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Novice question re: bluegrass strings

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by Sven1, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. Sven1


    Feb 5, 2005
    I've been learning upright bass on a 3/4 50s Kay upright for several years (I'm a guitar/banjo/dobro player originally).

    The bass was strung backwards for a lefty when I bought it. It also has the same strings on it (two are nylon, two are metal wound). They are beginning to fray and I figured it was time to replace them. I play bluegrass mostly, and wanted advice on what types/makers/guages of strings would be recomended (since it's not as cheap to experiment like with guitar strings).

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Just a quick question: did you search the forum archive with the word "bluegrass" and also looked a the newbie links post at the top of the forum?
  3. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I like Pirastro Obligatos or Lenzner gut strings for bluegrass and similar genres, I have gut (all gut G/D, silver wrapped A/E) on my old Kay.
  4. There is a lot of variation possible in bluegrass bass playing, so there are certainly lots of string options. I like a string that provides some volume so my bass can stand up to a b@njo. Often in jams there will be gaggles of guitarists, many mandolinists, far too many fiddlers and buttloads of banjo pickers, but really only one bass. It's nice to be heard. You planning on jamming? All night long? Or is this for performance and then back on the bus? How do you play? If you're slapping at all or worry about tender fingers, consider some soft strings, at least on G and D. Years ago the great Tom Gray (Seldom Scene, Country Gentlemen) recommended I try Spirocores on A and E and Golden Spiral (tynex on gut) for G and D. Huge difference in tension, but similar gauge. Over time, I began to slap more and more and my playing grew up around that combination of strings.

    Sorry. That's lots of detail. But consider when and where you will play, how long, with whom and certainly your style.