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Of (SS) Strings and basses

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by knight of ni, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Almost a year ago I started playing bass again after almost 20 years of interruption (time flies by and it goes faster and faster). I decide to take it seriously this time (I wasn't very committed !), dump my old bass and buy a Sire JB. It seemed a reasonable deal at that time (the hype) and I always wanted a JB. It came with D'Addarios Ni roundwounds. Good sound but I in fact wanted more bite and growl so after some time, I buy a SBMM Ray34. It came with EB Slinky Ni roundwounds too. I thought it missed a bit of what I was looking for but didn't know why (maybe for not being a "real" EBMM ?). Anyway I fell in love with the MM basses so when again a few months later a classic sabre went on a sale at a bargain price I couldn't resist. It also came with Ni slinkies. And again that awkard feeling of the tone not being exactly how it should be. It dawned on me that the Sire was, in its category, the closest to the tone I imagined for each bass, and this was not a pleasant feeling. At this point, I should state that I like to play soul, funk, R&B finger style. And Slap, practicing rather than playing to be honest.

    Incidentally I bought a set of Dunlop SB Marcus Miller, maybe because MM sound had what I thought was lacking or whatever. I didn't notice they were SS and had I, I wouldn't have known what it meant. 20 years ago I bought what the shop sold in the (not really big) european town I live near to, namely ghs boomers I believe. Other brand/models were rather more expensive or they even didn't had them at all. I put the set on the Ray34. After the first impression that I bought a cheese grater instead of strings, the strings started to break in, and here was that damn sound I was looking for !

    I was so happy I put a set of Dunlop SB MM on the Sabre and instantly the tone greatly improved not just on the bridge but on every pickup configuration. Its not specially the highs I'm looking for (in fact in turn down the tone though not completely) but the bite and growl. The neck pickup tone has now also bits of "fretless" tone in it (esp. for the G string).

    Confident, I also changed the strings on the Sire, this time for a set of D'Addario ProSteels. Bad move, the strings took over the bass and kind of ruined its character. The strings seemed to go against the bass. I was not very happy at the prospect of getting back to ni round wounds so I went for flat wounds, EB cobalt. And indeed they fit very well with this bass.

    Sorry for this long post, but here is the point / question :
    -Why is this SS vs Ni really big difference seldom pointed out ? People often refer to round wound vs half round vs flats, rarely if never stating the SS/Ni difference which can be almost as important. As a matter of fact I don't think I can get SS EB slinky here.
    -Bass demos/review also never state which kind of string the bass is equipped with (that's important when you can't try them all depending on where you live).
    -Finally, any suggestion for a set to try next, especially is there a Ni set that would be close to Dunlop SB MM ? (don't wan't to wear frets to soon if I can avoid it). But suggestions for other SS set is also welcomed. It's not because I found a set that works for me that it's the optimal !

    Thanks for reading !
    DevinWard369 likes this.
  2. DevinWard369


    Apr 30, 2012
    I'm with you, the Warwick stainless steels in the red package are my go to as of now. I can usually find them for super cheap, I think I bought a ton off of the Talkbass store when they had a sale.(like 10$ bucks a pack, bought a year supply at least!!) But you do gotta get your fingers callused for SS strings I feel, when I don't play for a couple weeks and then put a new set on I always get some scratchy fingers.
    But I'm kind of a weirdo with my fingers, when I try different basses at guitar center I can tell when I'm usuing a set of nickels, oddly enough if I play a bass long enough with nickels my fingers kinda get a numb tingle... maybe I have a slight allergy to nickel..? Stainless for the win.
  3. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Cary, Il
    There are Dunlop SBs in nickel. Don't bother with Ernie Ball stings, they are horrible. I use Dunlop SS SBs, I am not a big fan of the MM SBs...although I have them on a J right now and they are growing on me. The other strings I would recommend are DRs, either HiBeams or SS Loriders should do nicely.

    The other thing is, quit worrying about your frets, they will last a lot longer than you can imagine.
    eriky4003 and DevinWard369 like this.
  4. I concur with mdogs suggestions but I would say you may find the Dunlop Super Brights nickels lacking vs. the Marcus Miller DSBs. I put them on back-to-back and discovered the growl I loved on the MM Dunlop Super Brights was not present vs. the regular Dunlop Super Brights (even though I loved the price of the regular Super Brights). The same thing with DR Fat Beams vs. Hi Beams. Tack on DR Fat Beams to your list as they will give you the growl.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    $7 a set at Bass Strings Online if you want more.

    Warwick Red Label Stainless Steel Electric Bass String Set - 4-String 45-105
    DevinWard369 likes this.
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    -The difference is pointed out regularly, by people who know what they're talking about.
    -It's not particularly relevant in instrument demos because they're reviewing the bass, not the strings it came with. You aren't going to be playing it through the same amp, or cabinet, or with the same technique, or in the same room as them, all of which make a bigger difference in tone than nickel vs steel. Not to mention whatever equipment they used to record it with and what youtube did to the audio during the upload. It is usually assumed that most people will put their preferred string on as soon as they get the bass.
    -It takes thousands of hours of playing to wear the frets beyond repair on a new instrument. The difference between how long that takes with steel vs nickel is insignificant. Especially on bass.

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