Hey Again…was playing today, til my fingers gave out…heh heh. After I shut down was on Youtube and saw a video about cheap vs. expensive strings, for guitar. I searched for the same topic for bass and couldn’t find a single video so here I am. What are y’alls thoughts on cheap against expensive strings…I still have the original strings on my Ibanez I picked up back in March, and use Fender strings on my old Silvertone, mainly because they make the only set that will fit, thickness wise I mean. I tried a set of piccolo bass strings on it once, went on great but just not the right tone for me. But anyways…Thought???


What was the gist of the video about guitar strings?

I like what I would call mid-level strings, I use D’Addario nickel wound (for guitar and bass) and that’s fine, I like them. I don’t change my strings very often so I don’t really care if it’s a little bit more expensive.

Personnally I don’t like Fender strings at all, I find them to be really harsh.

About more expensive strings, I have a Elixir set on my acoustic guitar, because I like the sound. not cheap, but again I don’t always change so that’s ok. (and I almost never play this guitar, what a shame)


I usually use Ernie Ball Regular Slinky strings because I like the slightly larger gauges. I see folks on other forums doing the cork sniffing thing, and I guess if you have a $4k+ bass you would turn your nose up at a $5 Chinese pack of strings . But really, it doesn’t matter what you use, so long as you like them.

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Didn’t really watch it …brought it up and then the bass string question popped into my brain and went searching for that…heh…I’m easily distracted sometimes

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Only reason I’m asking is because of being on a fixed income now. If I was still working I wouldn’t pay much attention to what the cost is if I like the sound.
Having the new Ibenez I won’t have any problems with the guage of strings, but the pegs on the Silvertone ore like .088…so I have to have a .085 or smaller E string, and short scale, that’s why I tried the piccolo bass strings, but went back to the Fender short scale which uses a .085 in one set. I know I could change tuners but want to keep it as original as I can.

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Well I have a $200 bass and then a I don’t know what it’s worth bass and matching amp that is hard to find strings for…heh…my brother uses Ernie Ball guitar strings on an electric he has and loves them.

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85 on the E string and on a short scale bass must give a pretty low tension !

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I’ve been using, Ernie Ball Super Slinky Nickel Round Wound, and been happy with them.

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While we are on the topic of strings, would it be ok to talk about the types people prefer as well? I don’t want to hijack the thread, but it seems like a fitting addition to the topic.

My basic understanding is that:

Round Wound is a little rougher on the fingers, has a bit “fuller” of a sound (whatever that means exactly) and you tend to get a little more of the rasp when you slide across the strings

Flat Wound is easier on the fingers, has a more sharp sound, and less rasp because of less friction

But I also just discovered something called tape wounds (WTF?) and have no clue what those are.

Then there seem to be nickel or chrome (I think it was chrome I saw), various colors, neon, UV, black beauty…

My point is, Expensive versus Cheap seems to barely scratch the surface. Maybe some of the more musically experienced users can give us noobs a sort of rundown as far as what types of string combinations are good for what types of sounds. Or if this is pulling too far off topic I can create a new thread too!

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we already have this thread : Flat wound vs round wound strings


I feel like strings are a very personal choice. It really depends on the tone you’re looking for. I really the tone I get from La Bella flat wound strings. Except on my Stingray. I’ve had a set of Ernie Ball Power Slinky’s on it for about 6 months and I really like the way sound.

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Yes but surprisingly it stays in tune even after a long while of just hanging on the wall in a room with varying temps all the time…

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This is such a hard question because there are so many options and the final decision really comes down to what you think sounds good for what you are willing or able to pay. There is no definitive buying guide, that I have ever seen, for “less expensive but just as good”. It’s just far too subjective.

If you said, “I’m thinking of buying [stings A] but [stings B] are cheaper. What do y’all think?”

Then people could chime in with,
“No way! [strings B] SuX!”
“Never buy [strings A]! I bought some once and my cat died!!!”
“Only Newbs waste $$$ on [stings A]!!!”

I know this didn’t answer you question but I hope it helps give some perspective on why you haven’t gotten very many answers.

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@brandoncmurphy The topic of strings is not insurmountable but it is complicated. I put together this selection of articles that get more complicated the further you go down. None of the articles are very long. By the end you should know everything you need to know to choose your strings.

Wait, nope, that’s not true. You will know a lot about strings but you still won’t know what you want till you’ve tried them. I recommend starting a side business selling bracelets made out of strings you didn’t like.

Here is an overview of different types of strings…

But wait, I sense that you want to go deeper…

Still not enough? At first glance this article doesn’t seem like much but it does get into hex cores and different coatings used on stings; like color…

Still here? I see you can not be deterred. This article talks about 5 common sets of strings; how they are constructed and what kind of sound you can expect to get out of them…

Lastly, this article. If you read all the previous stuff then this article will be mostly review but when you get to the end there are a bunch of links for eight different manufacturers for comparing prices…


Awesome compilation of resources/articles, @eric.kiser! Thanks!

Yeah, but still - you wouldn’t happen to have a TL;DR or similar distillate for us “lazy bassterds” (no typo!!) :grin:

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I have a nice set of D’Addario nickel wounds on now but I know what I am getting when they go dead:

60-105 aww yeah

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LoL! :rofl:

I spent about 4 hours distilling it down to just those five articles. I’ll try anyway…

(Too Long; Didn’t Read)
Strings aren’t made of string.
They’re metal.
Some are different kinds of metal.
Some are windy round.
Some are windy flat.
Some are even windy flat with a round side you can’t even see.
Some have coatings that give them different colors or make them last longer or sound a little different.
Some are BRIGHT and some are DARK and everywhere in between.
Most people don’t have an absolute favorite.
They use what works in most situations.
Or, they have 3 or 4 favorites.
You need a new instrument for each of your favorites.
You won’t really know what you like till you try them.
Learn to make Bass string bracelets.


I’m surprised. I expected those to cost a lot more.

If you wan to get really intense you can go the @Korrigan route…

I can’t help but feel intimidated every time I read that post.

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