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New strings that doesn't sound like new strings (bass)

Discussion in 'Bass' started by mertzi, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. mertzi

    mertzi Active Member


    I had to change my 11 year old strings on my bass because unfortunately they just couldn't hold the pitch any longer despite being tuned correctly. So I bought a set of D'addario Balanced and put them on in May. I haven't played much since (mostly been watching the world cup) but yesterday I recorded a bass line and it sounded just awful. There's the well known metallic sound new strings give but there's also some weird chorus/flanger like tone. I know that it's probably just because I haven't played enough since the change but that brings me to my topic, are there some string model that is manufactured to sound like old/used strings but still gives the benefits of new strings? Google only gives me a lot of "old vs new strings" articles and forum posts.

    Have a nice day!
  2. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member

    Hi, Mertzi

    Flatwound strings would mellow out your sound. Even then you'd have some zing with brand new strings, and I don't know how you feel about them. I think to some degree new strings just need some break in time before recording with them.

  3. mertzi

    mertzi Active Member

    Thanks! I've never played flatwound strings, been watching a few youtube videos now where nylon strings also have been mentioned. Wouldn't nylon be even more suited since they wont give any metallic ring? I only play with a pick and I want that muted sound that dead strings give.

    Correction: With nylon strings I mean nylon tapewound strings. D'addario has a set they introduced in 2010 but I can't find any demos where they play with a pick.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    have you tried boiling the old strings?

    OTOH, I find it hard to believe that you haven't changed strings in 11 years.... o_O
  5. mertzi

    mertzi Active Member

    True story, I've only used that bass for recording. On my two live basses I've changed strings several times, but I don't care so much of how they sound because we play punk and everything is just drenched in distortion. I've never tried to boil strings although I know about the trick, but I've read that it only works one time. And the old strings don't sound bad, they just can't hold the pitch.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    If they aren't holding tuning tension anymore, then yeah, they've broken down, and boiling won't help.
  7. moles

    moles Active Member

    If you're getting of chorusing sounds, it could be that the strings aren't seated properly in the bridge and nut. Does it look like the strings have a sharp angle over the bridge saddle, or more of a gentle bend?
    A good thing to do is give them a little pinch downward on either side of the bridge saddle and the but, so the witness points are a nice sharp angle
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    The only time I have ever put any new strings on any of my basses was when I bought a set of flat wounds to try last year. I have never broken a string, or had one die on me. I still have the first bass I bought in 1974, and it still has the original strings on it, and they've always been quite dull. I never play with a pick - ever, but I do use my hard nails when I need to, and my bass collection numbers 6 in total, a mix of 4,5 and 6 strings, including a fretless 4 and 5 string. I never break a string, and like their tone. My newest one bought last year is a Fender American Standard Jazz, and maybe in a year, the twangy tone will have worn off.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    WOW! WOW! WOW! I've never heard this before although I have known guys to keep them on a Precision for a long time. That is amazing, Paul.
  10. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    I also play guitar, and although I do change them when my fingers feel spots of rust starting to appear, I'd think that maybe in the same time my strings for those are pretty few and far between - my 12 string my wife bought me as a present in 1980 still has the originals on. The guitarist in our band changes strings each show - and I laugh when he asks me when I last put on a new string and I tell him never! Some have been on longer than he's been alive! I like the mellowness but they still play well - I'd happily replace a set if I broke a bass string, but it's just never happened.
  11. Jensenmann

    Jensenmann Active Member

    Boiling strings never did it for me. I´ve always cleaned them in alcohol.
    Regarding OP question: there are gold plated strings available which are sounding a lot less bright than steel or nickel strings. Maybe that´s an option: http://www.optima-strings.com/
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Old strings have a certain sound but need to also have the harmonics in place so you don't lose the 'root' tone of the note. It doesn't do any good if you're played a G and theres not difference between it and an F #. Thats when the strings get changed. I recently completed a Fender 62 P-Bass build and started it with the round wounds. But the noise and overtones just don't do it for me anymore so it got a set of RotoSound Steve Harris Flats. I'm very impressed with these strings. A very balanced tension and they are bright but not a noisy brite while still retaining the serious thump you want from a bass string. In recording, its all about the control of the decay with the bass if you want clarity and that low-end you can sit in the mix without dirtying up all the other instruments next to it.

    Attached Files:

  13. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Nice bass Dave!
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Do they eat the frets like the original Roto's did? LOL

    I used to use Roto's exclusively, back when I was playing bass in a touring band, ( we had an endorsement) and truthfully, I loved the tone, but those puppies did some serious wear on frets. ( at the time I was using a Fender J and a Spectre)
  15. ric3xrt

    ric3xrt Active Member

    Mmmm 62s, great neck, the SH Roto's are pretty easy on the frets,
    I use a set on my 65P-bass , ....for a real deep tone, the SH roto's on a PB with the Fender Aerodyne Pb split pick ups, gives you a nice James Jamerson tone
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    No fret wear for these.

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