I have been a bass player for many years (upright first, then electric), but I have bought maybe 2-3 sets of electric bass strings in my life (there have been periods of time where I was playing piano instead).  What kinds do you use and why? 

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Hi Carl, This is Carl!

I've been using Rotosound Swing Bass for a few years now. I generally like the rounds becuase they have a much brighter tone and less "thumpiness." The drawback is that you cannot get that same "thumpiness" when you want it. It's a trade-off according to preference. The other drawback with rounds is they are very "noisy" (or scrathy) if your fingering is less than clean. I have to admit though that the Rotosounds, when brand new, are way too bright. But as they get broke in a little, they sound much better. The best way to overcome the trade-off is to have two basses; one with rounds and one with flats. Once I get another back-up bass, I'm going to put flats on it. Not sure what brand yet though. I suppose another alternative would be to use the "Compressed Roundwounds" - or "Ground Roundwounds" - but here again I still think there is trade-off involved.

As for changing out strings 2-3 times in a lifetime, well ... I guess if you like the sound you're getting then go with it! The other part of using extremely old strings is that are much more likely to break. Bass strings have a large amount of tension on them, and over time they physically weaken. It really is a drag when, in the middle of worship, your "A" string breaks! Everytime I've ever had a string break, it was at the bridge, which makes sense when you think about it.

Prasie the Lord always!
Life the life of Worship!

Yeah, I agree with you on changing the strings...it sounds worse than it actually is; Since I am primarily a pianist, I haven't done enough playing to justify changing them...but I recently bought a new set and put them on last night.

Background: The last time I bought strings for the electric bass was about 2 years ago and I thought I'd try flatwound. I didn't like those because it seemed like they didn't hold the sonority as long. So I went back to roundwound this time. I am having second thoughts about it though, even though I haven't played on the new strings yet. I don't like a bright sound, but I also don't like it when the E and A strings are much louder than the higher strings, caused by turning down the higher frequencies.

I am going to get a back up set at some point (my flatwounds are still good if needed in a pinch), so I am not sure what to get. I also have no idea for what brands are considered good quality.
Breaking strings in the middle of a jam!  The immediate challenge to apply some music theory and move the jam somewhere else all of a sudden.  God made octaves all over the neck just because there are some of us who need to remember Who is in charge of worship!  :)

Hey Bro!  :)

Yeah ... and it can be quite a challenge when you're used to playing a song a certain way at certain positions.  I remember a few times playing with Bryan M. and Don J.  when that happened.  It really throws you off for a few moments!


NOTE:  Personally, I've never broken anything except the "A" string.  Odd.



(Jesus Undying Love And Salvation)



I still haven't been able to break a bass string.  You've been playing much longer, I suppose it will happen to me eventually.  Some players are very aggressive with their style, so ????  I went and saw YES in St Pete last week, and I would have to say that Chris Squire probably breaks strings frequently - haha!  String quality is better than it was "back in the day" I assume as well.  I let my Bass Pro do my set-up and I just have to do the tweeking.  I've been trying the "Blue Steel" strings on this last round, and I really like tone.  Twice the price, but hey!

Happy Jesus!

Hey Bro!  :)

Mom did say you went to a YES show.  Awesome huh?  I first saw them back circa '78, with the circular, rotating stage and round overhead PA.  It was at the hockey arena down in Detriot -- Olympia I think it was called.  Then I saw them again on the "Masterworks Tour."  (2001?)  Great misicians.

Blue Steel Huh?  Rounds?

Peace from Above!


You may want to consider the "groundwounds" or the "compressed roundwounds" then. I have also heard of "tapewounds." I cannot say I've tried any of these styles, but they all sound like a middle of the field type thing.

As far as brands go - I personally feel its more of a personal preference than anything. Any reputable music store carries good quality strings. Some examples (especially for bass) include:
Ernie Ball

Have fun trying different things!

I use Wyres Strings on my basses, they're hand made and a Canadian Company...feel and sound great!!!

If it weren't them, I'd be playing Dean Markley or D'Addario...
Just bought a set of these (untried yet) for a P type: http://www.webstrings.com/flatwound_bass_strings.html

And have put a set of these on a J type: http://www.webstrings.com/electric_bass_strings_detroit-stainless.html

Why? Because I was recommended them by a friend, and for bass strings, they are spectacularly cheap. The roundwounds seem fine tonally, though there is a lot of finger noise and they are quite bright, producing an almost Rickenbacker-like clank from the bridge pickup. It's a little hard to tell how much is the strings alone because I also modded the bass with a Badass-style bridge and Fender Geddy lee pickups.

I had flatwounds on a an old Avon EB0 copy, and they were wooly city, but I'm hoping the precision will be better and tighter sounding.

For a more rounded, mellow sound with roundwounds some of the guys on basschat.co.uk recommend DR sunbeams and fatbeams. I've had good experiences with DR strings on guitar, and although they are expensive I expect them to live up to the description.
I use D'Addario Chromes flatwounds on my Squier Precision. I love the tone and the feel of these strings: win-win!
well i just changed my strings and i bought some D'addario strings which work really good and have beautiful pop to them

These days I use D'addario Pro Steels 40-100 - bright & bouncy. Used to use Ken Smith Round Stainless Steel, but are not easy to find. Prior to that, Rotosound Round Stainless Steel.



Rocky Jones



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