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Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by SFX83, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. SFX83


    Mar 2, 2011
    What's the best strings for fretless bass?
    I'm using Status hot wires at the minute, they are half wounds
    45's they are good but seem to lack Mmwaah and are not very good when trying to slide harmonics.
    I've read somewhere that some nickel round wounds are ok to use for fretless, without damaging the finger board?

    also, does anyone know what stings Pino Palladino used on. his Musicman to get his sound?

  2. Pino uses TI Flats.
  3. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Not sure Pino uses TI on his StingRay. He used to use very light Rotosound stainless rounds on that bass. All his classic fretless work (Paul Young, Henley, Gilmour, et. el.) was the rounds.

    gebass6 likes this.

    I keed, I keed. But if you want to sound like Pino then I'd recommend a set of flats or perhaps tapewounds. Status basses are naturally bright while Pinos fretless tone isn't so you'd want to get soem strings that would tone it down a bit but still bring out the growl and mwah that you want. I've gotten nice results with LaBella nylon tapewounds.
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    From Bass Player Magazine November 2006
    "Strings Thomastik-Infeld medium-light-gauge flatwounds; La Bella heavy-gauge flats (on tuned-down ’63 P-Bass); Rotosound Swing Bass roundwounds"

    He plays a lot of different stuff using different strings. As far as I can determine, his fretless stuff remains stainless rounds.

  6. I like D'Addario half-rounds. Most seem to love or hate them.
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I personally like Fender and LaBella nylon tapewound strings on my fretless basses.
  8. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    Sounds like you are worried about fingerboard wear...

    Compression Wounds are really sweet... Closest you could get to a pure stainless steel roundwound but much easier on your finger board...
  9. SFX83


    Mar 2, 2011
    Wow, that was quick. So many replies! Many thanks, but keep them coming, it is very interesting to hear different people's opinions ;)
    BTW, I was referring to Pino's fretless Stingray sound.
  10. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    My favourite are DR Sunbeams nickels 45, great mwaah, easy on ebony fb.
    joebar likes this.
  11. Miezu


    Apr 7, 2011
    I am not entirely sure (could be ssteel, too), but I use the same on my 5-string Human Base and its ebony fb. They are very soft tension, easy to play and give a very nice fretless sound, including your desired mwahhhh. Running through some effects, I could not say if I recorded a track with my double bass or my fretless. I am becoming more and more a DR fan anyway.
  12. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Your bass is just a tool. What is most important, a lifetime with the sound you want or leaving your fingerboard in perfect condition? When it comes to finding the right strings for you..only you can decide. You have to try out different strings. A perfect string for me might be totally wrong for you. Pino used light roundwounds with Paul Young.
  13. GHS Presurewounds. Great mwah!
    Mike Sorr likes this.
  14. Whew! For a moment I thought you were going to ask "what's the best strings for METAL?" :bag:
    Quantized Harmonic likes this.
  15. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Kind of a contradiction in your post. Pino used rounds, but he didn't care what wear it did to the fretboard, hence the many replanes and at least a couple of replacement fingerboards altogether on the old StingRay.

    When my 1st Wal was fretless, it sounded so amazing with stainless DR's. All the growly mwah and harmonics I could ask for. I couldn't stand using any half-wounds or flats on it, especially TI's!
    Of course the ebony boards are more resilient to wear vs the rosewood board that Pino's '79 Ray has, and subsequently the replacement board is still rosewood.
  16. Ebony still wears down pretty quickly with roundwounds. Both my fretless basses have ebony.

    I've tried flats and it's a nice sound for what it is, but it isn't Pino.

    Not such a big deal to use rounds and get the bass serviced every 6-12 months to keep it nice. Less often if you don't gig as much or use it all the time.
  17. Kenova


    May 5, 2010
    Zagreb (Croatia)
    DR Sunbemas! ;)
  18. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    BTW, I've alternated between stainless and nickle rounds on my fretless basses, having pretty much stuck with DR Sunbeams for the last eight years or so. The D'Addario stainless (XLS series back in the day) I used on the first fretless did eventually cause me to replace the factory rosewood board with an ebony board, but it wasn't just the strings. I was over aggressive with periodically dressing the board and buffing it with a radius block and sandpaper to get rid of the small marks the strings left. I know that caused more wear than the strings did.

    And I've had ebony boards since about '97 with only minimal marking. Yes, it does leave a mark. No, it doesn't dig gouges in the board. In my experience, most of the damage caused on fretless boards that is attributed to roundwound strings is really the bassist's technique. If you use only enough pressure to get the note, you control your vibrato and go along the string instead of bending it, and you keep the neck and the strings clean, you'll eliminate a lot of extra wear.

    And Pino's had the fingerboard on the StingRay replace several times according to the book by Bacon and Day. He used VERY light strings. When he played with Paul Young in town a long time ago, one of my friends (IATSE member) was on the local crew. Because Larry was a bass player, when the roadie changed Pino's strings, he gave the old set to Larry. Larry brought them to the store the next day and we were amazed at how small the strings were, I think it was like a 35- 90 set.

  19. Sunbeams, with no hesitation on the recommendation!
  20. Buxtehude


    Jan 5, 2011
    Go Dr custom Lo-Riders: 35_90 for that Pino fretless sound. You'll get used to the low tension then fall in love. I use that gauge on all my basses, fretless & fretted.
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