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How often do you change yor strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by fleabass89, Jan 28, 2001.

  1. I've had them on for about 7-8 months. When should I change them, and I'm also wondering what kind I should get when I do change them. I play rock, punk, metal, and sometimes some jazz and slapping. I'm looking for a string that's easy on the fingers and sounds good with a pick. Any suggestions?

    BTW i have a Fender standard P-bass, if that helps.

    [Edited by fleabass89 on 01-28-2001 at 12:29 PM]
  2. please answer!
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Changing strings is a personal kind of thing. Some people change them when they break one, which could mean leaving them on for ten + years. They prefer the thuddiness of a well worked in (dead) string. Other people with lots of money to throw away change them after every few songs. This keeps them really bright and full sounding. I've heard many people say strings are at their best after a couple hours use, and start going dead shortly after that.

    I love crisp new strings. I change mine about once a month which usually equals 2 gigs and a couple of rehearsals. I have four basses that I use so I rotate the basses and somehow think I'm saving money on strings.

    I've tried lots of different ones, and choice of best strings is another thing that differers from person to person. I beleive we all not only play a lot differently, but sweat a lot differently. My strings of choice are D'addarios, and Smiths. The Smiths have a little more top end to them, the Dadarrios are nickel plated, so they sound a little warmer on my basses that have heavy top end.

    I think it takes experimentation to see what suits you best. It took me about six years to start really noticing
    the difference in bass and string sounds. Good luck!
  4. the first thig i do with a new bass is put on a set of Ken Smith Bass Burners and leave them on till they break or just get to dirty to clean
  5. 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
    Change strings? What do you mean?
  6. I string my Peavey up with rounds.. I tend to replace them every 3-5 months.. typically whenever I feel that the strings are dead and I also happen to find a good deal on a set. On a sidenote.. these Dean Markley Nickel Roundwounds I've had on for 4-5 months or so still seem to be going strong for me. I have a set of Markley Blue Steels that I got for a pretty decent discount waiting to take over for them.. but I don't feel the need right now.

    I've found that slapping is quite a bit easier for me with fresher strings (not to mention that it sounds a lot better).. but I think that by having strings that are harder to slap with, I am forced to improve my technique. (I guess it'd be sort of like a runner that runs the 200m dash practicing by running sets involving 300m and 400m distances etc... ahh.. I kind of miss my athletic days :( .. I haven't put on anywhere near the "freshman 15".. but I definitely have less muscle and more fat).

  7. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I change mine when I break them, or whenever I get the mind to. Usually about every 6 months or so, unless the broken string thing happens, and call it wastfull, but if I break one string, I replace them all (I don't like to mis match strings, or have one killer bright thats new, and three others that are dead.)

    and may I say, I like the dead strings, I don't like the bright tone of new ones. I don't like em for about three weeks of playing them. Then they die enough to my liking.
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Change them when your ear tells you to. No joke.
  9. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    I like a very bright and punch sound on my Ric, so I change my Ken Smith Rockmasters every other month or so. However, if I have a gig or am recording, I will put new strings on the Ric at 1-2 days before unless the existing strings are REALLY new. The good news for me is I can take those broken in roundwounds and put them on my fretless jazz in order to get a sound that has a good combination of mwahh + warmth.

    Generally, I like Smith Taper Cores on my Smith. I like having a broken in set because they give the bass a really warm, growly tone. I sometimes will restring it with new tapers or roundwounds in order to get more of that Geddy Lee Wal tone, but then I will re-string it with the broken in set until I want that mid-treble tone again.

    Finally, if you use flats, you may never want to change strings. I have a 2 year old set of flats that I just put on any of the basses when I want that tone. Unlike roudwounds, flats seem to improve with age and use.

    So here's the bottom line of my rambling: bright and punchy roundwound sound, change your strings at least once every other month. If you like flatwounds I wouldn't ever restring unless you break them. For a compromise between the two get some nickel rounds, taper or hex cores and leave them on until they stop sounding good to you.

    Given what you've said about what you play, I'd go for Ken Smith rounds either medium or medium light gauge. DR Hi-beams might also be a good choice.

    [Edited by Saint on 02-01-2001 at 10:39 AM]
  10. KillMary


    Jan 25, 2001
    It depends on your style I'd say. The style mandates the strings you'll get, too.
    If you slap a lot or like a bright tone, you'll change often of course. I bet TM Stevens changes his strings every week.
    I particularly like the sound of old strings, and I choose compressed wounds because being tighter, they lose that brightness yet don't get much dirt in them. So you can have strings that are over a couple years old that still sustain like they were new, yet have that smooth sound and feel that I love :)
    I have just been convertd from being a DR player to Alembic nickel-plated strings... see DR thread :)

    [Edited by KillMary on 02-01-2001 at 11:10 AM]
  11. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    Well, I didn't change the strings on my Fender MIM Jazz 5 until about 14 months. I didn't change it until I broke one, and they were factory strings. I re-strung w/ Ernie Ball Super-Slinky's, and I'm fairly satisfied. The strings that were originally on it were nickel (I THINK), and these are stainless and very hard on the fingers. After playing the same strings for over a year and wearing them down, the new stainless ones take some gettin used to.

    Its really just a matter of personal preference. If you are starting to dislike the sound of your strings, or just simply want to try something else, then change!
  12. Thanks for all your help everyone! I think I'll buy some new ones this week. The ones I have on right now are Fender strings factory set, and I personally don't like them. I'm still not getting the tone I'm looking for...it's hard to explain..
  13. Monkey


    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I play with tapes or flats, and leave them on for ages. I bet the ones on my three fretlesses are at least a year and half old, if not older. I like the sound of old strings. When I used to use Rotosound rounds, I left them on for about six to eight months of heavy use. I liked them better broken in, as well. I don't have the buckage to change every month, so I'm lucky I like old ones.
  14. D'addario's have a nice deep sound without being too muddy. But I personally recommend Ernie Balls, Hybrid Slinky combines the depth of D'addarios, but with some fiddling with the tone and an increase in the midrange, you can make them really punky.
    I generally change them whenever they break, but not intentionally, I just am too lazy to really bother to change them. Sometime, when I'm really bored, I'll change them, I guess....
  15. OK, I bought some Ernie Ball Slinky Nickle strings. I am fairly satisfied with them, but they are a LITTLE too metallic. They are quite excellent for slapping, I might add.
  16. I leave them on till they break or start to have that rusted metal smell (whichver comes first!)
  17. hey fleabass, give it a little while. ernies are a little metallic right out of the package, but they wear in very nicely.
  18. King David

    King David

    Dec 13, 1999
    I have had a set of Ernie Ball Supers on for about a year. Someone just recently asked me if I had new strings. I kind of laughed. They do still sound pretty bright. I don't play every day, so I probably don't need to change as often as others.
  19. Mr Bassman

    Mr Bassman

    Aug 28, 2000
    I use The ones with the cheesy lion pic in the front - Rotosound I think...Yeah! They sound quite good - I've had then on for ages for me (10-11 months) and they're still bright enough for slap but are now, worked in just perfect and sound a little warmer than they did 3-4 months ago. Reckon I'll keep 'em on for another 10-11 months & see how I get on.

  20. Joiner


    Oct 12, 2000
    I agree. I change strings every 3-5 Months, what makes up about 20 rehearsals and 5 gigs or something like that. Usually, when I have a large gig or recording coming, I change them to.

    I found out, that the Esh Strings (orange label) are really good. They are about 15 Dollars (four string set). I play metal and punk, so I think I can help you. Maybe you should try Sadowsky Strings or Labella Hard Rockin Steels, too. Got to getstringscheap.com . There you get everything.

    Best regards,


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