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strings for diverse playing

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by rabidaudio, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. rabidaudio


    Mar 23, 2013
    Hey, guys, I'm just another bass guitarist ready to dive into upright to play some fun rockabilly/psychobilly stuff. I'm still on the hunt for an instrument, but assuming I find one and they set it up for me:

    What are some decent, beginner-priced strings for rockabilly that also wouldn't totally suck at other stuff (jazz, classical, etc.)? Also, are there any recommendations on setting it up? I know you usually have the action a lot higher so you can slap easier. Would this make playing other types of music on occasion too difficult?
  2. PunxPimp


    Mar 8, 2012
    I have found that Innovation makes the best "all around string" for the price.(about $130ish a set) 'silver slaps' are a great low tension choice for rockabilly/psychobilly yet you can still get jazzy on em' .The 'super silvers' are a bit higher tension, so even better for jazz/pizz stuff yet very slapable. Strings are all about preference, (and budget). There are alot of gear snobs out there that claim "anything under $300 or so per set is junk"... I've heard some of these guys play and those strings didnt make em sound any better (or did they?) I dunno maybe they like the way they feel. Then you've got guys like Jimbo who plays on $15 weedwackers... Anyway my point is "its all preference and budget" . I've tried cheapos and a few high dollar sets yet I havent changed my Super Silvers in about two years.

    As far as purchasing and set up go... Try to find something used that has been played on and get an adjustable bridge. After a while of tweaking your bridge you will eventually have it set to how you like it, then maybe opt for a solid one and use your adjustable one as a template. Again, its all preference.
  3. Jimbo does not play on $15 whackers. He plays LaBella 980s.

    OP, I'd make three recommendations to you and suggest you follow them in order -- first, get a teacher for at least one lesson. DB is harder to teach yourself than bass guitar and much easier to injure yourself on as you learn.

    Second, try to find a luthier fairly close by and establish a relationship. Your bass, once you find it and buy it, will need work from time to time and you will not be able to do at least some of it properly. Also, buying a bass from a reputable luthier is a good insurance policy against buying a piece of crap before you know what to look for.

    Third, buy a set of Spirocores in Weich (light) gauge and forget about strings for the next 15 years. Strings are a disease for a lot of DB players, myself included.

    Best of luck, and please keep in touch. Many of us are happy to help.
  4. PunxPimp


    Mar 8, 2012
    My bad, Jimbo USED TO play and endorse weedwackers. I still have one of his signature sets laying around. And yes they cost me right about $15 . I didn't care much for em, especially the big fat E string . Anyway my point is more about being good with what you have regardless of what you paid for it. But you'll never know unless you experiment a bit. Unfortunately its not a cheap process.
  5. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Innovations are a great place to start for this sort of setup. Most strings are going to have limitations if you are trying to get several styles of playing out of them - especially on a budget like most guys starting out are on.

    Do yourself a favor and learn some conventional technique before you go right to slapping.
  6. DC Bass

    DC Bass

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    I've never used any of the Innovations strings before, but I really like ALL of the advice given to you by the Sheriff! :hyper:

    FWIW- Spirocore Weich gauge strings are a great choice for diverse styles- they'll slap nice fer ya, they're GREAT for jazz pizz work, and they are very good arco, especially after they get a few miles on them.

    Check out "Slap Bass: The Ungentle Art" by Mark Rubin, it's the best tutorial out there, aside from lessons that is! :)

    Good luck!

  7. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    For amps, Basses and strings Jimbo has played the same thing for years...FREE :) My band has done at least a hundred shows with RHH...Jimbo switches around, but ultimately goes with free.

    Super Silvers are my favorite Innovation strings by a mile, but they are kinda high tension for super fast psycho stuff.

    Blast Cult has a set of strings called 'Tone Mongers' that are actually quite nice...about $175 a set.

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