The Land of Low-Tension Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Epac, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Epac


    Jan 6, 2010
    Bronx, NY
    Hey Everybody!

    Wanted to inquire with my fellow bass buddies about great low-tension bass strings.

    The context: found a string that worked for me and my MIA Fender P-Bass about 2 and a half months ago: Sunbeams. Had tried a few flats, couldn't dig the sound, too stiff, not enough sustain...tried D'Addario XL, too "small-sounding", for lack of a better word, tried Half-Rounds, too much tension, not enough sustain...etc etc. Was working well with the Sunbeams until they died on me recently. Was in the studio recording some tunes with my band and the producer felt I wasn't getting enough "definition" in my attack.

    What I dig about the Sunbeams is that I get a great bounce on them...they are low-tension but they get what is to my ears a great attack and response. They've also got that nickel warmth, which I dig...was jamming on some La Bella stainless steel strings right before, couldn't quite ride with those...

    To keep this short, I'm thinking of trying out another set..will have a new set of Sunbeams on the side just in case, but thought I'd use this opportunity to try for something with more "definition" or "attack" so I don't necessarily have to play harder or dig in more on the technique side. I've got a set of Fat Beams on there in the meantime...feel good so far, but they are higher tension than the Sunbeams.

    Which brings me to this question: what are some great options for players who like "lower-tension" strings that still have great "definition", "attack", "clarity"...i like to bounce on the strings a bit, I'm somewhat of a percussive player, and so higher tension kills the vibe for me...

    Thank you for taking the time to read!
  2. Sunbeams rock

    I used to use Dunlop Nickels as well
  3. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    You might want to try High Beams or Fat Beams. They will be very similar in tension to the Sunbeams, but are stainless steel so they will have more snap and attack.

    You can even build your own custom gauged set there, and don't forget the TB user discount :)
  5. Epac


    Jan 6, 2010
    Bronx, NY
    Hmmm...tried Dunlops after a bro at GC recommended them, and HATED them! I think I had the stainless steel guys though...

    MM-Bongo I'm jamming on the Fat Beams right now...they feel okay. Higher tension though than the Sunbeams...granted they've been on for less than an hour total play-time, but yeah, stiffer, and to my ears, not as warm as the Sunbeams...I guess it's that Stainless Steel sound...can't really feel the juice inbetween my fingers like I feel with nickel-lated strings...
  6. Epac


    Jan 6, 2010
    Bronx, NY
    To give yall an idea of what type of tone/playing style I'm working on for this particular record, I got one track that has a Muse-ish 16-note riff going on with heavy distortion (just started using a Swollen Pickle, this baby is boss!)...
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Well...I didn't want to say anything but I don't like Dunlops either and find them to have nothing at all in common with Sunbeams :)

    ..and I also prefer nickel.

    The only strings I've found that feel close to Sunbeams is Circle K. They are very loose feeling.
  8. hihat


    Dec 30, 2011
    I have two basses. On one I use DR Sunbeams on the other I use Zon Ultrasonic Nickels. The Zons are about the same tension as the Sunbeams and have a lot of character and presence. Super fat low end and a nice high end as well. Great fundamentals. They last a long time too. Hard to find though, I usually get them right from the source.
  9. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    Sunbeams are great strings. I'm comfortable with Dunlops too as the tension is near the same ballpark but only as a backup since they don't last as long. Sound is also warm but not the same. I liked their SS best.

    Used Fat Beams for a little while but liked the Dunlop SS better and felt the sound was fuller but a little less character.
  10. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    I hate tension, but love flats.

    TI Jazz Flats
    D'Addario Half rounds-must be light gauge.
    Ken Smith - Slick Rounds-light gauge

    You may also want to consider Ken Smith Compressors
  11. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Circle K strings, despite being hex cores, are really flexible (comparable to DR, IMO). Highly recommended.
  12. flyman

    flyman Whoa!!

    Aug 2, 2005
    cincinnati, ohio
    Not trying to start trouble, but you may be the only person I know of that thinks Fat Beams are stiffer than Sunbeams. I've used both, and my experience is just the opposite. I was going to suggest DR LowRiders until I saw that. Maybe you should try finding a string that sounds good to you, but might be too stiff, and going one gauge lighter and see if that gets you what you want.
  13. +.106
  14. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Nothing more flexible than TI Jazz Rounds. Nothing even close. Everyone should try them at some point if they are looking for a low tension string.

    Lots of lows and rich mids.
  15. Peredur


    Jul 7, 2002
    Jazz rounds are the low tension bomb! Lush beyond.
  16. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    i currently am loving sunbeams too
    love the tension and not too zingy
  17. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I play GHS Bass Boomers for almost exactly the reasons you mentioned: I find the tension and feel to be nice and rubbery with some "give," but with no penalty to attack or clarity. I prefer their med-lights (45-100) for standard and Drop D tunings and their mediums (45-105) for lower tunings.
  18. Smokin' Toaster

    Smokin' Toaster Supporting Member

    I hate to ask a question that I probably ought to know, but what is the TB discount at bassstringsonline?
  19. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    +1000 on this. They are also Nickel which is what you want. They are great strings and getting a balanced tension set will make you go "tension? What tension?!?"