Jazz Bass Tone; Which strings to use?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Castlehill650, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. D’Addario NYXL

  2. D’Addario XL (EXL170)

  1. Castlehill650


    Oct 18, 2018
    Hello Talk Bass, I have been playing bass for around 15 years and as much as I think I know about the subject, I honestly am lacking in knowledge of particular strings for certain tones, except for the the basics like roundwound vs flatwound.

    Anyway I have an Ash wood Jazz bass which sounds beuatiful, and am going into a studio for some bass work in the coming days. I am playing for an indy/rock band and happened to have two sets of new strings pretty much put on my lap.

    Mind that I play 5 string

    The first is a set of D’Addario NYXL 45-130 Long scale strings. They have a steel core with a nickel-plated steel wrap. They claim it sounds good for “all styles” among other statements like “it will cut through the mix” (I attribute that to the steel in the nickel plated wrap.)

    The second is a set of D’Addario XL Nickel Wound strings (EXL170-5) 45-130. It seems to be more of a standard choice. And with the nickel wrap instead of steel, I feel it wont be too harsh in the highs. Although I really have no clue.

    Im really just looking for the quintisential “jazz bass” tone with the growl we all know and love but without anything that may compromise the tone. I do need to cut through the mix, but this isnt a punk rock band where I really need to cut through heavy guitars. If I was playing a metal session then I believe I would have my answer but in this case I need help.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  2. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I've not used either of these strings before but in general they seem pretty similar.
    trothwell and Pbassmanca like this.
  3. rob_thebassman


    Jul 26, 2010
    Normanton, UK
    playing bass since 2005
    These are on a stingray and the Fenders are supposedly the same as D'addario XL. Here's an idea of how they sound like

    Castlehill650 likes this.
  4. The outer wrap is nickel-plated-steel on both. But the NYXL features a couple of enhanced features.

    From D'Addario website:

    NYXL Bass features our high carbon NY Steel core wrapped with our reformulated nickel-plated steel. This new construction delivers deep, powerful lows, focused punch, and accentuated harmonics. Designed for all playing styles, NYXL Bass provides more dynamic range and sustain than any other bass string.
    The XL Nickels remain the standard because of their availability and affordability. Many people around here feel the NYXL's enhanced features are NOT worth the extra money.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
    russellh86, trothwell and Pbassmanca like this.
  5. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Personally, I like stainless steel rounds on a Jazz bass. I think they bring out the natural tonal characteristics of them best.
  6. Stan_da_man


    Aug 29, 2006
    Any roundwound string will do...
    n1as, Winoman and MrLenny1 like this.
  7. As far as I understand it, the OP is simply asking for advice which of the two sets already in possession would be better to put on the Jazz bass - D'A XL Nickels or NYXL Nickels?
  8. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Jazz Bass Tone; Which strings to use?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  9. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    Get the EXL170-5 cause it's way cheaper, unless you could have some kind of special deal with the NYXL 45-130.

    Sound wise, both are almost similar (though some would say the NYXL sound better). But, the NYXL will be easier on fingers due to lighter tensions.
  10. Castlehill650


    Oct 18, 2018
    Thank you all for the replies. So as the strings mentioned were actually litterally put on my lap, it was found that the EXL170’s were missing the 5th string :meh:, so its either the NYXL, or any string that is readily available (guitar center, etc.) that you guys think I should try.

    I am looking for that jazz growl, without any negative “artificial” harsh overtones.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I’ve tried D’Addario NYXLs on three different basses I own. And I came away very unimpressed.

    I don’t care for NYXLs.

    D’Addario nickles are just fine depending on the bass.
    PawleeP and Dp1363 like this.
  12. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    I have always started with the EXLs on a new bass as they are pretty neutral and consistent. A reliable standard to see what the bass sounds like.
    However, I usually end up with Sunbeams - a little more mellow and less "zing" than the D-As
    AndyPanda likes this.
  13. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I’ve tried D’Addario NYXLs on three different basses I own. And I came away very unimpressed.

    I don’t care for NYXLs.

    D’Addario nickles are just fine depending on the bass.
    Spirit of Ox and Pbassmanca like this.
  14. D'Addario EXL nickels have been my main go to string for almost 20 years now. They are good all around string that suit any style of music.
    A couple weeks ago I've started using the NYXLs and I have mixed feelings about them. They are definitely brighter and maybe louder. They sound more like stainless than nickels. I need to give them more play time and see if they just need to break in a little more. Supposedly they have less tension than the XLs but I don't see too much of a difference.
  15. Hounddog409


    Oct 27, 2015

    I did not see an option for neither. Why are you limiting yourself to those 2 only?
  16. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    I agree...What I do is try to select strings that balance out or off set the bass's natural sound. For a darker scooped Jazz, Dunlop Nickel Super Brights once broken in are fantastic and super growly. If you need more warmth or low/mids, I use GHS pressuewounds. Add Roundcore Boomer's an a nice middle ground and those are my 3 goto sets for Jazz Bass's.
  17. I think as far as rounds go, Dunlop Super Bright Nickels are the best.
    BassikBrad likes this.
  18. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    on my cheap P bass it makes no difference.. they are cheap enough to try.. each.. I prefer my strings coated like black beauties and flat dead..
  19. Stan_da_man


    Aug 29, 2006
    No he isn't. You're wrong.
  20. oren

    oren Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    If you already have the NYXLs, why wouldn’t you just put them on and see how you like the sound? If you like them, great! If you don’t like them, then you can try something else.
    BassikBrad and zoonose like this.