Unhappy with Dunlop SB Steels - Alternatives anyone?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jcerio, Jun 15, 2017.

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  1. jcerio

    jcerio

    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    I've generally used Dunlop SB Nickels on MTD Z5. But they seem to lack just a bit of that "zing" that I like for an active soapbar bass. I've upgraded it with USA Bart P25CBC (Classic Bass) pups and an HR-5.2/918 preamp. I tried Dunlop SB steels but all they seemed to have was the "zing", but kinda clanky sounding, and really scooped out mids. I though they were bottom-shy compared to the nickels too. I guess the only thing I like about them was flexibility. That is actually one of my requirements - flexibility. I want a full spectrum sound, too. Crisp but not clanky highs, full lows and detailed mids. If I want a mid scoop, I'll use the EQ to get it.

    Any suggestions about what else to try? I always liked LaBella Hard Rockin' Steels and I think DR Hi-Beams are ok. How about the LaBella RX Steel? GHS Round Core Boomers? DR Pure Blues? Any others I've missed?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
    jwilson67 and songwriter21 like this.
  2. Yes to the Round Core Boomers.
     
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Everything mentioned so far (especially the Boomers) is going to be much stiffer/less flexible than the SuperBrights, so you may want to go down a gauge to keep things even.
     
  4. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Hard Rockin' Steels (now LaBella Stainless...not the RX series) are awesome and VERY underrated. DR Pure Blues were a very pleasant surprise for me, as they sounded really balanced and lively right out of the pack, and were even more flexible than the LaBellas. They were only missing some hi-mids, but lasted a long time, for a non-coated string. I'd give them a try, and if they're not aggressive enough, then go back to the HRS.

    I haven't heard good things about the LaBella RX strings...supposedly really weak compared to the regular stainless (formerly HRS).
     
  5. You can try Marcus Miller's Dunlop Super Brights. They will give you more of the oomph you are looking for.
     
  6. jcerio

    jcerio

    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    I ordered a set of Round Core Boomers to try first. I'm also going to try the LaBella steels, the Marcus Miller SB, and possibly the Pure Blues down the road. Let's see how it goes.
     
  7. I'd be very much interested in your assessment on them. So, please do report back how they work out for you.

    I have a custom set of the regular hex-core Boomers (45-60-80-105) to try on my P first, then the RC Boomers are next on my list.
     
  8. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    I'm a SB convert and I'm real particular about my steel rounds. I suggest playing with your EQ, etc. to dial them in. Far and above, the best steel rounds I've ever tried and I've tried a LOT! :)
     
  9. lbbc

    lbbc

    Sep 25, 2007
    Seaford , DE
    I use SIT Power Wounds....great strings. I use them on 2 of my basses.
     
    songwriter21 likes this.
  10. jcerio

    jcerio

    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    How flexible are these? I've never tried them.
     
  11. lbbc

    lbbc

    Sep 25, 2007
    Seaford , DE
    Great feel/response. What do you mean by flexible?
     
  12. Maybe you should try a set of light gauge D'Addario Chromes. They are very comfortable to play and give a nice bright clean sound. They might just be what you are looking for. :cool:
     
    TjMetalhead likes this.
  13. jcerio

    jcerio

    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    While not technically correct, many people refer to flexible strings as having lower tension. For example DR Hi-Beams are said to be more flexible that DR Steel Low Riders because of the round core of the Hi-Beam.
     
  14. TjMetalhead

    TjMetalhead

    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    This! I've used D'addarios for 5 years and I love them. OP are you looking for rounds or flats?
     
  15. NotTylerHendley

    NotTylerHendley

    Nov 21, 2011
    I've used D'Addario ProSteels for the past 7 years and I've never felt the need to try anything else. I've tried others before and to me these have the best combination of both feel and sound. Most other brands I've tried seemed to lack one or the other.

    I also have a set of FlexSteels that I really love as well. They are a good bit lower tension than the original PS, so they feel even better to me
     
  16. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    Sounds like you are describing Ernie Ball Cobalts to a tee for what you are looking for. Definitely give them a try.
     
  17. jcerio

    jcerio

    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Cool. Looking for roundwounds.
     
  18. TjMetalhead

    TjMetalhead

    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    You could try D'Addario nickels which is what I use on my jazz bass (and the tone is perfect with those)or the Ernie ball colbalts like jwilson67 suggested. Personally, I would go with D'Addarios.
     
    jwilson67 likes this.
  19. jwilson67

    jwilson67

    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    One of the things the OP said he wanted also is flexibility. Having played both the XL's and Cobalts the latter are going to give a bit more flexibility IMO and they are very responsive to touch.

    Can't beat the D'Addarios as an industry standard though and they'll give nice clean top and balanced sound.
     
  20. smtp4me

    smtp4me

    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    I tried a set of Pro Steels a couple years ago. Generally, I liked their feel and tone except for one thing - they were actually a little too bright for me - the word I kept using to describe them was "brittle". But if they work for you, then great.
     
    trothwell likes this.