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I Got Fat (Beams)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by rickbass, Feb 16, 2001.

  1. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Since several people have expressed interest, here are my impressions of DR's new "Marcus", a.k.a., "Fat Beams," after 2 weeks+ of heavy gig/practice use, .045-.125 (5 string set). BTW, the box makes no mention of the term "Fat Beams)."

    Apppearance; A shocker. These roundcore, stainless steel roundwounds appeared duller, grayer, than the cheaper, month+ old, nickel roundwounds they replaced. They look like they'd been doing the legendary, "I always ate fried chicken before playing," routine was done at the factory.

    Feel; Tactilely, they feel drier, rougher, than those cheaper roundwounds, but not as extreme as old, unpolished, Rotosounds. As for tension, on the string-through-body, Hipshot bridge, 34" scale, instrument - well, tuned to pitch is what you get. They are a perfect balance between the extremes of floppy and stiff. Just enough give for bends, and to be kind on calloused skin. They aren't tapered, so to max antinodes might require bending them a little behind and in front of the witness point, depending on your bridge.

    Sound; The hype says, "Fatter, Deeper, Smoother." Well, as for fat, I don't see the $35 investment instantly gaining that for the buyer. Better save up for an Acme. But they are EXTREMELY VERSATILE. They are the answer I've been looking for since I needed a string that could cover the mix of rock/R&B/funk/jazz our band's sets contain.
    While not as raw, biting, or bright as DR's Hi-Beams (which should come with sunglasses), or Rotosound Swing 66's, they do an great job for rock tunes.
    With a softer attack, they are full, DEEPER and rich while still being crystal clear and articulate. They go down where DR's Lo-Riders get but not as smooth as flatwounds. However they are SMOOTHER sounding than any other roundwounds I tried, although their feel might lead one to expect otherwise.
    For slap and finger pops, they have snap, punch, and bounce, in the same league as DR's Hi-Beams.
    They just do it all for me, even when the percussive, concert grand piano ring that good, out of the box, roundwounds have has mellowed out.

    FWIW, the descriptions were based on use on a bass with a single coil J pup and alnico humbucker w/coil splitter, neck-through-body, strings-through-body, Hipshot bridge, tilt back headstock design w/alder body wings, maple/koa neck, and quilted maple top. The amps used are a Carvin Cyclops and a Carvin RL1018; various tone setting were used including flat.

    If you plan of getting a set, be advised, the production of these strings has taken longer than DR expected. So, they have been on back order.

    If I didn't cover something adequately or something isn't clear, just post.
  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Thanks for the review, rick. I was hoping to hear something about these strings. I have used Lo-Riders on one of my basses, and maybe I'll try the Fat Beams one of these days. That particular bass is taken apart right now for repairs and mods, so I won't need 'em right away.
  3. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    Thanks for the review rickbass1!! Instead of trying out the Fat Beams I broke down and got some stainless steel Lo-Riders. Compared to the Hi-Beams I must say that I like the overall sound of the Lo-Riders better. A little more bassy I guess. They don't quite flex like the Hi-Beams but they are still clear AND deep which is a good thing. So...In your opinion, were the Fat Beams better than the Lo-Riders?
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Flat- Glad it was informative. I used flats before my long love affair with Rotosounds Swings, but I always missed that deep, smooth "zoooommmm." Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem to be possible at this point to get a rawer, egdier, rip with flats, so I always kept my roundwounds on a long time to "tame them" for the thump of flats.

    My old Precis with flats still gets in the car with the one strung with rounds, though.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    rs- "Better" in the sense that they're better for me because of the mix of straight on rock and old school funk/R&B in our sets.

    The Hi-Beams were great for slap and rock but I always had to change basses, or wanted to change basses, when a full-on R&B or softer song came up. The reverse was true when rock songs came up. That's when I wanted Lo-Riders or just some kind of flats. It was unrealistic to structure sets around which instruments were in use. Now, I don't have to think about it.

    IMO. that may be why they have the Marcus Miller signature. I think he was using Hi-Beams for slap but wanted something that could crossover to the deep. bassy, side as well. That's purely conjecture.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    rs and Flat- Sorry, the replies were sequenced so weird. This happend in anther thread I saw where thr thread originator couldn't figure out why his posts weren't in order. Must be related to the remodeling Paul is doing,
  7. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    OK rickbass1, sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but I have a sound vs. playability issue. After using Hi-Beams and Lo-Riders I prefer the sound of Lo-riders. After a couple of long practices I wanted the feel of Hi-Beams which are much easier to play IMO. So, do Fat Beams feel more like Hi-Beams or are they stiff like Lo-Riders?
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    No rs, that's cool, ask away. I'd hope for someone to be responsive, too. I ask when I need to and answer when I feel I can.

    Gieven the bass I described, I'd put them close to Lo-Riders. I find I don't want/need to lay a lot of meat on Hi-Beams because they are so "sparkling" and hence, I don't think tension is such an issue for them.

    But the "Marcus" definitely have backbone AND have just enough give without falling into the "wobbly" category. In fact, I find they aren't easy to bend into sharps/flats nor do they lend themselves to vibratos. But for me, that's cool because with the band's overall volume and the sound's usual textures, no one expect me is going to notice I'm doing those techniques anyway other way than by watching my fingers. And when going throug our usual PA, forget it.

    If you get some, please let us know what you think of them. As Rick Turner or Bass Player mag fame says, "Strings are like voodoo."
  9. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    Sorry to bring back such an old thread but I felt the need to since I just got my first set of Fatbeams. I got the Marcus Miller signature set which are gauged .105 .080 .065 .045. This is little different on the A string (most DR sets have a .085 A with the .105 E).

    These strings truly are a cross between Hi-Beams and Lo-Riders. IMO they have the flex and brightness of Hi-Beams with the low/low mid punch of Lo-Riders. Also, volume wise on my Fender Jazz, the .080 A string seems to balance better with the other strings.

    These strings are extremely versatile (warm and bright) and I highly recommend them. I play mostly fingerstyle rock and R&B and rarely slap. The fact that they are "Marcus Miller" signature doesn't really matter to me. Hope this helps anyone thinking of trying these.

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