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How often?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by wurstburst, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. wurstburst


    Nov 18, 2007
    I'm new to bass and wondering how often I might need to change strings. The bass will probably only get a few hours a week playing time. I'm hoping the answer is these will last a looooong time, because as a guitar player I am in serious sticker shock at the cost of bass strings. :eek: :crying:

    Also, any suggestions on decent strings for a 5-stringer? I need a backup set at some point. Think classic rock genre stuff for the most part.
  2. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    A guitar player wants mercy on the price of bass strings in a bass forum? Hah!

    Rounds I changed monthly, flats age like fine wine.
  3. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    Often times, I'm able to use bass strings for years. For me, it's time to change when the crispness (or whatever sound that your ears like) is gone and the rust is showing. Keeping them clean is vital to extra life. Keep a towel, preferably a dish-towel (absorbency) handy and wipe after each playing. After cleaning, I coat mine with String Ease and get good longevity with that. As to strings, I've used D'Addarios for years. :cool:
  4. LaklandBass


    Jan 26, 2005
    Coated bass strings are pretty good for longer life. I wouldnt use them in the studio but theyll get me through months of practicing at home.
    Another good idea is to boil your strings once a month if you use nickel or stainless. Just boil some water in a pot and toss em in for 5 or 10 minutes. Let em cool and youre back in business.
    Flats? yea those are good for a loooooong time.
  5. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    If you are only going to be playing a couple of hours a week, any strings should last you a good few months, and still sound fresh. How often you change them depends on what sound you like, if you like a dull (for lack of a better word!) bass sound flatwounds will last you forever on a couple of hours a week (and much more). If you like a bright fresh sounding string you will want roundwounds, and I would guess you would be changing them or cleaning them at around 4-6 months.

    You can take your pick from any make really, you will need to decide if you want Nickel (warm) or Steel (bright) rounds, or flatwounds for less bight and more smoothness.

    PS If you do boil your strings, you may get better results boiling them for 35 to 40 mins rather than 5-10.
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Round wounds I change about every 8 to 10 gigs. Ground rounds I change once a year. (More from a fear of breakage than an actual tonal type thing)
  7. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I usually change every month or two, it really depends on the strings.
  8. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    When I was gigging I eventually learned that I only needed to change strings when one of them broke. On my rick 4001 I played the last 4 or 5 years of my gigging career on the same set of strings (some cheezy rounds, I believe they were GHS).

    Nowadays I change them once the corrosion gets too unsightly. That's about every 2 or 3 years on average....

  9. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I boil mine when the sound started to get dead/flat. Usually only boil them about 3 or 4 times then I pony up for a new set.
  10. I change the strings on my gigging basses (3 of'em) every 2 weeks,religiously.Also,I use String-Ease and Fast-Fret on my strings.I wipe them down,too.After playing.
  11. smackbass


    Feb 4, 2008
    Bradford, UK
    I use Rotosound Billy Sheehan signature strings. I used to change them every 8-10 weeks when they lost their brightness, but my current set have been on for almost a year now and they still sound great.
  12. wurstburst


    Nov 18, 2007
    Thanks, all. Lots of helpful advice.
  13. eyecandy


    Jul 28, 2009
    i don't change much usually once or twice a year... I like the played in steel or dead nickel sound...
  14. A few hours a week? You can easily get away with changing once every 6 months. Even when I was working cruise ships in the stage band and playing hours every day and sweating like a pig (I had an electric fan clipped to my music stand), I only changed them once every three months.

    Then again, Anthony Jackson changes his strings every day. But he's Anthony Jackson so he can do whatever the hell he wants and will get no criticism from me!

    I change mine about once a year, but I'm a flatwound and nylon tapewound guy these days. :)


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