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Christian Jones

Bass players? What are you absolute favorite strings, and what do they cost?

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Just curious. I play a Lakeland 35" scale 5-string and unfortunately my favorite strings (Ken Smith RMM-5X) cost about $30 a set. There's no way around that for me and I know this is the bane of a lot of bass players who are geeks about their tone. I used to use a tapered DR set that I thought were great before I tried the Smiths. I thought the Smiths were too damn expensive for something that gets changed out somewhat frequently, so I tried an Ernie Ball set I think it was at around $17/set or something and found them lifeless in comparison and immediately took them off and just haven't wanted to try any money on another set from another brand since. I'm glad I decided to try the Smiths back when I did as they sound amazing, but they've ruined me for strings and bass isn't even my primary instrument. Another thing that sucks is the B always goes first and when it goes the whole set has to go even though the other strings still sound fine.

What are you guys using? I guess $30/set is about normal for an upper-tier set. Lame. 

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Geez, well I haven't priced bass strings in a while since I settled on the Smiths and now I'm seeing similar quality 5-string sets selling for around $40. What the heck man. I get about a month or so out of mine before the B goes. 

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3 hours ago, Chris Jones said:

I get about a month or so out of mine before the B goes. 

I do not play bass that often, so assume this is from corrosion? Without changing your choice of strings, one option to try is to keep baking soda handy to dust your fingers with prior to touching strings. It will not only neutralize acid in finger oil, but steel corrodes significantly less slowly when exposed to higher pHs. You could also wipe strings down with a cloth dusted with baking soda before/after playing.

Elixir strings are coated, but I didn't like the sound of them on guitar strings. They are another option, but an expensive gamble. If corrosion is your enemy, I would recommend sticking with what you prefer and trying the above. Baking soda isn't high enough pH to cause issues, but will remove an acidic environment for your playing.

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I used to like Dean Markley's Blue Steel strings, but they don't seem available since i moved to a smaller town.

I just bought D'Addario XL Nickel Wounds, they're pretty good.  $35 Canadian, probably around $25US.

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Not sure of the brand--good quality, but because I'm not really a bass player, per se. (I just use it to record a track and then move on) I love flat wound. They feel great! Mine were about $40, from what I recall.

Edited by razor7music

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I use nickelwound Curt Mangan strings on my Gibson SG, but he also offers stainless, phosphor, nickelwound (coated), and flats. Made in the US of A.

Go here for sets: https://www.curtmangan.com/5-string-bass/

Go here for single strings: https://www.curtmangan.com/single-strings-bass/

The 5-string nickelwound sets are under $35 and a single nickel wound 110/120/130 B string is just over $8. No need to change the set out.

The owner of AZ Music Pro here in Flagstaff turned me on to these strings. Really happy so far.

Edited by John Maar

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HI:) 

I never changed my strings, what for?? They're still sounding good for my music. 

You should change your strings often if you are slapping a lot....

 

Bassman.

 

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I don't change bass strings often, but this is what I used last and was happy with them:

image.png.55a283213734f856a056c39cf464fe8d.png

There around £15 in the UK. Amazon is listing them as $16.50 in the US.

Still to choose a set for my fretless though...

Edited by msmcleod

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I use GHS "Brite Flats" on my basses (they used to be called "ground wounds").  However they only make a 4 string set and I have to buy a separate string for the 5th string.  I buy them at juststrings.com as they stock the separate string for the 5th string.

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Yeah bass players especially can go without changing their strings for a long time. I even knew a guy who would take other people's used strings for his bass. I think that comes down to how you play and what sound you like and also the bass itself. I play w/ both pick and fingers (no slap) and I tend to dig in pretty hard and after a while I lose my twang. Thing is I love twang and on my guitars and basses... not zing, but twang, and I know a lot of guys seem to want a warm sound. I ended up w/ the Smiths because I was researching for a set w/ the best B string on a 35" scale. I may try some of your guys' suggestions though. 

I forgot to mention because it just occurred to me, that my strings are probably going to die quicker than other people's because I am a hand lotion freak. It's one of those things like chapstick that I'm addicted to and can't live without. I mean I don't go and pick up my guitars with my hands all lotiony or anything and they're always "dry," but this is no doubt killing my strings quicker I'm sure. I do have one of those fret cleaning systems like Fast Fret (but something else) and use it after playing and maybe it helps. Perhaps I can make myself rinse my hands before playing, just for when I'm playing, but then I'd be going w/o hand lotion *very* often! Probably I need to see about kicking the lotion. 

 

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My old guitar player used to wipe his strings with a cloth he had sprayed with WD-40. He claimed it made them last longer without getting dull.
I don't know; I couldn't stand its odor.

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1 hour ago, 57Gregy said:

My old guitar player used to wipe his strings with a cloth he had sprayed with WD-40. He claimed it made them last longer without getting dull.
I don't know; I couldn't stand its odor.

I hope no-one tries smoking near him... that stuff is like napalm in a can!

I found Mr Sheen or Pledge or some other generic household spray polish works just as well.

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I use a Blitz cloth to wipe down the strings on my Pedal Steel.  It would probably work for others too.  The cloth seems to last forever.

Paul Franklin,  a "big time" Nashville session picker first told me about the Blitz cloth.

 

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I'm like Macca when asked what strings he uses and he said he asks the shop keeper for "the shiny ones".

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Actually I use different strings for different basses.

Since I have 9 basses that means at least 6 different types/gaugeg/brands of stings.

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6 minutes ago, Bapu said:

Actually I use different strings for different basses.

Since I have 9 basses that means at least 6 different types/gaugeg/brands of stings.

Which ones use Silly String? 😀

 

(For the record, I used GHS Boomers and Elixers which were nicer on bass since they tended to shred - in a bad way - on guitar.)

Edited by craigb

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