Old Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by thabassmon, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    Hi there Bass people
    Do any of you use like to use a bass with old strings?
    I have a bass that has had the same strings on it for ten or so years, it got a really phat tone that you can feel just as much as hear. There are some that say you can't get a good good slap sound or harmonics to ring out of old strings but in my experience with this bass neither of those things are true. It seems you just simply have to be more articulate with your slap technique and more accurate with your node placement for harmonics.
    I find that the fundamental, lower order harmonics are stronger than the upper order harmonics resulting in a bass that sounds more round and supportive of the higher frequency instruments.
  2. Elkaykue

    Elkaykue Guest

    Oct 2, 2014
    I don't replace mine often, every 5 years or until it breaks. As long as you keep em clean they're fine. Apparently Bernard Edwards never replaced his strings either.
    thabassmon likes this.
  3. Pier_


    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    because he, like most of the bass players until the 80's, played with flatwounds, and flats don't need to be changed, because they don't get dirt in the windings and don't have a metallic/bright tone.
  4. Elkaykue

    Elkaykue Guest

    Oct 2, 2014
    If you want to get overly pedantic they are half rounds as came standard on sting rays at the time and which he never changed. Bernard Edwards himself confirmed this.

    "The Bass Player article on Le Freak a few years ago had Nile Rodgers confirming that, for that particular recording, Bernard plugged his Stingray directly into the board. There's also a video clip on YouTube where Nile confirms that during an interview in their prime the journalist asked Bernard:

    "Bernard, you have that fantastic sound - what kind of strings do you use?"

    To which Bernard replied:

    "I dunno - what kind of strings come on a Musicman?"
    Pier_ and thabassmon like this.
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I don't know, are the 42-year-old flats on my '63 P considered "old"? What about the 14-year-old strings on my Univox Coily? Are the 5 to 10-year-old strings on most of my basses "old"?

    If so, I'll give a tentative yes to "Do any of you play a bass with old strings?"
    thabassmon likes this.
  6. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    Yep that's the type of thing I mean. Do you find that the mellower tone of the older strings produce a more supportive tone. As if the lack of highs allow the notes to have their own sonic space.
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I just like the sound. Truthfully, that kind of analysis is far beyond what I'm focused on. I dislike the bright sound of all new strings, but I find older strings much more pleasing to my ear. I do have a couple of basses with rounds, but the strings are at least two years old before I like them.

    Supportive? Sonic space?

    Nah, they sound good.
    thabassmon likes this.
  8. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    I'm trying to, but not having luck picking the right strings...

    My EBMM with Roto Jazz77 are at 2-3 years and I'm finding that they are loosing their sustain and tension in a bad way. I'm all for floppy, but this is just not musical.

    On my P I have standard D'ads that are 2 years old and they are now just beginning to sound right. Hoping to get ten years out of them.

    I'm looking at TIs, EB flats, Labella White coppers & Chromes for the EBMM currently. Be nice to hear others with aged strings!!
    thabassmon likes this.
  9. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    With flats, the older the better. I only replace a string when it breaks, and that hasn't happened for me in many years. Most of my basses wear strings with ten or more years of use on them with no adverse effects. I wipe them down after playing and use GHS Fast Fret now and then...that's about it.
    thabassmon likes this.
  10. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    The strings on the bass mentioned in my original post are D'addario exl170 with an added c string.

    I've also liked the aged sound of these strings D'addario half rounds shr72 and chromes ecb82.
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    There's probably nothing in music more personal and subjective than what YOU like in terms of your sound as you play.

    To me, the important things are that you be happy with what you hear, and that it function well within the music you play. The rest is window dressing.
    thabassmon likes this.
  12. Those would have been Brite Flats. They have plenty of room for dirt to build up. Guess the funk's in the gunk then.
    thabassmon likes this.
  13. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    Love the way you put it, reminds me of a James Jamerson quote 'the dirt keeps the funk in the bass'. Absolutely brilliant Bassplayer.
    SturmUndDrang likes this.
  14. The Fender 9050 flats on my E-series P are coming up on 2 years old, and IMO they've only gotten nicer with age. These new Fenders are bright, almost too bright for my liking, when they're new but they dull down very nicely and they still snap well when slapped. I can't wait to get a set on the Jazz bass I've just started paying on...
  15. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    Meh.. I'll spend the $25 and replace mine every month or so...

  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    The old string sound and the new string sound both appeal to me, but I tend to stick with new string zing on most of my basses because I can get fat tones with new strings but I can't get new string zing with old ones. I do keep a couple with flats on them, but I don't have more than 3 years on any of them. At one time I had a bass with flats that were 7 or 8 years, but they got a little too dead for me by then.

    What can I tell you? I started playing bass in the mid-70's when roundwounds started to become all the rage.
    thabassmon likes this.
  17. I love the 27 yo rounds on my P bass. I play it and as soon as it's no longer needed, it goes back in its water-tight case. Tuned DGCF. Very fat low-end.
    thabassmon likes this.