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I'm thinking of biting the bullet, raiding the piggy bank and delving into the world of DR Handmade Strings. I've done a little research and I'm torn between Sunbeams and Fat Beams. With their acclaimed increased mids, I think the latter may be more to my taste. Has anyone any experience of the Sunbeams and/or the Fat Beams that they could share?

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Well, I am an endorsee (not really - I just love them) of the Sunbeams.  The Fat beams are stainless steel so that's going to be a big difference between them as the Sunbeams are nickel.  I have tried Hi-beams and Sunbeams and prefer Sunbeams but I have not tried Fat-Beams.  That said what I like about Sunbeams is that they are very even toned over time and over the different size strings.  I find they last well and feel fabulous.  I use 40-100 gauge and they bend and vibrato like magic.  I use them on fretted and fretless.

That's my penny-worth

Davo

 

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I only use Sunbeams (5 string basses) and wont buy anything else now. Easy on the fingers and sound great for absolutely ages. I don't even consider any other make nowadays.

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Never used them, but the OP gave me the impression they would be mega-bucks. Not too bad, a bit more than the D'Addarios I use but not silly money.. My question will be Sun, Fat or Hi... I don't need huge top, but wide range mids and the lower highs, plus crisp very tonal E. I'll read the DR site info, but any pointers? (I use D'Addario 45-100 nickel rounds).

re: plus crisp very tonal E - hard in words, but clarity of pitch, not muddy or thumpy. Tend to like a fair bit of tension in the E and prefer 100 to 105 as it feels / sounds more dynamic - in theory I'm thinking a bit lower mass... but who really knows :)

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Worth looking at Amazon (global store) whatever you decide.  DR strings are much cheaper coming from the US and you get reimbursed the import fees.  Normally delivered within the week also.  

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9 minutes ago, Alba said:

DR strings are much cheaper coming from the US

Now that's handy - just so happens I know someone regularly visits Houston. Could get a few sets shipped there. Question is which ones...

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18 minutes ago, Alba said:

Worth looking at Amazon (global store) whatever you decide.  DR strings are much cheaper coming from the US and you get reimbursed the import fees.  Normally delivered within the week also.  

Indeed. I've just bought a couple of sets of Black Beauties from Amazon at £23 a pop all in and delivered within a week as you said.

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I have used most DR strings and settled for either steel Lo-Riders or Hi-Beams. I used DR for 10 years or more, recently I've been trying a set of D'Addario NYXL strings on my Jazz. I'm probably switching to the NYXL's. IMO they match DR for feel, tone and longevity.

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Only use Sunbeams now and I've tried loads over the years. I'd never say they're the best as it's horses for courses but they just suit me for the sound and feel.  I also buy mine from US sellers. 

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Posted (edited)

I used a set of Sunbeams for a short period of time.  I liked them and wouldn't hesitate using them again if I went back to round wounds.  I just checked Amazon.co.uk as i remembered they were inexpensive and the 40-100 gauge are currently selling for less than £20(dispatched from the US).

Edited by PJ-Bassist
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+1 on Amazon global store, you can save a fortune on DR strings.

I have tried sunbeams and hi beams and love them, best strings I’ve used. Not pthat i’ve used many higher end strings but certainly far better than Rotosounds and Ernie Balls.

DR are the only strings I use on my acoustic guitar, truly outstanding.

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Read all the stuff on the DR site and I'm planning getting some sunbeams soon - keen to compare with my usual D'Addario 45-100s.

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I just bought a set of Black Beauties from the US, I used them many moons ago and liked them so I thought I'd give them a whirl on my Thumb bass. But my preferred string is the Lo-Rider and as mentioned above they're a great price on Amazon. I'll be ordering a set pretty soon. 

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Posted (edited)

The only DRs I REALLY liked were the Jonas Hellborg Signature sets.  Despite them being 40-100s , the windings were of a bigger diameter/gauge to that of what I'd consider as being regular strings.  They felt comfortable, good tonally.

I think these have actually been discontinued, but sets come up on eBay periodically; they're definitely worth a punt if you can find some.  I have one unused set that I'll use next time I'm swapping strings.

 

 

Edited by NancyJohnson

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Posted (edited)
On 13/03/2019 at 10:17, MoJo said:

I'm thinking of biting the bullet, raiding the piggy bank and delving into the world of DR Handmade Strings. I've done a little research and I'm torn between Sunbeams and Fat Beams. With their acclaimed increased mids, I think the latter may be more to my taste. Has anyone any experience of the Sunbeams and/or the Fat Beams that they could share?

 

I think you won't go wrong with either. They're my two favourite strings. I tend to favour Fat Beams. I don't love them initially as they are pretty bright as most stainless steel strings tend to be, but they quickly settle into a slightly tamer zone that lasts a LONG time. They feel nice on the fingers, smooth and flexible, and sound great on anything I've tried really. They are the only strings I use on my Stingrays.

SunBeams are slightly differernt but they really aren't that far from Fat Beams. When fresh they're not quite as bright, so they don't have that initial period where I wish the zing weren't there, and they're maybe a little more 'polite' than Fat Beams... but it's not that one is better than the other. I have been using them on my Precision and PJ basses, where I previously had Fat Beams, and I can't say which is better. They're just slightly different, but both are very good. SunBeams a bit smoother perhaps and the low mids stronger on the Fat Beams... but there really isn't that much between them after a week playing them. 

Both are great choices, for my liking, with Fat Beams slightly being favoured. 

 

I discovered Fat Beams by chance. I bought a used USA MM SUB a few years ago. The strings had a lot of life in them and sounded good, so I kept them, which is unusual as I generally rip off whatever strings any bass comes with and put my own, especially if used!

The bass sounded great. I thought it was just the bass. The pickup is wired in series rather than parallel and I seemed to like that punchier sound a lot. I was in a RHCP tribute band at the time. Then one night, I broke a string. The only time I ever broke a bass string, and of course it was live. The G string. We were playing Blackeyed Blonde, which makes the G string in particular take a beating as I am not the subtlest kind of player when it comes to slap, especially in a fast song like that. I finished the song without it... and took a new set of strings from my bag while the band started jamming with made up lyrics making fun of me and how I broke my G string 😛 

I had a set of nickel D'Addario roundwounds, which were what I generally used then as they sounded and felt good and the price was reasonable. I replaced just the G string, to be quick... and I wanted to cry. It was so out of balance! Same gauge (I measured it with calipers at home) but there was a distinct lack of volume and body. It wasn't just quieter... it just didn't have... girth... 

Finished the gig, replaced the other strings... and what a sad bass that was. I mean, objectively, it wasn't BAD... but it felt like it was a sad depressed bass compared to the happy confident instrument I had before. So I took pictures and set out to find what strings they were, in this very forum, as others do at times. The consensus was they were likely DR Fat Beams. I didn't like that answer as the price was over 2x what I was paying for D'Addario at the time, but I bit the bullet and bought a set.

When it arrived... I was happy it very much looked like my old strings. I installed them and they were so much better than the D'Addario ones! Still.. not quite right, I felt. But it only took a week or two to start feeling THAT sound. The strings I was used to were clearly not new, and I just needed to get over the initial extra zing of the new strings. Very soon, that bass was happy again.

I've tried many other strings since, as I'm always curious to try new things... but Fat Beams are the ones for me. The only other roundwounds that I've liked enough were SunBeams.

I use both 45-105 and 45-100. Gauge 40 on the G is a bit too weak and didn't like it. The 45-100 is the better balanced one, in my opinion. The E string is strong but not overpowering and the G has good volume. Great strings to bend, if you're into that.

Edited by mcnach
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On 13/03/2019 at 11:08, Soledad said:

Never used them, but the OP gave me the impression they would be mega-bucks. Not too bad, a bit more than the D'Addarios I use but not silly money.. My question will be Sun, Fat or Hi... I don't need huge top, but wide range mids and the lower highs, plus crisp very tonal E. I'll read the DR site info, but any pointers? (I use D'Addario 45-100 nickel rounds).

re: plus crisp very tonal E - hard in words, but clarity of pitch, not muddy or thumpy. Tend to like a fair bit of tension in the E and prefer 100 to 105 as it feels / sounds more dynamic - in theory I'm thinking a bit lower mass... but who really knows :)

 

Try Hi Beams.

They're nice strings, but they feel a bit more taut than the other two, and the E and A strings in particular sound crisper longer. It's the reason I prefer Fat Beams. I like low strings with good definition but I'm not into 'piano' crisp tones. Hi Beams do that better than Fat or Sunbeams.

I found out when I bought Hi Beams by mistake and I couldn't figure out why the bass was so different... until I saw the package on my recycling bin :D

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1 hour ago, mcnach said:

they're maybe a little more 'polite' than Fat Beams

I can get that :)
OK> sold, I may throw a set of Suns in but Fats sound my kind of thing. Plan a few sets shipped from the US - in for a penny, in for a quid.

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I’m interested in trying different (45-100 gauge) strings on my Stingray’s.

I’ve been using Ernie Ball Slinky’s (Nickel) and D’Addario NYXL’s lately and found I much prefer the tone and tension of the Slinky’s.

Can anyone shed some light on how the DR Sunbeams and Fatbeams compare to the above please?

 

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DR’s all the way 

Have DDT’s - just tries some Hi Beams - amazing strings and also some nickel Lo-riders

My fave make

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I'm a very happy user of the Pure Blues strings. I briefly tried Sunbeams on the same bass but the gauges were too small for the way the nut is cut. Preferred the feel and sound of the PB in the next size up, but this was certainly not a fair fight. In any case, the PB last a good year or so on my fretted fiver, with very little tonal changes after the first week or three.

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Posted (edited)

ive used DRS for the last 25 years (on and off). i started on High beams then went to sunbeams, depending on what basses i was using at the time!  High beams/suns are steel/nickel versions of the same string, which has a round core and is very pliant and "bendable" with a great loose feel. The High beams have plenty of bass and lots of crisp treble and a definite mid scoop and are lovely for slap and modern funky R&B/Gospel tones, the Sunbeams are a lot warmer and deeper but still have a lovely clarity , the Fat beams are high beams with more bass so are a good middle ground between the two (they sound like High beams that have been played for a few weeks).

To add to the roster the colored/coated strings are nickel plated steel like the sunbeams and have a very warm tone with a lot less treble than the sunbeams! they also do "Quantum Nickel" which is supposed to sound like steel but they still arnt as bright as high beams. i currently use High beams on my basses as they've become part of my tone and i feel any excessive brightness can be tamed, but a dull lifeless string cant be brightened. I love DR but ive had a few duff sets over the last couple of years and my emailed to DR on the subject were ignored!!!!! not something they built their reputation on, and i would go to another brand , but every time i do! they dont sound as good to me ( i really wanted to like dunlop superbrights but meh!!)

 

Ive not gone into Lo riders as i tried them once and hated them :)

 

Edited by lee650

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11 hours ago, gazhowe said:

I’m interested in trying different (45-100 gauge) strings on my Stingray’s.

I’ve been using Ernie Ball Slinky’s (Nickel) and D’Addario NYXL’s lately and found I much prefer the tone and tension of the Slinky’s.

Can anyone shed some light on how the DR Sunbeams and Fatbeams compare to the above please?

 

 

A bit more flexible than the EB's. 

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5 hours ago, Passinwind said:

I'm a very happy user of the Pure Blues strings. I briefly tried Sunbeams on the same bass but the gauges were too small for the way the nut is cut. Preferred the feel and sound of the PB in the next size up, but this was certainly not a fair fight. In any case, the PB last a good year or so on my fretted fiver, with very little tonal changes after the first week or three.

 

The Pure Blues is the one type of DRs I haven't tried and it's been recommended to me by others with similar tastes to mine... hmmm.

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I've tried Hi-Beams and Fat-beams

Both feel great - they both have a round core rather than hex which means they feel nice on the flexibility stakes. The Hi-beams I don't get on with massively, as they age the tone gets a bit uneven.
Fat-beams have no kinda problem and are simply amazing. Big full sound and best of all, as they age the tone doesn't change much. They last for ages until they hit a wall and go really dead. In my experience of having them as my favoured string for the last 10 years or so I would say that the "dead" zone comes after a year and a half! They are great. 

For a lower cost similar alternative Newtone round core strings are pretty good and I enjoy them. 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, mcnach said:

 

The Pure Blues is the one type of DRs I haven't tried and it's been recommended to me by others with similar tastes to mine... hmmm.

I've never tried the Pure Blues on a bass, but I put a set of my usual 10s on a skinny stringer Tele and had to take them off after a couple of weeks.

They sounded great, but the tension on them felt like the guitar was strung with strings a couple of gauges higher, to the point where I was struggling to complete string bends that I normally don't even think about.

Edited by Cato
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