String advice for oldtime/bluegrass

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by standup17, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. standup17

    standup17 Supporting Member

    Hello, I recently got my Amercian Standard (#2090) back from re-build (will post pics asap), and am looking for some string advice. The action is higher (and feels "stiffer") than the Engelhardt I played for about 8 years.

    What strings would you suggest for oldtime/bluegrass playing? I play lots of open-strings, and like to play walks/runs up to the lowest E and A positions on the D and G strings. I've noticed this is harder to do on this bass than my other one (higher action, string tension?).

    I do need a lot of volume as we regularly play a loud venue.

    I have never "mixed" different strings, and would be interested to give that a shot if it would be beneficial.

    Oh, and where best to get the suggested strings?

    Thanks in advance for your time, and happy 2005!
  2. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    Gut strings will have less tension and should have plenty of volume with "high action". They are expensive, but the good ones last a long time. If you don't want to spring for guts, some of the synthetic core strings might work for you. If you use all steel strings you probably won't get that "old time" sound.
    Quinn Violin and Lemur Music are two good sources for bass strings.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Second vote for gut strings. You'll pay about $200 and up for a set.

    Avoid ones with fine metal windings, these are meant for classical bowing and will fall apart under slapping. Some wound guts will slap fine, I use the Velvet Garbos.
  4. standup17

    standup17 Supporting Member

    Hi guys, thanks for the info. I searched "bluegrass" in the strings forum and there are many long threads.

    I have never played anything but steel strings, and am wondering if a switch over to all gut would be too drastic. I've read posts that suggest the E (and even A) gut is not very responsive, and a mix of steel and gut is a good compromise.

    I'm really feeling like a caveman here because I've been playing DB for about 8 years, have always been interested in good tone, and never explored the (apparently vast) world of DB strings!

    Wondering if this might help my playing go towards the next level!


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