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Strings are 3 years old- can't justify replacing them.....

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by mdjuszyn, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. mdjuszyn


    Nov 17, 2011
    My strings are the original stock strings on my Jazz bass. Bought new in 2011. I am pretty sure they are Fender 7250ML, NPS. I play roughly 3-4 hours per week. I like how my bass sounds, no tuning issues, haven't had to make an intonation adjustment in over a year. I need to buy some strings just to have a spare set because I currently have none but I can't really seem to be able to justify taking them off. I guess I should buy the same type- either another set of 7250s or maybe try Daddario EXL170M- something similar. I'm just not sure what is going to force me to decide to change them out. I'm trying not to overthink this and probably should turn off Talkbass for a while and just go play. But- what happens when nickel plated steels die? What do I look/listen for?
  2. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    When one or more of the following happens to the strings, it is time to change:

    1) becomes physically damaged or breaks, including accumulation of fret dents to the point it causes noticable flat marks on the windings
    2) won't hold tune
    3) intonation problems: some fretted notes fret fine, others don't, and the bridge saddle is set up correctly
    4) wobbly tone, or overtones won't lock
    5) noticable corrosion
    6) tone becomes too thumpy or loses sustain more than desireable or compared to the other strings on the bass.

    If you like the Fender strings, there is no reason to change unless you are curious, want a tonal or feel change, or the balance of either tone or feel string-to-string just isn't happening for you. For example, until I went to tapes, I always kept and extra E string, because my perspiration eats nickel, and for me the E string, irrespective of brand, model or gauge of string, would always die first, sometimes to the point that I would put a new set of strings on for a Friday-Saturday two-night gig, and replace the E string for Saturday.

    Second, keep the most recent set of strings you take off the bass for the following reasons:

    1) to know how long to cut the leader so it is long enough so the string has enough wraps around the tuner post to be stable, but not so long that it binds on the bushing or overlaps.
    2) if a string breaks in a gig, putting the older string back on will usually be a better match, because it doesn't sound as bad for the bass to sound "tum, tum, thud, tum" from the old string to get through a gig than it does to sound "tum, tum, twang, tum" from the new string, and the old string will still hold pitch better than a new string going flat in the middle of a song from going through its initial stretch-out phase.
  3. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    If you are happy with how your bass sounds with 3 year old stock strings (something I flat-out can't imagine) - then keep them. Save the money. Good on you.
  4. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    When they get real dead soundin', do what poor kids in the '70's used to do -
    Boil 'em..
  5. Flad


    Apr 18, 2014
    I don't know if you've seen the threads about soaking your strings in alcohol. If not check 'em out. You can use the same trick to try it with out taking off the strings. Use a rag and soak the rag with the alcohol and just clean the strings one at a time, you can take a toothbrush to them even. I used to do this all the time back in the day when I was even more of a starving bassist than I am now. It will make your stings sound almost new. You might give this a go to see what you're missing having old, DNA incrusted strings. The effect won't last long, the better job you do of cleaning the string the longer it will last, but even a quickee will make a difference, try it and see. You might not like it, if you don't then you won't like new strings either. Also if you don't might suggest trying some flat wounds, much easier on the fingers and if you like that old round wound sound you should like the flats just fine, probably better.
  6. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    Mr_McBride and Flad like this.
  7. dusterdan


    Feb 24, 2014
    So Cal
    ^^lol that's funny. Seriously though, if you play your bass side by side against a J with new strings, you'd notice how much more trebly, ringing, and alive the new ones are:) not that yours sound bad, but it is important to note perhaps you've just become accustomed to the sound
  8. It sounds to me like you're set. Pick up a spare set just in case, maybe, but don't change them unless you really feel like you need to. Presently, it sounds like you don't need to. And yeah, whenever you change the strings out, you'll notice the difference a lot, but that's just how it goes. I had a set of Pressurewounds on bass for eight years once, and they only sounded better and better to me.

    * Edit- I don't know that they were Pressurewounds specifically, but they were a semi/compression-wound type of string that came on the bass and stayed on it for that long, which was the entire time I owned it.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
    mdjuszyn likes this.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hey bro, if you like your strings, keep them. I know a dude who plays for a living around here and only changes his rounds when they break because he hates the ringy sound. Gets plenty of work, too.
  10. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I like my rounds dead, too. I want the exact opposite of new string mid scoop.
  11. I bought a used Squier PJ bass a little while back lightly used for cheap & quickly put a new set of Roto 66 strings on it. I immediately missed the stock Fender 7250 set & put them back on, I've since bought a few used sets as back ups, I like em. Denatured alcohol works great for cleaning strings, dont boil them. I give them a bath in a empty cleaned round Chinese food plastic container for a day or two & they're as good as new, use latex gloves when handling denatured alcohol. I would change those strings myself, 3 years is pushing it.
  12. veebass


    Mar 27, 2014
    I like Fender strings as well. I use Pure Nickel Rounds on my split coil P Basses (like flats but a little zingier to me and I love the feel and tension) and generally leave them on for ages until they go too dead. I find really dead ones work really well with single coil P Basses as well in that it tames that initial spike that you can get with those pickups.

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