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How long do tapewounds last?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by rydin4lifebass, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. I recently put D'Addario tapewounds on a jazz bass and will be putting them on a few other basses. I know people have mixed feelings about how often to change rounds and the general feeling is that flats last forever, but what about tapes? How much mileage do you guys get out of tapes?
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Until the tape unravels I suppose.

    When you say "putting them on a few other basses" I assume you mean additional sets on those basses, not the same ones moved from bass to bass? Cuz that'll kill the strings faster.
  3. I have sets that are getting somewhat old now. They don't see regular use though. They're on for awhile and then they're off.

    However one set is at the point where the tape has cracked on the strings where they go over the saddles. You can see metal.

    Still sound good and the tape hasn't unravelled so far.
  4. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    20 years +.
    gsgbass, Madhouse27 and onosson like this.
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    The Fender tapewounds I put on my fretless in 2000 are still fine. I don't play it much, but the strings are in good shape and sound good.

    But I like old flats, so you should expect me to offer that opinion.
  6. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Forever it seems.
    gsgbass and Root 5 like this.
  7. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    I use nothing but tapes and i change them around twice a year. The tone gets a bit duller as they age but that's not the main reason, it's mostly that they become really slippery with constant use and start to feel a bit too greasy. That won't bother some people but I like them to have just a bit of resistance.

    In the past I've had them on a bass for well over a year and never had them crack or unravel or anything, they last a long time.
  8. Correct, additional sets on other basses. I've used Fender tapes on a Fender jazz and am digging the D'Addario tapes on a Squier jazz so I plan to put them on a few other basses (more Fender and Squier jazz basses). I was just curious how long you guys got out of the strings. I was surprised at the difference in feel between the Fender and D'Addario tapes though, HUGE difference.
  9. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I have a set on my Tacoma Thunderchief that were put on in 2010. My Guild B-50 got tapes in 2013. Sure, they're kinda "thuddy" but that's the kind of music I use them for ... bluegrass, country, or anywhere I want that fundamental thump.
  10. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    You should try labella tapes. The black ones are silky smooth. The white ones are even smoother. To me they feel more like flexible plastic tubes than round wounds wrapped in tape. I've played pyramid tapes that felt like paper. Lots of variety in tapewounds.
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I put a set of LaBella Copper White Nylons on a Squier Jag shortly after they first came out. So it’s been at least two years.

    They’re still on that bass, and they still sound good. Kinda like the sound you’d get with a set of pressurewounds, but clearer mids.

    I’m happy.
  12. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    I actually change my tapes when the silk ends get torn and it's sharp and painful to take the strings off and on to clean the guitar.

    Frankly, I prefer new flats to old ones, but I don't hear much difference with new and old tapes of same kind, considering they're not broken and unwound.
    ExaltBass likes this.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    In 1973 I bought a 1968 Rickenbacker 4001. It had old tapewound strings on it. I proceeded to put on Rotosound round wound strings. But when I took off the old strings they were actually rusty underneath the black tape. So if those strings were put on at the factory then the strings would have been 5 years old.
  14. SlimS


    May 18, 2015
    I had D'Addario tapewounds on two basses and they lasted less than 6 months before unravelling (A-string on both) The probable cause of death was probably my agressive use of a pick!:woot: It's flats all the way now.
  15. Mili


    Nov 14, 2015
    Please tell about differences.
  16. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    Other than a short stint with my Ibanez when it was new I have used Tapes since 1968. GHS used to make a set called Pro-Formula, while gigging heavily they were about a 6-8 month string. Some have lasted a few years while not being heavily used. I have only had one string unravel, and one that the ball en pulled off during a gig, I reversed the string and made it through the night. That was the last gig I played without spare strings. I believe I am about 6 months into the set I have now and they are just as good as when new.
  17. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i think invisible tapewounds aren't as durable as duct tapewounds ;)
    fretlessguy likes this.
  18. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    I have LaBella Black Nylon tapes on a Sigma AEB and one of my PJs. They’ve been on the Sigma for several years, and the PJ for around 2 years. Both still look, feel and sound line new. The PJ gets the most use.

    That said, I am primarily a flat user. Sadowsky Black or Blue Label.
  19. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Side question - will tapewounds sound good an "acoustic" electric bass -- i.e. one that uses a piezo pickup instead of a magnetic one?
    fermata likes this.
  20. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    a lot of people like tapes on their piezo-equipped acoustic bass guitars (me as well).
    Tony B. Filthy likes this.

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