I’m standing in Music & Arts and Guitar Center and I am absolutely oblivious to which strings to buy? I am kinda partial to D’Addario since that is the strings that came on my Washburn Taurus T12 (which I have for sale btw), so other than that I know nothing about strings. They are Nickel Wound but I am not sure of the gauge to get. What makes up ones mind when buying strings?
You should check what gauge is on the bass and stick yo that so the nut slots are correct. At least for now to avoid needing any slot widening or narrowing
Past that most either stick with what they know for a while or begin down the string rabbit hole and end up with a drawer full.
Keep in mind if you replace tour strings you should re-set up your bass so neck relief, height and intonation are correct.
There’s a lot of threads here on strings.
Lots of things, possibly. Are you curious about flats? Or rounds? Or tapewounds? Then try a set. Interested in hearing the difference a different metal will make (cobalt/stainless/nickel)? Interested in trying a different gauge (this is why I bought my last set - .110 gauge E vs the “typical” .100 or .105 - wanted to see if I preferred it or noticed a tonal difference)? Interested in trying coated? Give it a shot…
There’s a lot of factors that you could consider. The ones that are important to you are what will help limit your choices. It’s a rabbit hole for sure…
(At the risk of mis-speaking…) “Most” basses come with .100 or .105 E strings. I believe (and someone will correct me if I’m wrong) that lighter gauge strings have less tension and sound brighter. So from that basic info, pick a set of gauges that seem interesting to you and give them a shot…
I have D’Addario NYXL on my 6 string bass. Would have them on my 4 string, if I had one!
NYXL’s are likely my next strings.
Bear in mind they are only strings. If you don’t like they way they sound or feel, you can easily change them out.
Most basses these days come 45/100 or 50/105. Either gauge should fit your nut with no problems and will work. Which is the right size for you only you can say. There may be a little trial and error here. I have 100s on some basses, 105s on others. They are similar
What kind is another story, and there are lots of threads on the pros and cons of one string over another. I have flats on my Jaguar, which is a PJ and I ws going for a more vintage sound. When I restring it I have a pair of NYXLs to go on it.
My P bass I wanted something warm and vintage-y, but I didn’t want to go as far as flats. So I put on tapewounds. I also put these on my Sire Jazz to go for a more Motown sound.
My new Paranormal I have setup with NYXLs as well.
But there can be a lot of factors in choosing strings. Geezer uses Red Devils, a coated string, but not because of sound or feel. He plucks the bass so hard in concert he gets blisters using regular strings, but he is fine with coated. Coated/tapewounds/flats are easier on your fingers, no doubt.
The starter guide that came with your Bass should tell you what gauge to buy.
If that fails check the manufacturers website or call them.
Pay attention to what @John_E said because if you get a heavier (thicker) gauge you run the risk of damaging the nut.
When you change the strings you should check the setup, even if using the same gauge strings. I have found I usually have to reset the intonation. Lots of information on the forum about setups.
The most common round wound string size seems to be the 45-105 nickel wound strings.
The second most common are the 45-100 which have the string size 45, 65, 80, 100.
If you’re not sure what you want, either of these are a pretty safe bet.
On my electric bass I use the D’Addario EXL165 strings. The strings are sized 45, 65, 85, 105. I chose them because I liked the symmetry of the sizes as much as anything else and I wasn’t feeling very picky. It turned out they are really good strings and I’ve been using them ever since.
However, I’m starting to get the bug to see what else is out there.
From what I’ve heard and read, brighter strings are supposed to be better for recording since they give the engineer a broader sonic space to work with when manipulating your sound. Specifically, it’s supposed to be easier to dull down a bright sound but much more difficult to brighten up a duller sound.
For this I decided I want to try some of the D’Addarion NYXL strings in the same 45-105 gauge. They are supposed to be brighter than the EXL strings since the hex core of the string is made with a higher carbon steel.
They also claim the NYXL’s have 131% better tuning stability. I’m not confident I’ll even notice this but it will be interesting to see.
The other set I’m considering is the D’Addario EXL160BT. The string gauges are 50, 67, 90, 120. What’s special about these is the BT part which stands for Balanced Tension. It is supposed to feel like the strings have an even tension across all of them and I’d like to try that and see if it provides a more pleasurable tactile response.
I had some points to spend so I just ordered a set of NYXL45100’s too, been wanting to try them. EXL170’s are my favorite strings, we’ll see how much better I like the NYXL’s.
I have NYXL 50-105s on my jazz bass. They sound great. They are indeed a bit brighter than other nickel wound strings, but to me are just about perfect. And, yes, the tuning stability is noticeable, especially when your dogs knock the bass off the couch (again) . I could drag the thing behind a truck and it would still be in tune.
Another company to consider is Stringjoy. It’s a small shop in Nashville that custom winds whatever the hell you want. I have their standard nickel wound 50-105s on my P-bass. I’m sure that GHS Boomers or Ernie Ball strings would be just as good, but I really like dealing with the folks at Stringjoy. Like the staff at Sweetwater, the customer service is exceptional and they sometimes throw in goodies.
I’m still undecided if I like the EXL170 or the EXL165 more. Hope you can try those new strings out on your new bass
Yeah I really love EXL170 and EXL165. I think I prefer 170 but that is not a given.
I like to dig in so I figured that a bit thicker E string suits me better.
About strings, I’ve tryed a few different kind and brands… right now I must say my go to:
For roundwound the Rs66
For flatwound: the Ernie Ball slinky cobalt:
I love them both
Ditto on those rounds!
I’ve got a set of those EB Slinky flats that I tried out, but didn’t much care for them. I’ve tried them on a couple different basses, but they can’t seem fo find a way into my heart.
What is it about them that you love? Do you like them that much better than the LaBella Deep Talking Bass flats?
I’m just curious.
Regarding the comparison for the Flats I’ve tried, I had 3 different: The fender one (don’t remember the type) the deep talking from LaBella (I choose those one after reading some review you’ve done here ) and those Cobalt ones.
I must say that I haven’t try them the same day and not I a row… I’m scientific but my experiment here have a huge lack of consistensie . I have tried them at least 1 month each, but I tried for 6 month 1 round 1 flat 1 round 1 flat 1 round 1 flat… all my feeling and observation are based on test on 1 Fender Pbass player, on 1 Ampeg Ba108 (with only a 8" speaker) with both headphone and on the speaker. I play (or try to play) mostly hard rock and heavy metal, always in standard tuning.
I didn’t really like the Labella expect for the finger feeling. I found them really smooth a little bit more than the fender. The 1st set of cobalt was… how to say… sticky? My fingers didn’t move as freely as with the other. But after 2 days this strange feeling was gone. I didn’t had this with my 2nd set.
Regarding the sound I had, especially with the headphone plug into my amp (the ampeg have a really great headphone output for me). I didn’t love the labella, way to less bright for me… I think I really like strings giving my bass brightness and high ends… even with the tone at 100% I hadn’t the range I like. With the cobalt one it was the opposite, I really loved the song I had. Way much close to stainless steel roundwound. The fender were between the two other, it was like ok but… no, nothing in particular.
Finally with the different playing style, finger and pick, the cobalt ones were really really more punchy and aggressive. This is really what I like.
The brightness and aggressity is also what I liked with the rotoaound Rs66 comparing the other round I tried. Wich can be described in another post it’s 2 am I’m supposed to sleep if baby let me…
I have had this on all the flats I have tried, and super dislike it. It’s the main reason I don’t like flats. Rounds just feel way less frictiony and grippy to me.
Yeah that’s the main reason why I don’t care much for those EB Slinky, very sticky to the fingers which I hate. Also, they made some residual noise like rounds (which is one of the reasons I dislike rounds so much).
I love the glassy smooth feeling of the LaBellas, and also I noticed the Thomastiks have a similar smooth texture.
Everyone has their own likes and dislikes about strings, which is really cool because variety is what makes the world go around.