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Bonzo

I really hate to ask this, but... what strings for P bass?

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Disclaimer. I'm a newbie. Well, I've had a bass 20 odd years ago and now I'm back with a RW MIM 50's P.

Like I say, I'm gutted to be asking this but its a minefield of string options out there to the uninitiated and so I'd like someone with some experience to 'tell' me to put XYZ strings on and see where I am a few months down the line as I've got nothing to go on.

I'm probably not gonna be using a pick, and can't se me slapping if that helps, but happy to be steered and if I hate them I won't hold anyone personal 😉

Cheers guys

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What tone are you after?

Many will say "Flats" - the Fender ones are very reasonably priced at the mo.

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Very rough sketch:

- flats, like Jamerson

- nickel RW, very common, pretty flat response

- SS RW, slap friendly smiley response

Thickness is up to your preference. 30-90 is the twangy slap set, while the 45 is the basic one. Do not forget BEAD sets if you want to go low.

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If you want a thumpy deep tone with not a whole lot of high end zing going on, and I guess more mellow tone, then some kind of flatwounds, but if you want a more lively bright tone with a good amount of zing and snap, and I guess more aggressive tone, then go for nickle roundwounds, or steel roundwounds if you want even more snap, zing and aggression.

I can warmly recommend the D'Addario NYXL nickle roundwound strings, they are not coated but will last longer than regular roundwounds (2 to 3 times as long seems to be the general consensus), due to the tighter rap, which will also make the string feel slightly smother, and the special formula carbon steel alloy core, and in my opinion they also sounds much better than regular strings, they are slightly more expensive than standard strings though, but that pretty much will equal up to them staying fresh longer, so you don't have to change strings nearly as often. 

As for roundwounds in E standard tuning I would properly go for a gauge .100 to .045 set.

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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43 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Wow, like usual no one asks what sound the OP wants. So what sound are you wanting to sound like, any artists or bands do you like? 😃

I didn't literally ask OP that specific question, no, but I did in fact actually explain what type of strings they should get according to what kind of tone they was looking for, in my reply right above your post (well, at least explaining what to expect tone wise from respectively flatwounds, nickle rounwounds and steel roundwounds).

I did then proceed with a recommendation based on my personal preferences, yes, but that was after guiding OP in the general direction of what type of strings to get depending on the tone they was looking for. 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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49 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Wow, like usual no one asks what sound the OP wants. So what sound are you wanting to sound like, any artists or bands do you like? 😃

I did...

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29 minutes ago, Baloney Balderdash said:

I didn't literally ask OP that specific question, no, but I did in fact actually explain what type of strings they should get according to what kind of tone they was looking for, in my reply right above your post (well, at least explaining what to expect tone wise from respectively flatwounds, nickle rounwounds and steel roundwounds).

I did then proceed with a recommendation based on my personal preferences, yes, but that was after guiding OP in the general direction of what type of strings to get depending on the tone they was looking for. 

giphy.gif?cid=82a1493bgaq2puiys57vv9u7j7

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13 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

giphy.gif?cid=82a1493bgaq2puiys57vv9u7j7

Do we all need to run our posts past you first? 

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GHS Precision Flats = made for the job and hard to beat 😎

 

Edited by KiOgon
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2 hours ago, ped said:

Do we all need to run our posts past you first? 

Well, honestly you were the one who insinuated you'd read the whole thread, by complaining about no one posting in the thread considering what would actually be useful to OP, and my reply to OP wasn't even the only post that didn't apply to.

I am personally of the opinion that there's absolutely nothing wrong with posting in a thread without having read every single reply in it, but if you haven't posting a general statement about everything that has been posted in the thread at least seems quite odd to me. 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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22 minutes ago, Baloney Balderdash said:

Well, honestly you were the one who insinuated you'd read the whole thread, by complaining about no one posting in the thread considering what would actually be useful to OP, and my reply to OP wasn't even the only post that didn't apply to.

I am personally of the opinion that there's absolutely nothing wrong with posting in a thread without having read every single reply in it, but if you haven't posting a general statement about everything that has been posted in the thread at least seems quite odd to me. 

Think you might be quoting me by accident?!

Anyway - with strings it’s useful to hear opinions but really the only way is to try them. So many variables come into play, including the added complication of tension and thickness. It’s fun to experiment and takes a long time to find what works for you, and your bass - but fun to chat about too. And that’s what we’re here for!

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3 minutes ago, ped said:

Think you might be quoting me by accident?!

Anyway - with strings it’s useful to hear opinions but really the only way is to try them. So many variables come into play, including the added complication of tension and thickness. It’s fun to experiment and takes a long time to find what works for you, and your bass - but fun to chat about too. And that’s what we’re here for!

You are perfectly right about that. :i-m_so_happy:

I somehow managed to merge two replies by two different people in my mind, you being unlucky to be the wrong one, but seems it doesn't really add up to actual reality...

Doh! :facepalm:

Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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I think we should all go straight to bed 

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Ooh, it all went a bit weird. :crazy:

TheGreek did indeed ask what tone I was looking for, and I found this really difficult to answer. I then got embroiled in something else and lost the day. Apologies for asking for advice and not responding.

Well, what tone am I craving? I honestly don't know. I guess I'll know when I hear/find it.

Bands/artists I like aren't all associated  with the P bass (though some are), but I wouldn't sound like them even if I possessed the skill & creativity. I guess I just want to try and bond with the bass, plonk along, find a groove, learn some runs and enjoy myself.

I do appreciate your recommendations. Like I said earlier, there's so much choice out there it seems a bit daunting and its difficult at the moment to just go out and try stuff, hence me wanting to get a starting point and make my own opinion as I develop. 

I'll absorb what you guys advise and make an informed choice from there - and let you know which way I went👍

 

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2 minutes ago, Bonzo said:

Well, what tone am I craving? I honestly don't know. I guess I'll know when I hear/find it.

Perfect. In which case all the replies here will help.

My advice, just don't buy cheap strings, the strings are the biggest factor of your sound (other than your amp), so never go cheap!

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Hi  @Bonzo it’s worth keeping an eye on the strings for sale on here, they come up fairly often, you will save some money, I’ve done the whole string thing and it can definitely work out expensive , many a night I’ve trawled the for sale section looking for a certain guage or brand 🙂

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12 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

Hi  @Bonzo it’s worth keeping an eye on the strings for sale on here, they come up fairly often, you will save some money, I’ve done the whole string thing and it can definitely work out expensive , many a night I’ve trawled the for sale section looking for a certain guage or brand 🙂

Yeah, its not like they're a fiver a pop so you experiment with loads is it?

Must say I hadnt seen that GHS video that @KeOgon posted before. That is very helpful. Maybe I should just dive in with a set of GHS flats 45-105 and take it from there. (until I wake up tomorrow morning and change my mind :facepalm:)

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1 hour ago, Bonzo said:

Ooh, it all went a bit weird. :crazy:

TheGreek did indeed ask what tone I was looking for, and I found this really difficult to answer. I then got embroiled in something else and lost the day. Apologies for asking for advice and not responding.

Well, what tone am I craving? I honestly don't know. I guess I'll know when I hear/find it.

Bands/artists I like aren't all associated  with the P bass (though some are), but I wouldn't sound like them even if I possessed the skill & creativity. I guess I just want to try and bond with the bass, plonk along, find a groove, learn some runs and enjoy myself.

I do appreciate your recommendations. Like I said earlier, there's so much choice out there it seems a bit daunting and its difficult at the moment to just go out and try stuff, hence me wanting to get a starting point and make my own opinion as I develop. 

I'll absorb what you guys advise and make an informed choice from there - and let you know which way I went👍

 

Favorite genre(s) might help guiding you to the right strings for you, as different string types are more commonly used in different genres?

For example if it was punk I would properly recommend steel roundwounds, if it was motown I might recommend flatwounds, and for rock properly nickle roundwounds, though those are nowhere the only string types used by bass players of those respective genres, but as said some string types are more commonly used in certain genres than others. 

I'd say that even though flatwounds is no doubt a classic P tone, it is just as associated with rock and roundwounds, but nickle roundwounds would properly be the best all round choice for you, as it kind of provides a less specialized sort of tone, somewhat being a more versatile string choice, in many ways a middle ground between the two extremes of the deep mellow thump of flatwounds and the bright aggressive snappy zing of steel roundwounds. 

In that it is not too hard to make nickle roundwounds sound pretty close to flatwounds, by rolling off the tone of the bass and eventual installing a simple foam mute under the strings down by the bridge, while on the other hand, with a bit of EQ'ing, boosting some upper mids and high end frequencies, with the tone wide open and using a pick, nickle roundwounds also got enough zing and snap in them to being capable of sounding nearly as agressive as steel roundwounds.

The other way around would get considerably more problematic, this especially being true for flatwound strings. 

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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