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

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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

Gear News

New Gear: Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series Basses

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Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

Spector offers Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses…

Spector, a leading authority in bass guitar design, unveils two new Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses. Synonymous with bass excellence since 1987, Wimbish collaborated with Spector’s USA Custom Shop to create the DW-4 and DW-5 models, echoing the iconic instruments that have been favored heavily throughout his recording and performing career.
 
These signature basses faithfully replicate Wimbish’s originals, down to the smallest details like neck contours and nut widths. Customized EMG pickups, developed in collaboration with Wimbish, capture the distinctive sound that has shaped his monumental musical impact. These models invite players to explore the feel and response that have defined Wimbish’s signature style over the years.
 
Available in 4-string and 5-string versions, each model boasts unique features & finish options. The DW-4 comes in Amber Stain Gloss and Black Stain Gloss options, while the DW-5 offers Dark Blue Stain Gloss and Faded Natural Gloss. Every purchase includes a certificate of authenticity signed by Doug Wimbish. Wimbish comments, “Spector took the time to get every little nuance right, and that to me is dedication and being thoughtful enough to know ‘I want to nail it,’ and they did. I’m able to pick these instruments up for the first time and play them like I’ve already had them for years.”

For more information, visit spectorbass.com/doug-wimbish-usa-signature-series/.

Photo: Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

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Bass CDs

New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings

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New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call - Queens Of Strings

Italian bass master and composer ALBERTO RIGONI is thrilled to announce his brand new project “Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings”.

Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings features a super talented drummer from Japan (TBA) and tons of female guitarists such as SAKI, Giusy Busetto, Alexandra Zerner (TBC) and many many others (TBA). Furthermore, Alberto has also launched a Fundraising Campaign for the project. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro legadelfilodoro.it/it, an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Alberto shares:
“Hello friends and music lovers! I’m Alberto Rigoni, an Italian composer and.. a BASS GUY! Between 2008 and 2024 I released 13 solo albums, spanning from progressive, rock, ambient to funky and experimental music, which also features contributions from musicians such as keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) drummer Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) and Marco Minnemann (the Aristocrats), keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex Dream Theater), singer John Jeff Soto (ex  Goran Edman (ex Y. Malmsteen), bassists Nathan East, Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani), Nik West (ex Prince) and many others. I’m also bass player for BAD As, Sunset Groove Society, Kim Bingham, The Italians bands and co-producer of Mistheria’s Vivaldi Metal Project.”

Alberto on the new project Nemesis Call:
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, will be released on June 4th, 2024, when Vittoria came to life I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!!!!!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental ambient/prog/rock/metal album, that will feature a talented and young drummer (TBA) and tons of female guitarists (that’s why I will call the album “Queens of the Strings”) such as Alexandra Zerner, YOKA and many others (TBA/TBC)). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it!! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025.”

The Fundraising Campaign:
As an independent artist, Alberto is looking for supporters who can help him reach the budget for the production (recordings, mix, mastering, artwork etc.) of this new album and has started this fundraising campaign that will end successfully on October 15th, 2024.

Get further information about Alberto Rigoni’s new project Nemesis Call Fundraising campaign at albertorigoni.net/nemesiscal

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Bass Videos

Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

Visit Online:

www.derekfrank.com
www.instagram.com/derekfrankbass
www.youtube.com/derekfrankbass
www.facebook.com/derekfrankbass

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Latest

This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @foderaguitars @bqwbassguitar @lecomptebass @xvector_basses @vuorensaku_guitars @phdbassguitars @meridian_guitars @sterlingbymusicman @ramabass.ok @overwaterbasses

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Gear News

New Gear: Alberto Rigoni Signature Bass, the VPR5 by Gaetano Costanzo!

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Internationally renowned bassist ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD AS, Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.) is proud to announce the release of his signature bass VPR5 made by renowned Italian luthier Gaetano Costanzo!

Alberto Rigoni Signature Bass, the VPR5 by Gaetano Costanzo!

Internationally renowned bassist ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD AS, Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.) is proud to announce the release of his signature bass VPR5 made by renowned Italian luthier Gaetano Costanzo!

The bass is entirely handmade in Italy, without the use of CNC or other machinery, and has rather special features. The VPR is a 5-string bass (but also available as a 4-string) with 30 frets, Seymour Duncan pickups, Music Man Alnico style, passive electronics (volume, tone and a switch to select series/parallel/single-coil mode), alder body, and American maple neck and fingerboard. Gotoh tuners that ensure perfect intonation. The bass is totally painted white (nitro finish) but other colors can be requested. The VPR has a weight of about 2.9 kg and suitable for any genre.

For more information contact Gaetanobass77@gmail.com or visit online at www.instagram.com/gaetanocostanzoluthier or www.facebook.com/GaetanoCostanzoLuthier

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