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What brand tapes for a p bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by sigmafloyd, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011
    Never tried tapes before. What's a goof place to start on an Am STD P bass?
  2. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Any of the biggies, really. Rotosound, Labella, D'Addario, Pyramid, GHS all make nice tapewounds.

    The only tapes I'm not a fan of are the Fender 9120s; they're rough to the touch and too aggressive sounding for my taste.

    Be aware though, that if you go with Roto, Labella, or Pyramid - you may have to widen your nut slots as they're girthy strings - especially the E & A.
  3. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011
    Thanks for the widening the nut tip
  4. One thing to look out for is that many tape wounds are wound over round wound strings (i.e. the Fenders). This lends for a very different sound and feel. I have used the Fender tape wounds and they actually sound kinda cool for slap. Unfortunately, that wasn't what I was looking for at all. I believe that GHS and D'Addario tapes are also round wound. Labella's and the Rotosound Tru Bass have been my favorites. My only issue with the Tru's is that they are huge strings so you almost definitely will have to widen your nut slots. One last warning about tape wound strings; they can cause grounding issues. Meaning that because there is no metal contact at the bridge and because your fingers don't actually touch the metal, the bass becomes essentially un-grounded. So you may experience some hum that wasn't there before.
  5. I enjoyed D'Addario Tapes on my Squier P. Standard gauge, so no need to widen slots or anything.
  6. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011
    Very helpful, thanks guys
  7. Sparkdog


    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    I' ve tried most of the brands mentioned here, my thoughts:

    The GHS and DAD tapes are similar, sound a bit like old roundwounds to me. Both were rather uneven string- to- string, with the G string being much brighter than the others. They will fit standard nut slots so they are a good introduction to tapes, but unremarkable to me.

    Fender tapes are rather odd feeling ( rough) and don' t really have the tape sound.

    La Bella's are OK, but the G string doesn't balance well with the others, after slathering mine with mayo and barbecue sauce it sort of evened out (smelled funny though :). These strings are surprisingly bright and zingy and you will have to widen the nut slots to fit.

    Roto Tru Bass are THE tapes if you want fat, dark, upright style tone. I have these on a Fender Am Std Jazz and they are simply magical. They are super smooth to the touch, and tension is on the light side, but not at all floppy. Perfect for roots music, jazz, or the McCartney sound of early Beatles. They are huge, so you definitely have to file out the nut to fit.

    Hope this helps.
  8. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011
    This is kind of a noob question, but what do you do when going back to other strings after filing the nut?
  9. Sparkdog


    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    In many cases...nothing. You will have some space around smaller gauge strings of course, and I thought that might cause a problem with rattling and vibration, but it hasn't been an issue for me.
  10. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    A few things:

    Get a new nut.

    It might not be a problem.

    If there is rattling in the nut, a little piece of paper or a drop of super glue might fix it in seconds.

    If you're worried about the possible nut issue, get GHS or D'Addario tapes--they are in round like gauges.

    I also think all tapes have rounds under the plastic.
  11. billgwx


    Apr 10, 2009
    Centereach NY
    Am using D'Addario Nylon Tapewounds on my 1998 Am Std P. That bass has a bridge that only allows stringing through the body, so it was a close fit, and even then I had to take off some of the silk wrapping on the E and A strings.

    BTW they sound great...just played 'em in church this morning in fact...nice compromise between flats and rounds, and of course the P just sounds HUGE compared to my J-bass. The poor J has been sitting home lately waiting to get called up to do some slap or Jaco-ish tone via its bridge pup...song selection today called for more of a P sound.

  12. I'd like to add to this; On a crafter fretless acoustic I've used Roto tapes, fender and D'addario tapes. The D'addarios have the smoothest feel, greatest sustain, nice string balance and good tension with that upright thud when muted. The Rotos are good, but lack sustain (I realise not everyone wants sustain, but in terms of tonal variety on fretless, I consider it a plus)
    I'm yet to try La Bella tapes, but I have tried their acoustic bronze strings and they were surprisingly smooth, phat and would recommend them for piezo basses. As for the fenders, they have a ridged feel, which is unusual for tape and the tone was pretty average, not bad but there are better tape strings out there IMO.
  13. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    I'm using some D'addario Tapes right now on my P and they are the bee's knees! they sound like well broken in rounds without the finger noise, but with the punch and woody sound of flats mixed in like a nice smoothie. FWIW, I did not go through the body, just top loaded. I can see there isn't enough string to do through body without a longer scale or cutting off silk on them. I do not hear the G sounding weak or brighter; but I put the pickups significantly closer to the G than any other string (2mm vs 2.77mm). YMMV if you don't setup like that.
  14. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    I thought I'd chime back in. I needed my EQ less and my tone was pure bliss last night. I think I'm a tapewound convert. Fattest G string I've ever taken command of, I don't know where the bright G string comments come from.
  15. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011

    Good to hear. I think Im going to pull the trigger on them as well. I'm alternating between flats and rounds almost daily and am hoping that the tapes might be a good compromise. I like the clarity of rounds but also that woody tone of flats. What I don't like is the fret noise of rounds and the clakiness of some flats.

    Thanks for the info
  16. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    Your gonna love these tapes then. :ninja: You just about nailed what I would say about them. No clank, no fret noise, roundwound-like top end with a woody and thumpy low end. Lots of sustain. They are also SO easy to play. The tension is more balanced string to string than any set I've tried, matching the balance of TI Jazz flats. They are about the same tension too, but unlike a lot of low tension strings I've tried they don't seem to want to buzz out on the frets (which eats sustain) when I play hard and/or bend notes. I can't say enough good things about them.
  17. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011
    Nice. How do they sound when you dig in? I love TIs when I'm being careful but I have a slightly heavier attack.
  18. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    I couldn't do TI's I have too hard a touch, but I consider myself on the lighter side of Flea when I dig in. They sound different when you dig in; that's about all I can say. They don't loose lows and convert to snarl, they just give you more volume and seem to throw out almost the same tone with some more snap. I would say if you need that kind of sound, throw on some distortion that breaks up when you dig in. That's what I'm attempting with a VT-Bass right now.

    Unlike TI's though, they do not seem to bottom out on the frets when they get moving a bunch. Thinking back perhaps my setup was less than optimal for my one week TI trial. I'd really love to try them again just to see if my tastes have changed with my increased skill level.
  19. As Joel says, I think you'll love tapes.
    I've got D'addario, GHS & Labella tapes on a RW-P, '74 Telecaster Bass & Gibson G3 respectively.
    GHS & D'addario are,I think, the same string with diffrrent coloured silk wrap, Labellas are stiffer & a li'l more old school sounding. More thump, less bite, but still plenty able to do a sweet slap if needed.
    I think I like Labella best.
    Altho GHS will fit 34" string-thru body. I don't think others will, oh, hang on, the Labellas are on a string-thru (G3) but this bass has the 2x2 headstock.
    ... hmmm, dunno.
  20. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    Here are the LaBellas on a string-thru Jazz.


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