New strings? .. hear me out.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Jmitch222, Aug 5, 2021.

  1. Jmitch222


    Aug 5, 2021
    Hey what’s up everybody!? I was a guitar player for years and over the past few months I’ve taken a deep dive into the bass world.

    I see lot of people playing bass that don’t change their strings often or ever. Some say they bought a vintage bass and have never changed their strings (and have had the bass for over 6 years). As a guitarist I loved the way new guitar strings felt and sounded. New strings made the guitar come to life for me. What’s the reason for not changing bass strings? Is it because new strings sound too bright and punk rock-ish? And older strings sound deep and just sit in the mix? It’s also a feel thing for me. It’s completely different coming from the guitar world to the bass world in that regard. I know it may be different for everyone but what is the reasoning behind never changing your bass strings?

    A little back story:
    Recently some friends started a new band and asked if I wanted to pay bass for a few shows they have coming up. Of course I said yes but I didn’t have a bass. That sent me spiraling down the bass rabbit hole trying anything and everything I could get my hands on all over central Florida, doing research, seeing what basses the people I was into played and why it sounded that way.. ect. I ended up buying a Fender American professional ii p bass. I went further down the rabbit hole and just bought a fender jmj mustang. I love both of them and how they’re completely different in every way. It’s nice to have two different colors to paint with sonically and both make me play and sound different. I’m probably going to be asking a bunch of noobie questions so please bear with me.

    Thanks in advance!

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  2. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    there are those in bassworld who feel the need for brand new strings all the time as well.
    then there's the other end of the extreme spectrum and all points between, I'm all in on flatwounds and favor never changing strings for ultimate vintage tone / 'thump' and no zinginess. but no flatwounds are the same so it's another rabbithole, try and get to a happy place on both basses asap if you want a wide pallet of tones and maybe experiment on rare occasions otherwise it's too distracting / wa$teful.
    Kenova, MynameisMe and Jmitch222 like this.
  3. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I like fresh, new, zingy roundwounds.
  4. Bass4ThePublic

    Bass4ThePublic Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    Kansas City
    Old flats sound great. Old rounds don’t.
  5. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I change my roundwounds when I notice I'm not getting the tone I want anymore.
  6. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Just one article on bass strings, round vs flats, etc..
    What’s The Difference Between Bass String Types? (Part 2) | eBass
    Roundwounds are the most popular by far, but are they the best?
    Not for me.
    GHS black tapewounds on five of my basses...D'Addario on my three Dean Exotica acoustic basses, Fender 9050 custom light flatwounds on my Gamma Alpha P bass and my Bacchus Woodline jazz bass.
    These strings will last longer than I will!
  7. It's just a matter of tone preferences. I like some zing so I change my strings every 6 months. Others don't like it so they change less often (if ever). Do what sounds best to you.
  8. AboutSweetSue

    AboutSweetSue Guest

    Sep 29, 2018
    La Bella Deep Talkin Flats fall into this perfect world of tone, and I don’t change them until that world begins to fall apart. Once they are settled in, and after you’ve played them for months, the feel and tone is just there for me, and I can manipulate it any way I want because I’m so familiar with it.
  9. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Bass strings, instead of dying in two weeks, they break in. They lose the initial "scoop" effect, and even out across the set. Then, you play them til you want to change them. Also, guitar strings are 5 bucks, bass strings are 20 to 100 bucks. Kind of different.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2021
    Relayer71, Kukulkan61, BOOG and 9 others like this.
  10. When I was an acoustic guitar player in my younger days, I used to change the strings on my Martins once a month. Those days are forever gone, thank goodness! ;)

    Now as a bassist, I like the sound of "nicely worn in" (not dead or worn out) nickel roundwound (or semi-round) strings, so I change the strings on my basses about once a year or so, or as needed.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I change my round wound strings very often. They’re bright strings on a bright bass and fresh ones work for me.

    I let my flat wound strings on other basses live a long life. It’s another preference.

    I swap strings on my main guitar at least every couple weeks.
  12. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    Strings run from super bright, almost clavinet like (stainless roundwounds) all the way to just big lumpy, organ pedal fat (flatwounds and tape flatwounds). Depending on your taste and what suits the gigs you're playing, over time and trying a few different sets, you'll settle on what suits you and your ears.

    I prefer brighter than darker, so I tend towards nickel roundwounds like D'Addario XL or GHS Boomers. For me they're a good all-rounder. The tone does fade over time, and usually, after my years of experience I know when it's time to change them for my taste. This will come to you with more experience as well. I've found that for me, if I leave them on too long (when I was gigging 20 or 30 days a month) they would not want to tune as easily or correctly, which was a dead giveaway on high-mileage strings it was time to go. Now that I just play occasionally round the house, they last a lot, lot longer.

    This is one of those things that the only really right answer is what's right for you, and over time, you'll discover this.

    Here's a link to GHS' product page for their bass strings, which lots of us use, and we're frequently helped out by our friend @Jon Moody from GHS here in Talkbass, one of the valued professionals who takes the time to walk us through various string questions. Notice the chart across the top of the page, and how it relates to the metallurgy they'll quote for the different strings.

    Products - Bass - GHS Strings
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  13. Jmitch222


    Aug 5, 2021
    Uh oh, I enjoy rabbit holes! I’m already wanting to experiment with different flats on my jmj and even try it with rounds just to try everything out and see what I gravitate toward.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  14. Jmitch222


    Aug 5, 2021
    For the music I’m playing at the moment, I do too. They’re perfect on my p bass for the sound I’m going for.
  15. 2tonic


    Dec 22, 2015
    As others here have stated, it's a matter of personal preference. The choice is also influenced by each players individual "chemistry". Some players have particularly acidic perspiration, which tends to clog, corrode, and weaken roundwounds, rendering them
    "dead" in a short amount of time. That leads to boiling strings to clean them and restore some of that "zing" they had when fresh. You'll find lots of threads on TB about that subject.
    Personally, when I was gigging 6 nights a week I replaced my rounds every week. I also had flats on a couple basses that had to be 10 to 12 years old, at the time.
    To each his own!
    BarfanyShart and Jmitch222 like this.
  16. Jmitch222


    Aug 5, 2021
    Thanks for the article!
  17. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Once you're out of the flatwound rabbithole after finding your one true set, they're on for life. It's illegal to change them.

    Roundwounds, I like to change them right when the accumulated crud and what have you starts turning into algae and fungi. I find bacteria really dull down those mids.
    Vitamin D, Mili, M0ses and 2 others like this.
  18. Jmitch222


    Aug 5, 2021
    That’s the route I’m going to go as well. I’m going to experiment with different flats on my mustang and see which ones connect with me. I saw a post that Justin himself wrote about which strings were his fav on his personal mustangs. I’m going to have to try those out.
    Killing Floor likes this.
  19. Jmitch222


    Aug 5, 2021
    Thank you for the links and info!!
  20. Jmitch222


    Aug 5, 2021
    Mission accepted! I’ll keep you guys posted!
    Gothic likes this.