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nylon tapewounds on acoustic bass guitar

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Rob Horn, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Rob Horn

    Rob Horn

    Dec 27, 2017
    I have a GoldTone ABG which has some old bronze/brass strings which are heavily oxidised. I'm thinking about replacing them with some nylon tapewounds as I don't like the sound made by new strings on all ABGs I tried in shops (too tinny - not enough bass). I have been unable to find a shop in the UK with an ABG fitted with nylons to try out the sound. Has anyone seen a video comparing the sounds of nylon tapewounds vs bronze/brass/nickel?

    I also play a battered double bass with a nylon hybrid set (2 strings kevlar core, 2 steel) which are lovely on the fingers but lack tone. The hybrid set are tricky to tune up because one pair require lots of winding and the other just the smallest tweak!

    All suggestions/advice welcome

  2. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    Tapewounds can be cool. But, they will be a lot quieter. Which may, or may not be relevant. I use the White tapes, which are pretty bright, mainly for fretless. Tapes do have a bit of a plasticy clack in the attack. They will be very different than a bronze round string.
    They do feel soft and slick, which I like
    Rob Horn and the harp unstrung like this.
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I believe in the MTV Unplugged school of thought…plug in!
    That's why I bought a battery-operated Roland Micro Cube bass amp.
    As for strings, bronzewounds are the worst choice possible because the tone is a joke and basssists are all about tone. That's why I won't play unplugged…your tone is severely limited.
    D'Addario black tapewounds are my choice for my acoustic bass.
    (Headphones are recommended)
    thanos k and Rob Horn like this.
  4. MD

    MD Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    LaBella 760N

    And, LaBella makes a tapewound string for DB as well; designed with the help of Ron Carter - if you weren't aware.
  5. Rob Horn

    Rob Horn

    Dec 27, 2017
    Nice sound! Thanks JD!
    jd56hawk likes this.
  6. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Thank you!
    Sometimes I like that bass more than anything I've ever played.
  7. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    The first thing that I grabbed, once I decided on my Breedlove, was a set of D’Addario tapes.

    When I got home, I removed the bronze strings with a set of side cutters, ensuring that they’d never again inflict themselves on another human being.
    jd56hawk and Rob Horn like this.
  8. Rob Horn

    Rob Horn

    Dec 27, 2017
    Looking at the D'Addario website - it goes into depth about the the tension. Am I likely to need to play around with the truss rod when changing from the current nickel / bronze roundwounds? Altering truss rods is a bit like playing with engine timing - wizardry best left to the professionals! I don't know what the current tension is, let alone the strings which I suspect may be the original set. I have emailed the guitar manufacturer for their recommendation, but as yet no reply.
  9. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    You’ll probably have to tweak the truss rod, but bronze strings aren’t very high tension, so it should be minimal, unless the action is already way out.
  10. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    It depends.
    Some companies' bronze sets are light-tension because they're light gauge (e.g. Ernie Ball, Curt Mangan); GHS bronzes are both (gauges 40-96 and, as per their tension chart, each string is lighter than the Boomer of equal or similar diameter).
    OTOH, the D'Addario phosphor bronze four-string set (.045-.065-.08-.1) was, gauge being equal, the most high-tension of all their bass products including, surprisingly enough, flatwounds (Chromes), according to their old tension pdf; the more recent, revised tension tabs on the website place it below Chromes as far as tension,* but way above anything else - Half Rounds,** XL Nickels, ProSteels and NYXLs, let alone the tapes (which of course are very thin rounds under a nylon wrap that adds gauge but negligible mass and tension).

    *(and only as regards the G and D strings: the bronze A and E have about the same tension as the Chromes of corresponding gauge)
    **(with the sole exception of the G, the half-round .045 having about 2lbs' more tension than the bronze)
    tfer likes this.
  11. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    I’m not sure what came included on my AEB, and they didn’t survive long enough to worry about, but going from feel, they seemed to be very low tension.

    And when I swapped them out, I only had to supply a touch of truss rod relief.
  12. For me, I admire the T-I ABG strings they designed with Rick Turner for his fretless axes. Somehow they seem to be a bit controversial (they're not cheap, as if any T-I's were, but then you're used to the price of upright strings). Turner rightly figured you don't need a lot of metal for piezo pickups as they're not sensing the strings magnetism, only the vibration at the bridge. So they are a nylon core with metal outer wraps, and sound great on his axes.

    Your results may vary.
    downunder likes this.
  13. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    I tried D’Addario black tapes on my ABG, which had previously been wearing Chromes. Found ‘em clanky, quiet and thin with all the warmth gone, and switched back to Chromes in a hurry.

    Really wanted to like them, but it was honestly the least happy I’d ever been with a new string in my life.

    Mileage will vary greatly, it seems.

  14. Rob Horn

    Rob Horn

    Dec 27, 2017
    I am hoping they will be as playable as the current strings which make the acoustic bass the easiest bass I have ever owned. It is almost as easy to hammer and pull with the left hand as my classical guitar! I have to remind myself not to try the same with the double bass!
  15. The only ABG I own is a Carvin fretless. It wears a set of Fender tapes. The have worn that set for three or four years now and they really compliment its sound.
  16. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I've owned two Dean Exotica Acoustic basses. Put D'Addario black tapewounds on both. My old one only required the slightest truss rod adjustment. My current one didn't require one at all.
    The tone is incredible. Wonderfully warm.
    I'm string savvy, it seems. Somehow I've managed to find the perfect strings for my current big three and I wouldn't use any other strings on my Exotica even if someone offered me an endorsement deal...I simply wouldn't be able to lie.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  17. I have a Dean EAB, yeah, cheap. Put on a new set pf Phosphor Bronze..yikes! sounds like a guitar an octave lower, not to mention fret noise!! How much acoustic (unplugged) volume did you lose?
  18. I have a Dean EAB, yeah, cheap. Put on a new set pf Phosphor Bronze..yikes! sounds like a guitar an octave lower, not to mention fret noise!! How much acoustic (unplugged) volume did you lose?
  19. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    My AEB is fretless, so that’s one problem that I don’t have to worry about!

    Tapes are definitely quieter, but it’s not an issue for me. I never expected to not have to plug it in if I’m playing with others. The improvement in tone, was incredible. Dean makes a decent quality instrument - enjoy it!

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