when their signature Swing bass strings got going.

    Still a murky picture with a lot of corporate hype mixed in.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
  13. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    I think Rotosound made the first aftermarket round wounds that popularized the string type, but by all accounts you are correct that Dano and D'Addario had rounds available in the early '60s.

    Rotosound remains purposely vague in their marketing to make it seem like they invented rounds, without actually lying about it.

    But they deserve the credit for creating the string with THE sound, still unmatched IMO.
     
    Leo Comerford likes this.
  14. Pier_

    Pier_

    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    Danelectro used them, and that's why Entwistle decided to use round strings. he had some Danelectro basses and he loved that tone, but there were any producer selling them (it's said that he bought various Danelectros, because in changed bass instead of strings, not having roundwounds...).

    in the Swing66 page on the Rotosound site you can read this:

    The John Entwistle connection 1966

    “It was in 1966 and I was looking for that Danelectro sound again. I tried everybody’s strings but the E and the A’s just didn’t work. It was the same with Rotosound but there was something about them that was almost there but not quite. To solve the problem I got in touch with James How and told him his D and G strings were great but the E and A didn’t vibrate properly.

    He told me to take my bass along to Rotosound and have some strings made until they got it right. After a couple of hours, we realised that the problem wasn’t in the wire winding, but in the core of the string. You could see that the strings vibrated in a big circle and that was wrong; the core needed to be thicker.

    We also made the overall gauges a bit heavier and they sent me away with 12 sets to use. A couple of days later they called and asked if I objected to them putting my name to the strings and selling them commercially. I told them I didn’t mind as long as they kept me supplied with free strings!

    But then we had to do the same with medium and short scale strings because I had loads of different basses by then. Those strings, the RS 66 sets, were the first that vibrated properly other than the Danelectros.”
     
  15. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Well, there we have it. I saw that, too. IIRC, Entwistle had gone to James How (then owner of what is now Rotosound) because he couldn't get replacement strings for his Danelectro basses, and in fact used to buy more of those instruments just to get one with a complete set of strings!
     
  16. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    They (Rotosound) certainly got distribution of round wounds going full steam internationally. I think it was because they saw a good business opportunity with Entwistle, and took it. There are lots of pictures from the mid-sixties of rotosound executives and english pop stars. The company had been originally started by James How to make strings for his hobby—Austrian Zithers, and soon it branched out into strings for everything like violins, harpsichords, mandolins, etc.
     
  17. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Interesting, thanks.

    That quote above is the most complete by Entwistle I've seen regarding his input, fascinating. I can add that it was during the recording of My Generation that he kept breaking Dano strings, and buying basses so he could get the track done. Apparently he simplified the solo parts a bit from his original intent so he could get the track down without breaking any more strings.
     
  18. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    That song changed my life.
     
  19. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Even after all these years and having heard it countless times, it still blows my mind when it gets played on the radio. Just compare it to most of what was on the radio at the time, and it still sounds fresh and radical.
     
  20. MarshallAC50Stack

    MarshallAC50Stack

    Oct 9, 2014
    The crazy part is that Entwistle said that he ended up using LaBella black tape wound strings on that solo!
     

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