Only bronze strings on an ABG?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JohnBarr, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    The recommendation I have heard for stringing my Washburn ABG (and any other ABG) is to use bronze strings because of the lower tension. I take this to be because a solid body guitar has more strength and stability to withstand higher tension. Yet I seem to hear guys talking about putting stock bass guitar strings on their acoustic bass guitars.

    I don't recognize the types of strings being disucssed so maybe I'm missing something, but when I put D'addario flat wounds on my ABG it pulled the neck into a bow so badly it took months to get it to settle back (after re-stringing with GHS phosphor bronze).

    So, can you/do you use the same strings on your ABG that you would put on your solid body without causing problems?

    Or, do you have (safe) recommendations other than bronze strings for ABGs?

  2. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    I've only used phosphor bronze strings on my ABG, but only because I like the way they sound ie: like a traditional acoustic guitsr, only deeper. I have seen on other TB threads that people have used flatwound or even tapewound strings on their ABGs with no mention of ill effects.
    When you mentioned that the D'Addario flats caused such a severe up bow I went and checked some string packages that I have laying around (gotta redeem those Players Points one of these days :D ) and to my surprise, the Chromes have less tension (179.8 lbs) than the D'Addario Phosphor Bronze (190.8 lbs) for the same gauges (.045-.065-.080-.100). Was there a big difference in the string gauges between the two sets you tried?
  3. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    No, you're not restricted to bronzewound strings. I'll use almost anything but bronzewound myself, precisely because I don't want the "big ol' flattop guitar" sound. I use Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats on mine, and I know of plesnty of people who use tapewounds, groundwounds, flatwounds, and roundwounds with no ill effect.
  4. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    The D'Addarios were a heavier gage but I don't have them now and can't check. But that "lower tension" thing may be mis-information --there's certainly enough of that around.

    I'd like to experiment with other strings but have been hesitating (once bitten ...). Though I can't really complain about the GHS. I'd love to try the TI's.
    Thanks for the responses.

  5. Are these flatwounds ok for this application?

    I was thinking about trying some D'Addario ECB81-5 Bass Flatwound Strings.

    Has anyone else tried this? I like the flatwound sound. Would this be a good combination?

    Jason Rauch
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I'm using Labella flats and my ABG sounds great, but has some disturbing action problems (the neck relief is perfect). I'm afraid the high tension strings may be damaging the bass, and I'm going to try putting light phosphor bronze strings on again.
  7. You guys should check out Thomastik-Infeld's nylon core acoustic bass guitar strings. They sound wonderful and have less tension than your typical metal core ABG strings.
  8. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I've used TI flats on ny ABG, sound great.
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I just did a little research... The Labella strings I'm using are .060, .070, .097, .115 . Tacoma specifies .045 G .065 D .080 A .100 E on their web site.

    :eek: !!!

    Time for some new strings. These may feel and sound good, but they're WAY bigger than the bass was made for. No woder the action's a mile high. BE CAREFUL! ABGs are not like conventional solidbody electric basses.
  10. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Try the T-I Jazz Flats. They cost a lot initially, but they can last literally years.
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I may do that, but I go years on all strings I play anyway. I'm going back to the D'Addario Phosphor Bronze strings that came as OEM on my Thunderchief.
  13. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Same for me.
    They are so high tension, that I retuned it HEAD.
    Now I have TI acoustics. Much lower tension, but a bit lower output, too.
  14. I am using Rotosound TruBass nylon tape wound flats on my Washburn AB-20 and am getting good results for recording and playing it in acoustic and jazz settings. In the past I have also used an old set of GHS Bassics Lights and also D'Addario Chromes but I hated the Chromes on the AB-20.
    I don't like Bronze or Phosphor Bronze strings and they do not last any time for me so the feeling is mutual.
  16. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    I've got DR Extra "Red Devils" on my Michael Kelly 5. No worries...... It looks very cool, too.
  17. Bob Bl.

    Bob Bl.

    May 1, 2003
    I have some TI Jazz Flats on my solid body electric, and like the smooth feel and the low tension, not to mention the sound. "Woody, yet articulate"? I do find that with the lower tension, I've had to raise the action a bit to keep the frets - or the fingerboard on my fretless - from buzzing.

    So I tried some TI Acousticores on my AGB. My problem was that the tension is SO low that every fret buzzed insanely, and I didn't really want to drag the instrument to the shop and invest in a TI-specific setup.

    So I took them off and put the old bronze D'Addarios back on. I suppose I'll sell the TI's when I get ambitious. I never did hear them amplified.