Steve Harris strings vs Growly strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Naggon, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Naggon


    Nov 8, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Hey, I know there's a number of threads that prance around this topic, but I'm reading a lot of things that seem confusing and contradicting, so I wanna see who can give me a straighter answer :p

    So, for the past many years, I've been obsessed with getting exactly Steve Harris' bass tone, and I still am, for the most part. I've been playing with an extremely "klanky" tone, which I love.

    But, recently, I've decided that I want to experiment with a really growly tone tone for a while, and also, its really expensive to buy $55 rotosound steve harris signature flatwounds evert few weeks....I can't afford it any longer.

    I've never really tried to get a "growly" tone before, but I know that incredibly heavy gauge flatwounds (steve harris sigs) are probably the opposite of what one would use to get a growly tone...

    So, here's what I want to find out:

    -What are the growliest strings out there?
    -What are the growliest CHEAP strings out there?
    -Is it possibly to get a really growly tone with out sacrificing all my beloved Steve Harris Klank?
    -Is it possible to get a growly tone with thicker gauge strings?

    BTW, I play fingerstyle on a P-bass with s.d. quarter pounders, if that helps.

    Thanks a lot!
  2. ?

    leave the harris sig's on.

    there flatwound, the need not be changed.
  3. Naggon


    Nov 8, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    well, thats the thing about steve harris flats. You're using a flatwound string to get an extremely bright tone, so you have to change them really often. People only keep flats on indefinitely if they're trying to get a really dead (or "upright bass") kind of tone, because then it doesn't matter if the strings go dead.

    Sometimes I leave the steve harris sigs on for a really long time when I run out of money to replace 'em, and they don't sound growly or klanky at ALL after a while, thats for sure :rolleyes:
  4. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    If I remember correctly the bass player in the Maiden tribute band The Iron Maidens uses Chromes.
  5. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Really? didn't know that.

    UPTHE1RON5 Guest

    Dec 10, 2007
    i found using stainless steels give you a better steve harris tone
  7. CrimsonGhost


    Nov 14, 2000
    what setup are you playing thru?
    Have you tried recording yourself with the not-so fresh harris flats and play it back and see how it sounds?

    monitoring yourself playing vs recording yourself and playing it back can sound completly different, I ran the harris flats on my p, and thought it sounded awsome, nice clanky tone, until i played myself back and it was all noise and clank, but not much bottom or fundemental.

    record yourself when they are fresh and when they break in, you might like what you hear with the latter, I know i did,

    Yes broken in flats can still be agressive and cutting for heavy rock.

    i dont know if im making much sense, i hope you can comprehend what im saying, Im heavily medicated on narcs for a BADD toothache.
  8. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
  9. CrimsonGhost


    Nov 14, 2000
    also, Rotosound emailed me back and said that the harris strings are the same as the regular 50-110 flats, except for the silk color and packaging.

    I quit using the harris flats, too much tensioni went to the 45-105 set, the same great strings and tone, but less hell on the neck as far as tension goes.
  10. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    Flatwounds can and do growl when played on the right type of bass. A properly setup jazzbass with flatwounds has a nasty growly tone.

    With a precision I would use RS66's and put a little bit of overdrive in the signal. Since your using the SD 1/4's I would adjust them down away from the string and mellow out a bit of the signal as well. Those big magnets dampen out the strings vibration energy a bit faster. Play a bit closer to the bridge to bring out some of the top end sizzle as well.

    I used the SD 1/4 for awhile on my P. I came to not like the tone from them. I found I much preferred the original Fender pickup, because of the articulation that it offered over the sledgehammer attributes of the SD.
  11. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    I've read the main reason Harris uses flats as to not destroy his fingers. When playing that much each night on tour, it tends to do a job on your fingers, no matter what kinds of callouses have built up. He has the luxury of being able to play with new strings daily so he can maintain a bright tone.

    If you want decent cheap and growly, check out DaDarrio rounds.
  12. +1

    I used the Harris sigs for 2 and a half years on my Schecter Model Ts. Had to do a major truss rod adjustment when I put them on and another one when I took them off. And I find I get a better Harris clank without the flatwounds. I have one last package of them left that I guess will stay unused...
  13. XsoGol

    XsoGol Gold Supporting Member

    +1 on the D'Addario Chromes. I use them on my J bass and I get a very good Steve Harris tone that way and the Chromes are cheap and last awhile.

    That being said...I could coax the same sound out of D'Addario XL nickel roundwounds too...and they are cheap as hell.
  14. spideyjg


    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    Nope, Wanda uses the Steve Harris flats.

    Notice the blue silk..

    I tried a set of Chromes and they may do OK.

    The clank comes more from Steve's right hand attack than his string choice.

  15. XsoGol

    XsoGol Gold Supporting Member

    +1. You can get the clank from attack and EQ...hence why I'm able to get it from both Chromes and XL nickels (and even Ernie Ball SS rounds as well). :bassist:
  16. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    Don't Chromes have a light blue silk?
  17. CrimsonGhost


    Nov 14, 2000
    the clank is from the attack and setup NOT the strings, you can get any strings to clank, just drop the action LOW and set the neck up to 99.9999% flat relief, this means cranking and cranking the truss rod for the harris flats becuase of the tension..

    When your tuning up the strings should be completley choked out becuase of the negative releif, then when you tune up the tension brings the neck into relief.

    now clank away harris style.
  18. XsoGol

    XsoGol Gold Supporting Member

    I wouldn't call it "light blue" but the silk on my Chromes is definitely blue!!!
  19. spideyjg


    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    Perhaps but it has been a long time. IIRC D'Addario do not have the red silk on the ball ends.

    I'm sure someone can confirm this easy enough.

    I guarantee you Wanda is running the Steve Harris strings though since they have an endorsement with Rotosound.

  20. XsoGol

    XsoGol Gold Supporting Member

    Yeah...the silk on my Chromes is definitely NOT the same color as the strings on Wanda's G&L.