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Strings For Specific Basses

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by lloganbracee, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. lloganbracee


    Sep 9, 2017
    One of the most interesting things to me since I’ve recently become so interested in playing bass has been just how much the strings affect the sound & the way a bass is played.

    That said, I’ve become more & more interested in what strings people like on particular Basses & more importantly WHY they like them. I recently was gifted an Epiphone T-Bird Pro & am having difficulty choosing where to start in my search for what strings I like on a Thunderbird.

    Example: A lot of people seem to adore La Bella Deep Talkin’ Flats (or just flats in general) on a Precision Bass because of how articulate & deep any given note is. It’s just that classic bass sound.

    So, what strings do you like on your specific bass models & why?
    trothwell and Arthur U. Poon like this.
  2. Jason Harris

    Jason Harris

    Jan 17, 2017
    Heavy Gauge Stainless Steel Roundwounds
    Because all the clank, no mids Metal
    On everything of course no excuses
  3. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I agree, the brand and type of strings makes quite a bit of difference. It took me years to figure this out. After that, I experimented on my basses with different sets to find what I thought sounded best on them.

    I've used GHS Boomers for many years on my Alembic and Spector to "tame" the brightness of each bass.

    I found Slinkys sounded the best on my MusicMan Sterling, -although I currently have Boomers on it for a recording project; the Songwriter prefers fat sounding bass tone.

    My main bass is a 6-string, I have it strung with GHS Pressurewounds. They're sbsolutely the best sounding strings I've ever had on it.

    I use groundwounds on my Rick 4001, either D'Addario Half Rounds or GHS Brite Flats.

    I'm currently without a Jazz Bass, but I used Boomers on the two that I once owned. I found they made them both sound warm and fat.

    With my P-Basses I've used either Boomers or D'Addario XL's. I'm now considering putting flats on my fretted P-Bass, and Pressurewounds on my fretless P-Bass.

    I have Boomers on my Mike Lull 5-string, and I'm planning on putting Boomers on my Roscoe 6-string.
    Al Kraft and lloganbracee like this.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    For me, everything that's fretted, 4 string, 34" scale and tuned standard gets DR nickel low rider 100-40's. They feel good and sound good forever after they break in for a week or two.
    34" fretless electrics get GHS pressurewound 100's. Because they're a bit smoother feeling for sliding notes around.
    Piezo-only 34" gets Chromes. .095 for my fretless abg, .100's for electric upright. They sound good.
    My one 30", fretted, standard tuned bass gets whatever nickel roundwound is on sale and has the right taper length. I've changed them once in 20 years.
    BassVI style instruments get whatever I can find with the right length. Sadly, the two I've got take very different strings. A hardtail Dano and a Gretsch with a Bigsby.
    30" piccolo bass gets the low end of a heavy guitar set. I forget the gauges, but it's about a .050 E and a plain G.
    19" fretted, solid body Ubass gets the stock Pahoehoes.
    28" fretted, tuned in 5ths from A gets a random combination of singles starting with an .080 short scale bass A string and going up to an unwound guitar string.

    Eventually I should get a 2nd P bass and put flats on it, because I do like that sound. But I haven't had a gig in a genre that absolutely required it in the last 10 years.
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  5. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    On my Precision bass, aiming for a deep and vintage tone, I certainly favor some strings more than others: GHS Precision Flats and GHS Balanced Nickels seem to work especially well.

    On my Jazz bass, I favor Rotosound 66 or GHS Progressives. I like the sound of the Rotosounds a little better, and like the feel of the Progressives a little better, but for me on this bass, they both work similarly well overall.

    My fretless Jazz bass has been tougher to nail down, I think in part because I'm not sure what sound I even want out of it. I like a really smooth, could-substitute-for-an-upright-acoustic-bass sort of tone, but I also like a punchy, barking Jaco kind of tone. For the former, Thomastik flats work nicely, but a very mellow sound indeed. A little brighter/punchier, GHS round core Boomers. A little brighter/punchier than that (I think), GHS Pressurewound are good. For the more aggressive tone, Rotosound 66 have worked well. I haven't tried Progressives on this bass yet, but I imagine those would do good here too. I also like Fender 9050 flats and GHS Brite Flats, for a different sound altogether. *sigh*
  6. My current top two favorites:
    • GHS Balanced Nickels 4L-NB (40-56-76-101) on my P bass - Full-bodied and warm lows that are still clear and focused, and creamy smooth mids with very little zing up top. Well-balanced tone across all four strings as well as up and down the neck. Perfectly balanced tension. Supple enough to be comfortable for fretting, yet firm enough not to go all floppy under the plucking fingers. Balanced in every way.
    • GHS Pressurewound ML-7200 (44-58-80-102) on my J bass - Tight, punchy lows with some nice crunch in the mids. Not overly bright and zingy, they can still make my J bass growl in a very pleasing and non-aggressive way. Better-than-average longevity.
    Honorable mention:
    • GHS Round Core Boomers RC-M3045 (45-65-85-105) - The same meaty low-mid punch the Boomers are known for, but with slightly smoother mids with less of the raw grind or the stiffness of their hex-core sibling.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  7. lloganbracee


    Sep 9, 2017
    They sound good forever? I hear people talking up aged flatwounds all of the time, but it’s pretty rare you to see someone saying that a set of rounds sounds good “forever.”
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Well, forever in terms of roundwounds.
    For me and my hand chemistry, after the first couple of weeks they settle in and sound the same for several years at least. Until the intonation goes.
    It helps that I always run my volume and tone wide open on passive instruments, so I'm getting the most highs possible on broken-in strings.
  9. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I've got to say, with all the mention of Rotosound Swing Bass 66's, I really want to buy a set and put them on one of my basses. I used them for quite a few years, then stainless steel started feeling sticky, so I switched over nickel plated roundwounds.

    IMO Swing Bass 66's have a sound that I've never found in any other brand of strings I've tried. I think it's something in the midrange.
  10. mrb327


    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows
    We have a thunderbird club here, best recommendation for strings on those probably there

    I liked Dunlop Super Bright stainless on my Tbirds
    Helix and lloganbracee like this.
  11. I use different sets depending ob the bass, my main Carvin LB50 bass has a custom D'Addario nickle set 35-55-80-100, an older set on my LB50 with EMG HB pups that I use a lot for recording and rock and blues gigs. On my Washburn AB20 a set of Rotosound TruBass tape wounds do the trick because it tames the clankiness of that bass. My Harmony H22B either has a set of D'Addario flats or piccolo strings. My fretless Peavey Foundation FL has an ancient set of Kaman Kamflon Performer coated strings but my SVMFJ has a standard Niclks D'Addario light set for extra mwah. My Gibson G3 has a set of GHS "Flea" Boomers. My Peavey Dyna Five has an older set of GHS Bassics Light with an added 120, fretted Foundation and Verdine White have a standard D'Addario Light set.
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  12. chaak


    Apr 25, 2013
    now here
    I only use nylon tape wound on my Fender AVRI '63 precision.

    and my Spector NS5-H2 becomes out of this world with Ken Smith Burners Strings
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  13. Personal tastes change over time, in my experience. Was a day when absolutely nothing sounded better than brand new Rotosounds on my 'Ray. Now it's coated nickel roundwounds for me. Suspect the "best match" for strings and bass is highly subjective.
  14. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    D'Addario ProSteels on my G&L JB and EBMM Bongo; EBMM Cobalts on my Stingray; EBMM Slinky Nickelwounds on my EBMM Stingray5. Just what sounds good on those basses.

    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  15. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    light gauge, round wound (currently: TI jazz rounds or roto swing 66). why? = i'm used to them. i know what to expect.
    Clutchcargo and Arthur U. Poon like this.
  16. Although it helps to have an idea of the final sound that you want, the reality is that it will take you some time to zero in on what you like best. Try a different brand or type each time and take notes. There’s an almost dizzying array of strings out there so expect it to take some time.
  17. Thumper19605


    Jun 29, 2013
    Low tension flats on my P, La Bella nylon coated rounds on my Fender P Lyte and Yamaha TRBX304, Lite rounds on my Squier 5. A lot of trial and error for the right match for me. Makes a huge difference.
  18. I have chromes on my t bird pro and it' got a nice warm purr to it.
  19. 20171127_203034.
  20. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Expensive but, I recently bought a set of TI Jazz Rounds for my fretless. They’re amazing. In the 9 months I’ve had it, I’ve gone through 5 sets of different strings to be in absolute bliss with these.

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