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DavidNevittBass

Nylon Tapewound advice!

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Thinking of changing my P-Bass and Fretless to nylon tapewounds but need some advice on what to go for! Any brand recommendations? Also confused about the string gauge for them, can anyone help me out?

Cheers

Dave

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Nylon tapes tend to be a slightly higher gauge per string than a typical set of rounds, so you might need to widen your nut slots. I’ve only ever used Labella Black Nylons. They sound fantastic IMO but be prepared to adjust your plucking technique as they are a lot looser feeling than many other string types.

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5 hours ago, CameronJ said:

Nylon tapes tend to be a slightly higher gauge per string than a typical set of rounds, so you might need to widen your nut slots. I’ve only ever used Labella Black Nylons. They sound fantastic IMO but be prepared to adjust your plucking technique as they are a lot looser feeling than many other string types.

Thanks Cameron, that’s really useful advice! How would you describe the sound? 

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Fender on my fretless every time. I like the feel , tension, tone and price.
They have a slight texture rather than being perfectly smooth. The gauge is not too fat (58-110) compared to Rotosound (65-115) so setting the bass up for them isn't too much of a faff. 
Under £30 a set and they last for ages ,I don't use my fretless much these days but the same strings have been on it for at least five years.
Weirdly enough I've hated all other Fender strings that I've tried.

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I use Status tapewounds - 40-100 gauge - the last time I contacted them they only had the medium scale - fine for 2+2 but unsuitable for 4 inline. 

They did have problems with suppliers, not sure if they've resolved these - ring and speak to Dawn.

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2 hours ago, DavidNevittBass said:

Thanks Cameron, that’s really useful advice! How would you describe the sound? 

Thumpy, chewy and old school! Arguably more so than Flatwounds, but they certainly live in the same tonal ballpark. The main difference for me is the way they interact with the frets - tapes have a rubbery/plasticky  “clack” whereas flats have more metallic “clank”. Ultimately though, in a mix, they’ll sound similar enough to not make much difference. The main deciding factor for you will be whether you like looser feel of tapes vs the stiffer feel of most flats.

The video below shows the sound differences pretty well IMO:

 

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They vary a bit in size and tension, for example the Pyramid ones are huge,very floppy but sound completely old, the D'Addario set are almost regular size have a tighter feel and a bit more mid to the sound.  The LaBella range is probably the most varied, and a good place to start.  The one potential problem is that they all block the earth connection through the bridge that exists on most basses - so in some situations there can be an annoying earth buzz that doesn't stop when you touch the strings.  I've had this on one or two places, and it is annoying of you are DI'd into the PA (and playing music with quiet bits!).  

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11 hours ago, BassBod said:

The one potential problem is that they all block the earth connection through the bridge that exists on most basses - so in some situations there can be an annoying earth buzz that doesn't stop when you touch the strings.  I've had this on one or two places, and it is annoying of you are DI'd into the PA (and playing music with quiet bits!).  

This is true!

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On 28/09/2019 at 13:40, DavidNevittBass said:

Thinking of changing my P-Bass and Fretless to nylon tapewounds but need some advice on what to go for! Any brand recommendations? Also confused about the string gauge for them, can anyone help me out?

Cheers

Dave

 

There are a few very different-sounding ones out there.

They're typically black nylon covered. The Rotosound TruBass ones are the closest to a double bass you could get to, probably (of course, you need to adapt the way you play and sound etc, but they have a certain vibe that works well if you're trying to get close to an acoustic bass, especially on fretless). The gauge seems crazy (60-115 or something like that, if I recall correctly). The metal core is thinner and the nylon is somewhat malleable so you may get them in a nut without modification as long as the slots are not too narrow. I used them on one Precision and they fitted ok, but the E string was a bit too tight.

My favourite black nylon is the D'Addario ETB92. Gauge 50-105, fits in any bass I've ever tried. They are quite flexible but not too flexible. They slide well on my fingers (some can feel a bit rubbery, I forget which ones I was using before that were like that) and sound and feel really nice.

There's also these 'white nylon' ones by Labella. They come in standard white, copper or gold varieties. The standard is silvery (the white nylon is actually transparent-ish), and I have used the copper ones too. The gold ones I don't like so much as they seem a little too mid-scooped for my liking. What I like about these is they have a very tight bottom end, with lots of definition, and lovely low mids. They're great for fingerstyle funk lines. They're quite bright, for tapewounds, and very versatile. I prefer the copper variety. Again, I use the 50-105 gauge and they fit just fine in all basses I tried them on. "750T" is the code for the standard ones (I have a packet in front of me, I don't remember the copper ones... but they have a similar enough code and says "copper"). They are very very very flexible, you can bend them from here until tomorrow. They feel a bit plasticky. So it takes a little bit to get used to them, but they're very nice. They have less pull than similar gauge roundwounds so a *tiny* turn of the truss rod nut may be needed, and you may want to play a bit more softly than usual to avoid rattling strings too much. That may seem like a drawback, but it actually is very nice, you get a much better control of your dynamics and they respond very well to how hard you pluck.

If you've never tried tapewounds before, I'd recommend the D'Addario ones, as the change is not as drastic. But if you really like the idea of bendy strings, then give the Labellas a try. You can tame their top end easily (on a passive bass, the tone control is perfect for that kind of string) and get both old school type of sounds or much brighter ones, and they sound great slapped too. Their low end definition and presence is really nice. But they can feel a bit strange until you get used to them. The D'Addario ones feel more 'normal'.

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On 30/09/2019 at 09:25, BassBod said:

They vary a bit in size and tension, for example the Pyramid ones are huge,very floppy but sound completely old, the D'Addario set are almost regular size have a tighter feel and a bit more mid to the sound.  The LaBella range is probably the most varied, and a good place to start.  The one potential problem is that they all block the earth connection through the bridge that exists on most basses - so in some situations there can be an annoying earth buzz that doesn't stop when you touch the strings.  I've had this on one or two places, and it is annoying of you are DI'd into the PA (and playing music with quiet bits!).  

 

That is true, about the buzz. But whenever I had it it was a sign that I could shield the bass better, and when I did the buzz decreased A LOT. Ok, 'whenever' means just two basses now that I think of it. Both Precisions. They had minimal shielding. It takes 30 minutes to shield the bass properly and ensure the bridge ground is connected well, and polepieces too... and then it works pretty well.

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