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What kind of Strings did Jaco use on his Jazz Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DAcat, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. DAcat

    DAcat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    I know this has probably been covered before,but I was curious if anyone could tell me what kinds of strings Jaco used on his Jazz Bass at different times. I especially loved the tone he developed on the "Shadows and Light" DVD with Joni Mitchell and Pat Metheny. Obviously his tone has more to do than the strings he's using... but this is just one of those things a cat's mind wonders about :D as he plays his Fretless Jazz Bass...Peace...DAcat :cool:
  2. There's a 'Strings' section of this online forum that deals specificly with this kind of stuff. 'Basses' isn't the correct place to ask this. I'm not trying to be a Forum Nazi, I'm just warning you as its frustrating for the Mods to have to move these posts over and over again.

    But Jaco used Rotosound Swing Bass 66 strings, gauges 45-105 exclusivly throughout his career. Even on the fretless basses, which is different considering most stay clear of rounds on fretless because of how quickly they distroy the neck.
  3. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Except I recall he coated his fingerboard with superglue or epoxy or something, so he didn't have that concern.
  4. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The epoxy protected his bass' neck. I think Jaco used Rotosound strings.
  5. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I beleive he also covered his RH fingers in grease of some kind. I don't know if that contributed to his tone, but it apperently helped him pluck faster.
  6. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    Kentucky Fried Chicken grease is what I have heard! mmmmm deep fried goodness!
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That chicken grease thing sounds like an urban myth he spread himself trying to be funny.
  8. besides his strings and jazz bass the secret to jaco's tone is the bridge pickup .
  9. The Epoxy did help, but in every interview that he talks about it, he specificly states that he never practiced with a fretless, only fretted, because even with the Epoxy, the Rotosounds ate the fretless neck up.

    And I'd never heard the Chicken Grease thing before, but I doubt very seriously that would affect his tone much. But it would kill the strings pretty quick, having grease seeping into the string every time he played.
  10. That factoid popped up in a Fender catalog a few years ago. Supposedly, he did some voodoo crapola like carrying chicken bones around in his bass case, but they weren't for magic, they were snack food.:rollno:
    I dunno how much time you've spent playing a fretless with an unfinished fingerboard, but the strings don't 'eat up' the board that quickly, even if you don't bother to wipe the strings down after playing. Methinks that tale is just another case of Jaco's adjustable reality.:bag:
  11. I haven't owned one yet, but I've spent time with a friends, and I've seen the wear that rounds cause. Its not so horrible that you have to stop using the bass, or even the strings nessicarily, but it does gnaw into the board after several months of using steel rounds exclusivly.

    But yeah, in his mind, things were probably exagerated often:rolleyes:
  12. UBU


    Nov 15, 2006
    Yeah, He used Rotos. With the rotos and the amount of time he put in...can you imagine how tough his fingertips must've been?! yeesh - those things are like buzzsaws
  13. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    That`s funny.
    I`ve heard that story before. I decided to try something similar for the first time during my last gig. I wanted to try if the "greasy fingers theory" made any sense, and it did.

    My fingers obviously plucked much smoother, although the body ended up much dirtier and the strings lost some bright.
  14. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I used roundwounds strings on an uncoated rosewood board for years and, while there were marks from the strings even in the beginning they were never deep enough to need to have the board sanded down. I don't think it is as bad a problem as a lot of people think. It isn't enough to worry about if that is the tone you want, just use them and have the board done every couple of years if necessary. It has never been necessary for me.
  15. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I'll qualify this by saying it depends on how you have the bass set up and how you play it, but IMHO, most fretless players have the action way down (one reason is to maximize "mwah") and generally use a lighter touch, so just as said above, marks will show up right away, but it may take years to affect playability... if at all ever.

    HOWEVER, I also know (back on topic) that Jaco had extremely strong hands from one of the busiest playing schedules ever (at least earlier on in his prime), so it's also possible that he beat that bass up enough that, without the epoxy, it woulda' chewed up the fingerboard enough to affect playability at some point.

    IMHO, though, I still stand by my original opinion that, with the epoxy on there, even Jaco really had nothing to worry about. I know folks disagree, but I used to play a lot of fretless electric back in the 80's with unfinished rosewood boards on Fenders, Ibanez, and others, both originally fretless as well as defretted, and while the marks were there, I never ever had a playability issue due to string wear.

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