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Rotosounds -- What's the big deal?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Saint, Jul 7, 2000.

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  1. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    After many years of Ken Smith strings on my Ric 4003, I finally decided that I had to try Rotosounds on it. I mean, if it works for Geddy Lee and Chris Squire, than it's gotta be great, right?

    Well, I hate them. They're definitely duller sounding than the Smiths and they chew the hell out of my fingers. They are easily the roughest strings I've ever played.

    Why do folks love these strings? Does anyone out there love them? Hate them?
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Rotosounds were the first roundwound strings. Before Rotosounds, all bass players had were flatwound strings. I have Roros on my Zon and I like them, but there are other good strings too.

    Will C. cool.

    You can't hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket!

  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I have used em for 19 year with no problem.
    I use Elites if I cannot get the Roto's. Its all down to personal preference. If you like Smiths stick with them, if not experiment.

    Say something clever and someone steals it

  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I tend to agree that Rotosounds have a good name because they were the first - in the early 80s, they were the only strings to get that roundwound sound and I used them for years and years. But now there are lots of better strings about and I have experimented with different ones through the 90s. I think D'Addarios are the best, but they have been prohibitively expensive in the UK. Now I can buy them direct from the US via the Internet, I wouldn't use anything else and Rotosounds sound definitely "second best" to me.
  5. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Hey Bruce, I'll actually agree with you on this one. smile. I played Roto's for years and recently switched to the D'Addarios. They seem to last longer and are easier on my fingers.
  6. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Ive used Rotosounds for years also...i recently tried some D'addario XL nickels...felt MUCH better, deeper sounding, AND brighter. I love them. Its definitely preference. I use Rotosounds on my Tobias and Ibanez, because they need the brightness, whereas i could practically put flats on my Modulus and it would be bright, because of the neck. And the rotos dont bother my fingers, like they did with yours, saint. All preference.
  7. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    I've found Rotosound Swing Bass to be fairly inconsistent. When they're good, they're the best...but when they're bad you get things like dead strings in a fresh pack, or strings actually covered in grease in a brand new set (on more than one occassion!!) Maybe they're better now, but I gave up on them and so have a lot of people.
  8. I've never had a problem with Rotos - and at the mo' they are still my string of choice! Maybe I've just been lucky!

    They do have a very 'dry' feel to them ,but I quite like it! Have tried a few other varieties and didn't feel they were any better!

    So ,I came back to what I was happy with! All down to personal choice really innit!?
  9. I used Rotos at one time. I had a problem with a dumb string one time: Rotosound were superb in the way they handled the complaint.

    But I used another bass with different strings for a while and, after that, Rotos felt like steel hawsers to me. I just can't play them now....nor do I want to, if I'm honest.

    I much prefer the flexible feel of TIs and don't see me ever changing from them.

  10. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Holy resurrected threads batman

    Ok since my last post on this thread (nearly 3 years ago) I have found Rotosounds to be inconsistent. I had two bad batches that sounded dull. I use Elites or Ernie Ball's now.

  11. Weird - this was on the home page listing when I replied to it, and the date of the last postrer was 2003.....now it looks like I resurrected the thread.....weird!:confused:
  12. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Ken Smith strings are actually made by GHS. They're the Super-Steels relabeled.
  13. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    I agree with most of you about the inconsistency of theese strings and the rough texture. I do however ,like the sound of theese strings and have used them for years. I recently tried EBS ss round wounds and love them.

  14. It's weird, in about 12 years of using them, I've never had a duffer - I don't doubt that they had problems, it's well documented!

    Guess I was just lucky! I do love the sound, and I'm actually OK with the dry way they feel!
  15. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    In doing string research Rotosounds makes a lot of different variations of strings. I like them, maybe you just tried a kind that was not suited to your bass, not that it matters because you switched anyway, but I'm sure there are some Roto's that if you tried you may like.
  16. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    I was a Rotosound player in the 70's and got away
    from them in the early 80's due to quality problems, I was getting a lot of dead strings
    fresh out of the pack. I went to GHS, D'Addario,
    LaBella, Picato, etc, etc. I must have tried
    every string on the market. These days I'm back
    to Rotosound! They've updated their manufacturing
    and distribution, the West Coast rep, Hammer
    Bouri, is one of the nicest, most helpful guys
    I have ever met. I'm happy to be back with
  17. Smith: I guess it's just your preference about the Rotos, but I love em. One thing you may be missing about the Chris Squire and Geddy Lee sound however is that they change their Rotos just about before every resording session (I read it somewhere...)and show. They also have bi-amp setups that can bring that can bring the treble and punch out of a turkey sandwich, so I'm sure the extra high-end amping is a part of their sound as well. But it does seem as if the brightness wears off all Rotos gradually as you pluck/pop/slap/beat the hell out of em, but it's not always a bad thing. I'm playing the Swing Bass Nickels now like crazy and I've had them on there for about 4 months now, even though I've got a fresh pack of Solo Bass 55's and Swing Bass SS 66's waiting for me. There's just something about their sound once they get broken in that's cool. I can boost the treble to get more ring out of them, but the bass remains great and I think it sounds a little more rounded. It all depends on how much you want out of them. Fiddle around a little bit with $20 Rotos
    or spend $40 on some other brand of strings? With my luck I'd accidently break one of the $40 set strings trying to play Roundabout or Freewill for the 400th time anyways... Just experiment and find what you (and your wallet) like. A for quality I've liked what I've seen so far..
  18. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Wait a second, as I understand it jaco used rotosounds becuase of the roundwound mwah that he could get.

    now, Bruce said he used them in the 80s because they were the only available roundwounds at the time, when were they actually released?

    was jaco using them on his '76 debut? what about the recordings before that...he certainly has a really growly sound...are you going to try and tell me he had a growl that rich with flats?
  19. Rotosound started making the Swing bass RS66 set in the 60's -I'd guess 1966 hence the name. John Entwistle helped develop it.

    I think Picato were making roundwounds in the UK soon after though.
  20. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Only strings I have ever had problems with were Rotosounds, got some dud E-strings early in my bass playing life. Couldn't afford to chance it anymore so I gave up on them. Perhaps they are better nowadays.

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