Think I want Circle K Strings (opinions?)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by oniman7, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. I've been looking at changing my strings. I currently use EB power slinkies or D'Addario XLs. Now that I know I can clean my strings to a relatively decent degree and make them last longer, I want to get a couple sets of nicer bass strings.

    I've done a lot of searching and I think I've decided on Circle K.

    Things I'm looking for: Modern, tight, harmonically rich tone. Also well balanced. I'm tired of finally getting my B,E,and A strings sounding decent just to have my D and G strings sound like ice picks. Or when I get my D and G strings sounding nice and sweet, the lower strings sound dull, especially when I tune the E down to a D.

    Mildly larger than what I've been using (.45 to .135 I think). I am OK with tension a little higher. Not necessarily sold on balanced tension string sets, I'm good with them they way they are now. I do, however, want strings that will maintain good tension if I tune the E down to D or the B down to A.

    I'm having a hard time making heads and tails of the tension guide chart. Maybe I'm just thick? Anyways, I'm playing on an Ernie Ball Stingray 5 string. 34" inch scale. Can somebody help me? Can any Circle K owners confirm if I will be satisfied? It is a little bit more than I would typically expect to spend.

    In my own band, I play metal somewhere between System of a Down, Avenged Sevenfold, and Coheed and Cambria.

    On my own personal time, I would expect to want to play something like this (, where having good clarity on the down tuned B string is very important. I'll be pairing them with my Stingray, Sansamp, Gallien Krueger, and hopefully Darkglass B3K or B7K
  2. The only drawback to Circle K strings is that once you try them you won't want to go back.
    And you want balanced you just don't know it yet.;)
  3. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Circle K strings are great, just get one of their balanced sets. It's silly to do Circle K and not have them be balanced. Can't hurt to just try them out and see how you like them. They are very bendable strings, don't know if that's a plus or a minus for you.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Balanced tension is the way to go. DR's are the only packaged 'non-balanced' sets I can play due to the round core. Other than that, I have to have a balanced set. It literally revolutionized my playing.
  5. The only reason I'm not sold on balanced tension is I go from BEADG to ADADG (or AEADG or BDADG) and I'm not sure if they'll hold the balanced tension well.

    Also, I'm looking for something a little heavier for my bottom string. It seems that balanced tension set is .37 to .142. I have never used a G string so light. Is that normal?
  6. SneakyT

    SneakyT Commercial User

    Dec 5, 2005
    I am using Circle K on my Bass VI and my guitars. They still have not edged out Sunbeams for me on my 4 strings yet though. They are real Damn close though.
  7. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I'm not sure you're looking at the right set - maybe 6 string? I've got the balanced .136 set and the G is .041.

    As far as downtuning goes, you could find a gauge that's balanced at B flat and E flat for the lowest strings - that way you're not too far out whether you're in standard or dropped tuning.

    From the downloadable tension chart, the standard balanced set based on a .142 would have a tension per string somewhere around 42-43lbs. Dropping the .142 to A would give you 33.9 and dropping the .106 to D would be 32. If you went with the next gauge up for those two strings you'd be on .112 and .150 and they'd be pretty much balanced at B flat and E flat, so a bit stiffer than your ADG in standard and a bit looser when dropped.
  8. markanini


    Jun 25, 2008
    I don't see how there's any less concern in a traditional set.
  9. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses

    If you're using a .135 to drop to A now, then a .142 shouldn't concern you.

    What you can do is come up with a set that is balanced for Bb,Eb,A,D,G tuning. Then the bottom two strings will be a little tight when played B,E,A,D,G, and a little looser when tuned A,D,A,D,G.

    A custom set of .150, .112, .079, .059, .043 would do that for you.
  10. I was not against the balanced sets, I just didn't know if I would benefit from them.

    Thanks for recommendations! I will try the custom set listed above. Can't wait!
  11. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Riff-finder General Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2005
    Springfield, MA
    Count me among those who highly recommend the balanced tension sets. The only reason I'm not using Circle K strings right now is because I can custom order balanced tension sets of D'Addario Chromes; if Circle K started making flatwounds I would probably switch back over.
  12. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Did you try to 'mix'login your strings-
    using the lower strings you like with the higher strings you prefer.
  13. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    ^ This, and this is also the advice CKS give out for switching between tunings.
  14. captdusty


    Jul 23, 2013
    Baltimore, MD
    This may be a dopey question, but is all this concern over balancing tensions all about the feel for the player? Personally, my bigger concern is consistency of tone and volume output from string to string. A cursory glance at many balanced sets suggest to me that they would lose more low end switching from, say, the E to the A than would "traditional" gauges.

    Somebody set me straight, if I'm way off on this. (Lookin' at you, Skip.)
  15. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    This is my opinion and my opinion alone.

    Balanced tension doesn't really work for me. I wanted it to but whenever I used balanced tension sets I just did not car for how my instrument felt or the tone. I recently put a traditional pack back on a bass because its all that I had here and the bass felt and played better to me. The sound wasn't as tinny as well. Seems like there is less high mid clack.
    neptune likes this.
  16. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Actually, that's one of the things that balanced tension sets fixed. Most traditional sets are annoyingly unbalanced in sound because of the varying tensions. This also causes you to play each string differently, so now your sound, feel AND playing is all screwed up. Balanced sets fix that. DR's round core strings are the only 'traditional' gauged sets that don't feel unbalanced TO ME so they don't really have those problems. My opinion, of course. It works for me :)

    My strings may not even be balanced as close as some other sets. What I did was bought a bunch of singles and kept swapping them out until the sound was balanced from all strings.
  17. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    mmbongo touches - well - on the things to consider. And subjectivity will always be an element.

    This said, if there is little difference in gauges the best benefit is equal output and consistent technique from string to string. By little difference I mean most guitar sets and 4 string bass sets - there is a high degree of consistency in the construction of the strings here.

    The more extraordinary the tuning the more radical/non-conventional one should consider. Bass VIs that bridge bass and guitar and 5 string basses both immediately benefit from balanced tension at least in keeping the bottom strings from booming out - larger gauges with more excursion and higher mass are a technical disaster, and a bit of time in a studio bares this out.

    The treble side on both guitar and bass is less critical and far less affected by such things and becomes utterly a matter of taste and choice regarding feel and tone. A looser string will have more girth - a tighter string more articulation. Tailorable and tolerable if even unbalanced.

    Going below B is something few do, but in some cases even balanced tension isn't going far enough. Very large strings have an awful lot of mass and it is easy for extremely low strings to overpower the treble side. Inverse tension is something I have been seeing on 7, 8 and 9 string guitars, and the notion is starting to catch on with low-tuned bassists. This is where there is more tension on bottom than on top. As balanced tension is a controversial sell, I keep inverse tension discussions between me and only the most open-minded.

    I would love to be able to tell you there is a definitive answer. I can with certainty tell you there are viable options - each with their benefits.
  18. captdusty


    Jul 23, 2013
    Baltimore, MD
    Well, thanks for the elucidation. While I'm confident I finally have my VI all squared away with a custom set acquired elsewhere, something tells me one of my 4-strings will soon be auditioning some Circle K's.
  19. So, I'm about to order a set finally. I'm just going to go with the .142 balanced set. I don't like the idea of having higher tension in standard tuning and I am used to playing with lower tension when down tuned so I think I'll try that out. I'll also have to order some Bassbrites.

    Soundclips will be a requisite also when I get them.
  20. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    I ordered mine a month or so ago and put them on my warwick thumb today. I love them! I was using boomers on that bass....and it was all boom and no mids. these make it nice and even all across the board.....and they feel great....a touch loose tension but when I played tonight it felt like one of those nights when you are playing a touch over your skill level...I just hope they sound this good for a while! the slap sound is great and the finger sound is great! usually every string I try has its ups and downs...fingers good slaps terrible lots of lows no mids too much mids no lows. these are pretty nice all around...I am off to order a back up set!