School me on bass guitar strings

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lovestrat74lovestrat74 Frets: 512
My son has "graduated" from a short scales bass with 0.040 - 0.095 strings to a full scale bass with .050 - .110 rotosound swing bass strings - these are the strings that came with the bass.

He is struggling a bit and I am certain a lighter gauge string will help bridge the playability gap.

My question is what should I go for? Brand and gauge...

Got a spare set of these if anyone wants to do a swap :D ..

https://imgur.com/a/FHTXNcH

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  • Is it the increased tension of the strings making it harder, or is it the bigger stretches required with a longer scale? If it's the latter then lighter strings isn't gonna make much difference, will just need a bit more time getting his tendons and muscles used to the extra stretching. 

    Or is it the increased thickness of the strings hurting his finger tips? If so you could look at a set of flatwounds - the feel is night and day in terms of comfort on the fingertips, but obviously gives a very different sound. Would depend what sort of stuff he's wanting to play I guess. 
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  • lovestrat74lovestrat74 Frets: 512
    Is it the increased tension of the strings making it harder, or is it the bigger stretches required with a longer scale? If it's the latter then lighter strings isn't gonna make much difference, will just need a bit more time getting his tendons and muscles used to the extra stretching. 

    Or is it the increased thickness of the strings hurting his finger tips? If so you could look at a set of flatwounds - the feel is night and day in terms of comfort on the fingertips, but obviously gives a very different sound. Would depend what sort of stuff he's wanting to play I guess. 
    Flatwounds, now I never even gave that a thought...

    He plays mainly blues, rock and a bit of funk too. I think it is the gauge and the added strength needed to play the same stuff but on a full scale bass.  .095 to .110 is quite a jump for a 14 year old. 


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 17781
    Some low tension flats will help. The Thomatiks are good, as are the labella low tension flats - they are considerably “easier” on the fingers, but do take a bit of getting used to.

    If he doesn’t like them, you can flog them for a small loss quite easily. 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 17781
    edited May 1
    BTW - most full scale low tension flats start at .45 anyway...
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7507
    50-110 is thick for standard tuning IMO.

    I’d go for a set of D’Addario nickel 45-100 as a baseline and go from there. 

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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 3544
    50-110 is thick for standard tuning IMO.

    I’d go for a set of D’Addario nickel 45-100 as a baseline and go from there. 

    Yep 
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  • lovestrat74lovestrat74 Frets: 512
    Okay thanks for the info guys!
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 10544
    50-110 are monsters. I think they are the Steve Harris signature set of Rotos. Very heavy.

    Strings are so personal it's difficult to recommend, but saying that, if he liked 40-95 on a short scale the same gauge will have a bit more tension on long scale.

    So I'd start with 40-95 or 40-100 long scale.

    D'addario pro steel are my choice for roundwounds every time.

    Flats are funny - most flats are stiffer at the same gauge as rounds - with the exception of Thomastik TI Flats and La Bella Low Tension flats. La Bella also do their deep talking flats too - they are proper old school 1950s strings and are still made the same way. Quite high tension though.

    The TI flats and the La bella low tensions are however rather expensive compared to rounds, and other flats.

    That being said - it's not unheard of to get 10 years out of a set of TI Flats, so they can still be very good value.
    Ed Friedland (the Bass Whisperer) is well known for saying "Change your strings every 10 years, whether they need it or not!"


    I tend to put rounds on Jazz type basses or other modern instruments, and flats on Precision types.

    "Guitars are just basses for kids"

    Gregor Fris

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  • proggyproggy Frets: 2418
    When I was a bass player I always used Bass Centre Elites, 40 - 100 gauge on my fretted basses and Rotosound flatwounds on my fretless (same gauge).
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  • lovestrat74lovestrat74 Frets: 512
    Just ordered some D'Addario Super Light 40 - 95 so we'll see how he gets on with these ;)
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 37435
    Too late now, but if it matters I use Rotosound Roto Bass 45-105. I much prefer the 'cheaper' Roto Bass to the 'better' Swing Bass - even at the same gauge they feel 'slinkier', aren't as rough and are much less hard on the fingers, seem to retain their tone for much longer, and in my opinion just sound better from the start too.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7507
    ICBM said:
    Too late now, but if it matters I use Rotosound Roto Bass 45-105. I much prefer the 'cheaper' Roto Bass to the 'better' Swing Bass - even at the same gauge they feel 'slinkier', aren't as rough and are much less hard on the fingers, seem to retain their tone for much longer, and in my opinion just sound better from the start too.

    My understanding is the Swing Bass are Stainless Steel and the Roto Bass are Nickel.

    I'd agree Swing Bass Steels lose their tone very quickly, and compared to Pro Steels they're noticeably rougher in feel.  
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 4340
    Judging by the empty packet in the case, my Fender AVRI '63 Precision Bass is strung with Fender 9050L .045-.100 stainless steel flatwound. 

    I only have a .110 E string as part of a Billy Sheehan signature set. The idea is to maintain acceptable tension when a Hipshot D-Tuner is used.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • edited May 3
    *THREAD HIJACK TIME*

    So I'm currently playing bass in a band which plays kinda "Alt Rock" originals stuff. We're not heavy by any stretch, the main influence for the lead singer/main songwriter are probably female fronted groups like Evanescence/Halestorm etc, so think that sort of level of heaviness.

    My bass is currently strung with Thomastik Flats (approx. 5 years old I believe, they were fitted by the previous owner). They feel great on the fingers, are super easy to play, and probably have a good few years of mileage left in them. However, I can't help thinking I could use a little more 'snap' or 'zing' to the sound to match the kind of music we play. I've considered fitting a set of Rounds to compare. But then I came across these 'Half Round' strings:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/DAddario-ENR71-Regular-045-100-Electric/dp/B0009FZWMW

    The advertising shtick promises "Smooth Feel Without Compromising Bright Tone" which sounds like the perfect compromise. Anyone got any experience with these strings (or any other Half Rounds)? Advertising waffle too good to be true?
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 17781
    *THREAD HIJACK TIME*

    So I'm currently playing bass in a band which plays kinda "Alt Rock" originals stuff. We're not heavy by any stretch, the main influence for the lead singer/main songwriter are probably female fronted groups like Evanescence/Halestorm etc, so think that sort of level of heaviness.

    My bass is currently strung with Thomastik Flats (approx. 5 years old I believe, they were fitted by the previous owner). They feel great on the fingers, are super easy to play, and probably have a good few years of mileage left in them. However, I can't help thinking I could use a little more 'snap' or 'zing' to the sound to match the kind of music we play. I've considered fitting a set of Rounds to compare. But then I came across these 'Half Round' strings:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/DAddario-ENR71-Regular-045-100-Electric/dp/B0009FZWMW

    The advertising shtick promises "Smooth Feel Without Compromising Bright Tone" which sounds like the perfect compromise. Anyone got any experience with these strings (or any other Half Rounds)? Advertising waffle too good to be true?
    I don’t like them. Neither fish nor foil to me. 

    Chromes are brighter than TI’s as are the Fender flats. You could try tapewounds as well as they might suit your bands sound.

    Course, if you try something and don’t like it, you can just stick the TIs back on!
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  • *THREAD HIJACK TIME*

    So I'm currently playing bass in a band which plays kinda "Alt Rock" originals stuff. We're not heavy by any stretch, the main influence for the lead singer/main songwriter are probably female fronted groups like Evanescence/Halestorm etc, so think that sort of level of heaviness.

    My bass is currently strung with Thomastik Flats (approx. 5 years old I believe, they were fitted by the previous owner). They feel great on the fingers, are super easy to play, and probably have a good few years of mileage left in them. However, I can't help thinking I could use a little more 'snap' or 'zing' to the sound to match the kind of music we play. I've considered fitting a set of Rounds to compare. But then I came across these 'Half Round' strings:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/DAddario-ENR71-Regular-045-100-Electric/dp/B0009FZWMW

    The advertising shtick promises "Smooth Feel Without Compromising Bright Tone" which sounds like the perfect compromise. Anyone got any experience with these strings (or any other Half Rounds)? Advertising waffle too good to be true?
    I don’t like them. Neither fish nor foil to me. 

    Chromes are brighter than TI’s as are the Fender flats. You could try tapewounds as well as they might suit your bands sound.

    Course, if you try something and don’t like it, you can just stick the TIs back on!
    Yes that is true, and I that's what I'll do if I don't like whatever other options I try. Just don't fancy spending £35-40 on a set I don't like! Which brand of Chrome flats would you recommend? Never thought about tapewounds, don't know much about them, will have to do some researching!


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 17781
    Chromes are a Daddario brand. They are slightly brighter than other flats and tend to give a bit of the round wound zing when they are fresh. Over time they do flatten and dull but they continue to maintain some of the unique character that they have when you first put them on.

    If you don’t like them, then there’s a pretty active used market for bass strings because they last so long (especially flats)
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1930
    edited May 3
    I'm another D'Addario Chromes fan - and I'm only an occasional bass player so also find heavy bass strings a challenge.


    I use the 45 - 100 ECB81 'regular light' set, but you can get a 'Custom Light' set ECB84 which are 40 - 100.

    What I like about Chromes is that you get the comfort of flatwound but more of a brightness (not the same as roundwounds but heading in that direction)







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  • Right then, new set D'Addario Chromes ordered! Will report back when I've got them on.

    Cheers guys. :)
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 3544
    edited May 3
    I'd order a set of regular roundwound Daddarios for an alt rock band. Or Fenders if you want a good quality cheaper set to test. I liked halfrounds for a clean deep tone for years but now use rounds. Chromes are good and brightish (have them on a fretless) but they will still not give you the snap or sustain that rounds do. 
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  •  Winny_Pooh said:
    I'd order a set of regular roundwound Daddarios for an alt rock band. Or Fenders if you want a good quality cheaper set to test. I liked halfrounds for a clean deep tone for years but now use rounds. Chromes are good and brightish (have them on a fretless) but they will still not give you the snap or sustain that rounds do. 

    Yeah, but I'm a wimp and I like the comfy feel on my fingertips that flats give you! =)

    I don't hate the sound I currently get or anything, and my bass has active 3-band EQ so I can dial in some more treble/mids if I need to brighten things up a bit as needed. Just fancy getting a little more zing than what I currently have.

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  • bandmaster188bandmaster188 Frets: 277
     Winny_Pooh said:
    I'd order a set of regular roundwound Daddarios for an alt rock band. Or Fenders if you want a good quality cheaper set to test. I liked halfrounds for a clean deep tone for years but now use rounds. Chromes are good and brightish (have them on a fretless) but they will still not give you the snap or sustain that rounds do. 

    Yeah, but I'm a wimp and I like the comfy feel on my fingertips that flats give you! =)

    I don't hate the sound I currently get or anything, and my bass has active 3-band EQ so I can dial in some more treble/mids if I need to brighten things up a bit as needed. Just fancy getting a little more zing than what I currently have.

    Have you looked at the Ernie ball cobalt flats? They are a good halfway house between flats & rounds. Not cheap but seem to be the brightest flats out there and lower tension than chromes if that’s your thing. 
    The Swamp City Shakers
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 37435
    I can’t get on with any flatwounds on a fretted solid bass - they just feel, sound and sustain wrong to me. They’re usually OK on a semi-hollow though, although half-rounds are better. I can’t stand roundwounds on a fretless either, even if they didn’t chew up the fingerboard.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 679
    I like the sound of Swing Bass, but they lose their swing after a month or two. Thinking of trying D'Ads as I use them for guitar. Or Fenders (which I assume come as standard on my Squier) as they seem good value for money.
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 1430
    I like Rotosound 40-100 gauge.
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  • ICBM said:
    I can’t get on with any flatwounds on a fretted solid bass - they just feel, sound and sustain wrong to me. They’re usually OK on a semi-hollow though, although half-rounds are better. I can’t stand roundwounds on a fretless either, even if they didn’t chew up the fingerboard.

    When I got my current bass delivered it already had the Flats on it. I didn't have an amp at the time so could only play it unplugged, and I instantly hated them - sounded totally dead and lifeless. I was convinced I was going to change them ASAP, but then tried it at rehearsals plugged into a nice big amp, and once I'd tweaked the EQ a bit I had it sounding great. The nice silky feel was an added bonus!

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 37435
    It’s the combination of the smooth feel of the strings with the frets that feels wrong to me. Perfect on a fretless, terrible on a fretted! I don’t like the attack/sustain either. The sound is the least of the problems...
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 17781
    ICBM said:
    It’s the combination of the smooth feel of the strings with the frets that feels wrong to me. Perfect on a fretless, terrible on a fretted! I don’t like the attack/sustain either. The sound is the least of the problems...
    Please tell me you didn’t try flatwounds with a pick.....
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 37435
    Bridgehouse said:

    Please tell me you didn’t try flatwounds with a pick.....
    Both.

    Some of the most classic bass recordings were done with flats and a pick on fretted basses. I just don't get on with the combination at all - although it's probably still better than roundwounds on a fretless!
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 17781
    ICBM said:
    Bridgehouse said:

    Please tell me you didn’t try flatwounds with a pick.....
    Both.

    Some of the most classic bass recordings were done with flats and a pick on fretted basses. I just don't get on with the combination at all - although it's probably still better than roundwounds on a fretless!
    Some of those classic bass tracks were also short scale and done on thumpy semi hollow basses as well (Animals and Harmony bass etc.)

    We’re all different tho. Just when it comes to bass you’re more different than the rest of us ;)
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