Warmer strings while keeping finger noise/string squeaking?

Hey everyone,

As I’m approaching the end of the B2B course, I’m currently focusing on my muting technique(s), with mixed results…
Partly because I still have to work on moving my thumb/anchor on the different strings efficiently, but also because my fretting hand is still a bit clumsy from times to times and produce unwanted sliding noises. Nothing time and practice couldn’t fix I guess!

At the same time, I would like to test a new set of strings, I guess flatwounds or tapewounds as I would like to get a warmer tone with a deeper low end, and I find my current strings (stock Yamaha TRBX 174 roundwounds 0.045-0.105) are sometimes a bit too bright. I still would like too keep a tight sound with a clear “definition” (if that makes sense?).

I read that flatwounds, by their design, will eliminate all finger noises (I suppose tapewounds will do the same). It seems like a good feature in theory, except that this will tamper with my current muting concerns and I would like to learn good habits from the start, mute and fret efficiently as soon as possible on whatever type of strings I’m playing on.

So, what kind of strings would you recommend to have a warmer/deeper tone while keeping finger noises (weird request I know)?
Something like the D’Addario Chromes, Fender 9050L? Or maybe another set of warmer roundwouds? What about half rounds?
I also read that roundwounds loose brightness with age, so I guess I could also work on my technique while they age and reconsider my options much later…

Also bonus question: If I want to change the strings without altering the nut, must I restrict myself to the 0.045-0.105 gauges (same specs as the stock strings), or can I go for thinner and/or ticker strings?

Thanks for your input and for reading my wall of text! :pray:


Pure nickel strings supposedly have a very warm and vintage sound, without losing too much brightness. You might want to check out the Fender 7150 (available in Medium, which matches the gauges you are currently using, or in Medium Light).


Flats do help with ‘finger noise’ and muting, but they don’t solve for it.
I noticed when I started playing that I gravitated towards flats for this very reason.
But, I wanted some of the brighter rounds tones too.
Over time your technique simply has to get (and will) get better.
You can get flats for the tone, but you will have to master the technique eventually regardless.

Note, if you are changing stings to something very different you will need to redo your setup. Plenty of threads on it here and a great preview video from Josh he’s working on here…


One option is to turn your amp all the way up. You’ll no longer hear any string squeaks.

A couple of small things help. Use string oil every now and then. Also make sure your hands aren’t super dry.

Mostly, though, it’ll be something that goes away as your fretting gets faster and more deliberate. A lot of what you’re hearing is the sound of you starting to move a finger up or down the string before you’ve fully lifted it off of the string. Time will solve this as you get better at quickly lifting a finger away from the string before shifting it so you’re not shifting while it’s still in contact with the string.

This is something you will get past.


Thanks for the answers,

Actually I’m not bothered by the squeaks, quite the contrary: I would like to “keep them” so I can have feedback and improve my technique accordingly! The thing is: can I find “warmer” strings that still squeaks while I sharpen my technique?
I’m not sure if my original post was clear enough (sorry for that) as English is not my native language. :wink:

@John_E I aleary took the plunge and setup my bass two or three times already (for testing high and low action, changing the bridge, adding foam under the pickups to raise them more etc) that’s fun stuff, so new strings would be a good excuse for another setup! The only thing I haven’t messed with yet is the truss rod.


Truss rod adjustment is always Step #1 in a setup. You should start with that.

Regarding warmer round wound strings (assuming you want to continue using rounds), consider getting some GHS Bass Boomers. Players who generally prefer flats seem to like their darker tone relative to other rounds.


One thing I think you should keep in mind:
If it is string noise your amp is not picking up, it doesn’t matter.

When I bought my second bass and tried it in the shop, I was using an amp after a long time of only practicing with headphones. And I thought: Wow, if I buy this bass, I really need to step up my muting game.
Turned out it just was the sound I heard dirctly from the string. Back to practicing with headphones: All good.

So don’t get too hung up on hearing that squeaking sound and use it as feedback to work on better technique. If the amp doesn’t pick it up, it doesn’t matter.


The OP doesn’t want strings with no string noise. He said he wants to keep the string noise as audible feedback to help improve his technique.


I got that. I just wanted to point out he shouldn’t get to hung up on fixing that string noise.


There are different kinds of flats. Most flats have a hex core, like Labella Deep Talking flats, and don’t have much in the way of brightness. Modern flats have round cores and brighter tones, like Rotosound Monel 77 and Thomastik-Infeld both have clear bright tones. Not as bright as, but surprisingly bright. LaBella lower tension flats also have round cores and more highs.

You have to find the right string for the pickup. Like a Dimarzio Model P just zings with a Roto Monel 77. Beautiful full tone.

As far as string noise, to me it’s like Geezer clacking off the frets, just part of the vibe. You wouldn’t notice it in a mix. And those rounds would sound great in a mix where flats might get lost

But if you play at home only flats would sound great.

Like always, it depends



I usually play my round wounds for ca. 10 weeks. After that, they have almost no brightness left. I put a reminder in my calendar because I will forget otherwise. :grin: Why don’t you just try flats, or half-wounds for the next couple of weeks?

Regarding your tone, you can tweak that a lot with your thumb/anchor position, the way you pluck, and the EQ and tone knob. Try a few extreme settings, if you haven’t. If you have and you’re like Flea who duct taped his tone knob to stay in position, well, you need different strings.



Ernie Ball Cobalt flats. Warm but still trebly.


TI Jazz rounds. Articulate, low tension, low string noise but can boom if needed. They will spoil your hands by how easy they are to play.


@EddieJones You use the JR344? 89-43?

I’m kicking around getting the JR 364 Super Long 101-43 for my 34”.

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Yes, on my Ray34. They will ruin your fingers. Low tension, supple and slinky. You will have to set up your bass again guaranteed.


This^^. Unless you are doing a quiet solo with just bass the string noise would be swallowed in the mix.

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This is a good insight and I agree. It’s always been my theory that new players can tend to like flats better as a crutch until their muting and finger control gets better.


TOTALLY. I actually dig it when I hear string noise in a recording. It’s a nice humanizing factor. I can relate to the bassist or guitarist in that moment.

The feel of the flats I have tried just bugs me. Not my thing. If I ever want to do motown or something, I can EQ my rounds to sound like flats. Can’t do the same in reverse.


I vote u try GHS Pressurewound strings. They have no finger noise and sound the way u want.

Edit: D’addario also has half rounds strings


@Subgenius : it is REALLY hard to make recommendations for something that is ultimately a very personal preference.

I myself try to stay away from direct sentences such as “Try brand X” or “Stay away from brand Y”, “Use this gauge or the other”. While well meant, this might just keep you from trying that set of strings that could turn out to be YOUR favorite strings!

I try to say “I like X, and actually I like Y a bit better”, “I prefer the feel of Z in medium gauge” etc, but how much does this really help you?

With strings, it is a bit of a journey, and I would encourage you to try as many as you can (or your budget allows). You don’t need to try them all (or all at once), but try some “archetypes” (even though there is also a lot variation within the subcategories). For instance (and, again, from my own personal experiences), I wanted to like the idea of half-rounds, but didn’t like them very much after trying, while I was positively surprised by tapewounds.

In the end, it is what YOU like and feel comfortable with, and that is likely to take a bit of time and $$$ to figure out :smile: (And, FWIW, I think you are well on your way in this journey, as you have a lot of good questions and considerations!)


Thanks all for your input, this gives food for thought.
I added several brands/types of strings to the notes for my future self. I keep the TI Jazz rounds high on the list as the reviews are glowing and I’m curious about trying low tension strings one day, those one being on the extreme side of the spectrum.

For now I think I’ll keep my current strings to see how they age and experiment a bit more with the knobs & EQ settings as @antonio said. After all that’s a whole part of the hobby I still have to discover anyway and that would cost me a grand total of zero eurobucks. Also, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice and possibilities so that settles it nicely. :sweat_smile:

I thought the truss rod adjustment was mainly depending on the strings tension, so I was planning to check it only when changing strings as it seemed OK for now, or must I check it from times to times (if it varies with time, temperature, humidity, etc.) regardless if I change strings or not?

Indeed, it seems I entered a rabbit hole and have a long journey ahead, which is exciting!

Thanks again,