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Your prefered string type for a bass with a potent active preamp

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by FourBanger, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    I have played only passive basses until acquiring my SR300M and have seriously been thinking of giving something different a try compared to my normal nickel rounds.

    What throws me off is this, the active EQ can vary the sound so much (I'm and active bass noob, so even thes EQ seems very potent to me) I am not sure I know where I want the tone to start before EQing.

    What do you all prefer on active basses? Is it totally different than your passive basses?

    And yes, I am aware of all the variables, but more opinions are better than not asking for fear of the TB troll army.
  2. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    Not drastically different. The SR300M has soapbar P/U's and that powerful Ibanez bass boost and I always thought that it sounded best with the boost ON. That being said, I would try a set of Stainless Steel rounds of the same or similar gauge. They will give you a quicker attack, more sustain, and more bass punch without having to turn up the boost as much. Many claim that SS are "Brighter" but that's a bit deceiving. They generally have a much more brightness in the TREBLE range, and additional BOOM in the bass range, it's not an overall shift as much as an EXTENSION of tone. If you're using something like D'add XL Nickel or GHS Boomers... try D'Add Pro Steels or DR Lo-Riders. Not super expensive but quality strings all the way.
  3. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    I was actually working my way towards admitting I wanted to try steels on this bass. As a longtime steel-hater (for my passive basses) it is a hard thing for me to come to terms with, lol.

    I have always admired the attack players got from steels but preferred the tone of my dead nickels. Now that I can dial in or out whatever I want it seems I should give them a try. I can add a crazy amount of bass and mid using the right combinations of bass knob and sweeper set to fingerstyle (my SR300M is the previous model with the treble/bass stack and the mid-shifting style sweeper knob).
  4. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    You got it right. More tone from your strings + more control from your EQ = ... BASS... the final frontier!!!! Enjoy, bro'! BTW, if/when you go with SS, see if you can get a set of Fodera Diamond SS. Same quality in their strings as in their basses.
  5. I have 2 active basses. A fretted and fretless jazz and love tape wounds on both.
  6. I used to use Blue Steels, now I am going to try some Blue Steel Nickel.
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I use Ken Smith Rock Masters, .040 to .120 (5 string set)

    They are nice and bright. :D
  8. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    The Smiths are a bit brighter on top than the Foderas and they come in Tapered sets as well. Also an amazing SS string!
  9. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    If it makes you feel any better, I was a nickel roundwounds guy for, like forever. Even though they tend to die sooner, at least nickel rounds sound relatively warm and smooth, while they're still alive. :meh:

    I loved the crispness, clarity and zing of stainless steels; hated the abrasiveness, harshness and gank of stainless steels. :spit:

    Probably around eight or nine years ago, I finally summoned up the gumption to try a set of DR stainless steel Lo-Riders. And the rest, as they say, is history. :smug:

    While they don't generate quite the same aggressive brilliance as, say brand new Rotosound SwingBass 66s or D'Addario Pro Steels, they're still bright - but the sparkle is under control. Moreover, being a compression-wound (not an ordinary roundwound) string, they both feel smoother and sound smoother than your ordinary steel roundwound. They're more refined.

    AFAIC, they really do represent the best total combination of characteristics of any make of bass guitar string on the market. Currently, all of my bass guitars wear DR strings - either stainless steel Lo-Riders for the fretted basses (except for one with Hi-Beams), or FatBeams for the fretless basses. And yes, all my bass guitars are active.

  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You know, before I started using the Smiths (and this is my second time using them, I used to use them in the mid 90s), I bought a set of 66s because I wanted that outrageous brilliance. I used to use them back in the 70s on my Ricks.

    I noticed they were not as bright as they used to be, and they aren't as rough feeling either (which is why they aren't as bright). But they had a nice midrange, so I kept them on the bass. The low B string was iffy. I had been used to the excellent low B on the D'Addario XLs I had used for a while, and this was not as good. I thought maybe I got a bad set, so I'd give them another try. Rotosounds used to be notoriously inconsistent.

    This time they were just horrid. They weren't that bright, and the low B string on this set was the worst low B I've tried since some GHS Boomers. It would not play in tune...

    They lasted three days and had to come off. So that was a very disappointing experience, being that I was a Rotosound user for many years.

    For a long lasting set of Nickels, I always liked the D'Addario XLs. I could get 6 months out of a set if I wasn't playing on that bass every day. Not super bright, but bright enough.

    I'm sticking with the Smith strings now. :)
  11. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    Foderas or Smiths are what invariably end up on my instruments, no matter how much I "experiment".
  12. deckard


    Apr 4, 2003
    I'm glad to read someone else who thinks this about the 66s:"...not as bright as they used to be... not as rough feeling either...". I used them for a very, very long time & then sometime in the last 2-3 years it seemed to me that each time I mounted a fresh set they just weren't as bright/brilliant as in the past. I tried several sets and each was the same: just not as bright/brilliant.

    That combined with a plucking finger "stickiness" that I don't recall at all (esp. noticeable when playing fast sambas - really slows me down) caused me to begin the journey to find a new favorite string - currently trying coated and uncoated nickle D'Addario Xls, which I quite like although the coated ones seem to have some of the same "plucking finger stickiness" when plucking fast.

    Anyway, SGD, you're not the only one who noticed this reduced brightness issue with 66s.

    Aside: Can anyone recommend some strings (ss or nickle, doesn't matter) where "plucking finger stickiness" is a non-issue?

  13. if you want the preamp to colour your sound then i'd pick strings that arent too bright or deep. some fairly neutral strings. if i remeber right DR used to have a set of strings that didnt have a great deal of bass or treble once broken in.
  14. bassfreakah


    Mar 26, 2011
    Endorsing Artist Ernie ball strings
    I like ernie ball steels!!!!!!!

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