Mustang Bass Light vs Standard Strings, and Upgraded Pickups

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ddarrell2, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. ddarrell2


    Nov 25, 2017
    I just got the new Fender Vintera '60s Mustang bass, and wondered about some updates namely strings and pickups. I'm trying to find some answers digging through the archives but still had some more questions.

    This is my second bass and I quickly put flat wounds on my Jazz bass, and have loved it all these years. I thought I might give the stock round wounds a go, but the sliding sound is very distracting. So, what's the commentary on light versus standard strings? The online descriptions sound good for light, but also when reading about standard a comment "not as flappy as light," so that made we worried about light strings. Also wondered about preferred string brands. Here's what I can easily get:
    The La Bella 760F-MUS is made for the string-through Mustang, which is really compelling, but I'm now spooked about the strings being too floppy with lower tension already on a short-scale bass.

    The bass has nice tone, but it's also very faint sounding. With the guitar volume up all the way there's a lot of noise, so I need to dial it down to around 60%, and need a preamp pedal level dialed to "11." Here's what I'm finding online for round split-coil:
    • Norstand NM4 – from what I read elsewhere, this seems the best value
    • Aero 4A – seems good, but not better than the NM4 and more involved to get
    • SD Custom Shop – couldn't find much online, but these do come in white
    Any others out there worth considering? Any good places to get aged split-coil pickup covers? Thanks for your input.
  2. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    Curtis Novak winds two versions of a Mustang pickup (vintage and fat) and can make original size or reissue size. I had a Vintage made to the reissue pickup size and it sounded great - deep & warm with good clarity but not “sterile”.
    ddarrell2 likes this.
  3. I personally don't buy into this whole idea that one needs thicker strings on a short-scale in order to compensate for the reduced tension (as in pulling weight).

    For example...
    A string with 40 lbs. of tension on a 34" scale would not vibrate the same way as a string with 40 lbs. of tension on a 30" scale; the shorter the scale, the more rigid the string would become at the same tension (= pulling weight). This means a set of strings need to be lighter in tension (= pulling weight) to sound as good on a short scale as a set on a 34" scale.

    The La Bella Flats 43-104 would naturally have less tension (= pulling weight) on a short scale than a standard scale, but in terms of stiffness/playability, they would be closer to how 43-104 would FEEL on a 34" scale than one might think.
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  4. ddarrell2


    Nov 25, 2017
  5. You can , and should, post this part in the "Pickups & Electronics" section.
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  6. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I have played a Supro Huntington II with the conventional short scale version of this La Bella set. The only difference is the conventional ball end instead of the tapered ball end to go through the body. Quite the contrary: the set has good, even tension and feel, great intonation, great consistent tone.

    Another good set to try with good round tone, good feel and flexibility, and should work on a body-through bridge: GHS Balanced Pure Nickels. They have a 32 3/4 inch speaking length, so the silks should still clear the nut when installed body through.

    I have installed a Nordstrand Mustang Bass pickup on a short scale project bass. I can confirm its superlative tone: Mustang character with better clarity and low end.
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