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What are the Slap Rockabilly Bass strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by bassfacer22, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. bassfacer22

    bassfacer22 Supporting Member

    What are the type of strings used for Rockabilly Bass?

    Can you use Nylon Strings for slap on upright?

  2. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    You can. I was using superior bassworks dirtyguts for a long time. It depends on what you want for tone because some people hate the tone of them.
  3. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    I use Innovation Silver Slaps for big fat slappy bluegrassy folky rockabilly old-timey goodness. They're my favorite strings (25 year player, 22 year old bass, strung maybe 2 years ago) so far. Can't recommend them enough for your needs.

    Big sound, low tension, big fat dark old-school sound way closer to gut. They're getting better with age, are soft on the hands, and have almost no string noise. This set really records well - deep with lots of thump, medium sustain, and a minimal amount of bite. They also project strongly in a live setting. I have a very acoustic setup and am able to push volume to keep up with a banjo, and a dobro, and a singer that has some serious chops. At the park the other weekend, we were drawing attention from 75-100 yards away.

    Keeping in mind that I have an old-school super high setup, there are drawbacks for sure. They're not at all appropriate for either jazz or classical. They require half a cake of rosin to bow, and they sound like farts while doing it. They're just plain awful in the solo octave. I mean, really unplayable above the high C on the G and in any thumb position on AE. The tension is so low that I've gotten my fingers tied up in the strings when playing after some drinks. Response is slow, and also take the longest time to bloom to the full tone of any strings that I've ever played, including guts. A minor technique adjustment is needed to get the best sound out of these, although it's intuitive as soon as you hear the magic that happens when you pull. :)

    I'm not a blazingly fast slapper or anything - in bluegrass and americana contexts, I only slap a little as sort of a counterpoint, but I can imagine that they'd be appropriate for faster styles too. Again, very low tension, super-duper fat, the antithesis of mwah. Charles Mingus would cry. The windings are clear nylon and the actual noise of them bouncing off the fingerboard is much more like a wrapped gut than a metal string, although maybe a little sharper and more click-y - it's not exactly the same.

    I saw that the same company makes a more beefy style, which might be better if you're really digging in. I've only heard recordings, so ymmv: Innovation Psychoslaps for psychobilly- (Psycho Slaps) Medium-Low Tension Strings at Gollihur Music - Double Bass, Upright Bass, String Bass Specialists

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