Types of RotoSounds

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by borgward, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    I have used RotoSounds for decades. Tried others, did not like. Won't try new others unless they are given to me. I' m not saying they are the best. They are what I desire. Some guys like red heads others like Blonds.

    I have always had a hard time getting extra long scale. Last year could not find any anywhere in Austin TX. Ordered from eBay or Amazon. I got RN 66LD Long Scale Standard Scale 45 65 80 105. I was used to always seeing red thread on the ends of the strings. This set had no threads on it at all. Could never get the D string to intonate correctly. No problem w/the last Roto's. The new ones sounded good. Since I bought them online I began wondering if maybe the Chinese were counterfeiting them. (Hey NASA found Chinese counterfeits in the space program) I noticed lately that my fingers are getting black from playing them. RotoSound said stainless steel will do that. RN means nickel. Either they were SS, or the nickel wore off - never had that happen before.

    Supposedly Guitar Center has the RN 66LD in stock in their Austin Store. RotoSound said they have an exclusive arraignment with Guitar Center and will not distribute to any other stores. Sounds like restraint of trade to me. Good luck getting that addressed in either a Trump or Hillary world.

    RotoSound has a large variety of Bass Strings now. I wonder what type John Entwhistle used back in the day.
  2. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    The RN 66LD indeed do not have colored silks. I have no means of vouching for or against the authenticity of the particular set that you tried, but that point is correct.

    Entwistle used the 66 stainless steel set. I thought I read somewhere that they changed the string diameters since the 1960s, not sure, but I believe the RS66LD set is presented as the standard set based on the Entwistle / Rotosound collaboration. My local Guitar Center sells that set, and I would imagine most of them would carry it.
    Michael4bass likes this.
  3. rob_thebassman


    Jul 26, 2010
    Normanton, UK
    playing bass since 2005
    John Entwistle used swing 66 steels
  4. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    So, what's the difference between the SS and the nickel wound ones. I remember that for years I was getting ones with red thread on them. RotoSound said they changed the way they colored strings with thread, adding blue on some and none on others about 5 years ago. What kind of string would have had red thread on it before the revision 5 years ago? (I probably got some red threads that had set around for a while and were made before that revision)

    PS I used to use Laquer thinner to clean the strings on my Ripper. I would take a towel and thread it between the strings and the fret board for protection. CAUTION - Laquer thinner has Benzine in it and is carcinogenic. Probably not an issue if you don't use it often.

    HMM... Just wondering - Most SS is supposed to be non magnetic. That would not work on guitar or Bass strings. Wonder what SS they are using
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  5. Michael4bass


    Aug 20, 2011
    Florence, MS
    Yes, they did. Up to 1980, the original Rotos were .046, .063. .080, and .102. There was a bit of flap about the change among many players, but we all got over it.

    Entwistle spent a day at the factory trying out different string gauges until he was satisfied, and the rest is history.

    Bassically, Michael
    trothwell likes this.
  6. Stan_da_man


    Aug 29, 2006
    Roto steels have red silks.
    Roto nickels have blue silks.
    Roto RBs have no silk.

    At least here in the UK...
    BrentSimons likes this.
  7. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    Thanks! Even if players ultimately didn't / don't care, it seems surprising that they would change the gauges, especially as they continue to retell the story of Entwistle working with them to perfect the set as part of their current marketing.
    Michael4bass likes this.
  8. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    Nickel is generally not as bright / zingy as SS. Re magnetics: The core is magnetic. The wraps (SS, nickel, or tape wounds) don't matter to the pickup. Only to your fingers and ears.
  9. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Not true: stainless steel (the alloy they use on strings) both naked and under nylon tape, nickel-plated steel, AFAIK even pure nickel (which is lower-output though), Monel (also on the quiet side) and certainly Alloy 52 are all magnetically active, and contribute to the string being sensed by the magnetic pickups alongside the core.. Bronze [EDIT: and copper], on the other hand, isn't aren't. (And of course neither are nylon and whatever ukulele bass strings are made out of.)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  10. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    Some SS is magnetic. Most SS is not.
  11. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    +1. It came out not so clearly, but I tried to acknowledge the fact above: I meant that, out of many SS alloys, most of which aren't magnetic, the type they use on electric guitar and bass strings is.
  12. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    Terminology. What is Ball End and Tail End. Which end is at the tuner on a conventional Bass, say like a Fender Bass?
  13. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    OK Ball end is end with the wire wrapped around the brass fitting, Ball. Tail is the other end that wraps around the tuner (most Basses) A little confusion as the tail of the Bass or guitar is the end of the body opposite of the head stock.

    I got a new set of RN66LD at Guitar Center. They only had RN's. I wanted RS's but they don't carry in store. Jeeze, Austin is supposed to be the center of the live music universe! Will order RS later.

    New strings after a year made a dramatic difference. I made a recording of playing the strings open for future reference.

    The new strings came in a plastic envelope. To add to confusion, the ball ends are as follows:

    No Silk on any.

    E - red
    A - white
    D - blue
    G - red
  14. rob_thebassman


    Jul 26, 2010
    Normanton, UK
    playing bass since 2005
    For anyone whose not heard the nickel swing 66, here's a recording of it, it's on the the second part
    D'addario nyxl vs swing 66 nickel
    BrentSimons, GreyMark and trothwell like this.
  15. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    The D'addario nyxl sounds a little brighter to me. Wonder what the comparison to the RE66LD would sound like. It would be interesting to hear the recording with one string on the right channel and the other on the left.
    shoulderpet likes this.
  16. CTRick


    Aug 1, 2015
    They screwed something up. Whenever I got my Rotosounds in the past (probably over 10+ yrs) I used to use the RS66LD strings where I would actually get black "iron/steel" residue on my fingers after breaking them in. Those strings sounded AWESOME and wicked growly, used to chew up the frets (obviously it would take a while). Now, they just seem to sound like all the others - like GHS boomers. Very much a bummer.
  17. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    Yeah I made do those GHS boomers when I could not get RotoSounds. Not the sound I wanted. Have you found anything that sounds like roto's used to sound like? I really like that growly sound.
  18. operagost


    Dec 13, 2017
    We still have a modicum of free association allowed by the governments in the USA. Don't further erode it by suggesting that companies should be forced to sell any product to anyone for any reason. How would you like it if you wanted to sell your product through Joe Blow, Inc., and the government said you had to sell it through Bill Bob, Inc. too, even though you hated Billy Bob?

    TL;DR choosing who will distribute your product at retail is not "restraint of trade".
  19. borgward


    Sep 28, 2006
    A small price to pay to hold back the corporatization of everything. Corporate Entities like guitar center are the reason there are very few local music stores. How would you like it if you were Bill Bob and Guitar center told companies don't sell to Bill Bob and you were loosing customers because they could not buy what they want at your store. I do not think Libertarian theory works in the real world.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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