Replacement metal Ubass strings that aren't Pyramid

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ThunderFox, Feb 23, 2018.


  1. I've recently got a Ubass for acoustic gigs, no problems with that, great bass. But I decided to replace the rubber strings with roundwounds for the tone and feel I wanted. But on two separate occasions, and in quick succession, the low e string starts to unwind at the top, sort of fraying, and I can't tune it up, if I keep doing so, it eventually snaps.

    I've made sure I didn't wind the string too fast the second time so this didn't happen (as this is why the first E string frayed), but a week later, it happened again while in transit. So I've given up on the brand.

    I can always revert back to the rubber strings, but they sound too much like a double bass, which I don't want, and the strings feel too grippy when I'm trying to slide up or down the neck.

    Is there another brand of roundwounds that any fellow Ubass players have used to get. Pyramid are the only brand I have found, and there aren't many stores online that even offer Ubass strings. I even tried to use nickel bass strings from an electric bass to see if that would work, but it just sounds too dull and weird. I live in the U.K., so bare that in mind, as I may not be able to get them from certain areas.

    Thanks in advanced :)
     
  2. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Kala makes their own. I haven't played them. I did play the pyramids and never had problems.
     
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  3. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    Some Euro/UK links for the above-mentioned Kala-brand nylon-core metal (= silver-plated...something, maybe copper like the Pyramids, maybe not) round-wound sets (wow, lots of hyphens there):
    https://www.thomann.de/gb/kala_strings_for_ukuleles.html
    Kala Ukulele Strings for sale | Lowest price guarantee | Bax Music
    (^ The 5-string set currently costs less than the 4- at Bax-Shop.)
    Kala U-Bass Silver Plated 5-String Round Wound
    (^ Just the fiver available at MusicStore.)
    Kala U bass strings, Panahoe, Aquilar, Pyramid- Polyurethane Bass Strings :: For sale, UK Basses Guitars : Accessories at Bass Direct:
    (^ The last set in the BassDirect list
    " U Bass 4 Silver Plated strings (list £49.99) £40 + £2 UK p&p "
    should be the Kala metal rounds: enquire with BD if in doubt.)
    Multimedia below:
    Which exact model is your U-Bass? Fretted? Four strings? Hollowbody? Scale is their usual 20.375" (517.525mm)?
    Check these out:
    La Bella Silverbacks Strings for Gold Tone Microbass
    https://www.thomann.de/gb/daddario_exp_acoustic_bass_gs_mini_bass.htm
    ^ Two sets, made for longer instruments (the La Bella Silverbacks for the Gold Tone MicroBass, the D'Addario EXPPBB190GS for the Taylor GS Mini-e Bass). Can the lowest string on either of these be wound around the first tuning post on a U-Bass without overlapping and/or breaking? I have no idea. Could you tuck away 2-3 of the extra inches by threading the string through a stiff metal or plastic tube before installation, meant to keep the ball-end away from the underside of the bridge and stay unseen inside the body? No idea either - just spitballing (alone/aloud) here. Still, these two sets are also out there.

    Lastly, if the instrument is fretless you could try the Pyramid black nylon tapewound set (Art.-No. is # 508/BT):
    Pyramid 508/BT Black Tape Nylon Strings for Bass Ukulele - Pyramid from Strings Direct UK
    Why fretless only? Because, as you may have noticed with your regular bass guitar string experiment, strings with a steel core do not intonate correctly (the higher up the neck the worser) on a U-Bass with a bridge saddle positioned where it is stock: on a fretless, one has the option to learn to compensate manually at least.
    Review of the Pyramid Black Nylon Tape on a fretless acoustic/electric Ubass
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWUUk8EOBp4
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHopDUn-0P0
    From videos, tone does seem double-bassy, which you said you don't really want, but they should feel better than polymeric strings, what with less stickiness and a little more tension.
    [EDIT: yeah, I did see you've given up on the brand, but just felt like mentioning the product anyway, since it's fairly unique among the current offerings (I think in the past La Bella too made some tapewounds for uke basses, soon discontinued or never gone past the experimental, short-run stage).]
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  4. ballynally

    ballynally

    Jun 25, 2017
    Still would like to see flatwounds on nylon core io the roundwounds to keep it more thumpy double bass like.
    Or chromes on nylon core.
    Ive tried tape wounds but both tension and intonation are right off so no metal core for me.
    Q: how about some flatwound regular double bass strings and cut them up?
     
  5. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    My worry might be that the tension with conventional bass strings might be too much for a u bass. I think that’s (one of the reasons) why the labella silverbacks don’t have a metal core.
     
  6. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    Adding up the two points in the quote, I surmise you're wondering about using double bass synthetic-core strings on the UBass. I have thought about doing exactly that (minus the UBass, which I don't have - talking a different ultra-short in my case) with D'Addario Zyex strings.
    Product Detail : Zyex Bass String Set, 3/4 Scale, Light Tension
    But haven't gotten round to it yet. Quite an x-pensive x-periment, and I anticipate it being a good bit disappointing ("ffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuu.......") if the strings start unravelling...
     
  7. ballynally

    ballynally

    Jun 25, 2017
    the 3/4 size will still be too long for the Ubass.
    The Aquila Reds seem to be the ones most players go to as an alternative, but 40$ for a set is about 1/3 of the price of my cheapo Ubass and im not sure if i'll have enough playing time to justify the purchase to myself..
     
  8. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    Of course they will (3/4 is actually standard in upright bassdom - 4/4 are rare - and means 41+ inches of length, not accounting for tailpiece-to-bridge and post-nut afterlengths). Your question was: "how about some flatwound regular double bass strings and cut them up?"
    In fact, theoretically, one might even get two sets of short-short strings out of one double bass set, by cutting the string in the middle, and using the cut length at the next string swap after tying a knot at the (original) tuner side, as a makeshift ball-end... The trick would be stopping the cut end of either half from unravelling. I've read about using heat-shrink tubing for this purpose - worth enquiring about.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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