Sunbeams: 'best overall' round?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by IPA, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. IPA

    IPA Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    I have tried a lot of different rounds, admittedly not all of them (money/time etc) but so far, the best overall to my ears has been Sunbeams.

    They are not the bassiest, not the loosest, not the brightest, not the stiffest... they sit right in the middle. Comfortable on different basses, sound and feel that compliments many different styles. In the interest of predictable results and saving money, I think I'm content to just pick up a pack of Sunbeams whenever I need a new set of rounds.

    Any other members of the Cult of Sunbeam out there?
  2. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    I'm new to Sunbeams. My new Carvin B40's strings were gritty sounding, which is cool, but were a little hard on the fingers and lacked some depth on the lower strings. I hit the strings pretty hard and OUCH, my old wrist was acting up and my fingertips where taking a beating.

    With the Sunbeams I find myself not playing as hard, while also getting a bit more low end and a little less zing. This is good because I had to tame the zing and turn up the bass knob on the amp (more than I like). The Sunbeams feel a tiny bit looser but not in a bad way, especially since I'm not playing as hard. They are smoother and the harmonics ring clearer also, which I like because I play them on a few songs.

    Overall I say the Sunbeams are a somewhat the sophisticated gentlemen of strings. The more I play them the more I realize their understated quality.

  3. etherealme

    etherealme Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    I've liked every roundwound steel set if DR Strings that I've tried. Detune, Lo-riders and Sunbeams all are fantastic to my ears.
  4. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    It largely depends on the bass. On one of my basses, nothing sounds or feels as good as Sunbeams, and I don't use anything else.
    But on my other basses they don't sound as good so I use other strings.
  5. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    I agree with this. Different strings sound better on different basses.
  6. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    They're definitely my go-to round wound.
  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    If anything, this is probably the reason why I do not use Sunbeams. Rather than try to identify one make & model that will suffice for multiple, diverse applications, I prefer to use strings that are optimum for each individual application... :meh:

    If I didn't find DR nickel Lo-Riders to be sufficiently crunchy or edgy for playing rock (and I didn't), chances are I'd find Sunbeams even less so. That said, there are a couple of my instruments (Carvin Icon 5s) that I'm optimizing for a rather different application - ambient/electronic, Neo-Dub, drum & bass, etc. - that requires a very different frequency response: deep, dark, thick, phat & smooth.

    If I'm going to go for a radical tone departure like that, I'm going to all the way. That probably means a couple sets of flatwounds. Probably DR Legends flats. :meh:

    For a different kind player - probably a roots-style player using a vintage Precision or Jazz bass - I'm sure Sunbeams would be just the ticket... :meh:

  8. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps!

    Jul 8, 2009
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    I'm a member! DR Sunbeams are the only strings I use.
  9. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    If those things were hex core they would be the perfect string, but round core are just too spongy feeling to me
  10. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    The funny thing is (and I'm not criticizing, just throwing another perspective out there) I tend to go for a more modern tone, at least on my main player, and I still prefer the Sunbeams on it. They have wonderful warm lows, their own distinctive character, and for me, sufficient top end for slap.*

    That said, I agree with your premise of choosing a string for a specific bass and specific application. I use the Sunbeams on my main axe, a Carvin LB76W. Out of six other basses, I only have them on one other bass, a Ric 4003. This was a mistake. They sound good, but I haven't touched that bass much since I changed the strings. I had Roto 77 flats on it previously, and I really miss the classic McCartney-esque tone I was getting. So I'll prolly (sorry, probably :D) go back to the Rotos. I just wish I hadn't thrown them away; they were nicely broken in. :meh:

    Once I go back to Rotos (or perhaps try some other flat) on the Ric, I will have different strings on each of my basses (the curious are referred to my profile). Not out of some desire to have different strings on everything, but just as part of an evolutionary process wherein each instrument I own eventually gets paired with the strings that suit it (and what I use it for) best.

    *Anyone wanting to hear how Sunbeams sound when slapped can check out the song "Caliente" on my band's demo:
  11. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    This is another example of how, for me, it depends on the bass. I love the loosey-goosey feel of the Sunbeams on my LB76W. In the case of Rotos on my Ric, for a while I was actually hoping to find a brand that were even stiffer :eek: :D
  12. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I hear ya... :meh:

    I can only say that everyone has his own ideal "sound in his head"; everyone hears things differently.

    My LB75 wears medium-gauge stainless steel Lo-Riders.
    My SB5000 wears medium-gauge Hi-Beams.
    My Bromberg fretted 5 wears light-gauge stainless steel Lo-Riders.
    My Bromberg fretless 5 wears light-gauge Fat Beams.
    My Icon fretted 5 wears medium-gauge stainless steel Lo-Riders.
    My Icon fretless 5 wears medium-gauge Fat Beams...

    ...although the Icons will soon each be getting a set of medium-gauge Legend flatwounds.

    If I find that I just can't live with the flats (i.e. they're just too thumpy; not toneful enough; etc.) then who knows? I might eventually circle back around to Sunbeams for them after all. [DEL]Prolly.[/DEL] Probably... :smug:

  13. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    Sunbeams are absolutely the best overall roundwound. There ar e others with special characteristics, but for a good sounding, good feeling round, this is it.
  14. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    Sunbeams are the worst round in my book.
  15. IPA

    IPA Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    Interesting take, I play a good deal of metal and Sunbeams can grind well without losing body. At least on my Jazz.

    If I had room in the house and in the budg for more than one bass (will eventually) I would love to have one with thumpy soft rounds, one with rotos or something else really trebly, and one with TI flats.
  16. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    They were main string until I realized that I am a Hi Beam guy. Now Sun Beams are my "nickel round" string of choice.
  17. markanini


    Jun 25, 2008
    Try Fodera diamond
  18. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Ha! Yes indeed Fodera's go on my Spector.... Love those too.
  19. I played various varieties of rounds, including Sunbeams, HiBeams, LoRiders and strings from other brands. But once I played a set of balanced strings (Circle-K's), everything else just pales in comparison and those are the only roundwound I have used for a couple of years now.

    I play 3 different brands of flats, but only 1 brand/set of rounds.
  20. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    I'd been an XL170 guy for years, until I bought an old Corvette recently, that came strung with Sunbeams. Love the feel. Now I have them on my Sterlings and the feel and tone are what I want. Next up is the Sonus. I love the round-core flexibility and the string-to-string balance is very nice.

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