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Bass Strings

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Bass Strings

Post  MetalJacob on Sun May 30, 2010 12:08 am

So my current bass strings are several months old, slightly rusted in places, and just worn out.Since this is my first bass I have no idea what type of strings do what.

What's the difference between Nickel and Stainless Steel?
What's the difference between light/medium/heavy strings?
How do I know what size my bass is and what size strings to get?(If there is a "size")
Can someone please explain everything to me?

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Re: Bass Strings

Post  SuperMaximo93 on Sun May 30, 2010 8:09 am

MetalJacob wrote:1) What's the difference between Nickel and Stainless Steel?
2) What's the difference between light/medium/heavy strings?
3) How do I know what size my bass is and what size strings to get?(If there is a "size")
4) Can someone please explain everything to me?

1) Nickel strings have a duller tone than steel. Steel strings are naturally pretty bright sounding. So for example, if you were playing some traditional jazz, you would want the duller nickel strings to emulate some of the sound of a double bass, while if you were playing some punk or metal and want to cut through so the bass can be heard clearly, then you'd want some steel strings. Bear in mind that nickel strings can be quite bright, but they're generally duller than steels

2) Light = thin, medium = normal, heavy = thick. Light strings have a thinner tone and a somewhat easier to play, as there is less tension in the string and physically moving and bending them is easier, so fretting with them would be easier. Heavy strings have a fuller tone but can be harder to play as you need more strength to physically move them. Medium is in the middle

3) Just get regular strings, your bass is probably normal scale (34"). Do they even make short scale strings?

4)I just did Razz You should check out the other string threads for more info on strings

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Re: Bass Strings

Post  MetalJacob on Sun May 30, 2010 8:15 am

Thanks so much ^^


So according to what you just said, I want steel light strings, I guess.So would something like these be good?
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Dean-Markley-2688-SR2000-Bass-Light-Strings-780562-i1122512.gc

I don't have much money to spend at all.

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Re: Bass Strings

Post  maxf13 on Sun May 30, 2010 9:10 am

you could try warwick black label strings

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Re: Bass Strings

Post  SuperMaximo93 on Sun May 30, 2010 10:50 am

We all have our preferences so the find something that's good for you you'll have to try a few brands out. Give the strings you suggested a shot, if you like them, yay, if not, try something else; try some people's recommendations (i.e. Warwicks from Max). Personally I'm not particularly fussy as long as they're medium or light nickels.

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Re: Bass Strings

Post  Rosenblaetter on Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:42 am

Hi Guys (and Gals)

I bought my first bass some 2 months ago - a used Ibanez RD300.
I obviously must have no female charm at all because I didn't get the right advice in my local music shop ;P

So: help me if you can!

The problem is, I can't really figure out how old my currents strings are (and I can't ask the previous owner).
Current strings have no rust and seem to look good. It's hard to tell if they sound dull/old because I'm using a shitty amp right now Sad It's the same with sustain - I can't tell if it's normal or if it's weak. I decided to change the strings anyway but there is one thing that really bothers me.

As far as I can tell those I use are rather hard to play - not that easy to bend, tight (the tension is big) - playing more funky notes is pretty difficult (and I don't think it's not because I'm a beginner or because I have no funk feel)
I brought some nickel 40-100 Rotobass strings home to compare with the current ones and I think I have 45-105 strings now (I might want to stick to that). But now I began to wonder if my current ones are steel or nickel!
Is there any way I could tell? I can see some difference between those I brought home and those being used right now but it might just be a matter of new vs old/used look and feel?
So? Stell or nickel - no way I can judge it from the sound they make...

Help Very Happy

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Re: Bass Strings

Post  Stryfer on Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:38 pm

You can't judge types of strings based on their sound. Simple as that.

Now, my 2 cents on strings, since I have been experimenting a bit.
Apart from steel and nickel, there's also flats (and other more specialized variants, but these three are the most common).
Typically steel are used for a very bright sound. Nickelwounds are popular for slapping and funk, while flats are for a fretless bass and used in jazz.

However, I use flats on a bass and play metal with it (ala Steve Harris from Iron Maiden) and I'm quite proud of them. Of course, they are d'addario chromes which are considered very bright as far as flats go.

I never liked steel strings because they are just too bright. Too much click and not enough clank.

Nickelwounds are great for slap because they're more bassish tone offsets the percussive sound of slapping. Popping a steel G can be quite painful to the listener.

As far as thickness goes - the thinner the string the thinner the sound. I've read that most people like thinner strings because it makes it easier to play fast. Many slappers also use thinner strings like .40-.100 or even .35-.95.

I've used .40-.100 nickelwounds on my squire and found the tone lacking for my taste. I like a full, powerful sound. Most recently I went a little crazy and got D'addario Nickelwounds .50-.105 and I have to say - they are amazing! True, they require more strength, but not as much as they have a better sound. Even the D string has plenty of bass when slapped!


In conclusion, the brighter the strings, the more thin/percussive the sound and vice-versa. It all depends on what you're going for.
If it's metal I'd suggest thicker strings for extra power in the sound. Steel = bright/trebly tone so they'll give you a sharper, more agressive sound. If it's too clicky or lacks structure, go with nickel.

P.S. The bass itself is a factor. Some basses will sound too muddy with flats, while others too thin with steels etc...

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Re: Bass Strings

Post  Rosenblaetter on Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:42 pm

Thanks so much Smile
I'll join the nickel team then!

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Re: Bass Strings

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