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Steel strings for slapbass

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by xXMikeHellXx, Jun 11, 2016.


  1. xXMikeHellXx

    xXMikeHellXx

    Feb 15, 2015
    I know there is a string section but I figured this would be the best place for me to ask for suggestions on steel stings that are good for slapbass. I have a set of super silvers on my Engle right now that I like but I'd like to experiment with steel.
     
  2. John F Hebert

    John F Hebert

    Nov 1, 2014
    New York
    Blast Cult Low Lifes
     
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Spirocore Solo tuned down EADG
     
  4. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Presto nylon-wound ULT
     
  5. xXMikeHellXx

    xXMikeHellXx

    Feb 15, 2015
    Thanks for the helpful tips guys. Has anyone heard anything about the d'orazio psychobilly lite tension strings?
     
  6. Dean Foster

    Dean Foster

    Mar 3, 2015
    CHARLTON, MA
    None
    After wrestling with the feed back monster for years I made the leap to a steels/magnetic set up and never looked back. If you play often your hands will get used to them. I really liked Lee Rocker's tone from the early 2000's and found out through interviews at the time he was using Jargar Mediums. I have been using Jargar Dolce (Lights) for around 3 years or so on my King (same set) and have been happy with them. They are definitely not as low tension as some of the other steel sets listed above, the E and A are on the tighter side for slap. If your looking for a super fast slapping steel or the tension of a gut string some of the others above may be a better choice for you. I do remember reading here somewhere that the lowlifes were only lasting 6 months before unwinding back when I was researching strings. I can say the Jargars have had longevity so far. I only have 1 bass and I play it everyday- I gig almost every weekend roughly 50/50 slap/pizz mix. From recordings of myself over the last few years the stings sound more or less the same as when I put them on, if anything maybe a little warmer now. I hope this helps you out.
     
    SimandlsButt and xXMikeHellXx like this.
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    After 3 years are you getting any noticeable wear on your fingerboard? I'm so sold on the magnetic p.up steel strings are essential but my board has been planed down to the thickness of a potato chip and there's not a lot of room left to deal with heavy string wear.
     
  8. xXMikeHellXx

    xXMikeHellXx

    Feb 15, 2015
    What kind of mag pickup are you using dean?
     
  9. Nothing good. Supposedly the balance of string tension across the set is all kinds of messed up.

    And every string in the world will cause fingerboard wear, even plain gut.
     
    Hoyt likes this.
  10. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Of course they will, that wasn't my question. Before starting to slap I'd played steel strings on one bass for a decade with not enough wear to consider planing. Looking at a heavily slapped gut strung bass the other day I saw some fairly advanced grooving and was wondering how Dean's board was doing after three years with steels on.
     
  11. xXMikeHellXx

    xXMikeHellXx

    Feb 15, 2015
    Thanks for the tip. I hadnt heard anything about them at all so it's good to know. I wonder why there are scattered tensions, I know they were developed for tonino and his specs so maybe thats why
     
  12. Dean Foster

    Dean Foster

    Mar 3, 2015
    CHARLTON, MA
    None
    I had Jargar mediums on for 2 years prior to switching to the Jargar lights for the past 3, so I have had steels on now for 5 years. So far no visible wear. Admittedly I play with a lighter touch when using steels than not because the steels tend to make a nasty clack against the board if I put to much force on the slap. Also I find the Mag PU doesn't require a lot of power to amplify the slap or the note. I have read that some people experience a lot of wear from slapping with steels. I'm not a luthier but maybe excessive finger board wear has to do with the way the brand of string is wound and also somewhat with technique (how hard they slap)? I can say the Jargar steels are absolutely flat wound, with no perceptible ribbing. Not all steels are. I played a wedding down in North Carolina a while back and rented an Engelhardt Supreme for the job. I don't know what brand of steel string was on that bass but they were more like a round wound string. I would think that type of string would be abrasive on the fingerboard especially if you slap with a heavy hand.
     
    Jeff Bonny likes this.
  13. SimandlsButt

    SimandlsButt

    Apr 16, 2016
    California
    I tried the Blascults and they were really wimpy on my bass. Easy to slap, sure, but that's about it. And when I would play pizz, the E string would come back and hit my A string. I only had them on for a day, so take it with a grain of salt. They are relatively cheap, though.

    I recently switched from Eurosonics to Jargar Dolces. The Jargars are almost as easy to slap as the Blastcults but sound way fuller IMO. They also have a nice, dark pizz tone that's great for vintage jazz, blues, and rockabilly. They're a little pricier than the Lowlifes, though, but will probably last longer.

    If you are strictly slapping and slap aggressively, then the Blastcults are probably the best option. But if you play pizz often, then I'd recommend the Jargar Dolces instead.
     
    Hoyt and Dean Foster like this.
  14. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Guys, I don't slap, so I cannot judge how well they slap myself; I bought a set of those Presto Nylonwounds (presto-saiten.de) for another reason. For me they don't work so well: they pizz fine, but arco remains poor, and I want both. Yet Presto say they are good for slapping, and I can see why. They are well made strings, with good character & tension balance, and the light polyamid/nylon wrap on steel rope core makes for a very supple yet thicker string, and should reduce FB wear as well as finger wear. The UltraLights are typically 15% lower tension than de-tuned Spiro Solo's, and they work on a magnetic PU. They also have Light & Medium if you find that ULT tension too low.

    Just a pointer to something possibly less known, I have no affiliation.
     
  15. In the USA and Canada, these are sold as "Eurosonic", not Presto.
    Same strings, just a different name.
     
  16. Dean Foster

    Dean Foster

    Mar 3, 2015
    CHARLTON, MA
    None
    Sorry guys for side tracking the thread a little but Mike since you asked, here goes- I started with a Schaller and progressed to a Krivo. I probably could have lived with the Krivo forever, I thought it had great tone. But I'm a tone chaser and committed steel string player. My current set up is an EMG 4SW, which is the same pick up on some of the NS Design EUB's. King double bass offered it OEM and installed as an option, however my bass was set up with guts and a piezo PU when I got it so I had to install it myself. That meant drilling out the fingerboard (gulp) to seat the magnets. Also there were several adventures in wiring as I am not an electronics assembler by trade. We all know chasing tone is not easy, EMG clearly states there is "No standard mounting system" so you have to create your own. I copied what I had seen on other Kings. Blast Cult is now offering a turn key EMG system that comes with a tail piece containing volume and EQ electronics. You still need to drill the board or create some type of mount for the mags. You can see their video about the system on youtube. Search blast cult new pick up systems.

    Here are a few photos from back when I did the installation. Recently I did away with the black box behind the tailpiece and mounted the battery and electronics within the tailpiece.
    upload_2016-6-15_10-17-9.png
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  17. xXMikeHellXx

    xXMikeHellXx

    Feb 15, 2015
    I was actually thinking the same thing as far as the blast cult mag system goes but I'm thinking maybe I should give the krivo a shot before committing to drilling the board. I have the blast cult piezo system right now on my blast cult bass which I love, so all this experimentation will be going on my englehardt haha
     
  18. Dean Foster

    Dean Foster

    Mar 3, 2015
    CHARLTON, MA
    None
    I completely agree- Try the Krivo it will tell you what you want to know. They really are a great sounding pick up and mount using Scotch Dual Lock so there is no permanent modification to the bass. I would not recommend to anyone drilling in the EMG unless they are 100% sold on the tone. I made a test mount out of a piece of scrap and dual lock to try the system out before I committed to drilling. See the photo. I love the woody sound of guts and a piezo too but IMO they loose definition as the volume climbs. Because I work with bands that play dance/rock music at a variety of events including weddings I need to be able to open up the throttles without feedback. So for my particular situation the EMG and steels made sense.

    upload_2016-6-15_13-25-58.png
     
    xXMikeHellXx likes this.
  19. xXMikeHellXx

    xXMikeHellXx

    Feb 15, 2015
    Thanks for the help and great ideas dean I've got some research and experiments to try
     
  20. Dean Foster

    Dean Foster

    Mar 3, 2015
    CHARLTON, MA
    None
    Good luck in your sound quest Mike, please post and let us know what you decide on- Photos are always appreciated. I got to admit sometimes I'm really jealous of bass guitar players. How nice it must be to walk into a music store anywhere and try out dozens if not hundreds of equipment/instrument combinations in an afternoon. Sadly I have played for a lot of people over the years who have told me that I'm the only cello player they had ever seen in person!
     
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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