When to change strings? Depends...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by eli, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I have the most amazing string life story to report...

    The more ancient among you (time on this board, that is) may remember me as a shameless Elixir shill who pipes up ANY time anyone asks what string to use, especially for fretless. I reported last time I installed new sets (one fretted, one fretless) that I knew they lasted ages on fretless with fingers, but wasn't sure about frets and pickstyle. I promised I'd report back. I originally stayed away from picks with these strings because I was afraid to damage them (they ARE a bit more expensive, after all), but as the months wore on, I got less worried and played pick anytime the song called for it. 1-2 gigs per month, and maybe one rehearsal per month. Pick on maybe 25% of the songs.

    I have been using Elixirs since '99 and have always been impressed by their long life, not so much for the lower cost per month and the low maintenance labor, but for the fact that they don't change tone through a recording project (even one several months long) so you never have to mess with the EQ once you have it dialed in. Last time I changed strings, I had the presence of mind to write on the box the date I installed 'em.

    On last Saturday night's gig, believe it or not, I actually broke a low B string on my fretted. First broken string in like 20 years. So I replaced it from the fresh set I always carry, and I changed out the rest of the set just this evening. I paid close attention to how the old strings sounded next to the new ones as I changed them out one by one, and as I expected, they sounded only slightly darker than the new ones. Still full range response (old strings lose lows as well as highs), only a bit of twang not present -- and there's not that much real metallic twang on Eixirs anyway (which suits me fine).

    Anyway, i remembered about the date on the box, and dug it out of the artifacts. To my amazement, the date was October 6.... 2001.

    Yow. TWO YEARS out of a set of strings, and not even taking 'em off to boil 'em. Now THAT is amazing.

    Not that I'd been noticing that they might need it, but it's just plain fun to have new stuff, so I thought about changing the Elixirs on my fretless, just for the heck of it. So I looked at the box my fretless's strings came in, and I had just changed them in March 2002. So I guess I'm in no hurry. I might jump the gun and ask for a set for Christmas.
  2. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I've just changed the strings on my main bass, an '87 Warwick Streamer. It's had the same Labella Deep Talkin' S/S 44-110 rounds on it since October 2000 - I make that 3 years (and they were still sounding good)!

    Before I got this bass I changed the strings as often as I could afford on my headless Hohner, which worked out to every 2-3 months. That means I've saved myself over £200 over the last 3 years.

  3. I've had the opposite luck with strings, they don't last with me. Of course I play in two bands, with the one band we play out at least 2-3 times a month. I'm pretty hard on my strings too, I use a pick most of the time and do alot of slap bass. I carry with me a 4-string fender jazz bass and a 5-string (strung E to C) dean edge rock bass. I love em both, although have had trouble tuning the "E" on the fender. I usually go with the D'Addario XL's because of there sharpness and tone. When recording though I had to turn my tone and volume almost all the way down for a jazzier tune. My "A" string looks like someone tried to chew through it..haha what strings would you guys recommend for a bass player who is hard on em?

    k-money :bassist:
  4. I would recommend the Thomastik JF345, they are bright and have a long life.