I seek the collective wisdom of the bass-hive mind. On my upright is an 11 year old set of Pirastro Obligatos. I cannot remember what it sounded like 11 years ago and Obligatos are famed for being warm with less definition and my ears are surely degraded in that time, but I swear it's far deader and woolly now than when new.
Trouble is bass strings are a not insignificant chunk of change now and I'm not one for wasting strings that can be restored. On my electric one very nice trick I've used successfully is the detune and slap technique. This fairly obviously cannot be done on my upright so does anyone have any tips for bringing a bit of life into strings, particularly Obligatos?
Failing that, what's the general feel for arco and pizz strings these days? I totally get it's personal, but it's been 11 years since I last looked and there are brands I've never heard of now and I don't know where to start! At the time I really liked the sound of Spirocore when plucked, but the scratch when bowed put me off. Is there a proper hybrid on the market now?
A Free Ernie Ball 130 Gauge Bass string, brand new string, I recently Brought a Second hand 4 string Fender precision
which came with a brand new set of strings for a 5 string Bass!! so not required here!!
Super Flexible Solo Gauge Thomastik Rope Core Chrome Wound
Put on my bass once for a day but my bass didn’t suit the lighter tension at orchestral pitch, then carefully removed so condition is as new.
As used by Thomas Morgan.
Posted to be signed for from the Isle Of Wight.
So I have been using a set of D'Addario XL Nickle roundwound strings on my main Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Bass, that I upgraded with a DiMarzio Model P pickup wired directly to the output jack socket, with the J pickup lowered considerably and disconnected, using gauge .095 - .075 - .055 - .040 strings, and tuned in F# standard, 2 half steps above regular 4 string E standard tuning, since I figured out that was best suited for the musical project that has my main focus at the moment, a bass/vocals - drums sort of progressive psychedelic stoner rock duo, where I also run the bass signal through an always on 1 octave up effect, giving an effect somewhat similar to that of an 8 string "octave" bass, with pairs of respectively bass and octave strings (thanks to the editable EQ settings for the signal feed to the octave engine as well as the octave output signal of my TC Electronic Sub'N'Up Mini, and it's as good as flawless polyphonic tracking and exceptional low latency, it actually sound pretty close to natural in the mix, and without any traces of odd digital artifacts).
However I recently found out that the bass riffs for the songs I have been working on for this project sounded even better with the bass tuned an additional half step up, to G strandard tuning, as in 2 half steps bellow A standard baritone tuning, and for that the string gauges I used had just a bit too much tension, being way too inflexible.
So I decided giving the D'Addario NYXL nickle roundwounds a try, which got a new high carbon steel alloy core, and with the nickle wound wrapped tighter together, as well as they have slightly lower tension than similar gauged XL nickle wound strings, making then more flexible and the tighter nickle wounds making them feel a bit smoother.
To get the desired tension I had to use guitar strings for the 3 upper strings though, which has slightly higher tension than the NYXL strings for bass at similar gauge, which I assume means a bit thicker core.
Anyway, so I ended up with a gauge .095 NYXL bass string, and gauge .070 - .053 - .038 NYXL guitar strings, the length of the guitar strings actually fitting perfectly to my Mikro Bass's just 28,6" scale length, threading the guitar string through the cut off ball ends of bass strings, for them to not fall through the bridge string holes.
That combination giving me almost perfectly balanced tension across all 4 strings, which is just about 30 lbs pr string when tuned to G standard (which is 1 to 2 lbs lower than the tension of the A and G string on a regular short scale 30" 4 string bass equipped with a gauge .100 to .045 D'Addario XL Nickle roundwound string set and tuned in regular E standard tuning), pretty much the same as the gauge .095 - .075 - .055 - .040 set tuned in F# standard, only the tension being even more equally balanced, including the .095 string, which otherwise had been about 2 lbs bellow the average tension of the other strings.
And as it turned out they also happens to be really balanced output and tone wise.
But the best thing is the considerably improvement of the tone these strings are responsible for!
Beside the D'Addario NYXL having slightly higher output than regular D'Addario XL Nickle strings, and feeling a bit smoother and really nice on the fingers, they have this really snappy edge and punch, though without being too brittle or harsh, but rather having an exquisite clarity, as well as what sounds like a distinct upper mids boost, which I absolutely love.
They actually got a bit of that stainless steel strings flavor, but without the fret eating part or the coarse feeling of playing on something reminiscent of a metal file.
Time will tell how I like them when they are a bit more broken in and lost that spanking new strings metallic zing, but I can tell already now that even without that fresh string zing I will like the basic tone they deliver a lot more than regular XL strings, and the set of single strings I use is only about 40% more expensive than the XL set I used before, and as the consensus of people who use these strings seems to be that they typically will last up to 3 times longer than regular XL Nickle roundwound strings before they go dull, I'd say it is money well spend.
The D'Addario NYXL nickle roundwound strings with a high carbon steel alloy core is no doubt by far my new favorite strings for bass.
Just "Wauh!", simply amazing strings!
Without question what I am going to use in the future for all my basses, and might even try them out for my electric guitar as well, even if I am actually really satisfied with the Elixir Nanoweb strings that is on my guitar currently (their bass strings not exactly my cup of tea though).
I inherited this 1985 Headless Washburn bantam off my grandmother around a year ago, and in the past 6 months I’ve really got into the bass as my second instrument. As soon as it came through the door we knew it was in dire need of servicing, but we didn’t start until I stupidly snapped one of the strings. Though I’ve taken up the responsibility to fix it up myself, and I’m confident in repairing/replacing parts, I’m unsure what strings would be appropriate for it.
While COVID-19 has given me plenty of time to improve my playing ability, I’ve not been able to go to a store and a have feel of what strings would be suitable and get some first hand suggestions.
I’d appreciate some advice for some good, and relatively affordable strings, preferably some heavier ones with a warm sound.