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Needed - Low tension, warm, deep strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by GBassNorth, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Your recommendations for a great 4 string set...

    What I'm looking for is a warm, smooth feeling, deep (not looking for bright and crisp) balanced 4 string roundwound nickel low tension set for 34" scale bass. I'm purely a finger player, no slap or tap or pick.

    These will be going on an Alembic bass that has a very bright top end and will hopefully tame that down a bit. I've never tried a low tension string and never really specifically sought a balanced set (vs just buying a packaged set) so I thought I'd give those features a whirl as well.

    FWIW - strings I've tried on this bass that I didn't like are:
    Chromes - smooth feeling flats, too bright sounding flats for my taste, tension too high, the 4 string set didn't feel very balanced, flats on an Alembic just didn't sound right to me.
    Cobalts - very rough feeling, lots of finger noise, way too bright, fairly high tension, not my cup of tea.
    Nanos - very smooth feeling, no finger noise, too bright.
    Black Beauties - very smooth feeling, no finger noise, deep sounding, not too bright, tension a little too high, could be better balanced from string to string.

    Any suggestions?
  2. LazyGecko


    Nov 19, 2013
    For a warm sound try getting flatwounds. DR flats are very good.
  3. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    DR Sunbeams for low tension and decently warm sound, especially after breaking in.

    For deeper timbre and exceptional uniformity from top to bottom, but also at the cost of higher tension and a higher price, Thomastik-Infeld makes some nickel rounds that are really great strings, at least on the 5-string that I got to check them out on. Will buy a set of these for myself sometime…

    For medium tension and a warm, balanced sound, I use the R. Cocco nickel rounds quite frequently. I really like these a lot for their uniformity and focus.
  4. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    I do like the DR flats on my P basses but really didn't dig the flats on an Alembic tone. This bass is a hifi very modern sounding monster and flats just kind of muffled it. I think I'll stick to rounds on this one.
  5. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    I've used Sunbeams on some of my other basses with very good results. That's about the tension I'm after. Haven't tried them on this bass yet.

    TI's have always peaked my interest but I've never tried them or heard them first hand. I assume the tension is higher than the Sunbeams. Do you have a feel for which common string has a similar tension to the TI rounds for comparison sake.

    Never tried the R. Cocco rounds. Are they low tension like the Sunbeams and do they sound brighter or darker or about the same a the Sunbeams?
  6. CapnSev

    CapnSev Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    TI flats are your answer. They feel exactly like Sunbeams in tension, except the have a nice mellow (but not too mellow) tone.
  7. I think you should try TI's. They probably feel about the same tension as sunbeams but still have the rich dark sound of flats.

    * ^^ haha as I was saying.
  8. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    I've heard people say the TI flats have a kind of roundwound sound, is that true? I wasn't really looking for a traditional flat for this bass and did try Chromes on it because I thought they would be a little brighter than typical flats but I ended up not really liking how the Alembic electronics interacted with the flats.
  9. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Interesting posts…I don't agree about Sunbeams and TI flats having the same tension, finding the TI's to be about the loosest strings I've ever played…I have a love-hate thing with them, and currently am not using them at all. They have some spectacular timbral characteristics - killer burp in the mids, if your bass does that stuff…but I also sometimes want to dig in hard, and they don't take kindly to that.

    The Coccos are my favorites because they do so many things well…medium tension, warm, full timbre (but also some shimmer on top), and pitch just seems well-centered - this is particularly clear on triple-stops/chords. They have a fatter timbre than the Sunbeams and can bring more thump, and while I rarely slap, would be better for slap than the Sunbeams.

    If you start going down the flats road, I'd suggest looking at DR and Sadowsky - I really like the Sadowsky flats, and use them on my 5-string fretless. Gonna guess they would be a good combination with the full-range kind-of-dry/tight sound that I associate with Alembic, able to provide some contrasting warmth, but also able to capitalize on what makes Alembic Alembic in the first place. No reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater!
  10. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    There's a lot of TI love on TB. I'm sure I'll try a set some time I'm just not sure if I really want to be putting flats on an Alembic bass with dual humbuckers and an on-board hifi preamp. I suppose I could try a set out and then flip them to a different bass if I don't like them on this one.
    Your thoughts?
  11. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    The Coccos sound very close to what I'm looking for. I do a lot of chord work on this bass so a balanced clear string set would be good. I didn't see them listed on the Just Strings website, where do you buy them?

    As for the TI's - I've heard a number of love/hate comments on them. Seems that people that dig in (which I am known to do from time to time) have issues with them. I think one comment I read went something like, "my left hand loves these strings but my right hand hates them".
  12. The only way to really know is to jump in IMO. I guess you need to establish if the tone of flats is what you are after vs rounds. TIs sound like classic flats but have a tension more similar to rounds. I now have them on all my basses..... but it's taken a lot of trial and error for me to find the string that clicks with me.
  13. If you're digging in then why be looking for low tension strings?
  14. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    As I continue to get older and my arthritis worsens I'm finding it a little harder to deal with high tension strings (i.e. chrome flats) without getting fatigue in my fretting hand, especially as I do chord work. I've never tried a low tension set but suspect my left hand will appreciate them. As for digging in, if the strings don't allow it then I'll eventually adjust my playing style, assuming I like the strings and want to keep them on the bass.
  15. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    TI jazz rounds.
  16. rockinpop

    rockinpop Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2008
    Lindenhurst, New York
    What 3234718 said...... TI Jazz Rounds. Super low tension and warm and deep. Extremely easy to play.
  17. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Nobody buys strings there man!

    Bass Strings Online is the only place to get bass strings.

    They have everything mentioned here...TI's, Cocco's, Sunbeams...even custom sets.

    Keep in mind that Cocco's are hex core so they are higher tension than Sunbeams. They are also not as balanced as Sunbeams.

    My suggestion? Sunbeams of course. You can even make a custom set if you want more or less tension on one of the strings.

    And don't forget, BSO has a TB user discount. Just register on his site and let him know your TB username. He's very active here and takes care of all of us very well :)
  18. stretch80


    Jan 31, 2005
    GHS Pressurewounds are semi-mellow, semi-round, but I'm not sure where they are on the tension scale.....
  19. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    TI Jazz Flats have a nice snap, but they in no way sound like any roundwound.
  20. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    TI Jazz or Labella Black Nylon. These have an even looser feel than the TI.
    They sound great too.