String recommendations?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by _Unregistered_, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. _Unregistered_


    Nov 3, 2004
    I have a Pedulla Buzz (5-string). I purchased it used, and it came to me strung with roundwounds. They sound/feel like nickel medium lights to me, not unlike the D'Addario XLs I usually play.

    The sound is good (OK, it's a buzz, the thing kicks ass), but it's still not exactly the ideal buzz tone I'm looking for.

    The "buzz" is happening a bit more in the treble range than I would ideally prefer. I happened to be reading the forum today, and I came across a reference to Herbie Hancock/Chick Corea - Fickle Funk. Upon giving that track a listen, I'm really rather impressed with the bass tone, and all its buzzy, growly glory. Certainly a bit more "growly" than the buzz I'm currently getting, and pretty much exactly what I'm shooting for.

    I was thinking of going to a ground wound, or flat wound, and to a lighter gauge to lower string tension, in an effort to better capture "that sound" and to get the buzz to come down a little more into a midrange growl from its current somewhat trebly range.

    I'm interested to hear suggestions from the players here, as I haven't deviated from my trusty D'Addario XLs for some 20+ years, the only exception being some Roto Sounds I tried a long, long time ago, but found the well-known inconsistencies to be a problem (dead strings right out of the pack, or those that go dead almost right away). Other than that, I haven't really tried much in terms of other strings - I kinda found the XLs and never looked back. I welcome input from all, but fretless players in particular...

    Also, my buzz has the stock passive P/J pickups. Any buzz owners fitted other pickups that might be closer to my "target tone"?
  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    "Fickle Funk" is Bunny Brunel, playing a Yamaha, with a P/J setup, I believe. I mean I'm sure it's Bunny, just not 100% sure about the bass. I don't know what strings he used on that recording, but I've had good luck with Labella tapewounds and D'Addario Chromes on fretless. Both gave good "mwah" without the clattering you can get from roundwounds.

    Bunny is a phenomenal player.
  3. _Unregistered_


    Nov 3, 2004
    I checked out Bunny's site. I remember seeing him on Carvin catalogs as an endorsee, but never checked him out. It looks like he's playing a lot with Dennis. He's got sample tracks playing on the site. Good stuff. His tone on Fickle Funk still stands apart, though. The perfect marriage of growl and buzz.

    The D'Addario Chromes are flatwounds? I'll have to check them out. I'm kinda scared of flatwounds...I really want the ultimate "mwah", and like I said, especially want to move the tone center of the buzz down in frequency, but I don't wanna lose my sustain. I have vague memories of early flatwounds being really dead. I take it the technology has progressed?

    Of course, I may be asking someone with a bias, judgding by your screename...but what do think about ground wound, pressure wound, etc..."compromise" strings? Still too rattly?

    What would Bunny drive? LOL.
  4. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Actually, I usually use rounds on my fretted basses, and right now, I don't even have a fretless. I hope to remedy that soon.

    Anyway, the last fretless I had had an ebonol board, and when the rounds sounded too fizzy, I tried the aforementioned Labella tapewounds, Rotosound tapewounds, and Chromes. The Rotos are pretty dead-sounding, but the others are reasonably bright. The Chromes really sang on that bass.

    I didn't try pressure wounds or ground wounds on this particular bass, but I can tell you a little about the ones I've tried: D'Addario Half-Rounds IME have a real roundwound-ish character to them, and feel somewhat rough for half-rounds. GHS Brite Flats are much more "Flat" than "Brite", darker than some flatwounds. GHS Pressurewound strings are flattened roundwounds that are somewhat smoother than rounds.

    Don't know how much this helps, but there it is.

    Incidentally, "Fickle Funk" was on a Chick Corea album called "Secret Agent", that may be out of print. I have it on vinyl, and Bunny really rips it up on some songs. I saw Bunny in '81 or so in a little coffee house, and he was playing a beat-up Yamaha fretless. Really amazing.
  5. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I just bought a set of D'Addario Chromes (long scale, .45-.100), but I won't be able to put them on my bass until later this evening. THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME!!! The pack I bought doesn't look like the pack on D'Addarios site, though. On the site, the package reads something like "Warm Medium" in the top right, but it doesn't have that on my pack. After forking out $35, I'm a little weary. Just being cautious, I suppose.
  6. bluemonk


    Dec 17, 2002

    I have 4 fretless basses with various strings. The one I get the most mwah from is Thomistik Infeld strings on a Warwick Corvette which has a very flat, ebony fretboard. I also like LaBella tapewounds (which are roundwounds under the tape).
  7. hyoshim

    hyoshim Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I've used TI flat on my Fender Jazz Fretless and it works really well. I've got more mwah unplugged than plugged in. Pickup limitation, I'm thinking. You'll really like it.
  8. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    If you're looking for sweet midrange and low tension, the TI Flats may do it for you...I tried them on a fretted and thought they were really cool strings...VERY smooth feel. They were just to floppy for the more aggressive attack I use.

    What does the Pedulla site recommend? I seem to remember them having some verbiage on the strings for their various models. They also recommend the neck be very straight.
  9. _Unregistered_


    Nov 3, 2004
    All great suggestions, thanks!

    I looked on the Pedulla site, and read a bit of what's there. They do say not to use steels, because it's too hard on the polyester...but I guess that's more the case with round wounds than with flats.

    I'm interested to hear your take on the Chromes, Tee. I do worry about how hard the chrome alloy might be on the polyester, even though they're flats...I dunno.

    Tape wounds, huh? This concept sounds real interesting. Would certainly be the nicest to the fretboard. How do they sound compared to flats and round wounds? I'm guessing somewhere in the middle? I wonder how the plastic overwrap would sound against the polyester board on the buzz, and how the tension would be.

    The TIs I looked at on, and the tension seems a bit all over the place (although to be fair no more so than others). Their stuff also comes in odd gauges. I looked at a few of the TI sets, and couldn't help but think that perhaps more careful gauging might get the tension even a bit more equal from string to string...but that said, they appear to be some of the lowest tensions overall of the sets I looked at.

    The more I think about it, the more I believe I might try these first.

    Decisions, decisions. I wish I could hear them without having to try all of 'em keep the suggestions coming.
  10. _Unregistered_


    Nov 3, 2004
    Took a closer look at the has Bartonlis on it, although it's a passive bass. It only has 3 knobs - vol/pan/passive tone.

    I do love Bill's pickups, so I don't think I would change them, unless you guys have some real good suggestions. I might consider putting one of his preamps in, if it would help me zero in on the "growl"...thoughts?

    I know I'm in the string sub-forum...but it's all inter-related to my tone question here...hope It's OK...