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String recommendations for 6-string fretless?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jondiener, Aug 22, 2000.

  1. jondiener

    jondiener Guy in the corner, looking at his phone on break. Gold Supporting Member

    Hi all,

    Just bought a used Carvin 6-string fretless and would like to update the strings, but I'm not sure what to do. The fretboard is ebony, it's an active bass, and while I don't want to chew up the fretboard with roundwounds, I don't want to lose too much tone, either. It's been 20 years since I owned a fretless and string choices have changed a bit. So, with all this said, in order to achieve plenty of 'mwah' factor and growl, what would you recommend?

    I should add that this is not my only bass, so I don't need to cover all the genres with this bass/string combination.
  2. sftwrguru


    Aug 24, 2000
    I have a similar Carvin LB76 Fretless six string. I am using Ernie Ball Slinky Roundwounds, and they are ok, A little to metalic and treble. I usually use the Fender SuperBass strings on my 4 string, and have been really pleased with them. When I asked the Carvin techs about strings and expressed concerns with roundwounds chewing up the fretboard/fingerboard I was told the Ebony is hard enough to stand up to roundwounds, but to avoid Rotosound strings.
  3. jondiener

    jondiener Guy in the corner, looking at his phone on break. Gold Supporting Member

    Seems like there aren't a lot of choices for six stringers - mostly roundwounds out there. Would like to at least get a ground round or 'half-round' string to keep fretboard wear to a minimum. Plus, I don't want too bright a sound, either. I guess I'll probably end up creating my own 'set' of strings to fit the bill, if I don't find something to my liking.

  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Give a set of DR Sunbeams a try. They are roundwounds, but don't have a real aggressive outer winding. They have a round core, too, nicely flexible and give good mwah.

    We had a custom 6 string built for my son using a 6 string Carvin fretless neck about two years ago and he's had nothing but the Sunbeams on it, and they are working out really fine. You can find his band and bass and audio samples (I forget which tunes are fretless) at http://www.second-story.net

    I have a four string set of Sunbeams on my old fretless Gibson with an ebony board right now. They are really fine IMHO, and will give you plenty of mwah and growl with the right setup job. I had a 5 string set on a fretless, rosewood board Epiphone for about a year and hardly got any wear at all.

    Don't get excited about a little wear- it is worth it for the good sound. You may have to occasionally dress the board, and maybe even replace it if you really play the hell out of the instrument 10-20 yrs from now, but you won't get the same effect and sound from non-rounds. Ebony is hard wood and takes it well and does not wear that easily.
  5. jondiener

    jondiener Guy in the corner, looking at his phone on break. Gold Supporting Member

    Thanks Bob,

    Funny you should mention the Sunbeams. I was checking out the DR web site yesterday, looking at the Sunbeams. From the description, they sounded like the closest thing to what I'm looking for. Thanks for all the great info!

    Pulling out my old Jaco LPs to get back in the fretless mood,
  6. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I have a Pedulla Hexabuzz that I use GHS Boomers on. I have had the bass since 1994 and have played it a lot and there are only slight scratches in the finish on the fingerboard. The strings sound great and last a long time.

  7. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Got Elixirs on mine. Had 'em since June '99 and still going strong! The only problem is that they don't stock 'em in 6-string sets. Gotta buy a single high C from the factory for $22! Total almost $80 for a set, but hey, they've lasted over a year. Gotta consider it, huh? Tone is similar to D'Addario XL's with just a little off the high metallic edge. I roll that off anyway so that suits me fine.

    I have a Carvin fretless 6 with ebony 'board too, '95 model. Roundwounds all the way, and only minor grooves in the ebony after all that time. Does not affect tone or playability.

    [Edited by Eli on 08-27-2000 at 09:36 PM]

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