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I didnt like fat beams, am I wrong? maybe I got a bad set?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by solitario, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. solitario


    Oct 13, 2011
    after reading so many good comments about fat beams I bought a set. My jb had DR low rider nickel and I changed them for the low riders. I have to say it is the first time I play steel string. My JB is alder rosewood with lollar pickups.

    First thing I noticed was that they are bright, veeery bright and hifi sounding with tons of finger noise (this is not good or bad, just diferent). the main problem is that compared to any nickel string I have tried before (low riders nickel, sunbeams, slinkys, fender pure nickel) the fat beams has hollow bass freq and also they sound mid scooped to me. (ampeg users will understand this better, changing from sun beams to fat beams its like playing with ultra low and ultra high switches on)

    As i didnt like it with my jazz bass I gave them a try with my thunderbird, they did sound a little better but the scooped sound was still there.

    I dont know if maybe they can do the trick with a ric 4003... many people use steel string with rics...

    are fat beams good string for rock or they are only for jazz fusion and slap modern kind of sounds?

    Does my set has any problems? I cant understand why so many people love them... they sound fake to my, it is a sound I dont trust, like a modern recorded scooped sound.

    how can people say they are growly? after putting them in my jazz bass the growl dissapear, Is it possible to have growl with no mids?

    please no ofense those who play fat beams, I'm a dr player (low riders nickel and fat beams) but I just want to know if theres someone out there who thinks the same about fat beams.

  2. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Dec 31, 2011
    I think a lot of what you are hearing is the difference between nickelplated and stainless steel. Nickel generally has a more pronounced midrange. DR steel strings also to my ear seem to be more mid shy than other brands of stainless.
  3. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    To bring out the optimal growl of Fat beams, the right kinda buit-in active preamp/eq has to be used. (I'm sure you have heard Marcus Miller.)

    I was shooting for that kind of sound. I added single coil (Carvin 99a) pickups to my Ibanez SR 406 bass, which has a built in active 3 band EQ/preamp & nothing close to the Marcus Miller sound.

    Recently I bought a Squire Active Deluxe Jazz bass & with the built in active electronics, slap switch, & Fat beams, the sound is damn close to MM's, (except it could be beefier in the low end. EQing can easily fix it.) It seems that the mid-range contouring of the slap switch is what helps accomplish it--makes the growl ferocious.

    You are right, the attack of the Fatbeams can be bright & distracting. The low strings particularly make a pronounced "chif" when struck or plucked. It can be very expressive for funk/jazz, not optimal for other stuff. (Other bright strings, such as GHS "brights" can be chiffy too.)

    Also, no round core strings can give the strong definitive punchy attack of stiff hex core strings (such as Low Ryder's.) Sunbeams, being flexible & nickel, have even less punch than the stainless steel Hi & Fat beams.Thomastik-Infeld strings are an engineering marvel. They are very flexible & have lots of punch for round core strings (pure nickel) but still not as much wallop as hex core strings. Never tried Foderas, the only other round core string out there. The Victor Wooten Foderas are nickel, you might like those. The truth is I like lots of strings, as they're useful for various styles.

    I do live gigs performing folk, rock & some jazz. I'd like to find a way to use just my Squire DAJB with those Fatbeams (so I can get rid of my Ibanez) & maybe I can after some modifications. But the Fat beams (even when played gently with the treble turned way down) will be a compromise for 90% of what I play. Not optimal for Stones or James Taylor.

    The punch line is that I haven't learned the slap technique yet. I played for only a few years-- while Larry Graham was the only guy doing it--then I quit. (Then electric bass was a pretty disowned instrument by guitarists & contra bassists alike. Not a very highly developed art, few exceptions.) Recently I took it up again.
  4. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    As a stainless lover that has tried a lot, there are plenty of stainless strings out there with lots of midrange.

    I also recently tried Fat Beams. I put them on my Fender Jaguar bass, one of the warmest, punchiest basses I've ever played unplugged. It is modded with Lollar Thunderbird pickups, which I run passive, yet are the highest output setup by far, that I have ever personally used. They are fairly transparent, in that they take your bass + strings natural tone and then layers a big fat low and low mid onto it.

    Fat Beams sounded skinny. Anemic. Lacking in lows. Especially lacking in low mid and mids. I had to turn up my input gain a quarter turn, to make back the overall volume loss, compared to several other strings I've used on this Bass.

    The 3 nice things I can say about Fat Beams:

    1. very good string to string balance and consistency of feel.

    2. Very Flexible/easy to play

    3. They have a nice airy top end, which seems to last a good while. They would probably record really nice. But live through an amp, they just don't have the response I'm used to/looking for.

    I also tried Fodera's Stainless strings, right after the DRs. (Foderas are also roundcore).

    They have a similar lack for low end, but they have more mids than the DRs. Still a bit scooped, though. They actually sounded very similar to Daddario Nickel Plated XLs. Although those have a bit more low end, probably due to the more massive hex core.

    Fodera SS Vs. DR's Fat Beams:

    1. slightly higher tension, but still pretty flexible.

    2. More mids, but still a bit scooped. For me, the tone was overall more even, more immediately usable.

    3. Also very good balance and string to string feel.

    4. Foderas don't feel as smooth as the DRs. You can feel the edges of the wraps catching on your fingers and it took quite awhile for that to go away. Whether it be from the strings wearing in or finger crud filling the gaps. Probably a bit of both.
  5. solitario


    Oct 13, 2011
    So... are there any steel string with good punchy mids and good low that works weel for clasic rock and hard rock? I have tried rotosound before but I dont like the feel at all.
  6. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I was using Fat Beams for a little while on my Euros and I liked the feel a lot but there does seem to be something a little different about them.

    I typically would use 45-130 gauge on my 35" instruments, and I liked the steel Lo-Riders a lot but they were a bit stiff for my taste. So for the first time in 25 years I went with 40-60-80-100-125 on the Lo-Riders and I think I found my strings for a while. Great feel at that gauge but still good tension and nice lively sound.
  7. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I hate fat beams. Only bass i ever liked them on was an mtd535. Love lo riders and high beams depending on the bass and context.
  8. solitario


    Oct 13, 2011
    Pickles what's the difference in sound between fat beams and high beams?

    And lo riders?

    I have tried lo riders nickels and sound good but a bit mutted
  9. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    My favorite Stainless Steel strings right now are the Dean Markely Helix HD.

    They speak a little deeper than some other steels I've tried. Detailed, full mid-range. Very nice lowe mid. Even highs, but not too much highs. Overall, Tons of warm, deep growl.
    They aren't as rough as Rotos. But I wouldn't call them a smooth feeling string, either.

    Also, if you are looking for airy, feathery highs, these Dean Markley Helix are not it. For that, I'd say check out the Foderas or maybe some Labellas. Labellas are also pretty smooth feeling. Though still not as smooth as DRs, or some nickel plated strings. The Foderas would be smooth, except that they require a bit of break in, due to the inner edges of the windings being a bit catchy.

    *the E and A strings for the Helix are exposed/tapered cores at the saddle. They work great on my Fender Jaguar and an Ibanez SRT that I have. But they may cause installation issues on some basses.
  10. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    These have been my experiences with Fat Beams, too.
  11. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    If you think Fat Beams sound mid scooped, you'd really hate High Beams.
  12. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    For me, the fat beams have a stiff feel, bright top, and have lows but lack body.

    Hi beams sound really natural balanced and growly once they break in. They are very bright when new, i often use a tone control to tame them at first. They have a bigger sound than their tension would suggest. Great for all styles, the best of the 3 with a pick.

    Lo riders are very very stiff tension and are great for a very low no-relief action. Loads of high mids and lows with lots of bite and presence. Gold standard slap string, high impact finger tone.

    Fat beams are just odd, worst of both worlds ... For me. I know some people love them.
  13. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Tried them twice. Same experience. But you have to try before you know as they seem to be very polarizing.
  14. CreatveUsername


    Dec 27, 2013
    I tried fat beams once. They were a bit to metallic sounding for my taste. Found myself going right back to sun beams.
  15. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Dec 31, 2011
    Wow. Lotsa Fat Beam dislike here. I actually like them quite a bit and don't have any issues with lack of bottom or too much brightness. They seen to be more midrange focused than Hi Beams which I like a lot too.
  16. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    I dig them too, on my 5 string fretless with a Bartolini quad coil pickup, Fat Beams and Hi Beams (as well as D'Addario XL Nickels) sort of scooped sound really work well as this pickup is a bit mid heavy.
  17. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Dec 31, 2011
    I still like the Hi Beams a lot too. I always come back to DR roundcore steels after any experimenting I do. They feel and sound like home to me. I've tried to like other sets but nothing compares.
  18. Hibeams are awesome! Haven't tried the fatbeams, but I might if I get bored. The hibeams are really bright when new, and retain a very growly tone after breaking in. Nice tension, although I really don't feel like they would do well with drop tuning, they feel like they would turn into clay noodles. I do kinda miss the rougher feel of the prosteels, but the tone makes up for the smoother playing surface. The only complaint I have about them is the E and sometimes A string occasionally squeak when I use my thumb to pluck, like if you slide off a window.
  19. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    According to CS @ DR, the Fatbeams & Hibeams are exactly the same string, except that there is one single old machine that winds the strings @ a slower rate. "For whatever reason" the Hibeams wound more slowly come out with a thicker beefier sound that's far more apparent on the bigger gauged strings than the smaller gauges. I can only surmise that the slow winding makes the Fatbeams slightly denser, though DR won't commit to a reason or technical explanation for the differences. I have urged DR to get another slow machine so they can produce a bigger variety of gauges.

    I love the strings, but they aren't a generic sounding string. You have to work like Hell to produce a generic sound (for 90% of the stuff I play). The string do tend to make a "chiff" when plucked, especially the lower ones. It's a good for making an expressive funk/fashion solo, but it sometimes can be obtrusive. Marcus Miller is great at varying his Fatbeam sound to sound more generic (while accompanying). But Miller has a very subtle touch.
  20. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Sorry, my androids spell checker changed "fushion" to fashion again. Will have to add it to the dictionary. Fushion. There.