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Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by elga, Nov 17, 2000.

  1. elga


    Aug 14, 2000
    i play a fretless fender jazz bass, and would like to know if there are out there maybe more accomplished strings (maybe gut strings) than the fender strings that came with my guitar.
    thanks for the help
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Not sure what you mean by 'accomplished' but strings will have a big effect on your sound - I use flatwound strings on my 6 string fretless, they get rid of that growl that everyone else seems to like :oops:)

    I've never been a fan of Fender strings, and use Elites on all my basses, except the nylon core Tomastiks that are on my Rick Turner bass - you could try those.

    The things to consider in string buying are material - stainless steel, or nickle - type: flatwound, roundwound, groundwound, tapewound etc, and guage - if the strings you have on feel 'cumbersome' or clumsy, try some lighter ones, you might find that your playing speeds up no-end! :oops:)

    Do consider that if you change the type of strings you use, you'll probably be best off getting your bass set up at the same time.


  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    Do the nylon core strings have any particular characteristics? I use nylon strings on my URB and would love to get that same "feel" on my ebg.

    Tnx , Pkr2
  4. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    The Nylor core strings that I have won't work with 'normal' pickups, as there's not enough metal involved. I think that Tomastik do do a set that will work. The feel is much more like URB nylon strings - there's a bit of a 'roll' under your fingers, and they are much more elastic...

    IF you have a shop near you that stocks Rick Turner's basses, they all come strung with these strings (and besides, Rick's basses are amazing, and if you get the chance you should try one anyway... :oops:)

  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Tnx, Steve. Appreciate the advice.

  6. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000

    I'd like to add that I also have flatwounds on my fretless, d'Addarios, I think they are called "slow wounds".
    They were quite hard to find here in Holland, but the strings that were previously on it were killing the fretboard...I have the same flats on it for more than a year now, and the sounds is quite nice.

    I'm still learning to play the thing, but I found out why all those fretless guys have those nasal, high pitched tones...it's more easy to hear yourself, I like it when it's very boomy, thumpsy, but it's easier for me to intonate when I play only over the neck pickup.
    Weird bass though...quite old, and I tune it every three months.

    Oh well,
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    If I can "jump in" here - "Slowounds" are actually nickel plated roundwounds. They are a lot less "abrasive" than most roundwounds and I think they are a better compromise if you still like the "round sound".

    I used to have trouble finding decent quality or variety of strings in the UK, but now I alway buy off the internet where there is a huge variety available. I have also found that even allowing for postage etc. Slowounds are half the price from the internet that I was paying in shops in the UK! I get mine from :


  8. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000

    I just found the package again, and they are called "chromes".
    But the good part is that I know now, for the rest of my life, what slowounds are, and that they sound good...

    And I want to add that I'm not going to buy anything from the UK, your pounds really suck for us. And that's why that I went to Ireland on Holiday, but I'll try to remain on this topic.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well that's why I buy strings from the US via the internet - the company I put the website for, is based in California I think.
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    my last fretless - the 8 string - came with the top 7 strings as dean markley flatwounds. i think d-m is going to begin offering those soon. they were pretty cool, but i use the same roundwound sr2000s on all my basses - i favor fretless with roundwounds.
  11. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    After trying a few different types and gauges, I've settled on Smith Compressors 40-58-76-96-125. They are compression-wound, which basically means the outer wrap is oval-shaped so it doesn't gnarl the fingerboard too much but still have a bright tone that is similar to roundwound. The feel is pretty smooth and the dynamics are - again - reminiscient of roundwound response. Nickel-iron alloy, BTW.

    My fingerboard is ebony, which is a dense, hard wood, but some string-bending has me considering having a luthier do an epoxy coat. The marks are very slight but I don't want to head into problems later on.

    I play some solo bass in between sets, and for both types of playing I'm shooting for a tone that is flexible enough to be altered by pre-amp/effects to do reasonably approximate many styles of tones.

    One's gear has lots to do with getting this variety too; any cabinet that has too much coloration makes it tough to override its personality. And preamps have much to do with it too.

    Good luck with the strings! In another year or two perhaps I'll be searching again myself ; }

    <-- greenboy ---<<<
  12. I too don't like that roundwound fretless sound- I wanted a double bass-like sound out of my Hohner TWP600B acoustic (DIY defret) so I strung it with 35 95 Rotosound Jazz stainless steel Flatwounds. the action is medium-high, and the sound is a good balance between fretless "mwah" and upright "thump" , great when miked up to tape.
  13. VictorLeMonteWooten


    Dec 6, 2000
    i like rotosounds a lot, but that is just my opinion. You basically need to have fw's on a fretless unless you want to go to a repair shop to fix your finger board. To buy strings for cheap, talk to a moderator called herm.

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