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Yet another Stainless String Review

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Ezmar, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    This is just sort of a little comment. Mostly, I use Rotosound 66, 40 - 95, and honestly, they're my favorite string. recently, I've been trying out other brands, just to sort of get the whole scope. These are some of my opinions, just in my experience. If you like Rotos, and are interested in trying something new, this might be useful.

    I tried DR's Hi Beams, and I thought they sounded great, but it wasn't exactly for me, and the looser feel didn't mesh with me. I also had some string breakage issues, 3 in a row, but I won't fault the company for that, just my own bad luck. I do still have a set that they sent me after I broke the first two, which I'm saving as a backup. Might try it again. This set was 40 60 80 100, by the way, which might have contributed to some of the "Off-ness" I felt with these strings. My recommendation, they're great strings, but if you like the charactaristic Rotosound sound, you may, like me, find something missing. Although I did note that they sounded absolutely fantastic for slap style. I have not tried the Lo-Riders, they may feel better to me, but I suspect they'd still lack something. Can't say much about the life of the DRs, since they failed on me. I'll probably try stringing the next set I use through the top instead of through the body, since there's really no major difference in tone, and the shallower angle might help minimize premature breakage.

    And thus far, the only other string I've tried are the D'Addario Prosteels, which I've had on for about a week. I didn't really like them at first, since they are almost prohibitively bright when they're fresh. When I went to play with my Jazz combo the day after I put them on, I had to roll off the tone a good 1.75 times more than usual. Although this is to be expected with Stainless rounds, even someone who likes a bright tone might think twice before putting a fresh set of these on right before a show. So my initial opinion wasn't particularly positive, but after a couple of days of playing, they calmed down a bit, and they sound just great. I Really like these strings. If memory serves, they have slightly weaker mids than the Rotosounds, but that isn't to say they have weak mids at all. It's a very full sounding string, and like the Hi-beams, it sounds really fantastic for slap. I haven't had these on very long, so I also can't vouch for how long they last or how well they age, but they seem to be retaining quite a bit of brightness, which is nice. When I first put them on, I felt like there had been some kind of mistake, since the G string felt as though it was a gauge too small. These strings are a bit looser than Rotosounds, but with a bit of use, they seem to have stiffened up a bit. Anyway, these are great strings, they remind me a lot of the Rotosounds, but just a little something different. I'm not sure if I like these better than the Rotos or not, but they seem slightly more "laid back" than the Rotos, if that makes any sense.

    I suppose for completeness' sake, I should also review the Rotosound 66s. These are my standard, go-to string, gauge 40 60 75 95. I'm actually most familiar with the sound of these strings when they're well-used, and my comparisons with other strings are quite possibly colored by the fact that the Strings are usually dead when I change them. I play one set until a string breaks, and then I take the whole set off, slap a new set on, and keep the intact strings as spares. Anyway, I really like the sound that Rotosound steels settle into, it kind of has a certain characteristic to it that I can't really describe. It's still bright, articulate, but just not "new sounding". They have that characteristic midrange tone that is so unique, and if you haven't ever used them, you might want to give it a look. They've never struck me as being the best for slap, although as stainless rounds, they're still pretty excellent. I think this has to do with the prominence of the mids, where you don't get the slight scoop that slap sort of loves. Although the mids are strong, they aren't necessarily overpoweringly mid-focused, and the end result is a very "aggressive" sounding string. That isn't to say that it's All out Full on all the time, as technique is always king. It's hard for me to describe their tone, since it's sort of what I'm most familiar with, so I guess you'd just have to try them and see for yourself. The strings feel quite stiff, which is something that I personally love, but may turn others off. All in all, my favorite string.

    I don't really say much about the feel of the strings, beyond tension and stiffness, mostly because I don't really notice much. The first set of strings I bought was Rotosound, so going to that from unidentified nickels was a noticeable difference, but it was something that I really kind of liked. My fingers also callous up very nicely, so the "Roughness" of steels isn't something that I notice much. I notice it on a fresh set a little, but I certainly don't notice when it's not there. So that's something you'll have to gauge for yourself, although I will say that unless you deep-clean your strings regularly and religiously, residual body oils will take off some of the roughness with time.

    So anyway, that's my experiences with different strings thus far. For reference, I play through a 2005 MIA Fender Jazz with Fralin pups. This is my first review sort of thing, so if there's anything else you'd like my comments on, let me know!
  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    3 sets of dr in a row with broken strings is way to many.
  3. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    To be fair, it was two sets, and I broke 2 D strings and the first A. It doesn't seem like there's anything wrong with my bridge, since no other strings have broken prematurely like that, and people talk about DR strings lasting a long time, so I'm willing to chalk it up to bad luck. I did file the saddle a bit, just in case, but I didn't put the new set of Hi Beams on, partially because they just didn't jam with me.

    I have read that loading through body can have a bad negative impact on string life, with the increased break angle over the saddle, so whatever truth there may be to that, I'll probably be top loading from now on. I like the way that through body looks, but otherwise there's really no point. Plus you can reuse the strings after they've been top loaded, not so much with through body.
  4. I have never broke a bass string in 25 years, and a A string at that??? WOW!

    I'll stick with my usual Prosteels; they are nice and bright with a deep tight low end, and the price is right.
  5. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Have to say I've never broken a string either, nor had a dead string come out of a set. I'm intrigued by all of this I see on this section of TalkBass.
  6. bassboysam

    bassboysam Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ottawa, Ontario
    If you like Rotos then you should give the SS Lo Riders a try. They are nothing like Hi Beams. Also La Bella SS are great strings very similar to Rotos but a smoother feel and the highs are more extended but less pronounced than the Rotos.
  7. SpectorDetector

    SpectorDetector Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    Try the Ernie Ball Cobalts, I'm telling you they are a different sound, kind of like Rotos, not the same sound though. Just don't get them wet or feed them after midnight...
  8. Andy_D


    Nov 28, 2009
    Corpus Christi, TX

    You know I just put a set of Labella Stainless in my G&L JB-2 yesterday. They have onle been on for a day and and I played the hell out out of them yesterday so I don't know how they will sound once they settle in. My initial impression is very favorable. I usually am not a big S/S guy and gravitate towards Nickels but I'm really liking these Labella's. Of course you can tell they are stainless but they have a nice fat bottom and are not harsh or clanky on the top which is what turns me off about Roto's. I bought these as part of a Labella triple pack from Bassstingsonline and figured I'd try something different. It was a tossup between trying these or the Super Alloy 52's. Anyway I hope they continue to sound as nice once they break in if they do I might use them again in the future.
  9. bassfreakah


    Mar 26, 2011
    Endorsing Artist Ernie ball strings
    I love the sound of the new eb cobalt's and i usually use the steel eb sets. Have had set on three of my basses for about a month so far. and still like new!!!! i also use the eb flats on my p's 100-45, i like the smooth feel and low tension.

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