Connect with us

Gear News

Bass String Favorites – Bass Musician Magazine Writers and Readers Share Their Top Choices

Bass String Favorites – Bass Musician Magazine Writers and Readers Share Their Top Choices… When we reached out to Bass Musician Magazine staff, as well as our readers (via Facebook) about their favorite bass strings, we were overwhelmed with responses!

Staff and readers weighed in on strings including Ernie Ball, D’Addario, La Bella, GHS, DR, Lakland, DarkHorse, SIT, Music Man, Elixir, Aurora, Sadowsky, R. Cocco, Elites, Pyramid Gold, Thomastik-Infeld and Pirastro Original Flat Chromes.

After reading through all of the submissions, this is what we found out…

1… Bass Players are obsessive about gear and like talking about it (but we knew this already)

2… Bassists have strong opinions when it comes to gear

3… There are no across the board ‘winners’ when it comes to strings, as each player dabbles and tweaks to fit their unique situation, style and bass (or in most cases, BASSES)

We thought we would share a sampling of the responses we received, which include not only the bass strings players chose, but the ‘why’ as well… (And yes, some are endorsees of the strings they use… but we will assume that bass players ONLY endorse what they dig.)

And note, BMM Staff Writer Maureen Pandos, a Portland, OR based Luthier, who specializes in double bass, has done an entire article on best double bass strings… check it out!

If you missed the opportunity to weigh-in on your favorite bass strings, or have comments or questions about the ones listed, check out the end of this article!

Bass String Favorites

ERIC PARSONS / BMM STAFF WRITER
My main basses are Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 5 strings; one is fretted and the other is fretless. I use Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys Round Wounds on the fretted, .045 to .130 – they work well with most styles of music and are reasonably priced. I use D’Addario Nylon Tapewounds (ETB92-5) on the fretless, .050 to .135 – I love these strings, they sound as liquidy-smooth as they feel. If you play fretless, you owe it to yourself to try a set out.

Ken Stern
D’Addario Chromes Medium Gauge; offer all the benefits of flats with a round sound if you want it.

Richard Carpenter
Oh yeah, on the Ernie Ball Cobalt Hybrids, they do what they hype them up to do.

If you watch the above video they are louder, brighter and they last. I have had a set on one bass since February 2012, when I was able to get them. They are still kicking butt!

Steven Blake
Ernie Ball Slinky Round Wound; low-end punch like a mother F***ER

Jared Spear
Ernie Ball Cobalts, by a landslide; they string up with ease and sound great right out of the package! Most versatile tone I’ve been able to match with my playing style.

IGOR SAAVEDRA / BMM STAFF WRITER
My favorite strings are La Bella; they’ve been making strings since 1640, where they started in the small town of Salle in the Abruzzi region of Italy before moving to NY in 1913… their longevity is a huge point for me. I have been an endorsee since 2005, and have my own model La Bella Igor Saavedra Signature Bass Single Strings for South American distribution. These strings are the classic Stainless Steel model, but the cool thing about my model is that they can be purchased by the unit/gauge, always with an orange color on the headstock end. I love the sound they provide, reliable, bright & long lasting. As you know I play an 8-string bass tuned from high to low F-C-G-D-A-E-B-F#, and my chosen gauges are .020 – .025 – .035 – .050 – .060 – .080 – .100 – .125. Isn’t that crazy!

BRADLEY RUSSELL / BMM STAFF WRITER
La Bella Hard Rockin Steel Bass Strings (M40 Round); the slightly lighter gauge makes these strings very flexible for bending and tapping. Great bright tone, but not too brittle with a nice warmth to the tone!

Geörge William Temes
R. Cocco Round Wounds. I have the stainless steels on my Ric, and nickels on all the others. They sound amazing… like a grand piano.

JONATHAN MOODY / BMM STAFF WRITER
My favorite strings are Progressives from GHS. They have a good mix of articulation and clarity as well as a solid low fundamental. Plus, they can really growl, when needed!

and check out Jonathan’s demo featuring the GHS Pressurewound Flats on his Warwick Streamer LX Broadneck.

Michael Christenson
GHS Precision Stainless Steel Flatwounds! They are awesomely silk-smooth to my fingers, tone is even across all strings, warm tone, lots of low-end punch, warm mids, highs are just right not too bright, clear tones not muddy, just the right tension, stay in tune forever, they last forever, consistent high quality, priced low enough that anyone can afford and they are made right here in Battle Creek, Michigan USA!

MAUREEN PANDOS / BMM STAFF WRITER
Pirastro Original Flat Chromes, because that’s what my teacher Homer Mensch loved and I listened to him without question.  (Remember  to check out Maureen’s full article on bass strings!)

Mikael Jansson
Pyramid Gold flats for vintage sound, Thomastik-Infeld Jazz flats for modern sound. Round Wounds? Naahh… 

BRAD HOUSER / BMM STAFF WRITER
I use and endorse DR Brand Strings, DDT rounds 45-105, 130 b string; they last forever, and are just right with a nice ‘heft’ to each note. Also DR Legend Flats; they are ‘flexier’ than standard flats and I love them on my Reverend 5-string. On my Lakland hollow-body, Lakland Flats are primo… perfect, although DR Flats are close.

Ed Clorophyl
Lakland Custom Wound Nickel – 5 String Set, Light; the gauge and length fit perfectly for “through-body” stringing and sustain.

Álvaro Martín Gómez Acevedo
The DR Hi-Beams are the best strings I’ve played. First, I prefer steels to nickels. Second, there are lots of great steel strings in the market, but none of them has both the smooth feel and longevity of the Hi-Beams, in my opinion and experience, of course.

Rich Leatham
Die hard DR Hi-Beams user here! Great strings; last forever & sound great! 

Lane Baldwin
DR Strings Black Beauties. I’ve been using them since they first came out, replacing Hi-Beams. I find them to be very consistent, and to offer great tone, but that’s just me! BTW, in the interests of openness… I should mention I’ve endorsed them for almost a decade. But I’ve played them for something like 20 years.

Joseph Segarra
For the Warwick Corvette, I love DR Low Rider Nickel Plated. I’m still trying to find the right strings for the MTD with maple neck. (ANY SUGGESTIONS?)

JAIME VAZQUEZ / BMM STAFF WRITER
SIT Strings Rock Brights Medium Light (45-65-85-105), I love them! Why? First, SIT Strings guarantees your strings to Stay-In-Tune and provide unsurpassed brilliance and bendability! Second, their exclusive construction process gives you an amazing brightness, great feel, volume, longevity and a lot of punch for all applications. Third, Rock Brights are my sound; I am an SIT endorsee.

Cliff Hairston
DarkHorse Strings Stainless Steel Light Round Wounds… Absolutely love the sound, feel, and longevity of them; I haven’t found a better string since I started playing over 25 years ago. For me the thing that jumps out the most are the harmonics, they sing! The strings have a very vibrant midrange as well. The DarkHorse Strings Nickel Round Wounds did a great job on the fretless I had as well.

Grant Allison
Elixir Nanowebs Medium Gauge no doubt! Bright yet warm and super long lasting.

Annie Richards Cottis
Elites Round Wound; long scale, fairly easy to get hold of and they hold the tone nicely, even when quite aged… My basses rarely go out of tune much.

JIMI DURSO / BMM STAFF WRITER
For my Fender bass guitar, I use GHS Boomers, 50-gauge. I like the brightness, which lets my lines cut, and the thick gauge give me a heaviness, which keeps it functioning like a bass. Since I often perform as a bass/drums duo, this also allows the bass to fill more of the sonic spectrum, so other instruments aren’t missed. Twang!

John M Shaughnessy II
I buy bulk strings from Just Strings, which feel like generic GHS. No sense in spending money on fancy packaging if you don’t have to.

Terry Acosta
Ernie Ball Music Man Super Slinkys. They are smooth to the touch, have a lot of snap and crispness with just the right amount of high-end, while still fattening the bottom.

Sean Gehret
Aurora Strings are my favorites. They have fantastic tone out of the package and hold it for a very long time. The coating on the strings is incredibly durable, even after a year of use not even a scratch on it, and I’m a fairly aggressive pick player. Plus they come in so many great colors!

Gerry Evans
Sadowsky Black Label Lights; great sounding, feel, and last long.

Now let’s hear from YOU… what are your favorite bass strings and why?

Let’s keep the conversation going! Do you see your favorites? If so, share why YOU like them. If your bass strings missed the list thsi time around, add your favorites below. And feel free to ‘agree to disagree’ as we like good bass conversation and camaraderie; there is always something new to learn, try or tweak.

Oh, and any bass string suggestions for Joseph’s MTD with the maple neck? 

Best…

Raul Amador
Executive Editor, Bass Musician Magazine

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. A Senegal

    December 1, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I like Zon UltraSonic Nickels. These easily cut thru the mix, have great sustain and they last for a super long time.

  2. Randy Snell

    December 1, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I have been using DR strings exclusively for many years. I run the low Rider Nickels on my fretted basses, and Black Beauties on a fretless. I may try the round core Sunbeams some time, and possibly the “Rare” acoustic strings, too. DR strings make my bass come alive.

  3. Jules Beuck

    December 1, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I have an Ibanez acoustic bass guitar. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for strings that might project more as I tend to get drowned out in acoustic gigs.

  4. wren mckinley

    December 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Labella. They just give me the sound and tone I like. I also will use D’ Addario if Labella isn’t available

  5. Spike McCurdy

    December 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve used Boomers, D’Addario, and EB Slinkys, but I ALWAYS wind up back with the heaviest gauge RotoSounds each bass will handle. Just something about those RS66’s, JUST LOVE THEIR TONE!!!

  6. Claudio Quevedo

    December 30, 2012 at 7:00 am

    la bella strings es una gran cuerda!
    sponsor de Igor Saavedra un tremendo maestro y bajista chileno!
    grande IS y la bella!

  7. Tony Skull (@RightHand63)

    September 9, 2013 at 9:02 am

    After years of modifying and playing basses. I have learn there is a set of strings to go with each bass for the best sound. I mostly use DR Black beauties. For a warm subtle sound. And Ken Smith bass burners for a brighter sound. I also use Roto Sounds Nylons on a couple of fretless basses but not all of them. But for a really bright long lasting. My long time favorite are Dean Markley Homegrown superwounds. Great for a punchy P bass! When I get or make a new bass I’ll go through several sets till i find the sweetness. For something different. I have a 5 string fretless. I use a heavy DR Black Beauties for the EADG string. But for the B string I use a RotoSound Nylon. Compliments it very well. There is a art to matching strings to a bass truely!

  8. villis

    October 19, 2015 at 1:08 am

    dr lowrider in all my basses they are the best strings!every time i change them to try something else i am always return to them! punchy, growly, piano like!great for slap and tapping and great tension!you cant go wrong with dr strings!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Gear News

Trending This Week

Bass Social

September Issue

bass-musician-magazine-for bass players

Platinum VIPS | Gold VIPS
To Top
×
Subscribe to Bass Musician
Expect Cool Bass News