How often do you change strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Skel, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    Hi all - as a guitar player / converter to bass, I always "knew" when to change my guitar strings, and it always had a lot to do with how much I was playing, etc. When the guitar would no longer tune up nicely, or stay in tune, or just felt grungy - time for new strings (even though I hate the feel and the break in period of new strings). Same thing on bass? I changed the strings on my MIM precision a few months ago and had some buzzing for about 2 or 3 days until they were broken in, but then I loved the clarity I got. I would say I'm about ready for another string change, as I'm not getting that bright clarity that I did right after I changed them. I have heard all this stuff about boiling strings, but I'd rather just get new ones. Currenty I just use the Fender Super Bass 7250's, and maybe it's just out of my beginner's ignorance, but I like these - seem like high quality strings to me. I always hear about Rotosounds. I also have a RIC 4003 - not sure what comes stock on those, and as of today, my SX jazz bass - again, not sure what comes on those either (GHS?). Also if anybody could explain to me (like I'm a 4 year old) what the difference is between round wound and flat wound, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks - Skel
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well, this belongs in the Strings forum, but to answer your questions:

    When to change your strings? When you feel like it. That's about what it boils down to. Some change their strings monthly, others every 6 months, others never, others weekly. It's all about personal preference on that front.

    Brands? Brand can depend on what sound you're looking for, and your preference. You've played guitar; you know what it's like hunting for a string that sounds good to you. Some swear by D'Addario, some swear by DR, or Ernie Ball Slinkies, et al. There's some generalizations that seem to hold, but they don't mean much unless you know what sound you're after, or qualities (stiffness, material, i.e. nickel or stainless steel, gauge, etc).

    Flat vs. Round: Round or flatwound refers to the out wap of the strings. Flatwound, the outer wrap is flat, like a ribbon. Often used on fretless basses and fretted basses looking for an old-school type sound. Round wound, it's a round outer wrap. Most fretted bassists use these; they're the "standard" fretted string.
  3. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    I change mine once a year per bass. That's because I'm using three right now at different times.
  4. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    For me-it's becoming no longer than 2 months between string changes. If they don't break/unravel [the G], one of the others goes false on me. That's all
  5. I change strings on my Rick Turner Electroline about every 6 months. It came with TI Jazz Rounds and that's what I use as replacements. I like La Bella, DR, DiAddario and GHS bass strings also, but this bass sounds so good with the TIs, I haven't wanted to experiment. If I had a Ric, I'd probably try a set of Rotosound Stainless light gauge (40-100) to see if I liked them. You defintely need to experiment.
  6. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    on my Pbass and fretless, never

    On my jazz about once a year.
    (I changed them last june, so I will change them soon)
  7. Every 3 to 4 months or so on my MTD, every 8 to 10 months on my Kramer (I don't use it as much, and as bright as it is, it's OK with older strings) and I haven't changed the ones on my Essex yet. Maybe I won't.
  8. RLT


    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    When one breaks? Actually thats about the only time I do change them.
  9. duke2004

    duke2004 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    i used to play guitar. we are so lucky. we can go years and still get a good tone out of our strings if we know how to appreciate each sets different stages of devolution. yes and good flatwounds need never be changed if thats your thing, they just keep getting better!
    That said the only time i really think about changing strings is to change the TONE and FEEL of my playing. And it should be remembered that strings are the largest single easy way to change your sound
  10. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    I change the strings on my Modulus Q5 every 3 months ( DR fat beams 45-125); I have yet to change the strings on my P bass deluxe ( 3 months old).
  11. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    6+ months.

    I'm supposed to double that on my Elixirs, so here goes nothing...
  12. BWil


    May 16, 2005
    SoCal USA
    Every 3 months, if they need it or not!

    Hey, I just like messing with my gear! ;^)
  13. andysvec

    andysvec Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    On my main Q5 gigging bass I try to change strings every month (D Addario nickel rounds that I've always used). I put some ProSteels on my new Q6 that I've been trying to gig on a few times a week and I've gotten two months out of them so far and they still sound pretty bright and snappy, may switch to prosteels for everything.
  14. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    Hey Andy, some people recommend Nickel strings for the Q5, I just purchased a pair of Sunbeams for my next string change. What are your observations with SS vs. Nickel on your Mods?
  15. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    I change the strings usually whenever I get a new bass. I yank those awful roundwound zingy things off, toss them into the trash, replace them with either TI Flats or Labella Deep Talking Flats, then I never consider it again.

    There is some other way to do this?
  16. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    When I cant slap clearly on the B string.

    I really dig the fingerstyle tone I get when my strings get dead, I can play more cleanly and dial in more mid and high, I feel like Jaco or something. I really hate the slap tone I get when my strings get dead, it starts to feel like a Hofner with super tight flatwounds or something.

    For me it is a matter of living in both worlds at the same time. Right now this is one of my biggest reasons for considering buying another bass similar to what I have. I feel I need to justify my GAS.
  17. Prahainspring


    Oct 22, 2002
    New Jersey
    Every couple of weeks or so on my Ric. I just love that new string zing with it. I use gig money to pay for the strings so its not really coming out my pocket. For my jazz, almost never. I have DR High Beams that I put on a *long* time ago and they still sound nice and warm.
  18. DubDubs


    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I try and aim for every three months but it ends up about every 5 or 6. I had one set of strings for 2 years before I changed them and another for almost a year. When you keep your strings for that long you really notice a difference with new ones. :D
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Every four years, whether they need it or not. Then it takes me danged near a year to get them sounding good again.
  20. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    About once a month. I love the new string sound. DR low riders