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Why Do Most Bass Strings Have Silk Wraps?

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Why do most bass strings have silk wraps, and why?

Personally, I can't stand them but luckily for me I use D'Addario Nickels which don't have wraps, but on one of my basses I put Ernie Ball Flats on and they have a sickly purple wrap which I hate, although they do sound good.

I find that after a while they start fraying and particles get everywhere especially at the bridge end.

Is it just me that hates silk wrap on strings? 🤔

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I'm not sure that most do these days.

Whatever the original reason was why manufacturers used to fit them,  a lot of them seem to have found a way around it in the last decade or so.

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as far as I recall (being told this many, many moons ago) the wraps are there to stop the string unwinding.  Or were originally.  It may be something that's been solved for decades but Rotosound still like the look of them...

what stops the wraps unwinding remains unanswered

Like you I'm a D'addario player, and they seem to have solved the unwinding string issue quite effectively.  Can't say I play them specifically because they don't have wraps, but I'm not a big fan

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I also prefer strings without wraps as they somehow look tidier - IMHO.  I use either Elixir or D'addario stainless roundwounds on most of my basses - both non-wrapped.

But I bought a set of D'addario flatwounds for my fretless last year and these do have wraps - though dark blue, so less obvious than some of the louder colours out there.

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6 minutes ago, Jazzmaster62 said:

Wasn't it to protect the finish on the capstan? 

To me, this sounds more likely.

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55 minutes ago, Jazzmaster62 said:

Wasn't it to protect the finish on the capstan? 

Not so sure flatwounds would do much damage, though ALL flatwounds have silks. 

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I think it's just tradition - always been that way and string makers don't wish to change in case it puts purchasers off. Originally, stringed instruments would have had wooden pegs, so the silk helped stop them biting into the pegs. Even with metal, the winding doesn't usually extend to the part that wraps around the peg, so the thinner core under tension would be more likely to mark/damage the peg, whether wood or metal.

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I actually quite like some string silk colours, also it helps me remember sometimes what strings are on different basses, (I really should write it down) , I suppose if you didn’t like the colour you could use a black marker pen 🙂

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1 hour ago, Dan Dare said:

I think it's just tradition - always been that way and string makers don't wish to change in case it puts purchasers off. Originally, stringed instruments would have had wooden pegs, so the silk helped stop them biting into the pegs. Even with metal, the winding doesn't usually extend to the part that wraps around the peg, so the thinner core under tension would be more likely to mark/damage the peg, whether wood or metal.

I think Rotosound were the first to introduce silks. Before then, original electric bass strings were flatwounds with no silks - these strings would last year's without being changed.

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Having wraps on the thicker strings also makes it a bit of a bugger to get the ball end seated properly in the bridge. Or at least it is on some types of bridge.

Must be a right pain on 5 & 6 string basses.

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Posted (edited)

I use EB Slinky roundwounds which have no silk. This pleases me as don’t like the look of silks. 

Interestingly, the auto text on my phone tried to change ‘roundwounds’ to ‘roundworms’, which is a different thread entirely.

Edited by BrunoBass
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12 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

I actually quite like some string silk colours, also it helps me remember sometimes what strings are on different basses, (I really should write it down) , I suppose if you didn’t like the colour you could use a black marker pen 🙂

I like coloured silk wraps too - they look pretty :D

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Just asked Jason How at Rotosound:

Quote

 

"We probably did do it first...

The reason is simple.... the silk wrap helps lock down the string as it’s wound around the machine post. At the ballend it’s cosmetic and we got rid of it a few years back.

Hope this helps!"

 

So there you have it!

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36 minutes ago, ped said:

Just asked Jason How at Rotosound:

So there you have it!

"We probably did do it first...

The reason is simple.... the silk wrap helps lock down the string as it’s wound around the machine post. At the ballend it’s cosmetic and we got rid of it a few years back.

Hope this helps!"

So all the strings without wraps are likely to slip then?

I've never had a problem with them slipping 

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I'm not sure what "lock down" means. Strings come with all sorts of coatings these days, surely manufacturers can add a coating to the tops of strings should they need to grip better, which would be aesthetically better, and better for the environment as it would use less materials, dyes etc.

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Well I don't want to speak for Jason but I know their strings are made on the same machines which were hand made by his father so I guess there's no sense in changing them - presumably other manufacturers started by copying Rotosound and did things in the same way.

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19 hours ago, Monkey Steve said:

what stops the wraps unwinding remains unanswered

 

Actually, that's the easy bit, as any good scout that's indulged in a bit of whipping could tell you. 

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1 minute ago, jacko said:

any good scout that's indulged in a bit of whipping could tell you. 

Or certain MPs...

smiley

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Posted (edited)

Here's why - it's a little know fact that instrument strings are right poseurs, very particular about their appearance and refuse to appear in public without the appropriate neckwear...and a silk cravat does the job admirably.

There - don't tell me your day isn't just a tiny bit richer now that you know that.

No, really....your thanks is enough.

 

Edited by ahpook
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