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Impressions of strings I've tried (DR, Warwick, Ernie Ball, Dunlop, La Bella)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by mouthmw, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Well now that I've tried several brands of strings, I thought of writing what I think of all of them.
    I play a passive jazz bass (Squier CV), and before that I played a Yamaha BB 414, also passive.
    All of the strings I used were 45 - 105

    Tuning at home - standard EADG
    Tuning for live gigs - half a step down D#G#C#F#

    Stuff I tried:

    DR High Beams - nice bright sound, they stayed fresh for my first gig, and lasted for about 2 months I think, until I broke the E string. They were the first pack I bought and honestly, I don't remember much about them, except that I really wanted to switch to nickel strings as I found I liked the tone and feel better.

    Warwick Red label - cheap solid steel strings that I bought as a quick replacement several times when the store didn't have anything else in the 45 - 105 size. They are ROUGH on your fingers, the tone is a bit hollow and lakluster to me, they sound a bit scooped. But they do NOT break! I play aggressivly and those were almost the only strings I never managed to break not one package, however, the feel is awful, and the sound is just not there IMO. I actually went through at least 3 or 4 packs of those because I had no alternative at times.

    Ernie Ball Slinky - my first nickel string venture, I liked the feel and the tone, but they went dead quite quickly. And once broken in, the tone was muffled and lacked punch. I sold my Yamaha with those strings on it, so I guess I never broke them either.

    DR Sunbeams - whoa, this is where my love for DR strings started. I loved the tone, so warm and smooth and the feel is just amazing. However, they felt a bit too loose. Still, I loved those! Broke a string after about 3 months. But the tone was always nice even after 3 months of use.

    Dunlop nickles - felt and sounded like a cheaper variation of DRs. Not bad, but a bit vanilla. The feel just wasn't as nice, nor was the tone. Went through 2 packs rather quickly (3 - 4 months) because I broke the E or A string, once even both. I had to put a Warwick Red A string during gig once when I broke the Dunlop, and the Warwick string had a higher output which I found interesting.

    La Bella Slappers - nice, pretty darn nice. Fresh out of the box, they felt like they had some sort of lubricant on them. Not exactly greasy, but something oily. Very tight strings too, much tighter than any other brand I tried. Great tone after several gigs, and they stayed fresh the longest of any string I ever tried. I liked the feel of the DRs better though. Once they really broke in, the tone was ok, but lacked that certain je ne sais quoi, perhaps fulness or something. I guess they work best for what their name tells - slap. Plus, they feel made to last, since I didn't break a string.

    DR Lo Riders (nickel) - finally got these, just put them on today, which is what I wanted to get when I got Slappers, but the store didn't have them. Slappers are now put as a quick replacement pack for gigs when I break a string. Whoa, this is it. The feel is awesome! I read that people think Lo Riders are tight. I felt Slappers were a lot more tight, these are just perfect. The feel and ease of playing is totally there now (for me). I can't wait to try them on the gig tonight! I think these might be my favorite because they're tighter than Sunbeams and have less tension that Slappers, and they bring that great DR tone!

    Well that's it. DRs had by far the best feel and tone for me, but I always broke a string after about 3 months of use. Still, I'd trade that for what they bring me. I really love playing those. La Bellas would be a second best with the longest fresh sound, if you go for that zingy thing. Personally, I prefer my strings a bit broken in, and find that DRs give me the best tone and feel for that.

    Hope this might help some people a bit. :bassist:
  2. Eyesee7


    Jul 17, 2005
    Great review, thanks. Interesting to get to the end of it and find you coming to the same conclusion I have, although I haven't tried a wide variety of strings - I just love the DR Lo Riders!
  3. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    I can't believe you've broken that many E and A strings. Might want to check your technique and your saddles for burrs.
  4. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Great review! I agree with funky, though. I have never broken a string just from playing... does that make me a wussy ;^)
  5. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    :D Yea sometimes I just dig in too hard, or when I slap really aggressivly. I am calming down a bit now though! I used to really hit that poor bass with vengeance during gigs.
  6. hyp.spec

    hyp.spec Supporting Member

    May 14, 2006
    Warren, MI
    If you're breaking strings that much, you might want to get your bass checked out.

    I've used DR's for 7 years and have never, ever broken a string.
  7. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    I've been playing bass for 30+ years and I've NEVER broken a string. Are you hitting them with a sledgehammer?:)
  8. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Check out Welcome to Bass Strings Online - Your Custom Bass String Shop... if you want to experiment with strings! He's got quite a few sets you haven't tried yet, plus you can build your own custom sets and he he has singles! And the best part is that you'll pay about half of what you're paying at your local store in most cases. Register as a TB and you'll get VIP prices which is even better!

    But we've come to similar conclusions...DR is it. I do want to try Sadowsky and Fodera strings though. Plus Jason has the new Ernie Ball Cobalts ready for pre-order so I'll be trying those!
    Ernie Ball Cobalt Slinky Bass Strings from Bass Strings Online
  9. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Thanks for the link man! Nice prices! I think I'll be using that site from now on.
    On another, related note. Just came home from the gig and it was great. Lovin the lo riders. But I'm afraid I wasn't too gentle on the bass... :help:
  10. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Oh go on!:D
  11. Jeff O'Connor

    Jeff O'Connor Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2004
    Stratford, CT
    Great web site! I've registered, and in the comments put my TalkBass user name. When do the VIP prices show? Thank You!

  12. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    We both know that you are already setup!

    But for others, if you register and put your user name and you are from Talk Bass, please be patient as VIP requests are all done manually. It wont be long though, if during "business hours" then its not very long.

    Once active you will receive an email with more information about the program.
  13. Jeff O'Connor

    Jeff O'Connor Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2004
    Stratford, CT
    All great! Didn't mean to push it! Everything top notch. Please, fellow players, get with this now!
  14. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Always a pleasure dealing with Jason.
  15. Again..I've said this in a few posts..I just placed my first order with BSO..order shipped Friday and arrived Monday (CA to PA). EXCELLENT! I work in customer service and know that we only hear the bad things so I feel the need to pass along good things, and I'm very happy with the shipping, communication, and prices !
  16. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Thank you guys!!!!!

    I didn't mean to de-rail the thread! Sorry OP!
  17. Thanks for the review. I play a CV Jazz with GHS Pressure Wounds through a GK amp and it's nice to get some feedback on other strings from a player with similar gear. When I put the PWounds on it was down to that or DR LoRiders so now I know what direction to go if I want a little different tone.

    I used to play DR's on my Modulus 5 string a few years ago and I really loved the tone and the feel of them on that bass. Good to know you had a good experience with them on your Jazz Bass.

    Thanks again and by all means join the crew. Most of us order our strings from Jason's company. He has great prices, very fast delivery and he's one of the most knowledgeable and helpful vendors out there. He's never too busy to help a fellow bassist.
  18. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    I broke a string


    back when I 1st started playing.
  19. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    I dig in often enough too.
  20. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Just out of curiosity, where are the strings breaking? By the bridge saddles?

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