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How important is "the right string- choice" to YOU?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ulf_kurt, Aug 17, 2000.

  1. ulf_kurt


    Feb 10, 2000
    Umea, Sweden
    Hi all!

    I wonder how important it is to choose the right strings is case of feel, tone, playabillity etc. (I have only played one set of strings yet. Its the original-strings that came with the bass.)

    cheers Ulf
  2. I think it is very important, especially as bass strings cost so much in the UK.
    Many times I have tried a different make to my usual, only to take them off again after the first gig.
    It makes me a bit reluctant to try different makes.
    I have settled on Elites professional nickel series for a few years now and am happy with them for both playability and sound. Saying that, I bought a new Fender recently and the factory strings are great, the first Fender strings I’ve liked.
    I’m also sure there are plenty of other makes out there that I would like, but I am too worried about changing my sound for the worst to take the risk. I am going to try Bruce’s favourites soon though, D'Addario SlowWounds as he swears by them.
  3. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    I use Ernie Ball strings, but if they are not available I will use another brand, as long as they are nickle or nickle-plated.

    I try not to worry about it too much!
  4. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    When I first started playing bass...I was told that the best improvement you can make to you bass....is also the cheapest.....the Strings. And that has proven to be right.
    Every bass...AND player has it's own characteristics and should find a set of strings to bring out the best in both.
    It is often trial and error, but well worth the effort.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Absolutely, could not agree more, etc.:D Strings can really alter the sound of a bass and greatly affect the playability. This is, however, highly personal. The same strings that make your bass suck (to you) could make someone (who prefers those strings) else's heart soar. For the most part I don't think there's much actual "bad" gear out there, just bad fits.

    [Edited by Brad Johnson on 09-08-2000 at 12:43 AM]
  6. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    Brad's words of wisdom......

    "I don't think there's much actual "bad" gear out there, just bad fits."

    I think that sums it ALL up perfectly!
  7. Craig H

    Craig H

    Mar 23, 2000
    Kansas City
    String choice is important to me. Lately, I have been using DR's (both Hi-Beams and Lo-Riders) on my Fenders. But when I put Hi-Beams (stainless) on my Sadowsky (used, but new to me!), the strings were way too bright. I put a set of cheaper GHS Boomers (nickel-plated) on it and they sound great. The more expensive bass sounds better with the cheaper strings...Go figure.

    I consider string shopping and comparisons part of the fun. It's too bad it has to be so expensive for us bass guys!


  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Thanks, frost:D

    ...check's in the mail.
  9. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Finding the right strings for you...can make you think that you have a brand new bass. It makes ALL the difference!
  10. RickenbackeR


    Mar 28, 2000
    I can't see how some people don't think of strings as the most vital choice. The right brand name can make you play better, but most important, i think the right gauge can make you play much better.

    I look back at the years when i only used Dean Markleys and i say "what was i thinking??" :)

  11. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I couldn't agree more. A brand of string that sucks on one bass may soar on another. And there are variances even within the same manufacturer. I went through several brands before settling on DR Sunbeams, which fit my Carvin like a glove (and were recommended by another Carvin owner here). Just to be sure, I ordered a set of Lo-Riders a few weeks back, and gave them a shot (by the way, since I only change strings every 6-8 weeks, I go to the trouble of threading them through the body vice cutting them off. The old set then becomes my spare). The Sunbeams were back on within 48 hours, and the Lo-Riders are riding the pine. Even though the Sunbeams had been sitting on my bass for two months (although there was only a coupla weeks playing time on 'em), they sounded MUCH better. And now that after a year of experimenting, I've finally got the mix right, I can order in bulk and same myself some postage.:D

  12. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I agree the strings set the feel for the instrument and different strings work better on different basses.
    I do think the DR sunbeams work the best for me. I tried D'addario XLs and some Blue Steels and went right back to the DRs.
    However on my P-bass I use D'addarrio Chromes and they fit the sound of that bass perfectly.

  13. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    String types are often dictated by your style and type of music. It does make a lot of difference what you choose.

    My personal favorite is flat wound Pyramid Golds but you will have to take out a bank loan to buy them, quality costs.

    Smoke um if you got um!
  14. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Kilo Bravo,

    I hadn't seen you on here lately (ya lurkin' b@st@rd!) so I didn't want to mention you by, uh, initials. You da man!
  15. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Sure I have my favorite brands, but I try not to get caught up in being stuck on one particuliar brand. My approach to strings, is with an open mind. I like to try out as many different brands as possible. Usually I can adapt to the feel of different strings, but I always prefer a certain sound from them.
  16. I change my strings at least once a month. I do not buy name brand strings at all. Too expensive. I buy either Carvin strings (3 sets\$33), or Rogue strings ($6 a set). I do, however, make sure that they are nickel, and that they are the correct guages.

    Woofy out!
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Unfortunately, experimenting with bass strings can EXPENSIVE!$!$ Nothing like putting a new brand on your bass and immediately realizing they suck on that bass.

  18. Depends on the gig and the amp as well as the bass. I have recently found that I can only get away with gigging with my 50 watt Ampeg if I have Thomastik Infeld jazz flats on the P bass. Roundwounds just disappear in the mix.

    Just for the hell of it, here's the strings I have tried over the past couple of years and brief very subjective thoughts:

    Slowound D'Addarios - nice and warm and growly but the sound is too shapeless with a low powered amp. Also the E string seems to die very quickly IMHO.

    Darco - Ha ha ha!

    DR Hi Beams - The best roundwounds for Fender basses I have ever played. Love 'em. Keep their tone for ages, and no need to dial out unwanted boom.

    Bass Boomers - Good strings, but a bit too boomy for my needs.

    LaBella black nylon tapewounds - Lovely sound. Great on my Rob Allen. A very lively sounding string, but doesn't quite have the power of th Thomastiks.

    Dean Markley - Non descript.

    Rotosound - great sound but bye bye frets. Seriously, the most abrasive string I have ever played.

    Fender - next question please. I do not understand how a company can make such great basses and such lousy strings. Dreary sounding roundwounds. Try their flats for the ultimate in toneless thud. Like unsalted rice.

    GHS pressure wounds. - Died in under a month.

    D'Addario XL - seem to last longer than the Slowounds, but are very mediocre sounding I find. Interesting that a company who make, IMO, one of the best sets of phosphor bronze acoustic strings, and damn good electricx strings make such disappointing bass strings.

    Thomastik infeld. - Superb, utterly unequalled strings. Great penetrative power...don't get lost in the mix. They rock. They are cool. They are killer. Downside? They take a couple of weeks to settle in, have a tension that feels weird initially and feel a bit sticky. No doubt rounds are easier to play. But TIs do last forever(easily go on for well over a year) and the sound is just incredible.

  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I always enjoy the "Darco" posts because it really exemplifies what I'm talking about. I've used them on my MIA Jazz Deluxe 5 and have gotten tons of compliments on my sound. They're Nickel, they have a reasonably smooth feel and on the Deluxes, shined when played live. I haven't recorded with them so far.

    Let's see... even string-to-string response, low (at the time) price, the sound I wanted...lasted a long time...yep, they suck;)

    I currently use Thomastik-Infeld PowerBass Nickel rounds on my passive Jazzes with excellent result. Ken Smith Burner Nickel rounds on the Zon fretless (I've been told this can't sound "warm" by people on the web...but they do;)); Martin Darco Nickel rounds on the L2000E and the Tobias 5, and Lakland Nickel rounds on the Lakland (excellent strings and inexpensive, too).

    The strings I don't happen to care for are in fact the ones most people seem to prefer. I don't like SS or any version of flatwounds (brite flats, groundwound, pressure wound, hand tossed, etc.). I came to this conclusion from trying them myself, which really gets old. I'm glad I finally figured out what I like.
  20. Yup, well I am clearly a sucker misled by the fact that Darco are cheap and have no depth or character to the tone. I was obviously trying the wrong type of Darco.

    Cheap is cheap.

    And I trust MY ears rather than the compliments others give me on the tone...



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