How often do you change strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Marcus Willett, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    I work in a show and play probably 35-40 hours a week. That and having 6 basses means I go through a lot of strings. At work I end up changing every 3 weeks...that's about as long as I can make a set last before it starts to get to me. :spit: Just wondering how often you guys change strings, and I guess in relation to how many hours/days/years...? (my sub at work hasn't changed the strings (rounds) on his P Bass in 4 years)

    I've been using Ken Smith's mostly because they're OK, but damn cheap.
  2. It's averaging every 3 months. Sooner if I notice the tone going and I have a gig coming up.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I used Labella Hard Rockin Steels and replaced them every 2 months on my two main basses come hell or high water. Suddenly, I have car payments and flatwounds, so once a year tops :)
  4. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    When I build or buy a bass, or break a string. :bassist:
  5. 00soul


    Jan 4, 2005
    seal beach, ca
    only if one breaks or if i buy a used bass. i dont like playing strings with other peoples funk gunk on them
  6. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Man, you guys are killin' me...I feel like a string snob. I thought I was doing good. I've tried going longer, but the tone just seems to really go before too long; though my strings do get a lot of miles. :bassist:
  7. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    If one was to use flatwounds.............. :smug: :p
  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Probably 3 months. I play ~7 hours a week.
  9. It depends. I've had a set of D'addarios go for 6 months without changing, because I soaked them in ethanol.
  10. Ty_Boogie

    Ty_Boogie Bass, A way of life

    Sep 6, 2004
    The Bronx, NYC
    ethanol? problem :)
  11. Beammeup


    Oct 7, 2002
    Hi Marcus,

    I change my strings before every LIVE Gig. This means about 2-3 times a month.

    I use some very cheap strings, that excellent in my ears.
    The company sends me a bunch of strings every year. That's nice :D

    PS: If I keep them on my basses for more than 3-4 weeks, they tend to sound a bit dull.
  12. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Since I don't gig, and strings for my bass run about $50 and have to be shipped from Canada, I only change mine out about every 6 months or so. Damn thing sounds like a piano when I do change em though. Its funny how you don't seem to notice too much tone loss over time (at least I don't), but when you change em, the difference is so apparent, you can't believe you didn't notice how bad they had gotten hehe.
  13. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    I used GHS-Proformula tape wounds, gigged every weekend. I replaced them every 6-8 months. Stayed in tune forever and I loved them

    When I used Labellas, every 5-6 months , but they were dead in 3 or less

    Fenders tape wounds, the wrap would break before they went dead. Typicallyy lasted 2-3 moths. Would have been cheaper to replace the bridge! Very lively sound, lotsa harmonics

    Currently, just installed Rotosound Tru-Bass

    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.
  14. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    Typically only yearly or when I go to record I'll replace them the week before and break them in gently so they will still sound good in teh studio. ~$40 for strings around here sucks.

    My guitarists know better now than to complain about the price of their strings when one of mine costs as much as a whole pack
  15. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    When I buy a new bass or break a sting, but I play flatwounds (Thomastik) and am going for that old style tone. At least I don't rub BBQ sauce in my strings like Stephen Stills used to do.
  16. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    When I used to gig a passive bass, I was playing a show every week and changing my strings for every show. I built up a heck of a lot of D'Addario points. :)

    With active electronics, I can dial in more treble as the strings die out. I've had the same set of Warwick Black Labels on my Thumb 6 BO since December and I'll only change them if they break. The sound of a Thumb is so aggressive that new strings are almost too over the top. I don't like brand new stainless steels, but I love them once they're broken in a little. I mainly use nickel D'Addario EXL-170s, but Warwick bridges don't like untapered Bs. Off-topic: Does anyone know if D'Addario makes a tapered B? I haven't been able to find any.

  17. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Truedat. My P Bass has flats that are 5 years old and counting. D'Addario Chromes, IIRC. Also have a fretless with TI Flats that are around 3 years old...just starting to sound good.

    Yeah, I've done that in the past (well, boiling, but the same idea), but to me it only buys you a couple days. It'll get rid of gunk, but won't change the fact that they've been stretched a lot; losing their elasticity and flattened where they contact the frets.

    I agree. I actually don't like the sound of brand new strings when I first put 'em on. Usually after a day or 2 of playing, then they feel and sound good.
  18. I use elixir strings on my basses, and I change 2 times/ year. I want to change more often, but Its to expensive.
    I play 15 hours/week
  19. Walcustomdude


    Mar 16, 2005
    New here!
    I've been playing for around 27 years and have a Wal custom which used to be a fretless. I wore the fingerboard down three times so decided to get frets. Ugh! I have a few regrets in life...
    Anyway, I'm currently in a covers band doing Free numbers, namely trhe wonderful bass lines of Andy Fraser. I have gotten quite close to his sound ('middley') but coming from a fretless background I don't like the fell of roundwounds.
    Can anyone recommend a make of flats the are pretty punchy and not overly dull?

    BTW a quick 'clean strings' fix is the simple 'pull em up and let em snap off the fingerboard'!
    I agree about boiling. A couple of gigs and all the tone evaporates.
  20. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    Ti Jazz flats
    Rotosounds [can't remember which set]
    D'Addario Cromes

    Generally, I think punchiness comes more from the bass, I have D'Addario Cromes on 8 of my basses, and the sound is different from bass to bass.