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Strings for weak hands...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Ultraviolet, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Ultraviolet


    Jun 5, 2007

    my hand strength leaves something to be desired, what strings / weight would you recommend... I want a Stax style sound but need to minimise buzz.

    your suggestions?

  2. Well I actually don't know any strings since I'm no string expert, but I really don't think you have to have that much strength.

    When I started playing my fingers were really weak (I could hardly press down the e string with my pinky), but I just continued to play even though it didn't sound, eventually with patience you will get there. Mind you I still have pretty weak fingers.
    I think it's more about technique than strength, just practice scales and don't stop even though the frets buzz. Just keep on repeating and eventually it will start sounding better, at least that's what I did when I was revising my left hand technique.
  3. ghiadub

    ghiadub Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Auburn, CA
    Get a low tension set of strings. I use Thomasik Infield jazz flats, they are one of the lowest tension sets. Not cheap, but they last for years and sound better as they age. I have had my set on for 3 years and they amaze me every time with great tone.
  4. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    DR strings are also low tension. You can get them in many styles: nickel, stainless, chrome, flatwound, etc. The ones with round cores (as opposed to hex cores) seem to have the lowest tension.
  5. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    40-95 DR highbeams.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Definitely TI Jazz flats. However, even more important is a good setup to get your action nice and low. Your hands will get stronger with practice; playing bass guitar doesn't really require that much strength, especially compared to, say, upright bass.
  7. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I agree with Addito. It's probably not weak hands. I think it's as likely to be bad technique.

    If the forearm is (very) roughly parallel (within, say, 15 degrees) and your wrist is straight and your finders are curled to fret the string, there should be little need for closing the hand (hand strength) to get the job done. I can play (uncomfortably) without clamping the neck at all - just fingers on the strings. The right arm/hand pull the body toward me, my body is the fulcrum and the the neck is pushed into the fingers of my left hand.

    This isn't a playing solution, but it illustrates using your arms and shoulders - big muscles - to do the "strong" work and free up the little muscles to do the intricate work. Work on using as little pressure as possible to fret the note cleanly. Take your thumb off the back of the neck occasionally to help train your body to pick up the load from the hand.

    I'm posting this assuming I'm going to get a lot of nasty comments. I'm doing it because often when one is complaining of hand strength the next stop is a repetitive stress injury and I'd like to help people avoid that.

  8. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    Since you're going to have to adjust the set-up of your bass if you go to lighter tension strings, why not check out the current set-up?

    Could it be that you have a really high action at the moment? That won't help tired or weak hands. Also, make sure that you are fretting the note correctly, with your fingertip immediately on the rear of the fret, this is where you will be able to fret the note with the minimum force. Then, when you are pressing the string down, just keep playing the note and progressively relaxing the pressure you are applying to the string until it just starts to buzz on the fret. Reapply a little pressure until the buzz goes away and that is the minimum force you should be able to play at without buzz (it should take the same sort of pressure at every fret and every string). You'll find you need surprisingly little pressure.

    Keep practising slowly, get the technique right, then add the speed. You'll find your hands strengthen and increase flexibility anyway as you practise - and remember to do some warm up exercises before going for any big stretches
  9. ibnzneksrul


    Feb 2, 2007
    So Cal
    +1 and +1

    If your bass is setup well, playing doesn't require much strength at all, although endurance-wise if you are struggling with a high action your fretting hand will wear out a lot more quickly. If you find yourself fighting the instrument just to play it you need some instruction on technique or a good setup on the bass or both. Also if the bass isn't setup right the strings can buzz even when your technique is good.
  10. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    Make sure you bass is set up by a professional. As far as strings, try something with a round core like DR Sunbeams. They tend to have a lower tension and don't work you fingers as hard.
  11. dfp


    Sep 28, 2004
    instead of trying to 2nd guess your situation and "fix" what's wrong w/ you, i'll try to address your actual question...:smug:

    you want a Stax sound, and minimize the buzz? Hi Beams are nowhere near that....

    flats will "Take You There", so to speak, and some black nylon tapewound flats will do it and be very easy on your hands. several brands to choose from and some good threads here. or if you don't wanna bother w/ the research, just go order some La Bella black nylon tapewounds. they meet all your criteria.

    question answered, thank you good night!
  12. Richo


    May 26, 2008
    Sydney, Australia.
    why dont you buy some guitar strings and then get yourself a manicure while you're at it?

    man the f**k up!

  13. I would go with some sort of roundwound in .40-.95 or .40-.100 gauge. I use fender 7250 Superbass strings for that.
    For a Stax/Motown sor of thing, GHS Precision Flats in light gauge (..40-.95), Thomastic-Infields Jazz Flats, or a set of those Fender Tapewound 9210 strings.

    I have hand and joint problems and these sets give much less trouble due to thier lower tension.
  14. Ultraviolet


    Jun 5, 2007

    thanks for the (mostly) constructive comments.

    I've gone for some TI jazz flats, LaBella Deep Talkin Flats and some Rotosound halfrounds all light to mid guage. I'm going to try each out and see what works for me.


  15. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    DR Sunbeams. The round core makes them flexible and they're spongier than the steel DR Hi-Beams (which are my string of choice; flexible and sound amazing.) Oh, and since Sunbeams are nickel, you get that warmer fatter sound.

    But before you slap a new set of Sunbeams on, take your bass inf or a setup. A good setup makes a world of difference and can even make alright basses play like champs.

    Let me tell you something, I've spent obscene amounts of money over the years trying to find that elusive perfect string. Good luck in your search for that perfect string. Personally, I've gone DR Hi-Beams 45-100 and I ain't going back.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats are great. For slinky rounds, I strongly recommend TI Power Bass. They are light gauge and require a soft touch, but have fantastic output. It's one of the world's modern mysteries how they do that.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If you've got the coin, don't pass on the TI Power Bass.
  18. Petethebassman


    Mar 7, 2008
    Haven't tried TI Power Bass, but I did play a few years with TI Jazz Rounds and I was amazed with their strong output and fat bottom end. And the set had a .089 E string. How do they do that? To the OP, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the TI Jazz Flats. I've had a set on my P bass since March and they just keep getting better. I think I've finally found the perfect strings. I must have tried just about every brand there is since I started playing in 1981, I wish I had discovered TIs earlier, just thinking how much money I could've saved. Oh well.
  19. I highly recomend the rotosound TruBass 88 nylon tapewounds - I just put them on my '62 RI USA Jazz bass and they're wonderful to play and smooth on the hands... very very dark sounding though.

    I personally would stay away from the Labella flats...They can be very high-tension... Since I usually play roundwounds on my fretless 6, I really start to notice if the flats/tapes are to harsh on my hands, as they cause my finger callouses to bunch up...All's well with the TruBass strings though.
  20. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Are we in the DB section?

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