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Rotosound - back to glory again?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jwilson67, Jun 19, 2017.


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  1. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    I played Rotosound RS66's all throughout most of the 80's and loved that super punchy zing. I switched to other brands for a while and then in the early 2000's I got the itch to use them again. I was VERY unimpressed - they just seemed lifeless.

    About 2 years ago I heard they had worked out their QA issues and I gave them another try and got a set from GC. This time the E and A strings felt and sounded like bridge cables. Deader than dead.

    This weekend my friend showed me his new Fender - strung with a new set of Rotos with the red, white, and blue ball ends. They sounded great - just like the ones I used in the 80's! Was this just a fluke or have things really turned around?
     
    nixdad likes this.
  2. ajkula66

    ajkula66

    Sep 23, 2016
    NEPA
    Subscribed...would love to find out myself...played SuperWounds on most of my basses throughout the 80s...and wouldn't mind revisiting them (RotoSound PSD as they're called these days) but have read way too many reviews trashing the brand altogether...
     
    gjohnson441496 and jwilson67 like this.
  3. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    These felt and sounded like the Rotos of old. They will be my next set.
     
  4. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I can't speak from direct experience, because it's been since the late 90's since I had SB 66's on my bass, but according to my good friend, Rotosound solved whatever was wrong, and that's been for more than the past few years.

    He's the biggest Swing Bass 66 diehard enthusiast that I know, and he started using them in the late 70's. I think it was sometime in the 90's, he called me up, furious, and was certain that Rotosound "Changed their Recipe!", - in his words.

    As I recall, he'd noticed a fall off in tone and lifespan, and his theory was Rotosound was using cheaper materials.

    But as I said earlier, he's been happily reunited with SB 66's, I'd say for 6 to 8 years now.

    If anyone has heard or experienced anything to the contrary as of late, please post about it.
     
    bassestkkm, BrentSimons and jwilson67 like this.
  5. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    I bought a 5 string set about 3 years ago from Guitar Center but now that I think about it they could have been sitting on their shelf for God knows how long. The strings were still in the old style packaging but did not have silk at the ball end so I thought they were the newer ones. Maybe I also just got the misfortune of trying a bad set.
     
  6. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I just called my buddy and left him a message to call me. If SB 66's aren't up to snuff, he'll definitely tell me about it!

    I'll post back.
     
    Linnin, Rickter and BrentSimons like this.
  7. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    That would be cool to know. In the early 90's I used to use RS 66 four string sets on my 5 string bass with a Dean Markley SR2000 tapered low B.
     
  8. Around Xmas 2014, I played a gig (my avatar is from this gig) and I had replaced the Rotos about 2 weeks earlier. Shortly after New Year's with no usual amount of extra practicing on this bass, the E string died. Not something I'm used to as most of my strings do better than 6 weeks of life. I'm not swearing off for life but I've found Marcus Miller's Dunlop Super Brights are similar and have always had a better lifespan.
     
    jwilson67 likes this.
  9. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I remember his Bill Hicks-ish rants back when he was trying to find a brand of strings that he liked! We haven't talked in some time, so I'm looking forward to ask him!
     
  10. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    I keep hearing that about the Dunlop MM's. I might have to give those a go.

    I'm afraid if I try Rotos again, even if they now sound great out of the package, that I'm going to remember the reason why I stopped using them all those years ago.
     
    Spirit of Ox and Rickter like this.
  11. Rickter

    Rickter Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Can't speak to what they were like in the 80s, but for the most part they seem to be pretty consistent.

    I did have an issue where I bought a five string set at the local GC and the A string sounded like a flatwound. So the QC may still be spotty at times. However, that is the only issue I have ever had with RS66s.

    For what it's worth, I emailed the brand GM in the UK about the problem and received a personally written reply back from him, CC'ing the guy that oversees US distribution, apologizing profusely for the experience and advising that they would be sending me a fresh set directly.
     
  12. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Wow that's great customer service.
     
  13. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    California
    I have pulled the trigger on and off for the last few years and have found them to be inconsistent. Just my expierence. They just don't have the mid presence and longevity I remember. I have received dead strings out of a new pack on occasion.

    That being said I have had the same expierence with other brands as well including much more expensive strings.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
    JGbassman and jwilson67 like this.
  14. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    I've probably bought more Ernie Ball (Slinky and Cobalt Round) than anything else over the years and have never had a dead string. In fact they are exactly the same from pack to pack. Their QC is great. Dean Markley the same (at least when I was using them). But man, playing those Rotosounds on my friend's bass felt like I went back to hang with some old friends I hadn't seen in years and remembered all the good times we had together. :)
     
    bassbooty and Rickter like this.
  15. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    California
    Give them a go! Who knows. I hear good things about the Cobalts and I am a midrange freak so I am looking forward to trying them. For the price, I find Fender NPS and XLs a bargain and enjoy the midrange they provide.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
    jwilson67 likes this.
  16. BEADG63

    BEADG63 Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2015
    Buffalo, NY
    I am a Rotosound Tapewound convert! Purchased a fretless that came with RS885LD's and I am thrilled with them. I am putting them on ALL my basses. Tell your friends!
     
    Pbassmanca and rodl2005 like this.
  17. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    Cobalts are my favorite string at the moment. I don't even know how to describe them other than to my ear they make sense.
    They're aggressive but not aggressive. They're refined and grungy at the same time. They have a very musical top end that really cuts through. Also, they're feel is completely different than Nickel Slinkies as they're more flexible but they don't create fret buzz. Give them a try - I'd love to know what you think.
     
    The Rage and Rickter like this.
  18. Jonithen

    Jonithen

    Dec 3, 2012
    Seacoast NH
    I like them all, but yeah the tapes are pretty great. Rocking a set on my blacked out jazz and it sounds, feels, and looks killer.
     
    BEADG63 likes this.
  19. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    California
    I think I'll pull the trigger soon. They sound right up my alley.
     
  20. I've never tried the brand. Their spotty reputation along with the cost (and reputation for eating frets) has deterred me. I've used XL's for many years but do dig the feel of the Fender strings that came on my VM 70's Squier.
     
    Honch likes this.