Rotosound quality control (or lack of) rant

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by The Mock Turtle Regulator, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. the last 2 sets I bought of Swing bass have both had dead G's.

    I bought a set of Elites stadium (not as bright as Rotosounds but at least none of the strings are dead), and the guy in the shop says he replaces Rotosound single strings at the counter for dissatisfied customers- and they often have to do this-

    it seems that Rotosound know they have a quality control problem, but choose to replace strings after purchase rather than check them properly before they package them-

    a dead string feels different- the way it clatters against a surface is different-
    are rotosound just churning out strings so fast they can't be bothered to check them?

    the guy in the shop also said that rotosound had a particularly bad period when they used steel from china.

    in a Rotosound factory visit in Bassist magazine they said the original string winding machines were being run at double the speed now- I can't help thinking this is the root of the problem.

    another problem i've had is with the double ball end sets-
    the last 2 sets have had a string with an insufficient outer winding length to reach the zero fret, and I've had to wrap a piece of brass round the string at the ballend to move the string up.
  2. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    Sounds like a lot of hassle. Time to switch brands for a few years methinks.
  3. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    One of the reasons I went back to D'Addarios years ago is that I ran into many dead E and A strings in Rotosound sets. Had a similar problem with GHS boomers. Towards the end of my 7 year tenure with my original Steinberger XL2 I started getting bad E and A strings in the Superwound double ball sets.

    Now these problems were in the 80's. I switched permanently back to D'Addarios (had used them previously for a while). I figure I've used about 350 sets of D'Addarios over the years and have never once come across a single dead string.
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Same here. Stop using Rotos years ago. I started using Ernie Ball and never had such problems since then.
  5. ive bought a set of rotosouds not long ago and i was bitterly un-impressed as well, was dead within a week of playing, and its not like i have dirty hands either, i kinda have a disorder for washing my hands 20 times a day :meh: ..but the only reason i bought them was because the scale was long enough (kubicki scale) and they were half the price of dr's......(dr's are $100 here) so i think i might bite the bullet and get some dr bootzillas next time
  6. Used Rotosound for about 15 years.......mostly on (although I did try other brands in that time, kept coming back to Rotos). Well, I put 2 five string sets on my Spectors, and they were pretty bad. Swapped them for La Bella Hard Rocking Steels - pretty impressed with the result!

    Also just picked up some Optima Gold strings (a 4 and a 5 string set). Just had my SUB setup with the 4 string set - will pick it up from the tech tonight.....he says it sounds really good...can't wait! :)
  7. Thunder_Fingers


    Jun 24, 2004
    i use rotosound SH77 strings, and i have never had problems with them...(maby becouse they are flatwound? i dont know :p)
  8. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Hmmm.... I've got 7 of my 8 basses strung with Rotos right now, I haven't had a bunk string in over 3 years. The last time I had a bad one, it was a .105 E string. I made 1 phone call, explained what happened, and had a replacement at my doorstep in less than 48 hrs. I've also gottten bad strings in packs of D'Addarios, GHS, and Trace-Elliotts. I guess it happens to everbody once in a while..

  9. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I went a long time with the Boomers and had several sets of Rotos before getting bad ones....but seemingly all in a very short period.

    As far as my earlier statement of "not one bad string in 350 sets of D'Addarios", I should qualify that it has been 99% XL sets (XL70 to be exact) that I have used. I can't really comment on their other series of string sets.
  10. I used to use the RS77 Jazz 50-110 set which is pretty much identical to the SH77's, except for the silk colour, and never had a bad string either-
    apparently the flat outer wrap is trickier to wind so they take more care on those.

    Rotosound may offer a no-quibble replacement, but that's no use if you're restringing on the road or in the studio and get a duff string, unless you've got lots of sets spare.

    honestly, how long would it add to the production time to take each new string, clamp it at both ends and check the tone produced?
  11. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    >>> A string company would have to have an army of people or some very costly and sophisticated equipment to tone check every string it produces. A company like Rotosound or GHS must make hundreds of thousands of strings every month. The QA process has to be built in to the production process. I mean how many cars get test driven after they roll off of the assembly line at Toyota or Ford? Even with the extensive R&D, QA and crash testing, occasionally someone gets a lemon. It's what they do to take care of the customer when it occurs that also helps a company earn it's salt..FWIW, spare strings are always in my gig bag, and I never go to a gig or a recording session without a backup bass. I would do that no matter who's strings or basses I played; it's part Boy Scouts creed and Murphy's law I suppose; What can go wrong probably will, so be prepared!


  12. I've had exactly the same experience as Phatbastard less the double ball end issues. I gave up on Roto's and Boomer's factory 2nd's 15 yrs ago. I know a lot of folks here don't care for D'addarios, but I have tried countless brands and always come back to the XL170's for their cutting sound and manufacturing consistency. I have also been through ~300 sets over the past 10 -15 yrs and have NEVER had a bad string. I've even have the empty packs for the player points. Never looked at what they offer for them but should probably be able to get a Pool table or something comparable at this point :D
  13. just ask them for a free refill :D

    then send me half....remember..i need a 36" e and 32" gda
  14. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Every pack of rotos I've gotten has been 100% great. Never had any problems, and from what I've heard they have great customer service.
  15. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.

    >>> You heard right, Whafro. They treat every customer
    like a superstar, even 'ol Slugworth!
  16. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Great. I'm glad they do have "great customer service", however, I think the point is: Most of us would rather not have to deal with customer service for something as minor (and frequently used) as a single bad string.

    D'Addario's customer service may suck eggs. I don't know. I've never needed them in over 20 years of using their product.:smug:
  17. I think 'Regulator has a valid point. Rotos seem to have this QC issue. I really don't know how they overcome it, but I think they must to survive.

    As has been mentioned, Roto are only to delighted to supply the customer with another pack for one dead string. But that's too late for anyone (like me) who couldn't afford a suitcase full of strings in case there's a dud in the next packet. I need to buy 1 pack at a time, and know I everything's going to be OK when I put them on.

    I doub't I'll use their strings again. A couple of bad experiences has put me off for life.

    No. This is a famous, old company in the music business who don't seem to appreciate that quality is very important to players these days. The consumer demands very good QC in most walks of life: making music strings should be no exception.

  18. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I switched out of Roto's back in the 70's for QC mainly but the balance, string to string when recording was also spotty. I've used pretty much everything but Elixir's since and seem to be migrating towards TI for everything ... QC isn't a problem there and the tone is ... well, in some cases you get what you pay for.

    Far as Roto's go, For old times sake, I tried a set last year on a bass I was building up. Took them off after a day. The strings that were live, were way too alive and too frikin' boingy for me at this point. The 'G' was deader than a door-nail.
  19. I've tried so many strings over the past 2-3 years and gotten (what seemed to be) dead strings from all manufactures. But I've never had a dead string that couldn't be revived by soaking it in alcohol overnight. Makes me wonder. Maybe most af all the strings we pronounce dead, really aren't. They're just dirty and needs a good cleaning. Of course it shouldn't be like that, but if you can't get the set/string replaced, there still might be hope. Almost all strings I've tried sounds fresher after a dip in alcohol (after they been played for 2-3 week and sound dull), than when they're brand new. Just my thoughts... :ninja:
  20. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Ditto: Dead strings, I was break Gs.

    Ernie Ball's are super reliable. I just never have a problem with them.