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Upright Strings on Electric

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Unspoken511, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. Unspoken511


    Jan 22, 2012
    Is it possible to put Upright bass strings onto an electric, even if it meant cutting them to size? What About Contra bass, or piano strings?
  2. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    I'd imagine it is possible, but I wouldn't. Generally double bass strings don't fare well from being cut. If that's the vibe gou want, get some flats.

    If you are after the guts tone... good luck. Those wouldn't work with magnetic pickups anyway.
  3. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    You might be able to but they're typically WAY more expensive than proper flatwounds.
  4. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    guts and/or nylons would require piezos; wounds would unravel...??? the gauges would not match well either, i assume. not sure about contra bass or piano strings. i expect there would be multiple obstacles to overcome simply to mount the strings and attempt to tune the instrument.

    curious as to why...do ya want to play your bass guitar arco? http://thinkns.com/instruments/omnibass.php
  5. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    I have a DB, and I also have a PBass with flatwounds. Same thing really. Obviously one sounds like a PBass and the other sounds like a DB but the strings feel the same. GHS Flatwounds:$20-25. D'Addario Helicores: $150
  6. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    Would the tension would be out of whack due to the difference in scale length?
  7. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Why do you want to do this?
  8. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    Most URB strings will have a gut/rope core (or in the case of Thomastik Spirocores, a stranded metal core of three wires with a cloth-like wrap around that) that will probably be a round core, and then subsequent wraps. They will have smaller wraps, by and large and can be a larger finished gauge; when I mic'd my Spiros at work, they went .044, .068, .85, .115, .148.

    Similar? Sure, in that they are both strings that are made from winding wire over a core. The same thing? No. URB strings require different, larger machines and are more costly to make, hence that price difference.

    To the OP, I don't see how you could fit a set of URB strings on an electric. The ball ends are much larger and the ball-end silk would easily sit over the bridge pickup. Even if you got that to work and cut them to size, as soon as you got past the A string, you wouldn't be able to fit the strings in the tuning peg; the Gotoh style tuners have a max opening of .085, with Fender tuners going to about .115.

    AFAIK, there is a set of NS Design strings made for the Omni Bass (their 34" scale EUB) that they say will work on an electric bass, and are a rope/stranded core. That would probably be your best option in terms of finding something like that.
  9. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    For fun, when I decided to change out my T-I Bel Canto G string on my double bass for something else, I tried it on electric, because being @ a .050 diameter, it would be easy to cut and easy to deal with. Disaster. With the long silk at the ball end, I had to cut it off and re-thread the ball so I would have speaking length over both the bridge saddle and the nut slot. Then, because of the internal damping material for arco, it had no sustain. And because it didn't have a solid core, it didn't have good tone. But it was a good experiment.

    More than that, a good set of double bass strings from, say, T-I or Pirastro, cost @$200 and up. You can find good sets used on the DB side of the forum, but they are still more expensive than electric. Good electric bass strings cost $20 to $100, depending on manufacturer and type and gauge of string.

    It's not 1951 anymore. Go with the current technology for electric bass strings.