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StickyDBRmf

Acoustic/electric bass string choice? Why bronze? Why not nickel round wound?

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Hey I got an orphan Ibanez acoustic/electric bass and I'm wondering why not D'Addario nickel round wound, like I have on every other bass, guitar, and Chapman Stick (the string supplier) that I own? What's with the bronze strings? It's not like I'm gonna go to an open mike and play in front of an OPEN MIKE. Anyone give me a reason to put bronze strings on, as opposed to what I'm used to? Am I missing something? 

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You can use whatever you want. Try different strings and find the most suitable set for you and your bass.

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Posted (edited)
On 13/08/2020 at 17:50, StickyDBRmf said:

Hey I got an orphan Ibanez acoustic/electric bass and I'm wondering why not D'Addario nickel round wound, like I have on every other bass, guitar, and Chapman Stick (the string supplier) that I own? What's with the bronze strings? It's not like I'm gonna go to an open mike and play in front of an OPEN MIKE. Anyone give me a reason to put bronze strings on, as opposed to what I'm used to? Am I missing something? 

Might it be to do with tension/load on the bridge?, or possibly they vibrate more, hence more volume?

Edited by Count Bassy
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I think the bronze thing works well for guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, etc. as it has a bright, ringing sound which enhances the voice of the instruments in the most sensitive part of our hearing. Essentially, it makes the sound as loud as possible and, arguably, suits the pitch of the notes and placement in the mix of the instruments.

Personally, I find bronze strings on an acoustic bass very brash and aggressive, and not the sound I expect from one. The acoustic bass guitar is an oddity in that it very much exists as a bass version of an acoustic guitar, so is barely usable in an ensemble without amplification. Therefore, that 'volume at all costs' bronze tone isn't a practical requirement as there will need to be amplification present anyway, and unlike many other stringed instruments that tone doesn't really match the pitch or mix placement of the bass.

This isn't to say that acoustic basses can't sound great with bronze strings, but they are really an electric instrument which only looks like an acoustic guitar. Those bronze strings really accentuate that. When I owned one I was looking for a 'mini double bass', and used steel flatwounds. Sure, they were quieter than bronze, but it was only a shift from unusably quiet to even more unusably quiet! What I did get was a tone which worked much better for what I was trying to achieve. For recording I would plug in and also mic up, which gave a great acoustic sound, with the pickup providing that bottom octave or two which the body could barely produce quietly, let alone at any volume. It was cool.

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Bronze strings are fine if you only play acoustically but I always change them whenever I buy an acoustic as they make that horrible slidey squeaky noise. The last one I had I fitted a set of D'addario Chromes

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I really don't like bronze strings on acoustic. I put a set of TI Jazz flats on my acoustic and they sound (and feel) much better.

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Bronze strings are great, as long as you're the sort of person that loves the sound of a bottle bank being emptied. 

If not try something else. I've got Fender 9120 black nylon strings on both of my acoustic basses, they sound and feel lovely. 

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I dislike phosphor bronze, and I know lots of other players that do, as well.   

I actually have nickel on my acoustic.  

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I used TI flats on my electro acoustic - they were a lot quieter than a bronze set but I prefered the feel and the tone.

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Just a note of caution  that the popular shorter scale Ibanez acoustic basses  (I have the PNB14 E) use a bronze D Addario string developed for the Taylor GS mini bass. These are nylon strings and these instruments are effectively bass versions of nylon strung guitars. Stringing with normal bass strings with much greater tension could quite possibly damage the instrument. 

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If you plan on using amp your string options are wider. I asked this question to D'Addario and was told  to be careful with tension, they recommended their light strings[40-95 I believe] as I have bridge pins on my Takamine.

I use my AEB for noodling or practicing on couch and will never use plugged in. I have learned how to play with less string noise from Bronze D'Addarios that came with Bass plus they have aged some; BUT still annoying, so I ordered and just received GHS Pressurewound Bronze was told less string noise low tension [light gauge]  and no loss of Acoustic volume; which in how I use is important.

If I was plugging in I would check out LaBella LTF's should be no squeaks

I have not put GHS on yet, I will get a  local Luthier to do it first time; [and watch]The bridge pins and seating string ball properly scare the crap out of me😀

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6 hours ago, Nebadon2000 said:

If you plan on using amp your string options are wider. I asked this question to D'Addario and was told  to be careful with tension, they recommended their light strings[40-95 I believe] as I have bridge pins on my Takamine.

I use my AEB for noodling or practicing on couch and will never use plugged in. I have learned how to play with less string noise from Bronze D'Addarios that came with Bass plus they have aged some; BUT still annoying, so I ordered and just received GHS Pressurewound Bronze was told less string noise low tension [light gauge]  and no loss of Acoustic volume; which in how I use is important.

If I was plugging in I would check out LaBella LTF's should be no squeaks

I have not put GHS on yet, I will get a  local Luthier to do it first time; [and watch]The bridge pins and seating string ball properly scare the crap out of me😀

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the GHS set. I’m a long time user of bronzewounds, and always been fairly happy with what I’ve had. Started out using Elites, then went onto D’Addarios and now Fender 8060’s ( which I have a feeling may be made by D’Addario?). The Fenders are well priced and last a reasonably long time, although don’t seem to give much warning of when they need changing! I’ve been meaning to try some other types of strings for a while now, so keep us posted. Cheers.

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On 16/08/2020 at 21:15, Jus Lukin said:

Personally, I find bronze strings on an acoustic bass very brash and aggressive, and not the sound I expect from one.

I have to agree. The brightness of bronze strings also makes for lots of extra finger noise when playing, so imperfections in your technique will stand out extra.

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All my acoustic basses (I seem to have accumulated three of them☺️) are strung with nickel flats. I particularly like the La Bella low tension flats as these seem to suit acoustic basses.

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On acoustic I have always used La Bella low tension flats, or Thomastick flats (low tension as well), as it makes much more sense in terms of sound and ease to play. It won't ever get a double bass type of sound, but I aim more like a Takamine TB10 type of thing and it works.

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On 01/10/2020 at 04:25, casapete said:

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the GHS set. I’m a long time user of bronzewounds, and always been fairly happy with what I’ve had. Started out using Elites, then went onto D’Addarios and now Fender 8060’s ( which I have a feeling may be made by D’Addario?). The Fenders are well priced and last a reasonably long time, although don’t seem to give much warning of when they need changing! I’ve been meaning to try some other types of strings for a while now, so keep us posted. Cheers.

Just got them on yesterday but my first impression aligns with GHS own copy; [would add they feel great also]

from GHS website;

"GHS Pressurewound Bronze strings are an exciting development. The final cover is run through precision rollers during the winding process, slightly flattening the wrap. This process results in the first phosphor bronze bass string that does not have harsh and abrasive overtones and finger noise, just a smooth mid-focused sound."

PS; My broken in D'Addario Bronze had less of the negative effects described and sounded pretty good but unless you were careful string squeak was annoyingly loud and disruptive. The GHS have the good qualities [loud, bright, clear, easy to fret] but none of bad quality's.

 

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2 minutes ago, Nebadon2000 said:

Just got them on yesterday but my first impression aligns with GHS own copy; [would add they feel great also]

from GHS website;

"GHS Pressurewound Bronze strings are an exciting development. The final cover is run through precision rollers during the winding process, slightly flattening the wrap. This process results in the first phosphor bronze bass string that does not have harsh and abrasive overtones and finger noise, just a smooth mid-focused sound."

PS; My broken in D'Addario Bronze had less of the negative effects described and sounded pretty good but unless you were careful string squeak was annoyingly loud and disruptive. The GHS have the good qualities [loud, bright, clear, easy to fret] but none of bad quality's.

 

Interesting stuff, thanks for posting. Sounds like I’ll have to track some down ( for whenever I start gigging again though....)

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I think the bronze strings pump out the volume but compromise on tone with an acoustic bass. Personally I prefer flats on an electro acoustic bass as the tone is more to my taste... but of course the volume is compromised.

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On 26/10/2020 at 05:37, Cat Burrito said:

I think the bronze strings pump out the volume but compromise on tone with an acoustic bass. Personally I prefer flats on an electro acoustic bass as the tone is more to my taste... but of course the volume is compromised.

I hear ya, If I was going to plug in for Gig's I would try some La Bella LTF. The tone with GHS Pressurewound Bronze is more than acceptable for me just noodling/practicing on couch mainly.

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I no longer have any acoustic/electric basses, but when I did, nothing sounded nearly as loud as the bronze strings.  Also they were still rather warm as compared to nickel. If you are only going to play it plugged in, or with a pick,.there is a lot that you can get away with.  Flats and tapewounds sound fantastic on an acoustic bass that is plugged in... But if you're playing fingers, unplugged, and want to get enough dB out of that thing to keep up with a guitar, bronze is the only way to go!

Edited by Collin Bass

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Interesting thread. I've been wondering recently why we don't use Bronze strings on electric basses...you've answered my unasked question.

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On 14/11/2020 at 09:37, TheGreek said:

Interesting thread. I've been wondering recently why we don't use Bronze strings on electric basses...you've answered my unasked question.

Good Gosh. They would look ugly

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