Smoothest roundwounds that hurt fingers the least?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by MrWriter, Jan 29, 2023.

  1. MrWriter


    Sep 20, 2021
    Can you guys be kind enough to tell me, from your years of experience and trying different strings, which brand and model of regular roundwound strings are the smoothest and easiest on the fingers, the ones that have the least amount of 'cheese grater' tearing away at the skin on the tips of your right hand (left if you're left handed).

    I am not an experienced bass player and don't play that often, but when I do pick up the bass I find after just 10 or 15 minutes of playing the two plucking fingertips of my right hand and starting to feel a bit sore.

    I don't play hard, just medium finger style.

    I've only ever played with D'Addario EXL170 which are round wound nickel wound 45,65,80,100 gauge.

    As you can see these strings are not exactly heavy, just regular, as I don't play that much or that hard so the E string does not vibrate around too much and I like the feel of them and I've heard heavier strings will probably hurt even more.

    So, after all that, from experience, can you guys tell me which make and model of roundwound (I don't want to go half rounds or flat as they feel sticky and some don't have the same bright sound I like so they are definitely out as I've tried them on my mates basses).

    One person said the Fender 7250ML (45,65,80,100, which I like) are quite smooth and don't hurt as much as other brands.

    I was looking at Ernie Ball Super Slinky (45,65,80,100) also.

    Any suggestions?
  2. squarepeg


    Dec 21, 2010
    I had a set of TI Jazz Rounds on a fretless Jazz Bass that felt very soft and smooth.
    g-dude, SJan3, e-flat and 16 others like this.
  3. Naigewron


    Jan 5, 2018
    The EXL's are on the rough side for sure.

    Elixir Nickel-Wound Steel strings are pretty smooth, and I expect most other coated strings will feel reasonably smooth compared to "raw" metal.
  4. EB Slinkies?
  5. LetItGrowTone

    LetItGrowTone Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2019
    TIJR. Great strings. Smoother than the ones you named. Smoother than Sunbeams/Hi-Beams, etc.

    I was into smooth, until I found two rounds whose *tone* I feel I must have regardless of smoothness - Roto 66 and Dogal Hellborg rounds. I adjusted to them easily in a short time and don't even notice it any more.
  6. MrWriter


    Sep 20, 2021
    Thanks, guys. Elixir sounded nice until I read a few reviews where people say they only feel slick and smooth until the coating starts to wear off, they they don't feel so great so at the price they cost I'd rather not go down that road.

    TIJR, well, I'm in the UK and they are a struggle to find here and get mixed reviews also.

    Any others?

    The Fender and Ernie ball I mentioned in my original post? At least I can get those.
  7. LetItGrowTone

    LetItGrowTone Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2019
    Aside: Something that is never mentioned, but which has probably been covered before, and would require thought and care - because you can't risk getting metal dust in the pickups - is do-it-yourself smoothing of rounds by the user. I'm sure it has been done. I wouldn't start with nickel plated steel though.
  8. Robert Booker

    Robert Booker Inactive

    Jul 28, 2022
    GHS Pressurewounds.
  9. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    All strings will hurt the fingers if you don't play much.
  10. Corigan

    Corigan Shaking Rumps with Thumps

    Jan 29, 2021
    Super slinkys feel like butter when I come back to them. Super smooth imho compared to many of the other rounds I have / or do use.
  11. EB Super Slinkies and DR Pure Blues are on my basses for their smooth feel and tone
    BrentSimons, odarellmc and Corigan like this.
  12. Levent


    Oct 26, 2022
    TI jazz rounds are very light and responsive or you can go down to 40-95 gauge of your brand.
    Best suggestion would be to practice more ;) I quit bass around 16 because It hurt my fingers lol, now I can almost snap a heavy string without remorse all night long. Practice is the key.
    e-flat, BrentSimons, Sands and 7 others like this.
  13. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    Play more. There's no shortcut.
  14. Dean Markley Blue Steel strings are surprisingly comfortable. I still prefer chromes. They are bright like rounds, but you can also get a fat vintage sound as well.:thumbsup:
    GTHintz, swarfrat and Plectrum72 like this.
  15. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    I use the DAddarios EXL and find them on the smoother side but stiffer with the hex core than a round core which could do more to cause discomfort. I like the Labella White F50T tapewounds and they are super smooth, flexible, and sound pretty much like a regular roundwound.
    gypsyfelon likes this.
  16. MrWriter


    Sep 20, 2021
    Thanks guys. I've got enough to go on from your kind posts now to make a more informed choice - and practice more ;)
  17. I have never experienced this "cheese grater effect" for my right hand (plucking) with any of the rounds I've tried in the past. Based on my experience, the strings that hurt the finger tips on my right hand have always been the stiff ones. It had more to do with "stiffness/flexibility" than "smoothness" in surface texture.

    Based on that, I would suggest you either try lighter gauges of the same strings you've been using or try those strings that are naturally more flexible, such as DR Sunbeams and Dunlop Super Bright Nickels.

    I've been a regular user of GHS Pressurewound 40-96. No "cheese grater" either for my right hand or left.
  18. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    Many musical instruments result in body modification Over Time and bass guitar is a fairly mild example, partly because finger tips are perriferal and easier to ignore. I don't recomend Adults take up trumpet or other brass...or oboe... The thing is to practice enough so that the tissue doesn't revert back to normal, weak, sensitive to braile reading fingertips. 3 days on, one day off. 2-3 days off and you are general public again unless you are an old dog with well established bass playin fingers. Then it takes 3 months at sea.
    PS: Healing time has a lot to do with nutrition related health.
    another vote for DR Pure Blues.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2023
    mikewalker, One Way and Neo1 like this.
  19. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    +1 to DR strings. I like the round core of Sunbeams and Pure Blues, but there’s hex core options if you want more stiffness.
  20. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I just bit-the-bullet and installed the TI Jazz Rounds. They are, by far, the smoothest I've used and only slightly "rougher" than the EB Cobalt Flats.