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Author Topic: How often do you change your strings?  (Read 6119 times)
sister_bass
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« on: September 17, 2010, 08:17:12 PM »

So, I was looking at my strings last night and noticed it looks like they're peeling - like they have a plastic coating - and that plastic coating is starting to peel away right in the areas that I pluck the most.  Is that a sign that I need new strings?

I'm still new at this, so all insight is appreciated.  Smiley
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2bhumble (Dave)
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 01:11:13 AM »

A lot of strings today are coated with plastic and there are some bassist that prefer coated strings.

The condition of how you prefer your strings is up to you. There are some that want there strings old and worn and some that change there strings quite often.
I remember reading about a guy and I can't remember his name right off but he is a professional bassist and he changes strings everytime he plays.
Personally I like strings after they have been played a lot.

It really comes down to the feel of the strings and the sound of the strings and what you like and want.

But getting back to your question, if the coating on the strings are starting to crack I would change them. 

When is comes to a cheaper string that is not coated I have always had good luck with Hartke strings. I have a set of DR Black Beauties on a Homebrew P bass I built myself and they are coated strings and they have been on this bass for quite some time and show no signs of wear.

Elixir's are very good strings and they are also coated.

I am not suggesting that you should use any of these brands unless you think they are what you want. Strings are like your bass. You buy what suits your feel, style, and sound.


I hope I have helped you.

Dave
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sister_bass
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2010, 04:08:19 PM »

Yes, Dave, this helps - thanks!

In the past I've bought D'Addario nickel round wounds, but have never experienced peeling. I have no idea what strings are on my bass right now because I just bought it in February, and these are the strings that came on it.  All I know is that I fell in love with the throaty, growly, sound that these strings produce...

...which leads me to my next question:  Should I stick with the D'Addario's mentioned above, or what other tried and true brands are there that produce this sound? 
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2bhumble (Dave)
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2010, 07:23:39 PM »

I almost hate to suggest any brand or style of string. What you call a throaty growly sound might be different from what I call the same sound.

As I said before, I have a set of DR Black Beauties on my p bass and I like them however I have a set of Roto Sound on my J Bass and I feel they have a deeper tone. But you also need to consider my EQ setting's that factor into the deep sound. 

Probably some of the best strings I have used which have produced a deep growly sound was GHS Boomers.

Hopefully some of the other ABer's will jump in here and share some of there experience and knowledge on strings.

Dave
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chrisfbass
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 03:50:49 AM »

I have played bass all my life and still don't know the "best" strings. Of course there is no such thing. Best tip is to try everything over the next couple of years - but first get the guage right. Nothing worse than strings that feel too heavy (or too light).

My most recent buys have been DR strings that seem to last a long time. My luthier (Wal basses) uses D'Addario's - he was good enough to check my preference for guage at set-up time on my latest bass, knowing that that is a major factor - I like them as light as possible.

BTW I also liked Ernie ball strings - great zzingy harmonics on my Stingray . . .
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Chris
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 09:37:28 AM »

As Dave alluded to, strings are very personal as is your bass. Feel and sound are vital and longevity if you can get it.

I've not used coated strings yet so can't comment on their performance or how long they might last.  But I agree, if they're starting to peel, I believe it's time for a change.

I used DR Sunbeams for the last several years and they are a great fit for my G&L basses.  I usually change around every 6 to 8 months just to keep a nice fresh tone going.   I could probably even go a year.

The Sunbeams are nickel round-wounds rather than stainless and still have a nice brightness and enough growl for me.  I've been using DR strings for ten years or more and am quite pleased with the life of the strings and their   sound. I prefer the medium-lutes, which perform well with the G&L pickups.

Your hands and ears will tell you what feels and sounds good to you.

I've used Roto Sound flat-wounds, but they died rather quickly.
For a long while, when I could get them, I used Dean Markly ground-wounds, which sounded nice and were easy on the hands.

DR claims their strings are wound so as not to eat frets and feel good.  And, that is subject to any player's   opinion.

There are a lot of string choices out there and as you progress in your playing, you will hone in on what you want and expect from your instrument.


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Larry
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 12:35:46 PM »

If you really like the strings you are using, contact the manufactor and ask them what brand they use.

If I was to guess - a seven month old set of coated strings that are already fraying, I would say Elixirs, poly webs - which I do not think are available is bass sets anymore, but I could be mistaken. Elixirs do have a great sound (growly Huh). To me they sound 'broke-in' when new, and retain their tone very very long. I think Elixir only makes the nano-web bass strings - having dropped the poly-webs.

I would call un-coated round wound strings 'clancky' or 'zingy' not growly.

I have also used DR's, and I like them, but not better than elixirs. but two of my basses currently have DRs on them.
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sister_bass
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2010, 08:50:33 PM »

If you really like the strings you are using, contact the manufactor and ask them what brand they use.

If I was to guess - a seven month old set of coated strings that are already fraying, I would say Elixirs, poly webs - which I do not think are available is bass sets anymore, but I could be mistaken. Elixirs do have a great sound (growly Huh). To me they sound 'broke-in' when new, and retain their tone very very long. I think Elixir only makes the nano-web bass strings - having dropped the poly-webs.

I would call un-coated round wound strings 'clancky' or 'zingy' not growly.

I have also used DR's, and I like them, but not better than elixirs. but two of my basses currently have DRs on them.

Excellent idea Mr. Bassman - THANK YOU!  I'll do just that.

Thank you all for your insight and suggestions; I'll take them all into consideration.  Thank God I found this forum!   Grin
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spiritbass
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2010, 09:14:12 AM »

I buy stainless steel round-wounds in bulk so that I can afford to change every 6-8 weeks on my four-string basses.
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Ken

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rfclef
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2010, 05:34:12 PM »

On my main bass (Birdsong Cortobass), I put a new set of Curt Mangans on every 6 months or so...  longer than that and I feel like I am losing the zing.   I had some that had gone 8 months, and I broke the G at practice... (now am I a man...)...

On my backup (SX Ursa shorty "jazz"), still have the flats it came with 2nd hand, and will probably never change em cause it is my backup. 

On my Daisy Rock ABG:  I don't like the strings on it, will likely put some flats on it and leave em.

On my modded Epiphone SG "viking bass", I had some DR green (E & G) and yellow (A & D) strings on it... I added 2 pickups to it, painted body as the face of a Viking (horns n all) and a green & yellow paint job to play with my kids at ball games (HS mascot is Viking, colors are green & yellow)...  I took them off and put some Curt Mangans on it cause I did not like the feel of the DRs, personally...  which reminds me, I have a set of unused yellow (E&G) and green (A&D) DRs for sale...  I'll throw in a used green & yellow set for free... ;-)
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Bobby
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Redbyrd
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2010, 11:37:50 PM »

also, it does depend on the type of strings you use. I've recently started using flatwounds, and from what I'm told, unless they break, they have been known to maintain their sound for years....which is what I'm hoping, because I really don't like changing strings.
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LowDon
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2011, 05:37:15 AM »

So that's why they sell those things at the music store.
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Freakbassman
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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2011, 06:06:49 AM »

Hello. Some of us "oldies" used to boil our strings to take away the oil and grime from our fingers. I still do that today. Yes I can afford and go out and buy new ones but i"ll boil my oldies to see how much longer they'll last. Session bass great and member of the Rock n' roll hall of Famer Joe Osborne used  the same set of strings on his  on his Fender jazz for 22 years. He played on over 100 rock hits and over 400 country songs on the same set strings. He just kept boiling them. John Entwistle of the legendary band The Who got new sets of strings form James How( RotoSound) strings every week. If your strings don't sound like they used to and your amp is okay, wash your strings first , then go out and buy new ones if you need to. I hope you  carry an extra set with you in your case.
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Child of God
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« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2011, 06:15:11 AM »

Boil?   Shocked 
Sounds like that could run into a big corrosion (rust) issue to me! 


God Bless!
Carl
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Freakbassman
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2011, 08:12:29 PM »

hi Child of God. Simply wiping your strings off after boiling loosens dirt caught in between the coils and come off when you wipe them off with a cloth. your strings come back to life. try it. jim.
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