STRING GAUGES AND BRANDS ??

8) Would be interesting to know what gauge and brand of strings all of us bass guys use.

Any interest from you all in talking about it ?? :twisted:

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Jimmy, I'll have "45 -105" on my headstone. I play 5-strings now, and I haven't made my mind up on the low B between 125 or 130 but I really hate it if I have to use (say) an 80 on the A string for emergency. Just doesn't feel right.

I used to stick with "Elites" stainless, but I'm not so into bright strings now and happily use nickels for my more recent basses. All roundwound, but I'd like to stick flats on one of the basses.

8) .45 to 1.05 seems to be the most used set almost everywhere. Except for me ! I do use that gauge on some of my newer basses, but for the tone and volume I need in my band I am a old school .55 to 1.15 guy. Action set low it gets the "rumble" I need. I am not and never will be in to slapping and popping, and in the Blues there is no need for much treble when you are suppose to be holding the foundation down. I am endorsed by SIT and KNUCKLEHEAD strings and find them both to hold up well and not dig in to my frets too bad. Flatwounds use to be great but have changed a lot over the years. I do have a set of light flats on a 64 fretless Jazz Bass and they sound very good, You have to really check out the different makes of Flatwouns man, some of them come out of the package nonresponsive and dull sounding. As for my 5 strings all the low B's are 1.30 or bigger. They are not as floppy feeling as you work your way up the neck. 8)

There's a bit of a difference between the US market in strings and England (perhaps Europe as a whole), Jimmy. Before eBay, you couldn't get a set of 4-strings for much less than £20 (~$40) here in Blighty. I bought three sets of (5-string) nickels for $28 and told them how to ship up to six sets to England for $9. It's routine now, but (at the time) I was saving a mini-fortune.

The other thing I noticed was that 45-105, over here, was considered "heavy". My guitarist once said my strings were as thick as a wrist. 40-100 were the standard and poncey-noncey, slappy-happy types would choose 35-95 or worse. In the States, my "superthick" 45-105 were just "medium" gauge. I used to love stainless - brand new - but that "piano" sound wore off quickly (unlike flats - I read that Jamerson hated it when a 15 y.o. string snapped :lol: ). Once I bought my mahogany/koa bass; and the current guitarist is much bluesier, I've been using nickels.

Still, I've bought a backup 5-string and I fancy making it a tonal opposite (SS strings and other brightness-boosters). Otherwise, I think I'll end up using the backup for almost all rehearsals and only dragging the other one out for gigs. A lot of players fall into this trap, and I'm concious of doing it myself.

8) I have sat down and talked with several of the old time bass players that were working at the same time as Jamerson, Jerry Jamalt, etc, in the Motown and Stax-Volt days ahd they all told me that they hate roundwound strings and any string that sounds anywhere close to being new. The string of choice back in those days were Gibson Flatwounds in the only gauge they came in, HEAVY. Remember that manufacturing tech. was a lot different than it is today. I have a old set of Gibson flatwounds from the late fifties that I found at a Garage sale. They are nothing like the flatwounds of today. I still have them in their original bright green box. Hope you can someday see a old set. The difference would amaze you.

Let me know if you need strings I can get about any brand at wholesale price, 8)

Weird turnaround, Jimmy. I bought a few sets of "Sound City" shortscale flats from the US a while back; very cheaply. I sent a set to a friend of mine and she hated them. Nothing like the output of her Thomastik-Infelds.

I know what she means, but I still mean to try them. I'd like to get a "thump". The volume I can overcome; it's that tone that I'm after.

Oz

8) Hey Oz. Just back from a great gig, Sitting in a motel room and saw your reply. Sound City strings are not too good !! They work better as a radio antenna than as bass strings !! Part of the "thump" you are chasing may be your amp, your bass, your pickups, your attack, etc. I am a old tone dog, so tell me the set up you use and I'll try to help you as best I can 8) JLR

:D , Thanks for looking in while on the road, Jimmy. Were you playing or watching? Tell all. As for the flats, well - you're the 2nd person to tell me to use the SC flats to cut cheese, make earrings out of - anything but play bass on :lol:

Matters not. They were something ridiculous like $10 for five sets. Worth it for the groovy "beat combo" pic on the sleeves. Mostly, I play 5-string, but I'm planning on getting one of my 4s set up with a set of Graphtech piezo saddles I have. They could go on either a Jazz that's ready to go or else a 30" Mustang bass that's a sleeping (in fact, snoring heavily; undisturbed) project of mine.

What do you think? I was even wondering about the LaBella nylonwounds but is that a bit girly? As you say, a good set of flats is money well spent as they can stay on the fretboard forever.

Oh, forgot to mention the other stuff. My attack is usually plec, but I've been working on my fingerstyle to smooth it out when the song suits. Amps are always valve (I hoard the damn things). Mostly EL34, Brit-style amps but I have a nice little 8W single 6V6 brought over from the USA and I love it for ideas-churning. Cabs are the opposite, though. Don't like vintage and don't like big/heavy. I tend to use neo/ali 2x10" or very compact 1x12".

You're going to tell me I need a big driver, aren't you? :P I hate whopping big bass cabs if I can avoid using them...

8) Well, you won't care for my reply then !! First off, big thumping killer bass tone does not happen with a pick. Many great players use a pic, but if you study the tone they getm it is not sound you are after. Do not listen to the guys that tell you " I heard this guy in concert and his tone was fantastic". Remember they are hearing the sound through the sound board and the mains ( big power and huge cabs like you hate). Too get big full thundering tone you have to move speaker cones and air. Modern "10" cabs are very efficient and sound just like they are built to sound. Most all of them have HF Horns with a crossover. Big huge fat tone is not what they are built for. Your choice of pickups nas a lot to do with your tone also. A oickup that was desinged for a "modern" sound will NEVER get you big thundering tone

I could go on for hours here, but I am tired and on the road. If you are interested I will discuss it more with you when I get back home next week.

Just wish you could play through my "small" rig I have with me now. Ampeg B5R, four 10 cab with four EV's and a Hardtrucker single 18 cab loaded with a JBL 18. No HF Horn. I think even with a pick you could tell what I am talking about.

JLR

:lol: , always interested in your replies, Jimmy. I know what you mean; in the last year I've hardly used a pick at all. The songs just don't call for it. I've moved up to 12" drivers now...

Funelly nuff, I just picked up a Marshall head today on behalf of a friend. The seller was also a bass player and he told me he was about to list his 2x18" cab :shock: . I felt my back twinge even when he mentioned it. Of course, I was intrigued but I honestly can't see myself carting wardrobe/closet sized cabs around.

Must tell you one story, though. Back in the 90s, I was in a 2nd-hand shop called "Sound Deals" that I'd bought stuff from. They had a 21" speaker housed in (seriously, this is all true) a cement sewer-pipe section. They didn't have an amp that would turn it over. Don't know why, but I was absolutely cocksure my old Superbass would do it, so I went home to get it. I only turned the vol to about 3, then played.

:shock: :shock: , it was as if the windows were bulging out and the floorboards were pulling the nails out of the joists. The shop owner was practically begging me to buy the thing. Awesome air-shifting, I had to admit, but I just couldn't see my car keeping the front wheels on the bitumen with that thing in the trunk. I had to pass on it...

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